No one can really prepare you for what it is like to go night after night without consistent sleep. I look back at those first few months of being a brand new parent to twins and it is all a blur.
I was running on autopilot breast pumping, making bottles, burping babies, and wiping baby butts. I was bumping into walls and speaking gibberish.
Just when I thought I could not go another night without sleep, something amazing happened…both girls slept for 6 hours straight! Now 6 hours of sleep might not sound a lot to some people, but every new parent knows the joy that uninterrupted sleep can bring. I remember the first time that it happened, I woke up in a panic thinking that something was wrong with the girls. Then my next thought was to ask Chris if he had feed the girls. In the end, they had just slept 6 glorious uninterrupted hours. It was life changing.
Our girls have been amazing sleepers ever since. Now they sleep 12 hours each night. I’m not sure if it was something that I did, or if they were just programmed to need a lot of sleep like their mama. Whatever the reason, I knew I had to share my tips of how I got twins to sleep through the night.
Before I was a stay-at-home mom, I was an elementary school special education teacher. My students thrived on a predictable routine. My whole day was structured around 30 minute increments. When my girls came home from the hospital, it was only natural to stick to a consistent routine. The girls ate every 3 hours, then played until sleepy, then slept. We followed this routine every day for months. Eat, Play, Sleep, Repeat! I believe creating a predictable pattern allowed the girls to be more comfortable with what to expect next.
When one baby woke up to eat, we always woke the sleeping baby up to eat too. I quickly mastered the art of feeding two babies at once. Over time, both twins fell into the same feeding pattern and were hungry at the same time. It’s so important to get twins on the same schedule. Otherwise you will be feeding babies all day long!
My twins were born 9 weeks early and only weighed 3 pounds at birth. Their tiny little stomachs could not hold enough food to last all night. I’ve heard that once a baby weighs 10 pounds then they are big enough to sleep through the night. I don’t know how much this claim is based on science and how much is just personal experience, but it worked for us. Once our girls reached about 10 pounds they were able to go the whole night without a feeding. Have patience while your baby grows. Eventually they won’t need that night time feeding and hopefully you will be able to catch up on some valuable sleep.
A swaddle is supposed to simulate the comforts and security of being in the womb. I learned how to do a tight swaddle when my girls were in the NICU with just a receiving blanket. Once my girls hit 7 pounds we busted out the Swaddleme and never looked back. Eventually they learned to sleep without needing to be swaddled but in those first few months a good swaddle is priceless.
I sleep with a fan blowing by my bed every night. I’m not sure if it’s the gentle breeze on my face or if it is the soft whisper of the circulating blades, but just like my girls, I’m a great sleeper. I’ve mentioned the importance of a sound machine in Products for Twins 0-6 Months. We use an air purifier in the twins’ room during every nap and bedtime. I like that it cleans the air and gives a background noise that helps muffle sounds from around the house.
I know people have different opinions on pacifiers. Pacifiers are part of our bedtime routine. Our girls only use them during sleeping times, or when very upset. They provide comfort as they fall asleep. I especially liked that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using pacifiers when sleeping as a way to prevent SIDS.