I've said it before and I'll say it again: I like my children best this way.
While they generally sleep well during the day, my two precious bundles of joy transform into rabid hellcats come 7pm. From 7pm to 11 or 12, they are screaming. They are fed and full and should presumably be snoozing away in a breastmilk coma, but instead they are awake and fussy and miserable. A call to my pediatrician's office last week netted me the obvious: A lot newborns are fussy in the evenings. Really? No shit. However, the nurse I spoke with did make a good suggestion. She mentioned that my milk supply is at its lowest point of the day in the early evening. After feeding them, I should immediately give each one an ounce of pumped breastmilk in a bottle to "top them off" to see if this helps. I tried it, and it worked to a degree. Instead of five hours of screaming, they cried for four.
Last night we tried a homegrown solution. We stuck Isabella's old sound machine (she's since been upgraded to a fancy new model with a digital clock display) under their pack-n-play in the living room in the hopes that the white noise would recreate womb sounds and lull them into a deep sleep so we could watch Survivor without the tv's closed captioning feature turned on. It worked for a little while, and we actually enjoyed over an hour of peace and quiet, although watching tv at the volume we needed to in order to hear it over the white noise was annoying. We'll probably try this again tonight.
Night screaming is hugely annoying and makes me want to flee to Mexico with only the clothes on my back, but it's nothing compared to their middle-of-the-night antics. I generally feed them for the last time each night between 10 and 11pm. Most of the time, they're asleep and settled into their bassinets by midnight. They'll wake up again to eat by 2am, and then again every 2.5 hours (lasting 3 hours is a rarity). My largest chunk of sleep is between the last feeding of the day and the first awakening-about 3 hours on a good night. After which point, by the time I feed, burp, change, and rock two babies back to sleep in the middle of the night, 1.5 hours have passed. For example, last night they went to sleep around 11:30pm. They were up again at 2am. I fed them, and got back to sleep by 3:30am. They were up again at 5am, and after feeding them, I was up for the day.
Why is it that they can last 3.5 and sometimes 4 hours in between feedings during the day, but at night, they're up every 2.5? I was so tired this morning that while paying bills, I sealed three envelopes without including the checks inside.
Please, little darlings, mama needs her sleep.
* Thanks for all the great suggestions and support. I tried keeping them to a strict three-hour schedule as some of you suggested. I also tried feeding them as much as possible in the early evening hours, including multiple nursing sessions and bottles of pumped breastmilk. Neither seems to enjoy the swing very much, and I have a low-frills sling that seems to swallow them up when I put them in it. I'm going to post about slings soon, but if you have a suggestions for a good one, please let me know! Unfortunately, no matter what tactic we tried during the day, they were still up all night long.
Please send Red Bull. Am dying a slow sleep-deprived death.