A lot of my mummy and twin mummy friends are asking me about how I’ve dealt with the twins when it comes to bedtime. That terrifying and glorious word. Bedtime. From newborn to now (they’re four and a half months old already), the bedtime routine and night feeds have gradually changed, little by little. And before I forget the twin sleep training we did, I wanted to write what we’ve done down, so that it might be of help to other twin mummies and daddies.
I’m happy to report that I’m now becoming one of those people that looks forward to 7pm, the golden hour of silence in our house, when finally all little people are safe in dreamland. But it’s been a struggle to get there.
Only recently have the twins started to behave themselves and sleep decent chunks at night. There’s much less night waking now and it feels like, finally, we can know what to expect from our evenings.
But it’s been a long road!
Here’s how we’ve done nights since the beginning:
Newborn – 4 weeks (1 month old)
In the beginning, we had no idea what to do! There was no routine. There was just crying. The first four weeks were absolutely, completely testing.
The crying was constant, the babies were nocturnal and there were nights where I had a maximum of 10 minutes sleep. Yes, 10 minutes. The thought of it makes me want to cry!
We spent the first few weeks both on duty at night, both jumping out of bed at the first whine and shoving bottles into mouths, changing nappy after nappy and both being generally exhausted. I know this isn’t very helpful, but it’s true. The beginning was just a mess where the babies fed every two hours or less and feeds seemed to merge into one another.
4- 8 weeks (2 months old)
When we finally figured out that there was no point in us both being exhausted we started a night shift routine. This involved me going to bed promptly at 8.30/9pm and then Seb waking me up at 1 in the morning to go to bed and let me take over for the rest of the night.
This meant that we both got a chunk of sleep, but it did mean we had to deal with both babies on our own. Something that we might as well conquer our fear of early! I should add that this only worked because I was expressing and mix feeding.
At this stage they would feed every 3 hours or so. 6pm, 9pm, 12am, 3am, 6am. Except that often during my shift they would be very disturbed, grizzling and finding it hard to settle, plus I had to express. So I’d often spend my shift in and out of bed, in and out of the kitchen and front room, breasts hooked up to the expressing machine.
8 – 12 weeks (3 months old)
By three months we were determined to get the twins into more of an official routine and so started the nightly ritual that we’re still committed to (we’ll probably be doing it until they’re eighteen!).
6pm, start feed
6.20pm, bath one baby followed by massage
6.30pm, bath other baby followed by massage
6.40pm, feed both babies
7pm, lights out, put babies to bed
10.30pm, dream feed both babies
11pm – 7am -Night waking was happening around 2-4 times in the small hours at this stage, so I’d settle babies with extra milk when they woke.
12 – 16 weeks (4 months old)
I started to reduce the amount of milk I was giving them when they woke in the middle of the night, and over a few weeks they realised it wasn’t really worth waking up for.
Then I moved onto giving them dummies if they woke.
16 – 20 weeks
The babies seem to sleep through most nights at the moment. Praise be! The dream feed is the last time they eat and now it’s all about focusing on a decent day time routine.
I’m really nervous about writing this though as I’m sure it’ll be sod’s law that as soon as I publish this they’ll have their four month regression and start waking every hour and a half again!
Tips for surviving nights with twins
My best tips for surviving nights mostly involve mind over matter…
- Don’t expect sleep and you won’t feel resentful that you haven’t had any
- Set a shift pattern with your partner so you can both get some sleep – you HAVE to work as a team with twins!
- Try and have everything you need ready before your shift starts; clean bottles, bibs, muslins, milk!
- Don’t be afraid to reduce their night time feeds and settle with dummies so they learn not to expect milk.
- Stock up on things that will help you stay awake – I ate Cadbury Toffee Eclairs like my life depended on it, as I was often nodding off during the feeds. Chomping on something tasty helped keep me awake… although the sugar rush didn’t help me sleep much after!
- Keep the faith! It will get better.
What are your tips for getting babies to sleep through the night? I’d love to know!