A tale of two sleepers.


When the babies were very little, they often napped in their pushchair in the lounge – as MIL wouldn’t let me hold them. I know how crazy that sounds now. Since that point in time, they’ve gone through a variety of napping incarnations. Looking back, the one that now seems significant was the bouncy chair phase.

I don’t know if bouncy chairs are as important to those who have one baby at a time, but to us (and other twin peeps I know) they were invaluable. Next to ‘inventing’ tandem babywearing – and then discovering it already existed – those bouncy chairs were one of the best things ever.

We’d ‘nap’ by one baby being in a chair and being bounced and sung to, while I cuddled the other. I rotated every nap. So one nap in arms, the next nap in the chair.

Somehow this eventually morphed into Coconut being the in arms sleeper for every nap. I think it was because she just wouldn’t settle away from me, while Snort was a pro.

Months down the line, I am wondering about the impact this may have had on their sleep. Not to mention feeling a teensy bit guilty about all the extra cuddles Coconut got.

It’s very interesting, my friends. The ‘spoiled’ baby, the one who was held for every sleep? She sleeps through the night no freaking problem.

The one who ‘got himself to sleep’? He has been waking up. EVERY TWO HOURS.

Now, this is not the norm. Obviously something is going on. He sucks down milk like there’s no tomorrow when he wakes and then goes right back to sleep. We think he’s genuinely hungry, because neither baby will have more milk or solids than they want, if you get what I mean.

Still. I can’t help but wonder: is the baby who was more physically attached able to sleep through the night confidently for a reason? And was the one who was not cuddled as much needing more reassurance?

I don’t know. But it may bear thinking about.

Snort still gets himself to sleep better than Coconut. At naps – and bed – you put them both down and they’ll pass out within minutes, or even seconds. (Thank you, universe. It took a long time for us to get to this point – WITH NO CRYING – and if anyone wants us to elaborate on our ‘methods’ (ha!) leave a comment. I am happy to do so. – but we are here.)

Two kids who will happily go to sleep by themselves. It’s taken a good long while to get Coco to this point, and even now she might need a ten second hug (!) before popping off.

But lately? Snort isn’t settling very well. This last nap (they are sleeping, which is now the only time I can really get online. I found twin babies MUCH easier than toddlers!), he was all crazy and trying to eat baubles, so I pulled him onto my lap.

For the first time in what feels like years, I pulled him into a snuggly cradle hold on my lap/in my arms. He settled right in with his blankie.

Now, one of the ‘things’ we have as a sleep cue is a certain song I sing. When they hear it, they know it’s time to sleep. That is the last remaining ‘hold out’ for sleep cues, and I’m in no rush to stop singing my babies to sleep.

So I held him like I did when he was a baby, I rocked him, I sang to him. I watched his droopy eyes, I smiled internally at his Very Unfortunate Haircut #2, I remembered how I felt when the technician told us he was a boy.

(I’ve been overcome by these miracle moments lately, but again, probably best suited to another post.)

Then I popped him down, and now I have two napping kids.

But this nighttime waking….

There is truth that he is very tall, and very skinny. That he dropped down to about the 25% in weight and hasn’t come back up, so perhaps he needs the extra calories. That he has bizarre allergies and they could be contributing.

But all the guesswork in the world, and I have no answers. Both babies have been raised the same, are offered the same food, etc. The only difference is his significant allergies, and his lack of in arms sleeping for a couple of months. And, you know, that they are two different people. πŸ˜‰

One twin sleeping solidly through the night, even through most of her brother’s screams. One twin waking and drinking enough milk to sustain an army.



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17 Responses to “A tale of two sleepers.”

  1. mamacrow Says:

    the things you mention could all be contributing factors to a greater or lesser degree…. or it could just be that they are different! Sorry, not much help I know. All my six have been slightly different tho, despite all being raised pretty much the same!

    • existere Says:

      Just read on a certain website we both frequent about dairy intolerances often meaning kids are crappy sleepers, wake frequently, etc etc. Have any of yours got milk allergies? Curious about this.

      • mamacrow Says:

        Me and all the kids are lactose intolerant – but not allergic to anything. if we’re not actually being sick or have active symptoms from eating something we shouldn’t have, then we all sleep fine.

        Fluff (age 4) has never slept as well as the others, but i think thats a) him and b) possibly an amino acids problem

  2. Jem Says:

    Fascinating stuff. It’s like experimenting on babies, except without the morally and ethically wrong part πŸ˜‰

    Although I like to think it’s the AP thing because that’s what I do and it would kinda validate it, do you think the allergies play a big part? I know Isabel has reactions to egg whereby she’s up all bloody night screaming, so am wondering if that’s the key.

    • existere Says:

      Starting to think this may be the case. While I am all into AP as well and in a crazy way would quite like this to validate it, I also DON’T want it to as it makes me feel guilty! Ha.

      He has such a lot of allergies, some very severe. Having blood tests today, so hopefully I’ll pop on…a certain forum…and ask lots of questions to those who are more knowledgeable than I in this area!

  3. misericordia Says:

    Hi Existere,

    Please cut yourself some slack! Part of responsive parenting is reading your child’s cues…think back to when Snort started to settle down on his own. You did the right thing by respecting that. Children’s sleep patterns may change for a variety of reasons, but the important thing is that you responded to his cues then and that you’re responding to the change now!

  4. Mel Says:

    We had to follow our tall, skinny, never-stops-moving son with cheerios, raisins, and other high fibre foods each night for months to get enough food in him to last the night. Every other meal was eaten normally at the table, but evening stack was a free-for-all. But it worked!

    He also didn’t sleep well when he was getting his molars.

  5. Mel Says:

    Also, you have two children with two different sets of needs. You can’t possibly treat them both the same, all the time. You give each child what he or she needs. I call that being a good parent, not playing favorites.

    You are doing a great job!

  6. Lauren Says:

    Maybe allergies have something to do with it? My boyfriend, who has allergies, eats a LOT without getting fat or full.

  7. Katie B. Says:

    My first thought was to agree about rebuilding his weight. Also.. might he be working up to a growth spurt? Teething always disrupts everything.

    I don’t know much about allergies – thankfully they’re not an issue in my family (so far), so I can’t comment there.

    I’m curious about how you taught them to sleep so easily! L requires quite a bit of snuggling, although we’re trying to ease off how much she gets with Elessar ready to arrive pretty much any day now.

    And yes, bouncy chairs are just as much of a godsend to parents of singletons. Like, that’s how I got to pee for months!

  8. saralema Says:

    I agree with whoever said that you are just meeting the needs of your two babes, based on the cues they give you. That’s the best we can do.

    Does he get a long chunk of sleep? I find when MP’s sleep is fragmented, she has trouble sleeping, which prevents a long chunk of sleep, which results in trouble sleeping, and so on. It’s a viscous, viscous cycle. Not that it’s helpful, but I can empathize with what you are going through.

    Okay, I hate to say this because it makes me feel like crazy allergy woman, but… the first thing that popped into my head when I read that he chugs milk is that one sign of an allergy or intolerance is craving that food. The second was that frequent waking can also be a sign of a reaction. Is there any way to cut dairy off earlier in the day for a few days to see if there is a difference?

    Crap. I am crazy allergy woman. I need to quit reading my Food Lab messages.

    • mamacrow Says:

      Yes, craving a food to the point of obsession can be a sign that it’s actually bad for you – have loads of weired stories about that, like the carrots woman and the austic kids and fromage frais.

  9. Shelley Says:

    Hey – I would like to know how you got them sleeping well without crying! We’ve had our 3 month old co-sleeping until now (and it’s been great!) but would like to get him in his cot as I think we all disturb each other too much now. He is not too keen on this idea so I’m at a loss on how to achieve it with no crying! He sleeps on me (in wraps etc) most of the time so is not used to being put down! Any ideas would be great πŸ™‚ Also, did yours develop allergies at some point or always have them?

    • mamacrow Says:

      a ring sling is helpful, because you can wear them to sleep and then put them down – a bit of practice and they won’t wake up straight away!
      do you have a nice big sofa? Because you can feed/rock bub off to sleep as normal, have him sleep on you till he’s deep under (his feet will twitch, you might see REM) then carefully put him on the sofa next to you, either paralell to your thighs, or hes too long for this, parallell to the lenght of the sofa. If he starts to stir, he may just settle down by you putting a hand on him.

      You may also find he won’t sleep long periods w/o your close presnese till he’s a bit older – totally normal, and it will come!

  10. woodturtle Says:

    I second the motion to learn your sleeping secrets! I’m still nursing, singing, bouncing and co-sleeping a 16 month old off to sleep.

    Found you via Twitter… and I’m loving your blog πŸ˜€

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