Author: Sophie Beck
Our twins are 21 months old, which is a stupid way to describe their age, but it feels too soon to say ‘almost two’, and I’ve been saying ’18 months’ for about six months already! By-and-large the girls are amazing and we consider ourselves very lucky to have wonderful, healthy and happy kids. They’re at an age where they understand what we’re saying and try to communicate back; they dance, they giggle, they play and engage with those around them; and they are pretty damn cute… during the day at least!
One of our delightful little bundles, Addison, has barely slept a full night in her entire, precious little life. Her sister, Isabella, has been much better- after a rocky start where I thought Izzi was going to be the troubled sleeper, we had a turnaround and Izzi has been pretty good.
When one twins sleeps through the night and the other doesn’t
They slept in our room initially in bassinets. At around 5 months, we moved them to their room and into cots. The transition went ok, I think- it’s genuinely too hard to remember back that far! And since that time, Izzi has been an ok sleeper. She probably sleeps through the night more often than not. Addi on the other hand, would wake between 3-10 times a night. All she’d want is a little cuddle, to survey the house to make sure she’s not missing out on anything and then usually she’d settle back in her cot, until her next wake up in a matter of minutes or hours later.
Izzi would usually sleep through her sister’s crying if we got to Addi quickly enough. We considered splitting them up so that maybe Addi could cry it out a bit longer before we responded, but we don’t have the space, so sharing is the only practical option.
Seeking sleep assistance for twins
Recently I went away with some girlfriends for two nights for some much-needed respite. During those two nights, of course Addi was a nightmare. My exasperated husband was at his wits end by the time I got home. Talking this through with my friend, she suggested an osteopath who she’d taken her kids to. This particular osteo specialises in mums and bubs, and by this point we were willing to give anything a go. In addition to the osteo, I also inquired about a sleep consultant but the recommended one in our local area happened to be on leave, so I didn’t investigate that further.
Sleep assistance for twins: We chose to see an Osteo
Fast forward a few weeks and our appointment with the osteo came up. I had no idea what to expect. The lovely osteo gently touched Addi on her legs, hips, back, head- wherever Addison would let her. Whenever Addi wasn’t in the mood to be touched, the osteo just backed off for a bit. The first session was largely about building Addi’s trust of the osteo. In the end, what worked best for us was for Addison to sit on my lap straddling me while I fed her blueberries – it was far from seamless but better than anything else we tried. I would describe her reactions as if she were being tickled or inconvenienced by the osteo’s touch, definitely not in pain or discomfort but nonetheless, it didn’t take too long for her to want to wriggle away.
The osteo was so gentle- I honestly didn’t even know she was making any kind of adjustment. She is also a twin mum to 12 year old boys. She explained to me that twins are often cramped in utero and therefore an adjustment can work wonders once they’re on the outside- I only pity that we didn’t do this sooner!!
The Osteo recommended a few things to help with sleep
She also recommended a few little ‘exercises’ for us to do with Addison each night, as well as adding a scoop of magnesium to their bath. The exercises consisted of gently squeezing down the length of her arms and legs, all the way to her feet/hands, and repeating it 10 times per limb. The only challenge here is that Isabella sees this happening and wants a little massage too! We do this for both girls now, almost every night. In addition to this we’ve added a fairly loud white noise teddy to Addi’s cot.
The first week of doing this, she went from waking 3-10 times a night, to 1-2, and even slept through one whole night but on that night of course Izzi woke up instead! The second week got even better and following our second osteo appointment, she slept through almost every night for the week! Last night was an exception but… it also coincides with hubby forgetting to add the magnesium to the bath! We have another appointment with our osteo in a fortnight and that might be enough. The magnesium and white noise seem to be working wonders too, so we’ll continue with that for the foreseeable future.
Ideas for sleep assistance for twins
To all of you amazing yet sleep deprived parents who are barely making it through the day, give magnesium and white noise a try- I’m well aware that that’s not revolutionary advice but it could be all you need. And if you’re tempted, investigate a baby osteopath to see if your little twinny needs some gentle adjustment following their crowded in utero experience. I didn’t even know osteopathy was a thing for babies, but it’s worked for Addi and I’m singing their praises to anyone who’ll listen! Sleep deprivation is a whole new level of hell (there’s a reason it’s used in torture!) and trying to parent/work/function on very little sleep thanks to one or more of your munchkins can be so hard. I know I was at breaking point and my only regret is not looking into it sooner.
My physical and mental health, and that of my husband, has been spread very thin in recent months. Our situation simply wasn’t sustainable. We couldn’t be the best parents that we wanted to be for our kids- let alone all the other somewhat less important but critical parts of our lives like being good employees, or good partners to each other. Osteopathy is still very new to us, we’re only two sessions into this journey but the change has been phenomenal. While there’s no one thing that will work for every baby, this for now at least, is working for us.
From one multi mum to another……..
Parenting is a tough gig and sleepless or sleep-interrupted nights make it so much harder, especially when it endures for so long. We all know this but sometimes we need reminding- this torture will only last for so long and eventually they’ll turn into teenagers who want to sleep for days! If you’re in the thick of sleep disruption, know that it will pass. Keep trying to find whatever strategies can work for your bubs- white noise, massage, magnesium, osteopathy… this week that’s what’s working for us so I’m shouting it to the world, but, lol, who knows what next week will hold!
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