Q&A: “help for a shitty mom”

Encouragement needed. Kelly, who has a 3-year-old son and 4-month-old twin boys, is in a world of pain. She writes:

"I really need help. Or validation. Or something. You're the only person I know to ask and won't tell me I'm a total loser.

I
am about to lose my mind. The boys still aren't sleeping. Actually,
they are on this fucked up schedule where 1 will go to sleep at 9:30pm
and sleep 3-4 hours, then wake up, eat, and sleep for 5-6 hours. The
other will go to sleep at 9:30 and sleep for 6 hours straight, eat,
then wake again after 3 hours. I am about to lose my mind.
Oh…wait…I already said that. I won't even mention about how they
don't always go back to sleep after I feed them. That is another whole
pain in my ass.

The worst part is that I am really getting
resentful of them and I'm to the point of mostly not even liking them.
It is completely stupid because they are babies for God's sake. I know
it isn't their fault and they are just being babies, but SHIT ALMIGHTY
I am dying here. Today, they didn't want to go to sleep at
naptime…they both cried uncontrollably, even after rocking and even
after putting them in the swings (and BTW…I am using the damn swings
as a crutch, but I AM SO TIRED). I finally had to throw them in the car
and drive. They fell asleep for 15 minutes and promptly woke up when I
got home.

I have never been a fan of CIO (didn't need to with
SuperAiden, the perfect baby but terrible toddler). My heart would break
at the thought of letting my baby scream, but I am starting to do it
now and the worst part is I don't feel bad about it. It is
awful…letting a 4 month old baby cry his little heart out, but I just
don't know what to do anymore.

My mom was here 5 days/week, but
she is 72 and can only handle 1 baby at a time. (She's now at her
vacation place in Florida for a well-deserved month vacation.) My
husband is worthless with all 3, but seems to think I should be able to
handle this after all my nanny experience (which I probably could IF I
COULD GET SOME SLEEP). I can't even nap during the day because they
take those bullshit 45 minute naps and I can't always get them back to
sleep…even if I put them in the swings. Then, of course, Aiden will
need to use the bathroom at least once during his 2 hour rest time. He
doesn't go potty by heimself because A. he's in that "I can't do
it…help me!" phase; B. he gets distracted and will wander through
the house/fill the sink/go outside/find something to hurt himself/make
a mess.

Between me no longer having a job and my husband's 35+% pay cut
from 2008, hiring someone is really not in the cards right now. And
even finding someone is so. much. work.

I really wanted these
little twits…I even wanted twins. I knew the first few months would
suck, but I really didn't expect things to suck this bad. For this long.

And
regarding the going to bed thing, we talked about how my husband can just stay
up and wake the 3 hour sleeper to feed him before bed, but what do I do
about milk supply? I am already struggling (as I did with Aiden). I'm
taking fenugreek and goat's rue. As it is, they eat every 2 hours
during the day (another sucky chapter to this story), but if I go 4
hours, I can't pump any more than if I pumped after 2 hours. I'm afraid
of what will happen if I go 6 hours. I'm already supplementing and I
really don't want to supplement more if I can help it.

I want to
look back on this time fondly (like I do with Aiden), but right now all I
see is a crazed lunatic mother who yells all the time and resents the
kids she so badly wanted. WTF do I do???"

Oh, crap. I am so, so sorry that you're in this awful place right now.

I don't know exactly how to fix things, but I can give you a reality check:

1. It's really OK that you hate things right now, and even that you resent your babies. You won't forever. A lot of us have, especially in the really early days like this. It's easy to feel love all the time when you're not under constant physical torture.

2. It sounds to me like your prioritizing a lot of ideals over your own health. Maybe take a step back and assess how you'll feel in 5 years about supplementing or doing CIO or having a really crappy come-to-Jesus conversation with your husband vs. spiraling down into emotional despair and physical ruin that make take you months if not years to climb back out of. There are a lot of women out there who are eternally grateful that they supplemented (or switched entirely) with formula, or did sleep things they don't actually approve of (CIO or cosleeping being the top two examples I can think of), or just told their partners the truth: You need to step up or I could end up in the hospital and you'll have to do it all by yourself. You made the decisions you did about these things when you had a whole different set of information than you do now.

3. You have twins. And a kid who can't go to the bathroom by himself yet. That's hardcore. Of course it's really difficult. You're doing an amazing job.

4. Tell someone. I mean, besides me, because I'm thousands of miles away and can't give you the physical help you need. But your local friends, they love you. And they will feel horrible when they find out how much you were hurting and that they didn't know to help. Please give them the gift of trusting them enough to let them know this about you and help you. As someone who's not currently sleep-deprived except by the stupid Olympics schedule, I would feel like you were really my friend if you trusted me enough to ask me for help. They will, too.

5. It's not going to be like this forever. If you can keep waking up every morning, eventually it will get better. It'll get better faster if you ask for help. But it'll get better no matter what.

Are there any moms of multiples who want to offer sympathy or stories or suggestions about getting the babies on similar schedules?

Any moms of singletons who want to offer sympathy or stories or support?

Please do.

120 thoughts on “Q&A: “help for a shitty mom””

  1. The thing that I understand now that I didn’t then (sleep deprivation SUCKS) is what a long stretch parenting is. I love being the parent of elementary school kids. And that will be your reality one day too.Even when they’re thirty and need advice about something, they’ll come to you.
    So not liking them right now is both totally understandable and temporary. Any choice you make now – CIO, formula – is a very small choice when it’s perceived in the context of their whole lives.
    I had postpartum depression, pretty severely, after the births of each of my children. With my son, the decision to go on formula so I could take Celexa – while difficult and heartbreaking – turned out to be a lifesaver at the time. With my daughter, breastfeeding while taking an SSRI thought to be safe (Zoloft)was equally heartwrenching. When you’re drowning, all options can seem pretty sucky.
    But flashforward to now and they’re terrific kids and I love spending time with them. That is my wish and my heartfelt belief for you.
    Check out Moxie’s link to signs of PPD. I have a friend with twins who didn’t have any PPD with any other pregnancies, but she did with her twins. I think it has something to do with the increased hormone levels during pregnancy.
    Please reach out for local and/or medical help and take care of yourself. It’s hard to believe when you feel like crap, but you really are worthy of self-care and of all good things. *hug*

  2. I completely agree with having a “Come to Jesus” meeting with the husband. And asking your friends and trying a bit of CIO and just trying to get some sleep.Call your friends, ask them to drive the twins around!

  3. best advice I ever got with my twins was, if 1 wakes up to eat, wake the other one and and feed them too. Now, it didn’t work great cause my girls were lactose intolerant and we didn’t know but it did help somewhat. And it made sense to have them on the same schedule at least.Also, my twins did the same thing and I really barely made it. I did however spend the girls college money on a nanny 2x a week for 6 months cause I thought I was going to go insane.

  4. I so feel for you. I am a mom to a 3.5 year old girl and 19 month old twin boys. First I do not think the swings are a crutch. Twins present problems that you can easily solve with just one. I felt that rocking the boys to sleep was easier with the swing. As for breastfeeding, I tried so hard to breastfeed them without supplementing but I decided, in the end, that twins are almost impossible to exclusively breastfeed. I did breastfeed them while supplementing until they were 11 1/2 months. I was so happy when one of them bit me so I could end it. Hopefully this will be all a blur to you in a few months. Take care of yourself. Getting them to sleep through the night could be one of the most important steps to this.

  5. I’ll be an early contributor for this round. I got to the point with my one and only now 4YO child that once when he was four months old I spent two STRAIGHT hours screaming at the top of my lungs, till I was hoarse and couldn’t speak for a few days afterward. Why? Because my son wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t stop crying and had been crying for three hours and I couldn’t find a single damn thing wrong and I tried everything I could think of and I had no clean laundry and my husband hadn’t been home for more than a few hours’ sleep and a shower in two straight weeks. I had tried so hard to not ask for help, to do it on my own, to never let people see me struggle because I’m severely physically disabled and all I got from almost every person I knew from the time I got pregnant till that moment were comments about their fears that I couldn’t handle caring for an infant. It drove me crazy.But my son drove me crazier. I’d risked my precarious health to carry and give birth to him. But by the time he was four months old, I resented him, I resented my family for not helping me even though I’d fought against much in the way of help, and I resented the HELL out of my husband because he got to leave the house and he never seemed to help with the chores I really needed help with and he couldn’t get his boss to stop running him ragged because he’d had the temerity to take 10 vacation days during and shortly after our son’s birth! So I stopped sleeping basically at all, I stopped eating, I had horrible problems trying to breastfeed and felt like an utter failure when his doctor basically forced him on to formula, even though I knew it was the only choice we had. I was an absolute mess and I felt like I was drowning, that it would never get better, and that everyone would find out what a total loss I was as a mother.
    That was my breaking point – the one where my husband drove an hour home from work with me screaming incoherently into the cell phone and our child screaming in the background. I realized I needed to ask for help. I realized my husband and I had to work out a better division of labor – and after that incident, so did he. I realized that I was a lot weaker by avoiding help than by admitting areas of weakness and need.
    So if I can offer any advice from that time – and I feel stupid doing it, because you’re in a situation I know I couldn’t handle – it’s please, talk to your friends and search out help in your community. Look for mothers’ groups at your church or synagogue that provide care for the kids while the moms relax. Sit your husband down for the This Is My Limit speech. Get out of the house alone, even if it’s just to run to the pharmacy or the dry cleaner’s. I used to go down into the basement and scream into a pillow when things got truly out of control – put the twins in a safe spot, plunk your 3YO in front of the TV for a quick episode of Yo Gabba Gabba and scream it out for a minute or two. You are running on a schedule that will break you if you don’t find ways to bend. But it WILL get better, especially if you can find little ways to cope, quick ways to get a break from your kids and your house and the chaos. Things that used to mean nothing to me made all the difference in the world while my son was a (terrible!) baby.
    And you will look back on some of these days and smile. It’s hard to recognize the good times because you are so overwhelmed by the insanity surrounding you. My son’s early infancy is a bit of a blur, but I promise you, even in all that hell, there are wonderful sweet moments I can remember now that I never really grasped at the time. You will get through this and those moments will be there waiting for you in your memory when you come out on the other side.

  6. Kelly,I am so sorry you are having such a hard time! I was not blessed w twins but I totally relate to your feeling like you are dying…the sleep deprivation and stress of dealing w crying infant(s) is brutal. PLUS you are trying to PUMP!!? You don’t have to be superwoman! It would be lovely to negotiate more support from hubby- I can’t address that one as I am having my own struggles in that arena myself. But:
    I also had low milk production and had to supplement and wake my daughter every 1.5 to 2 hours to feed and them pump after holding daughter upright for 30 mins due to reflux.. It was pretty horrible and I only had one child!
    Please consider taking some stress and strain off yourself and switch to formula. There is no shame in formula! You won’t feel so wiped out, you won’t have to deal w the damn pump and the babies will probabbly sleep longer from getting fuller tummy. They have gotten tons of benefit from 4 months of breast feeding. Don’t feel any guilt about the swing, either. My daughter sleep all night in hers for a year!! w my pediatricians blessing. I had to get some sleep…I did everything alone w some help from hubby, but no mom or sisters and few friends to lend a hand. It is very, very hard and in your situation I can not imagine the challenges.
    Call your friends for help, seriousky think about the switch to formula and let the kiddos swing freely.
    Have you read Dr. Ferber? There are lots of steps to “CIO” a term he actually never used himself. If your babes are of the right temperment it may work. It did not work for me because my daughter is more spirtited and would rather scream & puke than be left alone so I did not go the Ferber route…but I have heard of some kids who respond well to the method when it is used correctly. Don’t forget to remind yourself that this will pass and if you need to let the kids cry in the crib and you need to walk away for a breather it is okay. Best wishes

  7. Wow. I don’t have experience with multiples, but I can tell you with my singleton, at 4 mos old, NOTHING worked. OK, she liked my right boob, but everybody/thing else could go to hell. My breaking point was the day where she was up from 6 am to 3 pm without a nap.It was a tormented decision for me to start “sleep training” at 4 months, basically modified CIO, and it sucked the big one. With time, her sleep incrementally improved, almost so gradually that it took us a while to realize she was sleeping through the night. Looking back, I wish that we didn’t have to do CIO, but it was likely the best decision we could have made to improve not only our sleep but hers. I’d do it again.
    I second previous recommendations to reach out for help from friends, and also from various support groups (namely for multiples and breastfeeding). A good BFing group with an appropriate mentor/LC will be able to help you with maintaining supply while supplementing with formula, if that is what you want.
    And you are not a shitty mom, b/c a shitty mom wouldn’t care about the things you obviously care very deeply about. You just need a freaking break.

  8. God, I’ve been there.1. You need sleep. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture technique, and there’s a reason it works. You NEED sleep, so your husband is going to have to suck it up and step up to the plate on this one. Tell him some random stranger on the Internet said so.
    Buy some ear plugs and claim your shift. In our house, we slept in shifts and the person who wasn’t ‘on duty’ wore ear plugs to ensure unbroken sleep, which I craved like magical chocolate coated unicorn crack.
    2. Yes, I know. That whole not-really-liking-them thing? It sucks to the nth degree, and you feel like a dick. The sleep will help, and so will time. I know you don’t want to hear this four months in, but that whole first year with twins sucks ass, and then the sun comes out on the 366th day and awesome starts falling out of the sky and suddenly you will remember every wonderful thing about them and the not-liking-them thing will fade away (and not just because sleep deprivation interferes with memory formation).
    3. If I were you, I’d prioritize. Something may have to give. You may have to pick what matters most to you, turn the wheel in that direction and just decide not to look back. Breastfeeding did not work out for me in a fairly dramatic way (post partum psychosis, anyone?) and it really sucked. The girls were pretty good sleepers (and by ‘pretty good’ I mean fairly crappy) until the 9 month sleep regression hit and suddenly I just Could. Not. Deal. With. Getting. Up. ANYMORE. and there were babies in our beds and here they are, two years old, still in our beds.
    We NEVER thought we would be Those People, but it’s really working out.
    4. Sam swears that the only way to survive having twins is to lower your standards. No, lower. Loooooower. Imagine doing the limbo under a centipede. There ya go. You’ll do fine.
    5. Re swings: There’s nothing wrong with using crutches if you have a broken leg, and that first year with twins is like running a marathon with two broken legs, so crutch up, sister.
    6. You’re doing a great job. Seriously. I know you feel like crap, but you are meeting their needs. They are safe and warm and fed and loved (even when they’re not liked). You are doing a great job.
    7. I’m not kidding about the sleep part, or the earplugs.

  9. You sweet, sweet woman. I am so very sorry. You are in no way alone or a bad person for feeling the way that you do right now. Can I just tell you that 4 months is a really awful and hard age, in my opinion? Babies go through these developmental phases where their brains are re-wiring/learning new things. There is a big one at 19 weeks, but they can be fussy for several weeks beforehand. My daughter was a total mess from 15 – 19 weeks. I didn’t like her, didn’t like being a mother, wondered why on earth I had done this to myself…..and then, around 20 weeks (adjusted) she literally woke up one day and was happy and sweet and started to sleep much more consistently. Look into the book “Wonder Weeks” for more information about these phases.But what can you do RIGHT NOW to make your life more manageable? Especially with twins, I think your best option is some type of sleep-training, and it will likely involve CIO. I really wrestled with this before we made the decision, but I have never regretted helping my daughter settle into a eating and napping routine. It literally saved my sanity when I was sinking into a pit of PPD. She is a year old now and not only is she happy, smart, and healthily-attached to me, she sleeps like a champ. Take a look at this very well-written blog post by a child psychologist re. CIO:
    http://www.isabelagranic.com/bed-timing/2009/06/what-are-the-longterm-outcomes-of-letting-your-baby-cry-while-sleeptraining.html
    Lastly, I had major difficulties and issues breastfeeding. I wanted to be able to breastfeed my daughter for a full year and I was prepared – I had read the books, took the classes, had the equipment and the support, booked the LC appointments. And it was the hardest decision of my life – I do not say this glibly – to switch to formula at 6 weeks. But again, I had to make my own mental health the priority. In the end, I had to accept that I was doing my daughter more of a disservice by remaining stressed out and depressed than by feeding her formula – having a sane, healthy, happy mommy is more important that breastmilk.
    You really are doing a great job.

  10. I used formula and a friend once told me “formula is NOT poison” and she is so right. My son is extremely healthy and rarely gets sick. (FWIW, I also don’t fit the profile of a non-EBF. I’m a well educated, upper middle class suburbanite, so most of my friends BF.) Also, I used a lot of sleep crutches for him when he was an infant and he now sleeps like a champ. Swings, vibrating chairs, swaddle, sling, you name it I used it.Hang in there – you don’t need to be supermom, you just need to get through each day one at a time however you can.

  11. Not much to add except that I had tears in my eyes reading your question and Moxie’s response.Hang in there. You’ll make it. I hope a really helpful friend can lend you a hand SOON.
    Take care.

  12. Hang in there, I have a 4.5 yo and 2.5 yo twin boys. Yes, 4 months is SUPERHARD, you are doing your absolute best, don’t beat yourself up! With twins, nothing is a cop-out or a crutch, the situation is so hard that you have to look at it in terms of EVERYONE’s well being yours first and foremost.You have to do whatever it takes for you to be ok, somewhat rested and supported. Switch to formula if you have to (it really is not that bad!), talk to your husband, ask friends for help, really do whatever it takes to help you through the next weeks and months. It will get easier, and will feel easier once you’ve had the chance to sleep.
    Advicewise, we forced them on the same schedule, which means if one had eaten and the other one was still sleeping, we’d wake him up. It seems harder at first, but it quickly meant that their sleeppatterns adjusted, too.
    Before I go on offering advice that might not be necessary/helpful, I really just want to tell you that you are a superwoman just having made it this far. You can do it!
    take care.

  13. Ask for help! There must be someone, somewhere, somehow who can help you get through this – friend, neighbor, relative? I went through a really traumatic 6 months with my DD that, looking back, didn’t need to be nearly so bad as it was – if only I’d asked for help sooner.

  14. Wow, just wanted to say that I think you’re amazing for getting this far and to absolutely not feel bad at all, not one little bit for feeling that you don’t like your boys sometimes.I only have one and there have been significant stretches of time where I have had to just take care of him out of a sense of duty more than anything else.
    Sleep deprivation is a killer and makes everything crap. Everything. I can honestly say that I asked myself several times: Why did I do this? What was wrong with being childless and single? I am an idiot! I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life.
    But things are better now; much, much better. It really does pass. And the best thing I ever did was ask my friends and even people that I didn’t know all that well for help. (They’re very good friends now.)

  15. Some fabo advice here. I’ll reiterate some of it… maybe there’ll be something new, too.1. SLEEP IS CRITICAL. Our house rule was that mommy of twins must have 8 hours of sleep per day, period. She may not LEAVE THE BED until that happens. That meant that I’d go to bed at 8 or 9 pm, and not get out of bed (other than to pee) until 11 AM, 12, 1 PM… interrupted sleep sucks, worse with twins, and worse during fussy stages. Whatever you have to do to get more sleep, do it. I was lucky in that Ep was 100% behind ‘your job is growing the twins, my job is everything else’. I want to slap your husband, by the way. He may be great in other ways, but if he can’t see that you’re sinking, he needs someone to shake him until his teeth rattle. And he needs to spend three weeks at home taking care of the kids 8 hours a day minimum BY HIMSELF. He’ll learn some skills, baby. Nobody is allowed to be useless with the kids when twins are involved. GRRRRR….
    2. HELP. Get help get help get help. Get a postpartum doula, a college student from a nursing or early childhood ed school (I also like PT/OT students, they’re really good with the physical play), a neighbor, someone from a twins club (!!), a mothers helper, someone, ASAP. Minimum of 4 hours a day so you can sleep.
    3. Skip looking back on that time fondly. Looking back and thinking ‘wow, I SURVIVED!’ and considering yourself a warrior for having made it out of the pit of hell? That’s where it’s at. I don’t look back at that time fondly, and I’m totally okay with that – it sucked. So did every developmental stage where they were each too needy to let me take care of the other or myself effectively. Hunker and get through.
    4. Weaning impact (difference in measurable outcomes) is from LAST breastmilk feeding, not first supplement. If supplementing one feed might help, do it. It might not be the night one – maybe doing it in the day would make more difference. Pick the one that is right before your worst point of the day, maybe. If you are concerned about food allergy/intolerance issues, pick one of the scarily expensive fully hydrolyzed formulas, so you a) are not tempted to over-use it, b) won’t worry as much about using it in the first place, and c) actual risk of reaction is lowest. Elecare and Alimentum are the ones I know of, there are probably others now. Nutrimagen I think is one step down from there (partially hydrolyzed instead of fully – some kids still react to that one, but it is a bit cheaper). But even if that’s not possible, formula is not poison (as noted), and giving yourself a break and more sleep is more likely to benefit your supply than harm it (certainly if you’re giving yourself a break from the 2-hour thing).
    5. HELP. Did I say get help? I didn’t ask for help, I told people I’d just be calling them for help. It sat a few people back on their heels, but it was essential. I wasn’t coming with my hand out saying ‘please, I’m so pitiful, will you help me?’… I came saying ‘I’m going to sink if you don’t help me, when can I schedule you to come over?’ No pathos, very serious and business-like.
    6. Swings rock. Heh. Use them.
    7. Sleep, and help. And smack your husband, because nobody can do this alone. My little sister nannied for twins, and she said that it being your own kids is vastly different than it being someone else’s. And twins is HARD, and she (as nanny) got to GO HOME. Every day! It isn’t skills, it is the constantness, the neverending, no sleep, always on, guilt about not doing it ‘right’, etc.
    Must run… hang in there. It does get brighter, later. Repeatedly. This part? Nobody loves this part.

  16. Oh, and sorry about being mean at your DH. Just… well, reality sometimes means getting shaken up a bit. YOU have been shaken up, but it doesn’t look like he has been.And for the bfing/supplementing, the advice was leaning hard toward ‘you clearly still want to be bfing’ – for someone with different priorities, it would be a different answer. (But the main point is formula is not poison. Formula scared me to DEATH, and I ended up making the choice to start solids early-ish instead (5 months), and that was BZZZT WRONG ANSWER. Formula supplementing would have been the better choice, for my kids, and supplementing with hydrolyzed formula would have been THE right choice. I was too scared to try it. That was just dumb, in retrospect. So that’s somewhat my voice of experience…)

  17. Hey you. I very nearly lost my sanity in a similar situation. If I were to ever do it again, I would go for formula without feeling guilty at all. And you husband can do one night shift, with formula. Because really, itΒ΄s not ok to be useless.

  18. I don’t have twins, but boy can I relate. My oldest was not what you’d call an ideal baby.There were many times (and have been one or two since both kids have entered toddlerdom) when I thought I was going to lose.my.mind. M husband actually had to fly home across the country from a business trip last year because I was sobbing uncontrollably for most of every phone call (and I was calling him 10x a day). That was a bit of a Come To Jesus moment for him, since he’d been flitting off on business trips left and right while I had both kids, a fledgling business, and a close relative in serious crisis – he’s an academic. most of his trips are to conferences, not client meetings. He was 1 month away from getting tenure, so was super-freaked out and traveling a lot for networking/exposure purposes but still. he needed to man up. And, to his credit, he did. And my kids were 4 and 2 at the time, not even infants any more.So – you are absolutely not alone in flipping out. It’s probably the most appropriate reaction you could have to your current situation.
    You totally need some help. First thing is, you shouldn’t be cooking. Do you have a friend who likes to cook? Always has a full fridge? Mention to her that you’re struggling and ask if she could make you dinner one night to take the edge off. She might take up the banner and make you dinner consistently. Here we call it the leftover relocation program. I have leftovers – they’re perfectly good but I don’t feel like eating them. So I’ll fob them off on your family. Win-win. The only rule is that the food has to be good, and if it’s mediocre, you have to disclose it. I have a couple three friends I do this with in a back and forth, but we’ll go through periods where one person is overwhelmed and becomes the consistent recipient. Then it switches back when the next person takes over.
    Re sleep: I actually really like Weissbluth’s book Healthy Sleeping Habits, Happy Child. He has a fair amount of research on sleep in there and it helped me come to terms with CIO with our older – we never did it with the younger – it wouldn’t be my first choice of technique but she really really benefited from it. Which meant *I* really really benefited from it.
    Re formula: Sometimes if you’re already frustrated and depressed and you don’t *want* to wean, weaning as a solution to the sleep issue migh cause more depression than you originally had. With my first, I had a very low supply and basically had to wean (I didn’t know all the tricks yet). Feeling like I’d failed at something I desperately wanted to do threw me into a depression for a long while (PPD + colicky baby = ugly). Supplementing, though, can take the edge off and give you some breathing space while not ending the nursing relationship (if you don’t want to end it. if you really want to stop, then stop). You know how they say “it’s not just about the milk?” Well, it’s true – if you’re nursing and supplementing with formula and your supply drops a bit, that’s ok. You don’t *need* as much because the babies are getting some calories elsewhere. They’re still getting antibodies, milk, snuggles, etc.
    I just want to throw out there that you should totally be taking your vitamins. And if you live somewhere in the north, take an extra vitamin D supplement. It can really help with mood as well as physical well-being.

  19. I am so sorry. That’s actually what one mom said to me out of the blue when I told her O. was four months old. Four months just sucks, and then sucks some more (and then pushes away with all her might to cry and yell, for no apparent reason, and then back to sucking).Look, I have the world’s best baby ever, the sweetest, smartest, most beautiful, cheeriest thing there is. At four months? I was totally stuck in a guilty, awful place of loving her so much it hurt and yet not really being able to stand her. And there was just one of her!
    (Now that I’m sleeping some, I can look back and tell you four months is also the beginning of wonderful, of them becoming little people who notice the world and interact with it. Which probably doesn’t help them sleep.)
    My point? All that guilt is needless. And also normal. As is the suckiness, and the wanting to run far, far away. You’re your babies’ best mom. And, more importantly, there is only one of you, and they will need you far beyond the point to which you can self-sacrifice. So put the guilt to use and tell yourself sleeping is what you’re doing for them. If they have to be in a swing, or drink formula, or be woken up early to get in sync, then that’s what has to happen. And they’ll get something far better for them than all the world’s breast-milk: a mom.
    Susana, who never commented before but has a debt of gratitude to everyone here for learning this very lesson and many others during the year of no sleep.

  20. With my first I struggled with breastfeeding him (various intensive complications) and managed to do it for 4m before I just couldn’t do it anymore and we switched him and he was happier and I was happier. With #2 I made it a month (same amount of time for both, complications taken into consideration) before switching him to formula and it was the best.decision.evar (for us). I felt horrible, but I felt so much better. I got more rest and there was that huge worry off my head and he slept better (excluding the colic) and life improved by miles.I’m not saying you need to do this, but perhaps there’s something you’re trying to hold on to that just needs to be let go (aside from your sanity).
    It’s completely ok to resent and hate your baby – it.won’t.last. I bonded differently with both mine and there are still times that “I love them but I hate *this*”. You’re not a bad mother for having needs and feelings and no super powers. It’ll get better and you know that. SuperAiden will figure out the potty better and he’ll become more independent soon. Heck, try explaining to him in terms he can understand that Mommy needs to nap or Mommy needs some quiet. I was stunned when, as #1 was 3yo at the time, I broke down on the kitchen floor and sobbed and begged him to “just.stop.please!” and after that (and since then) he’s much more aware that Mommy isn’t infallible an has needs and gets “sad” and gets sick and it’s ok, but that he needs to help out, too.
    I wish I could offer you more help – playdate or babysitting or something. I live in NEPA, if you’re anywhere close. πŸ˜›

  21. Not a mom to multiples, but I do have 3, and know how much 4 months sucks, as others have said. Not much else to add to the above comments, but if you want to continue nursing, why not try alternating kids – BF Bill and wake up Bob for a bottle at the same time, then next feed, BF Bob and wake up Bill for a bottle. I have a few friends who ended up using this feeding “style” for their twins – they had adequate supply for one baby, and each baby is still getting some breast milk (but formula is great if that’s what you decide – all 3 of mine were formula fed and they are smart, attached, healthy kids). Always giving one baby a bottle also means someone can help with it – like your husband. And FWIW, when my kids stopped taking more than 1.5 oz from a bottle in the night, I gave them water – they stopped waking up after that! You are doing a great job, you will survive this, and you will look back on this fondly (really, you will). Wishing I lived closer (maybe I do!) so I could lend you a hand

  22. Can I just say, it is OK to eat chocolate. A whole block if you must!There is no such thing as cheating with babies, and no short-cuts, only what is necessary for you and them to make it through the night.
    Here’s some love from the southern hemisphere for you.
    Cheers,
    Monica

  23. This won’t help *this very moment* but I am trying to start something that should launch next month. It’s an online community to match up families with children with older adults who want to be surrogate grandparents (because maybe they don’t have grandkids near, or at all, or are estranged or….).I don’t have 3 kids but want at least one more (to make 2) and we don’t have family around and I’m a SAHM too and we can’t afford/nor do we want daycare so a surrogate grandparent would be lovely: responsible, active, healthy older adult who wants to play a part in my child(ren’s)’s life. And in our family’s life.
    I”ll post more info at the end of the month… the website is still being built!
    Good luck!

  24. I agree with the above poster who said:best advice I ever got with my twins was, if 1 wakes up to eat, wake the other one and and feed them too.
    This was SO important for us, and I didn’t STOP doing it until one was consistently sleeping through the night (her sister took a lot longer) This means your husband needs to get up with you and help (if you can’t EASILY get the babies back to sleep on your own.) Breastfeed if you can/want to, and then everybody gets a baby until they’re BOTH sleeping again.
    And speaking of breastfeeding, just do your best. If you want to continue on, go ahead, it’s wonderful for them AND you, and however much they get is better than none at all. But if you need to supplement, do that.
    Also, you’re right in the middle of the 4 month sleep regression – where EVERYTHING, especially sleep, gets worse. I think right around then was when I started trying a 2-3-4 schedule for napping, which helped immensly.

  25. I hated the first 6 months of my baby’s life. And I hated the second 6 months only slightly less. It got better, slowly. All of my friends and family lived far away and couldn’t help. It was a nightmare time. And I ended up needing to get counseling. Because the after effects lasted a long time, too. Especially my anger towards my husband, which could’ve really hurt my marriage if I didn’t address it.I had problems with my milk supply, too. And ended up supplementing. I’m still beating myself up about that and my baby turned 2 in December. So… a lot of stuff hasn’t worked out the way I planned.
    But my child is awesome. And he and I are having an amazing toddler experience. If you had told me this a year ago I wouldn’t have believed you.
    You’ve fed them for 4 months on breast milk and if you need sleep, it’s better for them if you take off to a hotel for a night and get it. Let your husband handle it for a few hours and maybe even have one of your friends come for the night and help out while you’re away. Because once you get sleep you WILL be able to handle this and you WILL be able to see clearly what needs to be done to survive this current hell.
    You’re doing awesome. Get some sleep. That is your #1 priority.

  26. Kelly, you are doing a GREAT job. I’m rushing here, but I say ditto to what the others said. And remember Moxie’s golden rule: Sleep By ***Any*** Means Necessary. My son ONLY slept in his swing for 2+ months at some point – he just wouldn’t do it anywhere else.4mos SUCKS for sleeping – search here for “4mo sleep regression”. I can only imagine the hell of 4mos with twins and a 3yo. This too shall pass. I remember having a huge “mama can’t do it” meltdown right then too.
    Loooooooower your standards in all areas but sleep.
    You’ll get through this. It’ll get better. You’ll start having fun again, I promise, but it might take a while longer.
    And yes on the getting help, even if only for very short periods, and giving your hubby a reality check.
    Go, Kelly!!!

  27. Oh my god – you sound like an amazing mum! My daughter didn’t sleep at night, didn’t nap but howled because she was so tired so I had to tramp around with her in a sling all the time (ie. making it impossible to sleep when she was sleeping) but I ONLY HAD ONE BABY!!!! So I am basically in awe of you because you’re still going!There sounds like lots of good advice there already so just offering a bit of support! To echo others – I know breast feeding is your ideal (and why wouldn’t it be). But would it be so terrible if you lowered your standards a bit and they were bottle fed? And your husband could do more at night?
    My little one started refusing to breast feed (another long story of exhausted trauma) when she was four months and I was devastated. But within about a month I didn’t mind that she only had bottles. And now she is 20months, a picture of health and happiness and it just doesn’t seem that important any more……I didn’t make the choice but even so it was so LOVELY that someone else could feed her in the night. And I could sleep. And then gradually, I stopped being so tired, and started to become almost like a normal human again……Hang in there!!

  28. I feel for you so much and I only have ONE BABY! One baby, and I have totally felt resentful of him for normal baby things ESPECIALLY at months old (just sleep! why can’t you sleep!), have been resentful of my husband, have strongly considered CIO even though we don’t “believe” in it, and again I only have one baby. I’m trying to multiply my feelings by 3 to get an idea of how you feel and all I can say is OH HONEY.I wish I could be more helpful. I just wanted you to know that your feelings are so normal. If there is somebody you trust to spill all this to in real life, definitely find that person (a friend, a therapist, your doctor) – that could really help.
    Also your husband really does need to be more involved – even if he can totally take over just for a couple of nights to get you some decent sleep, that could make a huge difference.
    This too shall pass.

  29. “Feeling like I’d failed at something I desperately wanted to do threw me into a depression for a long while (PPD + colicky baby = ugly)”Amen to that. I failed miserably at breast feeding and it really added to my depression on top of the sleep deprivation and trying to get the hang of dealing with a baby that didn’t sleep and cried all.the.time. Her husband needs to step up. That said I had a partner who didn’t for the first year and it was crazy hard but we all survived. Okay the relationship didn’t but the kids and I did. But I only had the one baby – not two and a toddler so OMG her husband really needs to step up.
    I remember distinctly one afternoon where he just wouldn’t sleep and I had been up since the 3 am shift after many days of the same and I finally just put him down in his crib and went outside and sat in the sun crying knowing he was crying and there was nothing I could do about it. I sat there for thirty minutes. I went back inside and he was still crying right there in the crib where I left him. I have never hated anything more than I did all the people who said he would eventually nap if I just let him cry more. As if I could stop him from crying. Gah.
    Anyway, just another story from someone who’s been there (sort of) and made it through to the other side. Hang in there!!!

  30. First of all, thank you for reaching out for help. I think the biggest mindfuck we do to ourselves as mothers is to believe everyone else is JUST FINE with this and you are the only one who’s struggling and everyone is doing a much better job than you. I think if more of us told the truth that sometimes? This gig just BLOWS, we’d all be better off. Which is one of many reasons I think this community is amazing.I had an incredibly hard time going from 1 to 2, and I cannot imagine going from 1 to 3. And four months is horrible. And not being able to pay for much help/outings/etc. sucks too. My husband took a job with a 5 percent pay cut right before our daughter was born and it made things so much harder than they had to be.
    My daughter, I vaguely remember, was doing the exact same crap yours do at four months, and now? Barring bad dreams, she’s an awesome sleeper and has been since infancy. One small idea–have you tried an earlier bedtime? Both mine needed a 7ish pm bedtime and they do seem to sleep longer when we do that.
    I second asking for hep, as well. When both my kids were born and I felt like I was drowning, I didn’t ask for help because I felt like 1)I shouldn’t, no one else seems to need it and 2) no one liked me enough to give it. Now that I am in a MUCH calmer and easier place in my parenting life (it WILL happen, I promise) if someone I didn’t know all that well told me even the edited version of what you posted here? I’d be doing whatever I could, even something as simple as driving the babies around for you or bringing dinner or just calling you sometimes so you can weep into the phone. I’m a firm believer in “we’re all in this together” and if someone saw me as someone who might “get it” about how hard this can be, I’d be honored.
    Also–PBS Kids Go can be your friend. On those days where you literally feel like you will DIE if you don’t get some rest, try napping the babies in the swing and putting on a little PBS and stretching out on the couch while your older one watches a little educational non-commercial television. Yes, it’s frowned upon, but really unless someone’s been in your exact situation and has a better idea, they can go to hell if they don’t approve. Sometimes for me a short 20-minute power nap was the difference between coping and not.

  31. Am so very sorry. I don’t have twins, but do have experience with sleep deprivation. My son was awful. And I was losing my mind and hysterical with exhaustion. So one day I broke the cardinal rule- I put the baby on his stomach. And he freaking went to sleep. And stayed asleep.I ended up buying an AngelCare monitor because he just couldn’t sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time on his back. And I just couldn’t live like that.
    By whatever means necessary caused me a lot of anxiety, but I could battle it on slightly more sleep:)

  32. i have nothing to add except an echo of an above suggestion with a twist – instead of a hotel, if you’re having budget tightness, maybe a sleepover in a friend’s guest room? one night of good, uninterrupted sleep might reset your drown-o-meter.i like the idea of alternating which baby gets boob and which gets bottle – it makes good sense. i pumped for my preemie, btw, but that stopped when he came home. it had been time *for* the baby, then when he was there it was time *away* from the baby, so i stopped. all that to say – consider if pumping, unless you’re gone like in a hotel or someone’s guest room, should go away. if you’re actually nursing a baby, pumping also just seems like a lot.
    ‘leftover relocation program’ – hahahaha!
    you have been doing a great job. you DO NOT need to keep doing it by yourself. reach out, help is there. i know finding help can seem like more effort than just doing it yourself, but please make that effort.

  33. So sorry to hear the despair in your voice! I have twins (now 6) and those early sleep issues with two of them were HARD. As hard as it is to believe, this will pass!!I agree with the other commenters….it’s ok to switch to forumula!! We had to do that too, and it lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders, especially being done with the pumping. Why do mom’s have to feel so guilty about using formula??
    Is there anyone in your community that you could have come over to give you a break of some sort? Even if it’s while they’re awake so that you can get a good nap. I’d help you, if you are by chance in Portland Oregon. Hang in there. πŸ™‚

  34. I don’t have time to read the comments right now, so I may be repeating… but I just want to say: I don’t look back on my first daughter’s babyhood all that fondly. She was difficult to soothe and a really bad sleeper. I was exhausted. But that doesn’t meanI didn’t love her. And there are some great memories in there, interspersed with the feeling of survival. I do look back
    on later periods fondly. Also, as the memory of how the sleep deprivation felt recedes, the good memories of babyhood get stronger.
    My second daughter is a much easier baby. I can tell that I’ll look back on this babyhood more fondly.
    All that is just to say, I understand your desire to look back fondly. But try not to worry about it. You’ll have good memories of your twins, once time dulls the memory of how painful the struggle is.

  35. Cripes. I have only ever had one baby at a time and there’s days I feel that way. I can’t imagine doing it double!I agree with everyone, that twins means special rules. The swing isn’t a crutch, it’s a tool that gets you through your day. Formula (especially only at night) isn’t the end of the world and might let you get a block of sleep that makes all this easier. Your husband helped make these babies, he can help deal with them now.
    Give yourself a break and know that this, too, shall pass. Four months (with a singleton!) just kicked our ass but a month later, we have a really happy, fun baby. Your sons will become more interactive soon and that’ll help, too.
    Please know that you’re doing a great job, with what sounds to me like the absolute hardest job imaginable.

  36. I am going to chime in and say you’re not a shitty mom- 4 MONTHS is a shitty time. Also echoing so many others here- switching to formula or supplementing more will be better for your kids in the long run than if mommy completely breaks down and your husband definitely needs to step up to the plate. Time for him to get on board with making sure you get what you need.Finally you need sleep. sleep. sleep and as for cry it out- see if they are tension increasers or decreasers. That may help ease your guilty.
    Last we all resent our children at some times even though it’s not their fault. I think it’s only natural to feel that way at times. It doesn’t make us love them or live for them any less. It just means that we are overwhelmed and need to take time for ourself. In your case it means SLEEP. A good few nights of sleep will help.
    Where are you located? I know many people from this site will be happy to help out including me.

  37. All the comments have been wonderful. I know you said money is tight, but is there any chance of your older son going to a local preschool program a few days a week? Maybe there’s something nearby that isn’t too expensive – our city has a community schools program that offers preschool with fees on a sliding scale & often church programs (if you have a religious affiliation or don’t care one way or the other) are less expensive. I’m thinking that a morning program where your husband could drop off your son on his way to work might give you a break with “just” the babies (ha ha ha).As so many commenters have said, please please please ask for some help, first of all from your husband & also from anyone local you could lean on.

  38. Dude, you aren’t failing at breastfeeding! I’d probaby drop the pumping. Pumping was so hard. So hard. Nursing was great and easy for me. Pumping was cold and annoying. Tell yourself you are responsible for making what they get at the breast. Someone else is responsible for making what they get from a bottle.That said, if exclusively breastmilk (or as close to it as possible) is your priority (and it was mine, although I only had one), that is okay. But something else is going to give. Laundry, what you guys eat, showering, where the babies sleep, finishing potty training your oldest.
    Sleep. It seems like you should be able to get a six hour stretch without too much trouble from what you say about their schedule. So, get it. Your husband needs to step up and make sure it happens. And you need to make sure he knows that.
    The world will look better after you sleep.

  39. I feel so compelled to comment and to echo so many other commenters in saying: You are not alone! You are doing such an incredible amount of work! You need more support and you deserve more support!I only have one child–one lovely, beautiful child who has been a horrible, no good, rotten sleeper since Day One. And he brought me to my knees around month 4. Brought me to absolute, screaming, raging, monstrous agony by never napping longer than 20 minutes, only in the stroller, sleeping only 2 hours at a time at night, crying constantly, crabby, inconsolable, and so so tired. There were times I feared I’d go too far and shake him silly. Times I grabbed him angrily from his crib and felt rage exploding from every cell in my body. It is a miracle I didn’t throw him or shake him or do something even worse. Because I really, really wanted to. Wanted somehow to hurt him as much as he was hurting me with his sleep-deprivation torture techniques. A baby! A helpless little baby.
    And at that, just ONE baby. You have three!
    But thanks to Zoloft; a couple of hours of babysitting a week (literally, just a couple of hours in which I napped, took a shower, and walked out the door alone so I could feel human); desperate cries for help from even random acquaintances who have now become lifelines; and, I’m not always proud to admit, CIO–WHICH SAVED MY LIFE–things are so much better now I can hardly believe I ever dropped so low.
    There is no shame in formula. No shame in asking for help from anyone who will listen. No shame in swings, stroller naps, car naps, any break you can catch yourself.
    I’ll be thinking of you and praying for you.

  40. You are doing an amazing job. Reaching out for help and looking for better ways of getting through the day means you are being a great Mum to your children.I only have one one-year-old, so I can’t really relate to your situation, but I have a few points to share.
    I also was not comfortable with the CIO method and at around 4 1/2 – 5 months was ready to try something different to get some more sleep. Based on what I had read and what felt right to me I decided that I would let her cry for only several minutes (often let her whimper, but when the crying changed intensity it was time to go in) and then give her her dummy (which had invariably dropped out of her mouth), and pat her until she settled. The more she settled the less I would pat her until she was still and quiet and I was maybe just resting my head on the side of her cot, sometimes I may have a still hand on her back or belly. I would help calm her down, but ALWAYS let her drift back to sleep in the room alone. The other rule I imposed was to NEVER pick her up. I would leave her to fall asleep and if she woke I would leave her for several more minutes than last time (I never had to/was able to leave her crying for more than about 20 minutes).
    The evenings were started off with a dreamfeed. So I would feed her at about 10 or 11 before I went to bed, so I knew when she woke a few hours later that she wasn’t starving hungry and I could help her settle herself without second guessing whether she was hungry or not.
    I was really happy with this approach as I didn’t have to leave her (or myself!) crying for too long, and she never got to the point where she was really screaming. I felt I could offer her my comfort while helping her learn how to settle herself. I know this may not help so well for some babies, but it was perfect for us.
    With my husband’s help this only took maybe three nights before she was sleeping through till about 4 or 5 when I would feed her again and we would all go back to glorious sleep until about 8 or 9!
    I have no idea how/if this would work with twins, but I just wanted you to know that a modified approach to CIO can be much easier on you and the babies. You will have to get your husband on board for this one. Initially it was easier to break the waking/feeding association if her Daddy went in to settle her. After she seemed to get she wasn’t going to be fed every time she woke I started going in.
    I know this will probably be really annoying coming from a mother with only one baby, but a friend told me something that has got me through any tough moments: that no one phase stays the same for very long. As Moxie says, it will get better. That’s not always easy to remember.
    Be kind to yourself.
    x

  41. You need to call a sleep consultant NOW! I recommend Vivian Sonnenberg. She works over the phone. It will change your entire outlook, I promise.

  42. Kelly,I am not going to say anything that someone hasn’t already said, but I think you need to hear it from as many people as possible, so I am still going to say it.
    1) Ask for help
    2) Know that you are an amazing Mom
    3) Do not feel guilty or any shame for any decision you make that allows you and/or your kids to get more sleep or make things better.
    4) I am going to say that again, particularly when it comes to feeding and sleeping- do whatever keeps your sanity. Pick what matters to you the most and let the rest go. Or let it all go. Whatever.
    5) One more time I am going to say it: Do whatever works and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about it.
    Also, best books every for sleep:
    1) The 90 minute baby sleep program by Moore
    2) Bed Timing by Lewis and Granic
    And I am sending my strongest thoughts of support your way.

  43. Sleep deprivation is actually hell. If you were getting sleep, everything would seem more tolerable. I wasn’t a fan of CIO either, but when it occurred to me that it was actually unsafe for me to be driving my children, it suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

  44. Kelly, it will get better. I’m at work and so can only take a minute, but know that it will get better. From what I’ve read there are lots of good suggestions above.First and foremost, you’re not a bad mother. What you’re doing is HARD. I have a note in my desk saying “This seems hard because it IS hard,” written at a sleep-deprived, stressed time with my twins. Your primary goal is for everyone to survive intact. This includes you and your sanity.
    A few things that helped us:
    –lower standards, as akeeyu said. You want everyone to get through this. That’s it. Just get through this intact.
    –Try to identify one thing that needs to change and one way to try to make this happen. It sounds as though more sleep is your one thing. Taking shifts might work, getting the twins on the same schedule might work (wake the second one up when one wakes up), maybe it’s something else. Try some one thing, to solve the one biggest problem. If that one thing doesn’t work after a couple of days, try something else.
    –Get your husband on board with this. He may really not understand or know what is happening to you. Taking care of twins is a team sport.
    –Use whatever crutches you can–swings, takeout food, whatever–to save time and get rest. It’s OK. We co-slept with one of the girls for months, something I thought I’d never do. I work to avoid the things that are clearly unsafe, but other than that, they’re all fair game. (By the way, we found that turning off the car would wake one from her travel-induced sleep. So, sometimes we’d just all stay in the idling car (outdoors, not in the garage). I care about the environment, but sleep was more important.)
    –I nursed as much as I could, but we supplemented with formula starting the first week. I just couldn’t deal with pumping after nursing, and nothing else was helping with milk supply. I did what I could.
    I hope you’re able to get some comfort and good ideas from the comments. Remember that this will pass. Now that my girls are 2 1/4, I understand this much better than I did when they were 4 months old. We’re all pulling for you!

  45. oh my god, stop pumping right now. now that my girls are 2 and 3, i just look at them and their friends running around and think, “who cares how many months each one of them was breastfed for, and how many bottles of formula each of them had, blah blah blah”–i am so TIRED of the pressure to make sure EVERY SINGLE DROP of food these kids get is from the breast. give yourself a break. you are doing so great, and your husband is not. he needs to pull himself together, yesterday. this is so hard, and we are all losing our minds every day. stop pumping, hit your husband over the head with a plank of wood, pour yourself a glass of wine and wait for it to be over. IT WILL END! i promise.

  46. Ok – I’m admitting that I only skimmed the very helpful responses up there, so I may be repeating something I missed.1st – kick your husband in the shins until he helps. He helped make them, he can help raise them.
    2nd – try some massage. We took an infant massage class yesterday and just the basic gas/colic strokes were miraculous. They calmed babies who had woken up screaming and put our (thankfully not screaming at that moment) infant to sleep. Once you have that in your arsenal, everyone will be calmer. It can even help relax your toddler!
    3rd – I agree that some sort of sleep training is needed. CIO = many hours of crying without seeing to their needs. Letting them be unhappy in a safe place for a few minutes so your head doesn’t explode = better for everyone. Because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
    Good luck! Lots and lots of sympathy and hugs here.

  47. I haven’t read all the comments, but just wanted to say that I have SO been there. My DD was 2.5 yo when my twin boys were born, and yeah, it is just.so.hard. I had PPD with my first so I was already on anti-depressants and I still just felt like things were spiraling out of control. Please talk to your husband and tell him how desperate this feels to you. I am STILL (my boys are 2.5 now) resentful of my husband for how little he helped during that time and how oblivious he seemed to my depression. We are in counseling now…but anyway, just don’t let that get more out of hand than it needs to.And yes, keep breastfeeding, but don’t worry about pumping for bottles. Some people just don’t get as much pumping as the baby does from sucking, and seeing that tiny amount in the bottle will only make you feel worse. If you have a chance to sleep instead of pump, definitely sleep!!
    Major ((hugs)). I promise it will get better.
    Oh, BTW, is there a Mom of Multiples club in your area? There will be women there who will have been there, done that. You may not be able to go to meetings or anything yet, but it might give you someone to call and commiserate with. Check out http://nomotc.org/, the national site, to find a club in your area.
    Also, for finding like minded moms, you might want to check out Twinstuff forums. I haven’t been there in awhile but that’s an idea.
    Sorry if these things have been suggested already, I’m at work and don’t have time to read all the way through.
    Hugs and good luck!

  48. Just another post here to let you know that you are doing an amazingly difficult thing. I, too, remember so vividly the breaking point with my first, where I was no longer myself and so depressed and something needed to happen so that I could get more than an hour of sleep at a time. We did CIO starting at 9 months, and it worked. It so worked. Within a week, she was sleeping from 8:00-3:00, whereas before that, she’d wake at 8:40, 10:30, 12:00, 1:30…you get the picture. It took a little while longer to get her all the way until an acceptable waking time in the morning, but boy howdy, what a difference getting that much sleep did for everyone.I also don’t have experience with multiples, but a friend of mine who had twins when her first was 3 years old said that having twins is a family emergency. I loved that, because I can only imagine that it’s completely true! Maybe, if your situation is looked at in that light, asking for help might feel more like the norm and less like imposing on others.
    Please take care of yourself! Big hugs to you.

  49. OK, I came back and read through the comments, and yeah- what they said. Your husband really does need to stop being useless with the kids. I read once that the first child turns the mom’s world upside down, and the second child turns the dad’s world upside down, because now mom can’t do it all. Now in our family, the first child turned everyone’s world upside down… but I still think it is a good point- one person just can’t do it all with two kids, let alone three. I’ll bet that your husband wants to help. He loves you, and doesn’t want you to be miserable. But he probably feels way out of his league, especially if you’ve been doing most of the child care to date. Tell him that the kids will teach him what they need, and everyone sucks at it at first!Second, it sounds like your babies are actually pretty good sleepers. If I read right, they are each up once/night to eat. In the midst of the hell that is 4 months old, that is GREAT. I say this not to say that you shouldn’t be complaining- you should. You need to find a way to get more sleep. I say this to tell you that I suspect sleep training of some sort will probably work on your babies. Now, in the midst of what Moxie calls the 4 month sleep regression (and I call HELL) may not be the best time to do it, but a good time to try is right around the corner! Someone has already referred you to Isabel’s website. May I recommend her book, Bedtiming? Or more specifically, the first part of her book, which is a handy little guide to when sleep training has the best chance of success. A good sleep training window opens up at about 5.5 months. In fact, she says this may be one of the BEST times to sleep train. If you’re like me, just knowing that you have a plan will help you get through the dark days of the 4 month sleep hell. If you want to try sleep training now, go for it. But don’t let the failure of sleep training add to your stress and feelings of mothering inadequacy. Just stop, and try again in another couple of weeks, when it will probably be easier.
    Finally, I’ll paraphrase what a wise woman once told me. She was talking about the cells in my experiment that kept failing, but I think it is just as apt for motherhood: It is not you. It is them.
    By which I mean, you aren’t failing as a mother. Your kids are just in really tough developmental times. It will get better.
    Good luck. You are far from being a shitty mother.

  50. Oh, and I have to add, lest you think I actually have my shit together- I almost broke down crying in Babies’R’Us this weekend, because we had missed the stroller trade in promotion by one day.Now, the $30 or so we would have saved on that Sit-and-Stand double stroller? No big deal for us right now.
    I was really upset because my baby (almost 5 months old) hasn’t been sleeping all that well and we had hosted a big play date on Saturday where my older daughter (almost 3 years old) was a bit um, challenging, and I just felt like a failure as a mom. So yeah, we’ve all been there. I submit that losing it in the middle of a baby superstore is truly classy. Way to scare the expecting parents!
    Anyway, last night, my baby and my husband worked together to give me a solid 7 hours of sleep. Today, I feel like a supermom.

  51. I don’t think I have much to add to this discussion (oh, except that when you talk to him about needing him to do more, do not use the word “help” and don’t let him use it either — if he tries, say, “You don’t ‘help’ with your own life”), but I did want to pile on with the validation.You are doing as well as anyone — anyone but you — could ask. There are no “crutches.” There are only “currently necessary tools.”

  52. Oh wow. I have an almost 3.5 year old son and a 13 month old daughter, and boy, did I resent the hell out of her for a while. She slept really well from about 6 weeks to 3 months, and then it just all went to hell again. I was SO tired. And I only had one!The key was definitely getting more sleep, getting my husband to step up, and cutting myself some slack. I was totally anti-television with my son til he turned 2, but it’s now my savior. My daughter is finally a good napper, and in the mornings while she’s napping, he often watches TV. Now that she’s sleeping better, I use that time to do stuff around the house, but it was a great time for a little catnap when she wasn’t.
    It will get better – you will stop resenting them. I love my second little monkey so much now, but it was definitely a long adjustment.

  53. Sympathy: Oh, Kelly … you poor sweet girl. You are neck-deep in the weeds right now, huh? It sounds like things are just awful and feeling bad / guilty / sad about the awful on top of the awful itself is adding insult to injury. It is not always going to be this hard. It will continue to be hard, but in different ways, and you will leave this particular brand of misery in the dust eventually. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel, be it ever so dim right now.Support: You might look for a MOPS group in your area (www.mops.org). They’re the kind of group where they care for the children while the moms relax. They are a Christian group but do not discriminate/evangelize. If you can get the phone number or email of the coordinator of the group in your area I KNOW she’ll come to your house or send someone who can talk to you about it and maybe even help you get ready to go the first time.
    You might also try La Leche League (www.llli.org). If nothing else, they might be able to help you with the supplementing / nursing balance if you’re sure about continuing to nurse. I am an LLL leader so I know we are trained to help moms of multiples as well as moms who supplement. Don’t hesitate to call the LLL in your area because you are not EBF-ing. Nobody will judge.
    I’m going out on a limb saying this, but I know if any of us in the Moxiverse could come help you, we would. If you feel comfortable passing your geographical / contact info. to Moxie, maybe there’d be a Moxite in the area who could give you a hand with things, a minute to yourself and a shoulder. I certainly will if I can get to you in less than 2 hours.
    Hang in there, Kelly. There is big love and prayers / thoughts for peace & grace surrounding you from all of us.

  54. Lots of great advice here already! Chiming in to say you are doing a good job! You absolutely need to get more sleep- whatever it takes to make mom healthy and sane is best for the babies! So CIO, formula, swing, whatever! And here’s my whatever-it-takes confession- I’m still swaddling my 11 month old because he sleeps better and then so do I!

  55. Oh, Kelly. You are definitely NOT a “shitty mom”! I’m sad that you would even think that about yourself, given the immense challenges before you. You feel like the whole world is on your shoulders and you are about to break. It is Survival Mode times a million! But the truth is, you are never alone, Kelly. I bet there are people right there where you live who have been there, done that and want to help.Take a step back and think about what a real “shitty mom” would look like, in your situation. And feel free to substitute “mom” for some other word.
    Someone wise here once said: “Figure out what is important and what is urgent. Then take care of the important stuff, because the urgent stuff will find a way to get done.”
    I think it is critically important that you take some time away from your children and husband right now.
    Once things get a little more manageable and you’ve finally had some sleep, I suspect you will begin to think about what your marriage means to you, and what your options might be if you wake up one day and feel you need to get out. These thoughts are a normal part of Survival Mode – only you will know what your gut tells you. These are the times that really test the mettle of a marriage. You owe it to your DH to communicate openly about what his behavior is making you feel. Can you give him a list of 3 actionable things he could do today, and let him choose one?

  56. Kelly, I feel bad even giving you one more thing to read. But a) you are not a shitty mom. b) you need to sleep. c) sleep will not fix everything but OMG it will help. I still need to remind myself of this years later. But We are here, we feel your pain, we all hope like hell you get some sleep and some help and YES I am with Moxie that if I lived anywhere near you, it would be my pleasure to bring your 3 year old for a playdate while you and the twins napped in the car or whatever. I hope for you this has made you feel less alone, and more normal, because um hello you are.And I second also the call to find a local moms of multiples group or another moms group so you have others in the boat with you. I have lost track of the great suggestions I have gotten from friends in the trenches.
    Hang in there Kelly, and know this too shall pass. Get some sleep. Drink some water. And know we are all here sending you strength and reminding you that you are not a loser. Or we are all losers. Or whatever you need to know to really feel in your soul that this is all temporary and you sound like you are doing an amazing, amazing job. Really.

  57. Mom’s groups were my saviors when my boys were littler. They aren’t twins, and aren’t even super close in age, but I had to get out of the house to keep my sanity. In one place I lived in, the mom’s group I joined was informal. I think I found them through a community parenting listserv. Through those moms, I joined a babysitting coop which was also very nice. In another town, playgroups were run by a local non-profit. These had a small fee (a couple dollars), but man were they worth their weight in gold. The Y often has low-cost babysitting so you can exercise (or veg out).And I second the advice to supplement. If you have your husband do a night feeding or two for you (with formula), your body will likely regulate production as if your babies slept through the night on their own.
    Will your older boy sit for TV? I am (not terribly) ashamed to say my first child watched a whole lotta movies when his brother was born. I could doze on the couch and know he would stay put.
    You are doing a great job. You have 3 kids under 3(?). It is not easy. It is only survivable.

  58. COSLEEP.I sleep with the 7 wk old in bed and wake by 4 a.m. with everybody in my bed, but you know what? I’ve slept at least 3 hours straight. And nursing at night is easier for me to just roll that way and plug him in or roll us both to our opposite sides and plug him in.
    DRINK LOTS AND LOTS AND LOOOTTTTSS OF WATER.
    Hydration fights depression, keeps you healthy (constipation, urinary, digestive, gas) AND makes your milk! Also Traditional Medicinals brand Mother’s Milk Tea.
    THE DR’S SEARS
    Helped me feel sane sometimes.
    http://www.askdrsears.com/html/1/T011000.asp
    This is not to push you one way or the other on sleep. It is helpful though.
    http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T031600.asp
    LAY AROUND!
    Screw the laundry, dishes, vacuuming. I just swept and mopped my floors for the first time since War was born. And you know what? We survived! πŸ™‚
    WE’RE WITH YA SISTER

  59. tough post for me today.. i’m on my third day of the stomach flu and not coping so well. saturday i was home with 9mo all day, never thought i’d make it with nausea, baby extra clingy, basically screaming all day… then sunday hubby is here and tries to act like he’s doing me a giant f-ing favor by watching his child while i try to recover from the stomach bug from hell. day three and hubby couldnt care less that feeding the baby dinner makes me want to barf (he fed him at lunchtime, as he proudly points out)… and then on top of it yesterday i felt so guilty that i have NO patience with my newly clingy, extra whiney son…so i hear what you’re saying about ‘have hubby do more’ but that’s a hard one for me today because you can’t make anyone do anything. even when you haven’t eaten for three days. (sigh)

  60. Just adding more of the same. Maybe if you hear it from dozens of people, you’ll start tonight and be on the road to feeling slightly more sane.1. You need sleep. One 6 hour stretch is not too much to demand. Mine was the 9:30-3:30 shift. I was so much more functional once I started getting that solid block.
    2. Supplement. I never thought I would, but messing with my supply in order to pump enough was causing plugged ducts and mastitis, so I just switched to 1 bottle of formula each night. I will do the same thing next time if needed.
    3. Four months is shit, plain and simple. My dude woke up every 1.5 hours for 6 weeks straight. The day I started to contemplate driving us both off a bridge we started sleep training. I honestly tried everything to avoid the CIO. But it was just what he needed; the opportunity to learn how to put himself to sleep. And it sucked for 2 nights. And then he started sleeping through the night (with one wake-up to nurse). Dreams do come true. And then with more sleep, you get your sanity back.

  61. I’m the mom of a singleton, 2 1/2 years, who was (just like Kelly’s) a perfect baby and a really challenging toddler. He refused his nap yesterday and went on a giant hellbender all evening. It’s hard, and I am close to the end of my rope. This post was really healing to read today.Kelly, I wish I had wisdom or advice, but I don’t. I just want to offer support, and let you know that in my opinion you are NOT a shitty mom, and there will be lots of moments with these two that you will look back on fondly, even if it doesn’t happen this month. You might just look back thankful that you got through it. Hang in there, hon, please.

  62. i cried reading this post because i was so right THERE for so long with my twins (and i didn’t even have an older kid). i nursed them and they didn’t sleep and i thought i was losing my mind. i still suffer from some sort of ptsd from their first year. but i’m here to say it DOES it better. my two were sleeping/nursing on different schedules and i started waking one when the first woke. so baby 1 would wake up, i’d nurse him/her and then wake baby 2. in that time when they didn’t go back to sleep after nursing, i brought my husband into it. it sucked for all of us but it wasn’t forever and we never would have survived.hang in there…i felt the same way, resentful, annoyed, disliking my kids. it gets better but it never ever feels like it.

  63. Try checking out a MOMS club. It is an international support group for stay-at-home moms. Really, any group is good, but MOMS is great because it’s all local moms in your stomping grounds. Sam has been a fabulous toddler but was a hard infant (my mama-love won’t let me use words like “horrific” or “nightmarish”) and some days the key was just asking someone else to come over to force me to act like a human being instead of screaming at my son. And miracle of miracles, not only did they come, but they called me to ask me to do the same for them. It sucks to resent your child, but knowing that there are other moms out there who get that way really helps ease the burden of guilt, and makes it so much easier to ask for help.

  64. Hi. I am so sorry for you and I just want to give you a big hug. I have a four month old too, and a two year old and a six year old. Four months is not fun. She’s still waking up twice a night and doesn’t have the easiest time settling for naps. And, she had horrible reflux and colic and would scream for 5+ hours in the middle of the night at least a few times a week for the first few months. I think the advice about giving up your ideals to maintain your sanity is right on the money.With my first son, I had grand hopes about breastfeeding, but I produced no milk. I tried pumping 10X per day, LCs, supplemental systems that were impossible to use, until I finally sobbed myself into surrender and gave him formula. In addition, he had horrible reflux and would not sleep on his back for more than 45 minutes at a time– for months! I remember wailing to my husband every morning b/f he went to work that I was just going to lose it b/c I had been up since four on two hours of broken sleep total and I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to make it through my day. And, my husband was a helpful partner, so I can only imagine what you are going through. So, I finally had a lightbulb moment that my son’s reflux was preventing him from ever getting comfortable on his back (and NOTHING else worked like swings, carseats, etc. for sleep),and he needed to sleep on his stomach. And, he started sleeping. And, my husband was able to help out with the nightime formula feedings. And, I was sometimes able to sleep for four straight hours of unbroken sleep which made me feel like supermom and I could handle anything. Seriously, the difference in my mood when I had sleep was unbelievable.
    For my second daughter, I tried to breastfeed again armed with much more knowledge. I watched videos per-birth, I immediately started on herbs, I got a hospital-grade pump and for ten days I gave it the good ole’ college try. But, I continued to produce drops of milk so instead of driving myself crazy I made peace with the reality and switched to formula. By embracing what was practical for myself and my baby and realizing that I needed to take care of myself emotionally, I had much less sadness re: giving up breastfeeding the second time around.
    Now, for my current baby, who also has terrible reflux, I tried to breastfeed for one week but gave it up pretty quickly when I realized that my production was just never going to allow me to breastfeed. And, I was pretty fine with it. I also learned from the first one and my baby sleeps on her stomach. The horror! She does so much better on her stomach and I have zero guilt about it. So much so that I told the pediatrician that there was no way that he could talk me out of it b/c I knew that I was doing the right thing for my baby (despite any increased risk).
    All of this is a round-a-bout way of saying “By whatever means necessary.”
    Adapting this mantra for me has meant the following:
    1) Baby on stomach
    2) Baby exclusively on formula
    3) Two year old watching more t.v. than I am comfortable with when fussy infant is freaking out, I need to make dinner, etc.
    4) Baby when she is clearly tired cries in her crib for a while until she settles for her naps.
    5) Me checking my email more than I should for ten minute sanity breaks
    6) Me telling my two older ones to “watch a movie” so I can take a quick 30 minute nap while the baby is napping.
    7) Me preparing a lot of healthy frozen food options for dinner.
    And, I work part-time so I get out of the house, have a mother’s helper a few hours a week, etc. so I rely on all kinds of “crutches.” πŸ™‚
    Did I mention that my two year old is also in the middle of potty-interest and sits on the toilet for five seconds multiple times a day w/out actually producing anything in the toilet? And, she sometimes insists on wearing big-girl underwear and then could care less when she walks around wet? I totally understand the fun of this with a screaming infant in the background!
    Amazingly, I have very little guilt b/c I know that I am doing the best that I can do, know that my reliance on “crutches” will ease over time, and make daily peace with my love/hate baby feelings.
    You have twins and look at all you are doing! You are amazing and don’t ever tell yourself otherwise! Do whatever you need to do to survive. Don’t beat yourself up. Give up the ideals! Focus on the present and what you need to do to keep them alive—a.k.a. minimal functioning–and you will be fine. And SLEEP. By whatever means possible. If that means your husband feeds them formula all night while you sleep and you BF during the day only, so be it.
    Good luck! Remember, time passes and although every moment seems like an eternity right now, each second of their getting older can only mean that your are that much closer to things getting easier. Remember that as it will save you!
    XOXOXO

  65. Ditto to pretty much everything said so far. My now 3 yo son had colic and I nearly lost my mind (and this was with a very supportive husband who pulled his weight). Here are some specific suggestions:1. First and foremost: send the link for this letter and these comments to your husband. Then tell him he is watching the kids this Saturday while you go do whatever the f. you want (bring your pump along and stay away the whole day, maybe even a night if you have to). I suggest a day a the spa, on his credit card, or perhaps you can hide out at a friend’s house. THEN have the coming to Jesus talk with him. I bet he’ll be much more receptive.
    2. If your older child is not in preschool yet, make it your husband’s task to get him into one (and thereby out of your hair at least part of every day). Depending on the county and state you live in, there are tuition assistance programs, subsidized spots, etc. Church/JCC programs might be willing to offer some assistance. Finding a pre-school and getting your older kid into it is your husband’s job– assign it to him in your talk. If he’s unwilling to do it, assign it to your mom or a friend (you can visit places after they’ve done all the research and sorted out the options).
    3. Get a friend or relative to come over a couple of hours a day as often during the week as you can schedule. While they are they you: take a shower, go for a walk outside by yourself, take a nap, whatever it takes to feel human. If this isn’t possible, get a (cheap) teenager to come over and help you a couple of hours a day while you stay in the house. You can take a shower, go in the other room and be alone, sit in the back yard and cry– whatever you need to do. The kids will be fine, the teenager will make sure they don’t fall down a well and you’ll be in the house in case of emergency.
    4.b. It is your husband’s job to come up with the money for childcare by revising the family budget, using his FlexSpending acct at work (if he has one) to set aside pre-tax dollars, biking instead of driving to work, giving up beer, whatever the hell he has to do– you can’t deal w/ it, it’s his job to make it happen, PARTICULARLY if he is unwilling or unable to engage in any childcare himself.
    5. Please let go of high stakes thinking about breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for 13 months because I had an almost religious commitment to not letting him get a drop of formula–I believed the hype and turned it into “I either breastfeed exclusively OR I am a bad mother”. This included pumping through a yeast infection that made my nipples bleed (when he was 10-11 mos old and I could easily have supplemented one bottle a day). A couple of years later I had occasion to read a lot of studies on breastfeeding for my job– I was shocked to realize that, especially in a developed country context where baseline sanitation and nutrition is not an issue, the advocates of breastfeeding sometimes wildly overstate the benefits. (BTW, the VAST majority of those benefits accrue in the first 4-6 months…after that the marginal benefit of each additional month gets smaller and smaller.) Yes, breastmilk is great, but it’s not a magic potion, nor is formula poison. Your health and sanity is paramount right now.
    5. Let go of high stakes thinking about everything. There is no “I do ABC or I am a horrible mom”. The first year is about survival with ANY baby, much less with twins. Parenting and sleep books are all ridiculously dogmatic: “Do this or your child will be ruined. Forever!” What a load of b.s. In the first year, it’s all about food, shelter, warmth. Nothing you do in the first year (within reason, obviously–but nothing you’re talking about in your e-mail is anywhere near unreasonable or abusive) is going to ruin (or for that matter, make perfect) your child for life.
    6. Don’t feel bad about CIO. I NEVER thought I would do it. I planned to co-sleep, but as it turns out, we’re all light sleepers and none of us got any rest. So I put him in his own room at 4.5 months, but was getting up twice a night for long feeds. Not to mention that my son would. not. nap. alone. In the end we let my son cry himself to sleep at 6 mos. It took two days, and we all started sleeping through the night (he’s now a perfectly well adjusted and attached toddler). It turned out to be the right thing for him and for us– temperament wise, you never know what kind of kid you’re going to have. If it doesn’t work for you, fine, but don’t feel bad that you tried (psst… your babies won’t even remember!).
    7. I know this sounds impossible right now, but make yourself your number one priority. If you think that sounds selfish, look at it this way: a tired, grumpy, resentful, at-wits-end you isn’t the best mom for your kids. Your twins don’t care, but your three year old is probably freaked out by all of this and could use a visit from the rested, happy mom he used to know. So many moms get trapped in the vicious cycle of martyrdom and ultimately it doesn’t serve their kids well (obviously, it doesn’t serve you well in the long run, either). Your husband and kids need to know you have boundaries, that you deserve care and respect as much as they do and that you need it in order to be able to give them the care and respect they expect from you.
    Take care and know that a) you rock for reaching out for help and b) this WILL pass eventually (kinda like a kidney stone).

  66. Did I mention that my mom and I used to affectionally refer to my four month old as “The Demon” in her first few months of life. Gotta find the humor in everything!

  67. I like @Barb- get up and play’s “whatever it takes” confession. Here’s mine. Our 28 month old son still drinks a bottle at night in bed! We keep 2 ice cold bottles of 75% water, 25% skim milk next to the bed with a freezer pack. Yes, he hates warm milk because I was too lazy to ever heat up his bottles. And he’s in our bed, which I’m good with but DH is not. And so DH is now in the guest bed that is supposed to be a toddler bed. And DH takes care of our 4 mo old daughter at night; she naturally wakes up every few hours, and DH props a bottle of formula in her mouth and leaves it in the crib with her because like her brother she won’t take a pacifier. And the dr says “NO BOTTLES IN BED!” And I’m sure their teeth are going to rot. But this is what works for us. Certainly not what we ever planned on. We’ve tried everything to get the kids to sleep, and there have been times when he’d sleep through the night, but generally not recently. Sleep training never worked for him. Cosleeping did. Our daughter, however, is the EXACT OPPOSITE. She sleeps so much better alone in a crib. Oh and I breastfed my daughter for 2 months, and it was horrible and I’m sure I’m judged all the time for quitting when I could have gone a bit longer if I just pushed past the pain. But I didn’t want to. So there.Whatever gets you through the night. Carry on!

  68. Sorry, I meant the link for your letter– as in, hubby should see what you wrote and what everyone else wrote, not just what I wrote.

  69. There is so much great advice here, so I won’t repeat. I do want to reiterate LOWER STANDARDS!, however. You can’t do everything, something has to go to the bottom of the list.Perhaps a way to get a longer stretch of sleep for yourself would be a dreamfeed for the twins? If you aren’t familiar, it’s when you feed the baby without waking him right before you go to bed. It seems that they are both capable of 6 hours. Maybe that would help them sleep the long stretch at the same time.
    Also, when I started putting my son down EARLIER for bedtime, he started sleeping more soundly. I don’t know what age he was when we tried that, since the first year is hazy on details due to sleep deprivation. Maybe it’s something to try, though.
    So much love and sympathy to you. Do you happen to be in the Philly area?

  70. “magical chocolate coated unicorn crack”OMG you crack me up. I paused in the middle of my weeping to bust a gut laughing.
    Thank you to all of you for the validation, support, laughter and advice. I feel like I’m not alone and that there is hope–you’ve all come out the other side (except for those of you still in it. We’ll make it together).
    In my husband’s defense, he does help–he often makes dinner (often missing a veggie, but hey, it’s food) and he does the bedtime routine with Aiden–bath, stories, water, tuck, water, bathroom, water… He offers to watch everyone on the weekend for a couple of hours, but it isn’t a nap I need–it is a 6 hour stretch of unbroken sleep. OK, I’ll even take 4 hours. I think Cloud hit it on the head that my husband is way out of his league and he doesn’t know what to do–especially since I have been doing the all the childcare (and housework, and a job) to date. Part of my problem is I don’t even know what to tell him to do anymore because nothing seems to work right now.
    I use the TV and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Anymore.
    Last night we fed the 3/6 sleeper after about 2.5 hours and when he did go back to sleep he only slept for 4 hours. We fed the 6/3 sleeper at the same time and that was a bigger disaster–he decided he wanted to be awake for 90 minutes, then slept 90, then screamed again, yadda, yadda. So I only got 4 hours of broken sleep last night. Back to the original plan, whatever that was.
    I’ll keep lowering my expectations, but as it is, a centipede may just crawl out of the toilet and bite you in the patootie if you come to visit. It’s that dirty. I’m glad the boys aren’t crawling yet because I would probably lose them on the dirty kitchen floor.
    You guys are the best! I will check out your other resources/suggestions, and I will have those of you in the thick of it in my thoughts and prayers that things will get better for you, too.
    And I will be grateful everyday that the they aren’t triplets.

  71. Kelly- do you know why I got 7 hours of sleep last night? Because two nights ago, my husband, in his half-asleep haze, thought I had already nursed the baby when I handed her to him. He stumbled to the living room, put her in her bouncy chair, and everyone slept the rest of the night.WTF?????
    But hey, that worked, so we tried again last night and it worked again. Tonight, we start experimenting. Was it the bouncy chair? The distance from Mom and her milky goodness?
    @millay- I may be a bad person, but I’m kinda hoping your hubby gets the stomach flu next.
    Seriously 9 months is a HARD, super-clingy time. You’ll get through it.
    @Slim- I LOVE “currently necessary tools”. Love it. That is what I’ll call the bouncy chair if that turns out to be the magic sleep inducing thing right now.
    @Hush- YEAH! You started a blog!

  72. and kelly, you didn’t say where you were so that those of us who are close can help…in anyway that you might need us to.i just want to add that as crazy as things are, you will get through and if you are feeling low, re-read akeeyu’s comment about the broken legs and the limbo. HILARIOUS. and good reminders.
    i have no idea how people do it with twins and a third (all under four). SUPER MOMS. so remember, you are one.

  73. Kelly, you are an amazing woman. It is hard right now, it will be for a while, but you can get through this. You are an AMAZING WOMAN.You will feel guilt for the decisions that you make, such as the swing and the decision to CIO. Remember though, if the result is sleep for your babies and for you, try to shed that guilt. There is no correct way to raise an infant, especially when you have two of them. Do what works and meets their needs.
    Also, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. You, Kelly, are an amazing woman.

  74. Check out http://www.mops.org and search for a group in your area. Its an international organization whose motto is “better moms make a better world”. Local groups of moms will meet a few times a month and MOST LIKELY OFFER FREE CHILD CARE.Hugs to you momma!

  75. oh…and if you do want to keep nursing, even if you supplement (or whatever), ALMONDS and OATMEAL gave me enough breast milk to feed ten babies. so try those if you are worried about supply. i ate a bowl of oatmeal with almond milk every morning for the first year (because i was on a restricted diet due to baby’s GERD) and the breast milk was flowing.

  76. Want to read all the posts, but no time (children self-destructing in other room – will catch up tonight) – I want to ask if you’ve had them checked for allergies … that affected sleep for my younger son and it was hell for two years. The minute we figured out he was corn-sensitive he slept 10 hours straight – unrealistic for 4 mo old, but something that may be interrupting their ability to rest.I just think it’s a good thing that kids have short memories (or no memories) of some of their awful phases.

  77. Don’t worry, you can do it!I have a 3 year old and 18-month-old, so I can relate to dealing w/ different stages/needs and how freakin’ hard it can be. More importantly, however, I’m a twin and I can tell you my mom, who had health complications after me and my sister’s birth plus premature twins who cried non-stop, said she has almost no memories of our first six months. It was one giant (and probably helacious) blur. But guess what, we all made it through OK. And if my mom (or dad) flipped out during those early months and just yelled at us to stop crying or melted into a puddle of hysteria, the bonus is that me and my sis don’t remember it one bit. Your kids won’t either. They have a mom who loves them and I bet you show it most of the time.
    BTW, my mom recalls that there was a big turning point with us at 6 months. That’s when she started to feel she got her life back and could breathe again. So, just hang on, that period is right around the corner for you. Good luck!

  78. I vote for switching to formula. Pronto. 4 months is longer than a lot of babies get on breastmilk. All our little formual friends are just as sharp and sweet and funny as the breastfed ones. You can’t control your husband (unfortuately), and you can’t yet control your twins’ sleep habits (maybe at 6 mos CIO will work?), but you CAN release yourself from being their sole source of nourishment. You sound like super-woman to me. Hang in there, mama!

  79. I am a mom of 2 year old twin girls. I have thanked the powers that be every single day that I didn’t already have children when I had the twins because I simply do not know how I could have done it. It was unbelievably hard in the beginning. I had to supplement, too, and it made me feel inferior at first, but that’s just what I had to do. I agree with Moxie: ideally it’s not the way you want it to work, but in reality something has got to give.As for hiring help, maybe someone suggested this already, but maybe a mother’s helper kind of situation would be more affordable? A neighborhood kid who can help out with some of the menial household tasks that will give you a bit of a break and would not cost what it would cost for a child-care type of helper. Just an idea.
    I hope you can hang in there. 4 months old is still really early. I don’t recall when I first felt like I could take a deep breath after my twins were born, but I’m sure it wasn’t that soon. And I hope it helps to know that it’s absolutely normal and lots of people have been there. Good luck!

  80. Oh honey, hang in there and do what makes things best and easiest for you whether it’s CIO or formula. Ask for help from those around you and don’t beat yourself up if you have to “compromise” your ideals. You’re doing a great job just by acknowledging that you are under water. I second the fact that it will get better πŸ™‚

  81. @Kelly, you are awesome and glad to hear this already gave you some hope. And all the Moxites, how awesome to see our community come out in force!!I’ve had my tough times with Mouse (18-20 months, 3 hours of sleep a night for me if that) but I don’t really want to tell another baby story. I want to talk about the guys. Because I agree – your husband needs to step the hell up. And it’s been my observation that a lot of guys, good guys, right-minded loving partners, fail to do it until they get smacked in the face. There’s some kind of barrier to doing MORE than 50% for a lot of dudes, at least in America, at least in our generation. They were taught to take care of themselves, but most weren’t taught to do for others. So sure they can “help” and contribute and so forth but it doesn’t occur to them to take on more. Because if they’re doing close to half, or even some, they’re doing their “share”. It takes a lot of talking to get it through to them that the 50% needs to be the center and they need to go over that sometimes.
    And what has sometimes worked with Mr. C – who I am not slagging here – he’s a fabulous darling though this was a tough lesson for him – has been to tell him that I’m broken. Because when something important to him is broken, be it a piece of software or his crazy dad or me, he can relate to what needs to be done and he becomes a superhero. He tends to be shocked when I’m broken, because he loves me and admires me and thinks I’m really strong – and let’s face it, I do my best to be strong and look strong and all the rest. But “Charisse is exhausted” and “Charisse is broken” seem to be very different messages for him. One is information, the other is a trigger to action.
    So I guess what I’m saying, long windedly, is when you have your talk with your husband, don’t be shy about telling him everything, your fears, your real state of being – it might unlock powers he otherwise keeps hidden.
    Hugs!!!

  82. @Kelly – very glad your husband is helping as best he can. And that you’ve found at least one silver lining (could have been triplets) πŸ™‚

  83. Take a deep breath. It’s going to be ok.Try to get a prescription for domperidone (look it up on Kellymom.com) to help with your milk supply. It’s not FDA approved in the US, but the alternative is Reglan which causes depression (I got a rip roaring case of PPD from Reglan, and I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy). You’ll need a compounding pharmacy, but if my little hick town has one, chances are you can find one too. The trick is finding a cooperative doctor to write the prescription (or buying it online, if you’re down with that, which I wasn’t 5 years ago when I had supply issues).
    It’s going to be ok.
    I agree with Moxie – you need to ask your local friends and relatives for more help.
    It’s going to be ok.
    Maybe there’s a teenager who can come over and just be there to entertain your older child while you nap with the twins? Maybe you could trade her for something else non-monetary – whether that’s babysitting experience or use of your car if she’s over 16 or whatever… Get creative.
    It’s going to be ok.
    See if there’s another mom you can trade babysitting with, or a mommy’s time out program at a nearby church, that you can take advantage of.
    It’s going to be ok.
    This isn’t going to last forever. I tandem nursed my kids for 9 months (they’re 19 months apart in age) and I can not imagine nursing twins. You must be completely exhausted all the time. I agree with Moxie that it’s time to lower your standards. Supplementing is ok. My husband was formula fed from the moment he was born, and he’s literally a rocket scientist (and I nursed for 28 months and 22 months, so I don’t take formula lightly, obviously, but in this case I think it’s medically indicated!!).
    It’s going to be ok.
    My oldest slept in the swing for most of her first year – naps, at night, all of it. And she’s fine. And she really likes rides (like at Disney World) now! πŸ™‚
    It’s going to be ok.
    Take a look at scheduling – I think the 2-3-4 method makes the most sense, and you can read about it on my other favorite online advice column – http://www.alphamom.com/smackdown/2009/11/the_234_sleep_routine.php
    I think a routine would REALLY help, even if you’re anti-baby-scheduling. I’m not saying you need to be the nap nazi, but having a framework to your day might make things feel less desperate.
    It’s going to be ok.
    Hang in there. I wish I could bring you a casserole and hold the babies so you could take a nice long hot bath and a nap, and I don’t even know you! I’ll bet your friends will help if you let them.

  84. I will just quote Moxie’s words that helped me most when I was in the midst of feeling like crap and having sleep and breastfeeding issues: You are the perfect mother for your children.Know that we all get it and you are not alone.

  85. I still use the swing for my 10 month old! It gives me an hour or so of downtime in the evening. I am not looking forward to putting that thing away!

  86. For support: If you want support in an ‘attachment’ style for twins (and the hell you’re in right now), apmultiples at yahoo groups. Karen Gromada, who is the ICBLC and twin mom who wrote Mothering Multiples hangs out there. Best resource online I know of for more attachment-oriented moms of multiples (NOT insane checklist people, but sane, rational ‘this sucks’ moms who have been there and still are able to parent closer to how they dreamed they’d do it – not ON it, but closer)…Up to you to decide where you stand, but they’re great folks.
    Good luck!

  87. God Bless the swing! That was the family motto for our daughter.Another thought- Our kids are great car sleepers. When we are desperate and it is the weekend, we will go on a “trip” around the city loop at nap time. Daddy does the driving and everyone else sleeps -including me! We get two hours of solid sleep- worth the tank of gas.

  88. I can only echo what everyone else said. I have twins who are now 3 and a half, but looking back, there wasn’t a whole lot of fun at that point. You will make it. Take the advice you like from these posts and go with it (and like all other advice about parenting, ignore the stuff that won’t work for you).As far as bf’ing and pumping and supplementing goes, if it’s just you (and hopefully your husband some and/or soon), then don’t worry about pumping at this point. In your shoes, I would try to drink a HUGE glass of water after each bf session, and use formula when hubby gets up to feed them during the night feeding (or whatever you work out). Your supply may increase some and you can add pumping back in and/or drop the formula at some point in the future when you’re not so tortured.
    Also, Twins clubs, if there’s one in your area, often offer meal delivery services – take them up on it. Have a friend bring you dinner/leftovers or take your toddler to the park. If you are in the Portland, OR area I would be more than happy to help you out – if you’re elsewhere, I’m sure there are others who feel the same.
    I send you big hugs.

  89. Mom of 2.5 year old girls here (note: was me!)Please give yourself a break. Take some deep breaths. My assvice is as follows:
    1) Tell DH that Friday night, he’s taking over starting at dinner time, and he’s 100% in charge until after naps on Saturday afternoon.
    2) YOU go to a hotel ALONE for the night. I don’t care how much it costs – you are worth it. Scrape the money together.
    3) Order room service, or a pizza, or bring a PB&J and a thermos of soup with you. Then take a warm bath, have a cup of tea. Go and SLEEP. Bring earplugs if you need to. (you may imagine crying babies, but at least you won’t hear real noise)
    When you get home Saturday afternoon, I’m guessing that you’ll have a renewed strength and outlook.
    You really must enlighten DH as to how effing HARD it is to be a mom, much less mom to a potty-training toddler and twin infants. Find a quiet time (I know!), turn off the TV and computer, sit with his hands in yours, look deeply into his eyes, and tell him how it is for you now. Do this before your night in the hotel if you can. You have to get this off your chest, and he HAS to hear you. Talk to him until he gets it, and don’t back down. These are his babies too and his job is also to parent. Parent does not only mean mom.
    Now, my girls were always pretty decent sleepers. BabyB didn’t sleep in her crib at night until after 6 months old (or was it 9 months? That was a fuzzy time), and only after my friend who started baby sitting her started putting her there for naps first. Before then, she lived in her swing! I firmly believe in Moxie’s “by any means necessary” motto when it comes to sleep! It is not a bad thing for them to sleep in a swing or bouncy chair or wherever.
    As for nursing/pumping/supplementing — if nursing and/or pumping is making you crazy, or if you feel like you just can’t spare those extra minutes or braincells, then don’t. It is OK! Do what works for you, balanced what works for them. YOU come first, because mom has to be healthy and sane above all else. If you spiral into depression, does it really matter if the babies get an extra bottle a day? Or three?
    re: the sleep… as others have said, they are actually sleeping, which is a plus — just not on a preferred schedule. Gentle timeshifts may help bring them together on the one schedule you want them to have. Have you tried swaddling them lately, maybe with a Miracle blanket or something with velcro to help snug them up? That may help, dunno. As much as it pained (pains) me, we use CIO now and then when someone gets out of kilter with sleep — seriously, it helped us and helped fast. 10-20 minutes for one night, and BabyA’s clock gets reset. Feel free to experiment a bit with them — none of it may “stick” because of the infuriating sleep regression they may be in, leading up to, or coming out of. But try anything and everything. Sounds like they sleep in the car — so go drive for 2 hours and don’t worry about trying to get them back home and into the house asleep (I was never able to manage that well, tho it was easier when they were in their little bucket seats.)
    You are having a tough time just now — and it will get better. And then it will get worse. It will keep changing, and the swings may seem magnified by the quantity of kiddos and the fact that you’ve got a busy kiddo plus the babies.
    Please just give yourself a little hug — you are doing GREAT (you composed a coherent message to Moxie!) doing the toughest job there is, x3! *hugs*

  90. Aw, mama, you are doing great.Another vote for letting the potty training go, if your son would be okay, and if you can manage the extra diapers.
    And another vote for a moms of multiples group. My neighbor had preemie twins (a few months after I had a healthy, easy, easy singleton), and she has said more than once how much it helped to hear from other twin moms that twins is NOT the same as one, that it’s eight times harder, that it gets better.
    Re the bf, if you are not already using a hospital-grade pump, and want to try, you might get more milk faster if you get your doctor to write a prescription for a hospital pump. And it’s possible that there may be ways to tinker with your pumping routine that would up your supply–pumping a minute after the milk stops. La Leche and kellymom are good sites for pumping tips. (You’ve probably already done all of this, but I mention it on the off chance that you haven’t, and want to.)
    If co-sleeping isn’t a good fit for your family, would it help some to have the twins nearby, at least? I know for me (and my easy peasy singleton babies five years apart), waking up is a hundred times more awful if I have to get out of bed and go down the hall to a crying baby. Co-sleeping is blissful for us, but even if it isn’t for you I’m wondering if having one of you on a twin mattress in the kids’ room so you don’t have to do much more than sit up might help. Or can your husband take them to you on the weekend so the ONLY thing you have to do is roll over to nurse? If the baby is in bed with you, maybe even just in the same room, you may be able to get your sleep cycles to synch up with theirs, so that it’s fractionally less awful to be woken up several times at night.
    Oh, and no shame in Tylenol when they are drooly and teething.
    Sorry for the novel, too tired to edit down.

  91. oh you are just in the thick of a bunch of shittiness. And I’m sorry for that. Don’t feel bad for being resentful or angry–I think it’s totally normal and it will eventually pass. But 4 month olds are ROUGH and I can’t even imagine 2 of them plus a toddler. Cut yourself some slack. My only suggestion is to rethink breastfeeding. I’m not saying to completely wean them, but think about cutting down the amount you nurse them and think about introducing formula so you can enlist your husband in middle-of-the-night feedings, or evening feedings. You have *got* to get some rest, and feeding/being awake with babies all night/morning is not working for you.I work full time, and I had to cut down to 2 breastfeedings a day with my now 8-month old. It’s just 100% inconvenient and nearly impossible for me to pump at work. I felt bad about not being able to do 100% breast milk until he was at least 1, but now that he has formula and I still get to nurse him in the morning and before bed, I don’t feel bad at all and he’s doing just fine.
    My heart goes out to you. Start tapping into your friends/mom’s group/church, whatever and whoever it takes so you can get some support.

  92. Another vote for cosleeping/bedsharing. It really is a godsend to nurse and roll over and snuggle.Also, put away all clocks. It’s a lot easier to get up at 3 am when you don’t know it’s 3 am.

  93. Hm. And I’d probably not work to wean/supplement now. I know myself I would’ve definitely regretted not breastfeeding fully. You are in a bad phase right now and I’d work to change the sleeping arrangement first.

  94. Hi – mom of almost-5-yr-old twin boys. I did fertility treatments for many years and was so happy to get pregnant… that said, once the boys came, I was so overwhelmed and totally wondered what I got myself into. My mom stayed with us the first 6 weeks and I cried the few days before she went back home and definitely the entire day she left.When my husband went on a business trip, I took the boys on a small road trip to my aunt’s… a friend that had twins almost a year older than mine had given me the Babywise book and told me to try it out but I hadn’t the time/energy to read it. Well, at my aunt’s, she sent me to bed one night early, told me to read the book so we could figure out if there were things we could try together the next day and then told me to sleep that night and she’d take the night shift and early morning shift with the boys.
    We tried a lot of the scheduling things the Babywise discussed – the key thing being that you pick a time to start the day and that’s when the schedule starts. You feed the kids every 3 hours and you reverse the order that most folks do – you feed, play, and then get them to go to sleep. We also tried CIO and it was painful at first but actually really helped. At night, we’d definitely plan around the baby that woke up first – i.e., we’d feed him and then feed the other. There is this thing called a dream sleep feed where you don’t wake the baby up fully (don’t do a diaper change, just feed them in the very dark room, etc.) on the second baby. Then no matter what time they woke up, we’d stretch the morning feed to 7AM to get them started at the same time every day. They’ve been pretty routined since then.
    I’m going to guess that you are at both a disadvantage and an advantage by already being a parent to another child. You aren’t so worried about the baby thing probably but at the same time you KNOW what you did before and how much easier it seemed. You almost have to drop all the expectations from your prior experience and realize that twins are a whole different experience. I basically just got through that first year. I don’t have great memories – heck, I don’t have many memories period since that first year was such a blur and we just tried to keep our heads above water. I did not BF. I’d suggest possibly moving to formula if you felt comfortable with it. My friend with the twins a year older than mine told me she was so relieved when she finally stopped that whole battle. I found it so much easier to get my husband, my mom, friends, etc. to help when we were formula feeding.
    Find a local mother of multiples club. Don’t worry, if you feel too overwhelmed to go to meetings, many have message boards, emails, etc. so you can email random questions and the members will email you/post, etc. The multiples club was a lifesaver for me that first year. You can also buy some used twins gear from the other members at a discount. They set up playgroups so you can meet up with moms with twins the same age as yours (the first year of playdates are for the moms!)
    Hang in there… I will tell you that you are seriously in the thick of it right now. There is a slight light at the end of the tunnel around 6 months and then every month after that gets better and better. Now, I actually feel like we have it easier sometimes having twins rather than a singleton because they play with each other.

  95. Have not read the comments, but I’m sure you’ve gotten a lot of support so I’ll just throw mine in there with it!I agree with Moxie. Sleep is key. If it means giving up on nursing, fine. If it means a fight with the husband, that’s fine too. If it means swings, bouncy seats, or Barney, go for it.
    By any means necessary.
    Oh, and you are so not alone. The only one of my children not yelled or cursed at as a newborn in the wee hours in some sleep-deprived meltdown was the oldest–’cause you know, it was just the ONE baby!!
    Good luck and keep us all posted!

  96. Looking forward to reading most of the prior posts so I know I’m sure my 2 cents will be repetitive but here goes…(1) Supplementing with formula worked well for me. My husband wanted to feed the baby a bottle as soon as he could. I’m a SAHM but pumped for 8 weeks to allow my DH to give our son a bottle starting at 4 weeks. Once my mother and mother-in-law left, I tried to keep pumping but couldn’t do it with my little guy pressuring me for attention. So we started him on formula once a day (in the evening when my DH got home from work) and now he’s 13-months and we’re weaning to cow’s milk.
    I live overseas where most of the expat Europeans nurse for a very long time but the local Asian communities switch to formula early. I can feel the judgment from every direction but I refuse to feel bad about our decisions. My son is happy, healthy, sociable, and energetic. No regrets.
    (2) I gave myself “time off” every night as soon as my son started expressed milk in a bottle at 4 weeks. No matter what, I was off duty from 6pm to 8pm every night. No nursing, no diapering, nothing. This was dad’s time to bond with baby and learn the fine art of fatherhood. He’s such a confident dad now and I think putting him in charge, if only for one-twelfth of the time, made a good difference.

  97. Just echoing the support. And reiterating the things that most resonated for me:1. It doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Especially in regards to breastfeeding. I EBF’d my twins, partially because we could never get them to take bottles, and partially because despite my range of breastfeeding challenges, supply wasn’t one of them. And honestly, I wish we had tried bottles of formula and not just breastmilk. Yes, you CAN breastfeed multiples. And it can be wonderful. But if that’s not working for you for whatever reason – if the pumping is just one thing too many, or you can find someone to take a night shift so you can sleep, or you just need a break – cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to give up on BFing entirely to make some changes in the experience. Even modifying one feeding per day might make a difference.
    2. Twins Clubs. Moms of multiples groups each have their own character, and many now have robust online support forums, so even if there isn’t a group in your immediate town/city, it can still be beneficial to join. Different groups have different strengths (some seem to have strong contingents of Babywise supporters, some have lots of resources for lactation consultants, many have both) but they’ll all GET it, and there will be other moms with toddler+twins that will have tips and advice and general commisseration.
    3. Members of my local twins club have found college students, especially nursing students, to be great as part time babysitters or even night nannies. A postpartum doula can be FABULOUS, but they’re not generally cheap. But the benefit of one decent night’s sleep (or better, one every couple of days to get you back to sanity) can be well worth it. Your local twins club should have this kind of information, too. We also used a young teenager in the neighborhood as a mother’s helper – we paid her something like $5 an hour and fed her lunch, and she provided an extra set of hands for baby wrangling and laundry folding. Doesn’t really help with sleep, but might help with the rest of the daytime chaos.
    4. This is going to sound bizarre, but try to take some pictures now and then, even in the midst of the chaos. You will likely forget much about this time, and the pictures will help you remember the good stuff later on. I’m always a bit wistful when I look back at pictures from the early days because it’s all a bit of a haze, but at the same time the pictures give me something real and tangible to remind me “hey, we *did* this!”
    Best,
    cass

  98. My son will be 22 months or so when my twins arrive this summer. My husband is a resident, meaning he works 14-hour shifts almost every day and 36-hour shifts once or twice a week, usually with only every other weekend off. We’re lucky on the nights he gets to put our son to bed–otherwise he often doesn’t see him for days. I will still need to work part-time from home once the twins are here. Oh, and we just moved to our area less than six months ago, so I have very few friends to call upon. I’m terrified of the upcoming sleep deprivation, the chaos, the lonliness–I’m terrified I can’t do it.But the comments and suggestions here have got me thinking about what I can put in place now, like joining a support group and getting advice before they get here, or lowering my expectations about nursing (I want to do it to whatever degree I can but know some formula is a certainty for us, as it was for my singleton son). Or calling up the women at church that I don’t know yet and offering them a service opportunity so I don’t drown. Or letting the neighbor kid entertain my toddler for an hour while I tend to babies or nap. So thank you, everyone, for your good advice to Kelli–I’ll be taking it to heart too.

  99. My oldest son was 21 months when my twin boys were born – they’re almost 2 now, and it is SO MUCH FUN to see the 3 of them together! Yes it will get better, and no – you are certainly not a shitty mom.On the contrary – I am in awe that you are doing all this by yourself and have managed to keep your milk flowing at all. I live in Asia and have the incredible luxury of live-in help – and still it was tough; the first year is a bit hazy when I try to think back.
    I love all the great advice and probably cannot add anything new. However, one book that I haven’t heard anyone mention is Gina Ford’s “A contented house with twins” – maybe because she is from the UK and not very well known in the US? Her tone of voice is patronizing at times and her schedule a tad too strict for me, but the basic principles really helped me a lot with the little boys:
    1) Always start the day at 7am (though i mad it 7.30am ;-). Even if one or both babies woke up for a feed at 5 or 6am, still wake them at 7am for a top up. The idea is that they need x amount of milk per day and if you start at 7am, they will fall into a schedule with enough feeds throughout the day (including dreamfeed at 10pm) to get them through the night.
    I even wrote down that schedule and posted it on the fridge, so that everyone (i.e. DH) knew what to do when.
    2) Dreamfeed is important – I continued the dreamfeed until approx 11 months.
    3) Gina advises to replace one BF in the evening with formula because it is more filling than breast milk. Because I wanted to spend time with my oldest before bedtime and because I was so tired, i did not have a lot of milk around 6pm – so I used formula at that time. After everyone was in bed (babies at 7pm, toddler at 7.30pm), I would pump and go to bed myself after dinner – and there was milk in the fridge for my husband to do the dreamfeed.
    Because of the extra hours of rest, my milk supply actually went up after I started doing this – so that I had enough milk in the morning to do a tandem feed and pump right afterwards. All in all, this meant i was able to BF – though not exclusively – for 11 months… which I would not have been able to do without supplementing.
    I hope you can be proud of what you have achieved already – BF twins is not easy at all! – and please please please don’t feel bad about supplementing. You are giving them your milk with vitamins, immunity etc – while also preserving a bit of your own sanity.
    4) Others have said it – but if you can, try to get them on the same schedule. Hard in the beginning, but definitely worth a try! I had nights where I snoozed with my hand on the pacifier of the one who woke up first, to wait a little longer until the second one woke up… and yes, they were in my room (and sometimes bed) while my husband slept with our oldest son. Whatever works to get through this time! Now at almost 2, they are still on the same schedule – in the same bedroom.
    I hope your friends will be able to help out with meals, playdates with your son, walks with the twins so you can have time for yourself or with Aiden – or with your husband, who does not sound that bad after all πŸ™‚
    Sorry for the long post! Take care & big hug from Hong Kong.

  100. Side note on the ‘formula more filling’ thing – formulas are being changed to be LESS filling, to match more closely to breastmilk function and processes. So the timing of when/how-often is shifting, and the benefit of doing an evening feed may not be as much as even two or three years ago. So test the theory, and see if that works – if it doesn’t, it might be the formulation change, not your kids (and certainly not you!).Also re-dittoing the ‘take the advice that works, drop the rest’. There are a million ways to do this ‘right’. You will find your own right way.

  101. Oh my….All I can say is that this will pass. This dark place. Though you may need some help to get through.
    I say this not as the mom of 3, I have only one. But I have been in that place, and I’m not, now.

  102. Whoo boy, this one really hit home for everyone. Seems to have brought a lot of people out of the woodwork…Kelly, it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. 4 months sucks. It’s what initially brought me to Moxie.
    I agree that sleep training and more supplementing might be a consideration for survival. Then again, I found the 5.5-7 month window the best for sleep training. It may just be that this month is your rock-bottom and you can look ahead to more sanity in the next few weeks.
    My firstborn was a terrible nurser. It took me 5 years to stop feeling guilty for not nursing her longer. It’s been 5 years, and maybe I’ll feel differently in another ten, but I actually think it would have been better for us if I hadn’t tried so hard to make nursing work. I was that mom who tries so hard that she ends up spiraling into depression and resenting her child. No good. I’m still working through a lot of it, but it might not have taken so long if I had done what felt right and not worried so much about what everyone else said/thought was best for my baby. I absolutely LOVED my Lactation Consultant, but I wish she had helped me to see the importance of what was going on inside my head and not just what was going into my baby’s belly.
    You have to do what feels right for you and your babies and I wish you strength and sanity and, most of all, some good solid sleep.

  103. When people ask me what is like to have infant twins, I tell them that it is like being in an emergency room where you are constantly performing triage. When both are crying you have to make a quick decision to determine who needs help/attention immediately and who can be given a band-aid (i.e. binky, rattle) and wait for help. Now that my girls are older (5 next week) I still perform “triage” though it is not as extreme as it was when they were infants.I followed the advice to wake up the sleeping twin to eat when her sister woke up to eat and that really helped me. I was able to tandem nurse which helped too. My husband took one night feeding and the girls got either expressed milk or formula.
    I planned to co-sleep and I was devestated when my husband insisted we move the girls out of our room and to their crib at 2 months (they had been home for 1 month at that point). I felt like a shitty mom then, but after I saw that we all started sleeping better I felt ok.
    As others have said, the swing or bouncer or pack-n-play is not a crutch! We moved the girls were 4.5 months and I had their bouncy seats and swing FedExed to our new house because there was no way in hell that I was going to go a week without those items. Some babies just won’t sleep in cribs, our neonatalogist suggested that we let the girls sleep in their car seats because they weren’t sleeping in the co-sleeper. So for the first 3 months at home they slept, swaddled and buckled in, in their car seats and we placed those in the crib.
    Finally, the most IMPORTANT piece of advice I can offer is this: Yes, Ask For Help. Help is Wonderful. But here is the caveat:
    Make sure the person helping you SUPPORTS you and won’t criticize you!
    I had help from someone that didn’t support me during the first four months and it was pure hell. Since the person was a family member I didn’t feel like it was ok to fire them and I should have. The helper needs to be a helper.

  104. Oh wow, Megan, that’s an excellent point about selecting a supportive rather than judgmental helper. We’ve probably all been through the misery of the person who comes over to “help” and spends her/his whole time criticizing your every move and judging every aspect of your (invariably messy at that time) home with laser-sight eyes. A relative of mine is a bit like that – she’s kind and warmhearted, but a bulldozer who tries to rearrange my house and suggests I need “help” with a half-dozen projects I don’t want or need to do every time she walk in the door. Although if you were truly desperate for a break, you could leave the judgmental person to mind the store and escape out the door before more than a few comments were made….

  105. Mom to 3.5 year old twins + 3 month old infant here. A big hug to you across the internet. No way to put it otherwise: twin infants suck. I was absolutely miserable & insane at that stage. You are doing a WONDERFUL job, honest.The good news? In retrospect it will seem like the awful parts went by quickly. It may seem like an eternity while you in the thick of it, but it will gradually improve.
    Hang in there…

  106. I remember drowning in this stuff. I was so stuck that I couldn’t even choose the solutions to some of my problems. I would add more formula and use the swing more and find any other crutch you can.Crutches are not the world’s wrost thing. You are feeling broken right now. If you had a broken leg you would use crutches to help you walk until you could walk on your own. You need to use the things around you that can help you along until you are in a saner, easier place and then you’ll be back on your feet literally and figuratively and you can stand on your own two feet then.
    But now…use whatever it takes to help you through this really low point that will turn upwards one day soon.

  107. Mother of 26 month old twins and also 8 weeks pregnant. When I found out I was pregnant (not planned!), I started having nightmares that they were twins. I became almost psychotic thinking about it. Four months old was the WORST time of my WHOLE life and I couldn’t imagine going through it with twins again.When the sonographer found only one baby, I cried. She thought it was with maternal love and joy. Nope, it was relief.
    I did a lot of thinking about what I would do differently this time if it were twins. I literally had a mental list that I recited to myself over and over, just to keep sane. It went something like this:
    1) No pressure to EBF. None. If it works, great! If not, oh well!
    2) Sleep for mom is #1 priority. I don’t care if dad has to work all day…SO. DO. I.
    3) Hire teenager for three hours every afternoon from age four months to six months, even though we can’t afford it.
    4) Babies will sleep whenever, wherever and however possible…swing, carseat, on their tummy…any means necessary!
    5) Momma will wear earplugs when it is Daddy’s turn.
    6) Momma will have one evening a week to go see friends or sit in the coffee shop and stare at the wall.
    7) Groceries will be delivered by truck, house will be cleaned by maids and meals will be cooked by friends. Until momma decides she doesn’t need that anymore.
    I am sorry I only have a few minutes to post. If I had more time, I would tell you how much compassion I have in my heart for you and how I wept for you when I read this. But one of the twins is waking up and I need to eat something before I barf preggo barf all over the laptop.
    Best wishes to you and yours. I will be thinking of you.

  108. I forgot to add something. What others have said is true: It is all worth it. I absolutely love being the mother of two-year-old twins. They are best friends and totally fun and that dark, dark time has passed.People see that I have two twos and they say, “How on EARTH do you manage?” And I think, “This? This is easy!” Two years old is challenging in many ways, but it is not a crisis time.
    You are in crisis. Survival is the only goal. You can do this, with help. You are strong and loving. You will emerge knowing that you can do ANYTHING. Sending you strength and peace and restful SLEEP.

  109. “…unbroken sleep, which I craved like magical chocolate coated unicorn crack.”OMG! That is so true… Thanks for that!

  110. I’m a single mom with 1yo twin boys and a barely even remember the first six months. I still BF but as others have said, while BF is the healthiest option, stressed out, non-coping Mom is unhealthy. Babies can feel your stress and it makes them stressed and cranky. Give yourself a break! You are not a bad mother for giving them formula. The things that saved me:1) Realizing one had silent reflux which caused a lot of crying and got meds;
    2) Realizing the other one had a dairy allergy and once I cut dairy out of my diet, my son became this sweet, smiling baby;
    3) When my sleep deprevation got to be too much, I had my mom or a friend come over for a night and get up with the babies, I slept in the basement. They got formula and my boobs were like rocks in the morning, but eight uninterrupted hours of sleep was pure bliss.
    4) Twins sympathy cry so try to figure out who started crying first and deal with that child and the other one will stop crying automatically. Very odd. It was like ‘hey mom!! Did you not hear him!!!’

  111. i had the worst year of my life when DD was born. she was never a sleeper and today -19mos later – is still a challenging sleeper becuse she would rather play than sleep. she dosen’t need much sleep to begin with either. from all the hormones raging in my body, the sleep deprivation that was killing me and a non-sleeping baby who needed ME to fall/stay asleep meant that i was either feeding her or rocking her ALL.DAY.LONG. thank the Lord that she didn’t eat at night but she didn’t sleep much during the day either.i suffered a bad case of PPD that lead to clinical depression and for 13mos, i was a prisioner of my own mind. DH – while he tried as best he could to help me out – still needed me to tell him what to do (ie. what should she eat for dinner? OH I DON’T KNOW – WHY DON’T YOU THINK OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO EAT AND GIVE IT TO HER?! or “what time is dinner” OH I DON’T KNOW – THE SAME TIME AS IT WAS LAST NIGHT!”). stuff like that which seems insignificant and petty, actually grates on your nerves when you’re a zombie and tired and your sanity is hanging on by a thread.
    so i sleep trained my baby. it was hard and sucked big time but i stuck to it and looking back, i don’t regret it. we struggled for a while but over time, DD got it and it was heaven to be able to put her in her crib and walk away. i could actually go and DO things like EAT or SHOWER or SLEEP.
    I also had a big heart-to-heart with DH. as in no-filter-this-is-what-i-need-you-to-do-before-i-go-insane heart to heart. the things i said sort of hurt like how frigging annoying it was that dinner was ALWAYS left up to me to cook or he was always asking me what kind of snacks he should give her or that i’m always the one to wash the dishes after dinner or that he just walks by the piles of laundry and then asks where is shirt/pants/underwear etc are.
    i suggest doing the same with your husband – ask him for help and tell him the things you need help with. it did help – it turns out DH was scared to do things in fear that he would be doing it wrong which would (before i got treated for my depression) send me into a screaming frenzy so now he knows what to do and does it without having to ask.
    reach out and ask for help. i know it’s hard sometimes but we are human – we need help! we are not superwomen even though we all like to try to be but raising children is HARD! i’m sure your friends/neighbors/family will be glad to help. even if that means bringing some dinner over so you don’t have to cook or watchign the kids for an hour so you can get your hair done or sit and have a quiet cup of coffee. sometimes just taking that 1hr break can recharge you.
    hang in there – you’re doing great! we’ve all been there before!

  112. Dear Kelly -I don’t know if you’ll have the time to read down to this comment, but if you do, I had a thought – can you reach out via Facebook or Twitter or even email to folks in your area? The number of amazing mothers who posted here show how much strength and support there can be in motherhood. Maybe some of us could help you out? I only have one child who recently turned 4. What I remember of her first few months was a pediatrician appt where I asked, “Is it normal for her to be screaming if she’s not eating or sleeping?” I asked the question calmly, but inside I was ready to thrust my baby into the arms of the doctor and flee the room. Instead we learned that she had GERD and some Zantac changed our lives. But the memories of that difficult time are only NOW beginning to fade – they were that awful. And I broke my leg when she was 6 weeks old. So while I have never had twins (and quite frankly am not sure if I could survive twins so PLEASE know that while I cried reading your post, I also thought about how brave and strong you are) I am familiar with the nightmare that can encompass an infant’s first several months. Peace to you and your household – Kats

  113. I have a solution to the husband can’t/won’t do anything problem. Make it happen. Saturday morning or whenever he is off from work – announce – don’t ask – that you are going to go to the mall/movies/ANYWHERE for 4 hours. Not 1 or 2 or 3. FOUR. Then leave. Do not make sure everyone is ok. Do not ensure each child is fed, bathed, clothed or anything. Just go. You need time away and he needs to learn how to parent. Both issues solved.I learned that for my hubby to get good at it I had to leave him to it. I had to refuse to get up sometimes and that if the baby cried for 5 minutes or an hour it was all on his concscience not mine.
    Of course I did the calm, rational explanations but it wasn’t utnil I actually just started expecting that it should happen and allowing him to parent in his own way (instead of making him do whatever my way) that I got some real relief and help.

  114. I’m so very late on this one but I just have to post. I’m sure someone else has already poasted all of this but twin moms just HAVE to talk to other twin moms. It is one of those rules. I have 3 year-old twins…just one set…no toddler and I nearly lost my mind at 4 months. It was seriously the darkest time of my life; even darker than the years of fertility treatments and IVF that it took to get those kids.Here are a few things that you MUST do if you are going to continue to bf (which may not be the best choice for you with a toddler and a non-helpful daddy) Rule #1- babies don’t eat alone- Get a bfing pillow for twins and learn to tandem feed. It seems crazy but it is really not that tough. Just think…you could spend 1/2 the time you are currently bfing on YOU. You make more milk with double stimulation. Put away the f-ing pump. It is a torture device that convinces you that you can’t make milk. I ebf’d my twins for 18 months and NEVER could pump more than a few oz. Second thing- all the f-ing sleep books are written for singletons. I read them all…the only one that worked for us with twins was the “Sleep Lady Shuffle” It saved me. Third thing- 4 months sucks…nothing is worse. You’re in the worst of it right now. It won’t get worse…really…this is the worst…did I say that already? You are doing the. hardest. thing. ever.
    God bless…

  115. Kelly,OH God! I am so sorry! I hear and feel every word you are saying. What you are doing is so so so hard. I know it, I have been there. My daughter is 3 1/2 and my boys are 11 months. I can say I know exactly how you feel. They only thing that saved me was a night nurse at that point. We had to get some one because my husband had to travel a lot at that point and there was no way I could handle two at night, NOT SLEEPING. I don’t know how he expects you to handle this alone. YOU NEED YOUR SLEEP. My husband wants yours to call him. Its not fair, tell him he need to put up and shut up. But seriously, you need to. Sleep deprivation is no joke. My parents had to help us because we could not handle it financially either. Do whatever you can, enlist a friend, call in relatives. Tell your husband you need to rethink the finances AND the division of labor. You are doing an amazing job, very few people can handle what you are doing. I only nursed and pumped for the first three months. When I stopped nursing I had SO MUCH guilt at first, but then around five months one of them started sleeping 11 GLORIOUS hours. and the other one wasn’t far behind. Hang in there. Use the swings, grab some formula, just do what ever you can.
    Hugs,
    kirsten

  116. I can offer empathy — I have a 4 year old and 12 month old twins. My girls are breastfed (on solid foods during the day, but I am extended breastfeeding) and STILL don’t sleep through the night. I can tell you that it does get better as they get older, but i have to agree with previous commenters that you have to put sanity before the ideals and sometimes to survive without going crazy it means making choices that you ideally wouldn’t go for.You also need to talk to your husband about how you are feeling — not accusatory or blaming him, but SHARING your feelings with your partner.

  117. I thought I’d post the launch of what might help some who are looking for surrogate grandparents.www.surrogategrandparenting.com
    I’m hopeful it will help me find some good older adults who will love us and will accept us loving them! Good luck everyone!

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