Yeah. I'm tired. Babies are nine months old tomorrow, and we are having sleep regression issues. I think we have a lot of reasons for it, but it's still frustrating. Here are some points about it:
1. Turtle has been sleeping through the night pretty regularly, but we've been swaddling him pretty much since birth. My hubby thought if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But I could tell he didn't like being swaddled and you can't do it forever. He'll be walking soon. And he was getting his arms out every night, so effectively he wasn't really swaddled anyway. So we've stopped swaddling him.
2. My husband is traveling a lot, so we have a constant rotation of helpers, all of whom do something different. Some don't let either baby cry at all. Some pick them up when they cry (we've never done this, we just try to feed them or comfort them in their cribs). My in-laws are now bringing Tadpole to bed with them. And yes, we DO tell them how to handle the babies, but it always starts evolving differently with different people.
3. The regression started with Tadpole waking up at 5am every morning. My husband started giving her a few ounces to get her back to sleep, then Turtle would get up at 6:30 and I'd get up for the day. Hubby kept insisting he didn't mind getting up for a few minutes at 5. Then Tadpole started getting up one other time during the night, usually any time between 11pm and 3am. Now sometimes it's three times. I try to let her have only a few sucks on the bottle and then give her a pacifier, and it works. So I don't think she's hungry. But she keeps doing it, night after night.
4. Sometimes one of them will wake up and cry for over an hour for no reason. I'll try to calm them, feed them, give them a pacifier, and eventually pick them up and rock them, and they just scream through all of it. It's very frustrating. Eventually I turn on the light, undress them, and look for some physical reason, and I never find anything. Could this be night terrors?
5. The babies napping habits are terrible, partly made worse by our constantly changing living situation (traveling husband, various visitors and guests, loud construction, etc.). When I have a stretch of time alone, I get them on a fairly regular nap schedule at 9:30 and around 2ish, but they traditionally have take short naps - 30-45 minutes, or sometimes an hour or a bit more when I'm lucky. They often nap in the stroller or car instead of in their cribs. Even when I have them sleeping regularly at home, the construction workers wake them up often.
6. We don't have a bedroom for Turtle. He goes to sleep in a pack-n-play in our room, then we move him when we go to bed - to the office when we don't have guests, and to the living room when we do. This can be problematic for many reasons - the cat wakes him up, if Tadpole gets up first, she can't go play in the living room, etc. We won't have a bedroom for him for several months, probably.
Last night went like this:
7:30pm - babies go to bed, obviously tired. (They got up at 5am yesterday morning).
10pm - I go to bed.
10:15 - Turtle wakes up screaming. I try to calm him, and eventually pick him up and feed him (my MIL put him to bed and he only drank half his bottle, so I knew he was probably hungry).
12 - Tadpole is up. I go give her an ounce or so, and then her pacifier, and she goes back to sleep.
3 - Tadpole's up again. I hear one of my in-laws go, so I don't know what they did.
5 - Tadpole's up again. Ditto.
5:15 - Turtle is up. I try to calm him and comfort him by putting my hands on him and patting him, but nothing works. I let him cry, and he goes back to sleep on his own after about 5-10 minutes. (He did this yesterday, and when I tried to rock him, he woke up even more, so I knew that wouldn't work).
6:15 - Tadpole starts talking in her crib. FIL goes and brings her to bed with them. She keeps talking, so I know there's no way she's going back to sleep.
6:30 - Turtle wakes up screaming. The night is over.
It's ok with my in-laws here - handling this many wake-ups with three people is ok. It's not TOO bad when my husband is here, but it's not great, and he's not going to be here much in the next month. I really just want them to sleep, rather than constantly worrying about who's going to help me. I want a plan for when my in-laws leave that doesn't involve rocking and feeding and crying five times per night.
In general, I feel help is a double-edged sword. It's AWESOME to have people around to play with the babies, get up a few times at night, and let me have some free time and some sanity. The problem is, the babies and I all get used to having extra people around who have nothing else to do but play with them. They don't keep their normal schedules and routines. My helpers tend not to respect the rules and limits my husband and I have worked out. They spoil the babies, give them whatever they want, don't put them to nap at the right times, etc. It's a lot of work keeping on top of multiple people and making sure everyone is doing everything right. I let a lot of things slide, and it comes back to bite me in the arse every time.
So here are my questions:
1. What would you do with the slowly regressing night-time habits we're developing?
2. How do you handle help? Do you boss your friends and family around, or give them leeway to do things their way? Do you chastise them when they don't listen to you, or just give thanks that someone is here to help at all?
3. Do you think 7:30 is too late of a bed-time? Too early?
Thanks for any help!