Twins- Do they keep you up all night?

by beagoodmom on February 14, 2007

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This is second in my series of posts on how to handle infant twins. Last time I talked about feeding twins. This time I am going to talk about twins and sleeping.

Q: Do they keep you up all night?
A: Ours didn’t, but some might. We figured out early on that we needed to lay some ground rules and try to make the best of the hand we were dealt. We started by reminding ourselves that babies are babies and you cannot expect them to behave like adults. They will need to eat in the middle of the night, we knew that. Our plan to get through the night feedings was this:

  1. Prepare formula in advance, storing it in a dorm fridge right in the nursery.
  2. Never take the kids out of the nursery in the middle of the night, each feeding was done in the dark, in silence and with an awake baby (see number 3.)
  3. Never feed a sleeping baby. If they fell asleep during a feeding, we would stop and change their diaper to wake them up a bit. Or if that failed, we would put them back in the crib. Usually that would cause them to wake up. Also, put them back to bed when they are groggy, but not asleep. They have to learn to self-sooth and fall back to sleep themselves, whether it be after a feeding or just when they wake up in the middle of the night.
  4. No playing in the middle of the night. No goo-goo. No gah-gah. Nighttime feedings are a business meeting, if the baby wants to make small talk, he/she can look you up at the breakfast table in the morning.
  5. Establish when night begins and ends. For us, all feedings between 7:30 pm and 6:00 am are “nighttime feedings” and must follow these rules.
  6. Establish patterns. We read to our kids since day one. In the beginning, it was sometimes hard to find the time after a long day, but we decided it was important for alot of reasons. It gave us time to hug and hold the babies. It was a calming transition between day and night; we felt that the sound of our voices reading long passages was soothing. And, most importantly to beagooddad, it allowed us to read the entire Chronicles of Narnia collection aloud.
  7. Set the mood for sleeping. We invested in room darkening shades at Home Depot. They were great, but some light got in around the edges…so we taped the edges to the window frame. Complete darkness. Perfect. We also played the same lullaby CD every night.
  8. Finally, and this is a hard one, BOTH parents should get up every time. Our goal was to feed both babies at the same time, meaning that we often woke up a sleeping baby because the other one said it was time to eat. To speed the process along, both of us needed to help. This also added to the team mentality. Neither of us could resent the other one for sleeping in the next room as we handled a feeding alone.

So, did this actually work for us? Yep. Both kids started sleeping thru the night at 10 1/2 weeks. They went cold turkey, almost. One night it was the usual thing – 2 bottles a night, the next night they both slept thru, the third night Pookie tried for one last nighttime feeding, the fourth night…no more nighttime feedings ever! To this day, they are great sleepers.

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