September 4, 2005

Sleep War

In the past I have written about just how painful operating on 3 to 4 hours a sleep a night can be. The first 6 to 8 weeks were the most difficult period of time I have ever encountered. On one hand I had these two beautiful babies that I loved with all of my heart. On the other hand, I was cranky, tired, and feeling disconnected from everything.

The good news is that things have been gradually getting better. It started about 3 weeks ago when Swee’Pea began sleeping through the night. One night, we were feeding her at 8:00 p.m. 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. and the next night she skipped the 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. feedings and has never looked back.

Jonathan, however, has been a different story.

From the beginning, TheMonk has been difficult when it comes to eating and sleeping. He had a touch of reflux and he also does not handle changes in humidity well. He wakes up at night and has trouble breathing. Being the loving father (and the sleepy, wanting-to-go-back-to-sleep father) that I am, I would take TheMonk back to bed and let him sleep on my belly. Often, it was the only way to appease him. It certainly was the easiest. So, after waiting for TheMonk to catch up to Swee’Pea in the sleep through the night department, we noticed a pattern. While we finally got him to skip the 11:00 p.m. feeding, he was still waking up at 3:00 a.m. like clockwork. I would feed him but we started to reduce the amount. Even after feeding it would take having him on my belly to go back to sleep.

This had to stop.

So, two nights ago I got tough. When TheMonk awoke at 3:00 a.m. I picked him up, soothed him and them put him right back down. After 20 minutes of doing this I somehow stuck my finger in his mouth where he started sucking and calmed down considerably. Now TheMonk normally doesn’t like pacifiers. Swee’Pea uses them to sleep but that’s it. So after 15 minutes with my finger in TheMonk’s mouth I finally thought, “Okay, I can’t stand here all night.” So, I ran and got a pacifier from Swee’Pea, stuck it into TheMonk’s mouth and prayed. Well, what do you know? In about 5 minutes Jonathan was asleep with no feeding and no belly sleeping.

Last night, he again awoke at 3:00 a.m. This time, I didn’t pick him up. I placed the pacifier in this mouth. He spit it out. I put it in again. He spit it out again. I put it in and, this time, held it in his mouth. Seeing he was up against a man who really wanted to sleep and had no intention of playing “fetch” with the pacifier, Jonathan started sucking and sucked himself to sleep in about 5 minutes.

So, I am this close to getting a full night’s sleep. I can taste it! Will tonight be the night? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s coming folks. It’s coming.


  1. Matthew, while I’m not a religious person, I will definitely be praying for you!

    I totally feel your pain. Tod-lar did not sleep through the night until he was 6 1/2 months old. And, I’m a hardass sleep trainer! I was suicidal. But the little dude needed to eat.

    For me, the sleep deprivation was definitely the hardest part. Fortunately, In-fant was easier and has been sleeping through the night since 4 months. Which is good, since by month 3 I was ready to hang ALL of us from the rafters.

    Good luck! And, good sleep training!!!!

    Comment by MIM — September 4, 2005 @ 8:48 pm

  2. Pacifiers are amazing things if used in moderation. And by moderation, I mean that at one point I asked my wife in anyone would look at us strangely if we held the pacifier in our childrens’ mouths with duct tape.

    Comment by not-for-profit-dad — September 5, 2005 @ 6:07 am

  3. Way to go! I’m so impressed you’ve managed so well. How old are they again?

    Comment by Mary — September 5, 2005 @ 7:15 pm

  4. 3 – 4 hours a night truly isn’t that bad for twins this age. It gets better soon. I promise.

    Comment by Sarah — September 5, 2005 @ 8:39 pm

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