Nighttime feeding time with infant twins can sometimes feel like a waking nightmare. No one is sleeping well in the first place and it can take a lot of trial and error to get into your groove. It’s important to make sure your babies are eating enough and gaining the appropriate weight, but you don’t want them up all night when you need sleep to function.
The keys to smooth nighttime feedings are: showing up prepared and keeping the mood calm and quiet. During the daylight hours, you’ll want to keep them up after feedings for some baby “playtime”, but after dark it’s diaper change, eat, sleep, repeat.
Here are 5 tips for better nighttime feedings with your twins!
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1. Keep your twins on the same nighttime schedule
It might be hard but, if it works for your family, when one twin wakes, wake the other twin. Change one, then the other, and then feed them both at the same time.
What if you don’t have any help? Stagger the feedings by 30 minutes until you’ve mastered feeding and burping them at the same time. This goes for during the day as well, as that is key to keeping them on the same nighttime schedule.
2. Prepare nighttime supplies in advance
Keep a stash of your essential feeding and diapering supplies next to your preferred nighttime feeding spot. This way you’re not scrambling for a burp cloth mid-spit-up. Refill it every night as needed. Some things to keep in your nighttime feeding stash:
- Burp cloths
- Changing pad
- Baby wipes
- Water bottle
- Nursing pillow
If you are formula-feeding, pre-fill bottles with water before going to bed. Add the powdered formula to the bottles when they wake and feed them more quickly. No waiting for bottles to heat up! You can also prepare a batch of formula in a pitcher to keep in the fridge ready for nighttime feedings. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or toss it.
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3. Time your nighttime activities right
In the early days, use your schedule to determine when babies might wake up and set your alarm slightly before then. Grab your premade bottles or nursing pillow and when they first stir you will be ready for their nighttime feeding! It can be hard to give up even one minute of sleep when you’re getting such little, but it’s worth it for the smoother nighttime.
Change their diapers before the feeding to make sure they are nice and dry. When the feeding is over you can quickly place them back to sleep without interruptions. The last thing you want is a sleepy, milk-drunk baby woken by a cold wipe!
4. Alternate getting up for nighttime feedings
If you have a partner or other support, split the nighttime feeding so you each get 6-hour shifts. You’ll have to change, feed, and burp the babies by yourself but you will both get more rest this way. Nap in between feedings during your shift which will give you an extra hour or two of sleep.
Remember that mom and dad need to take care of themselves too! Work with your partner to make sure each of you gets the minimum sleep needed to function the next day. You can’t run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel on the way to work or passing out on the couch in the middle of tummy time. It’s easier said than done but making a plan to give each other the rest that’s needed (and bringing in extra help when all else fails!) will make life a lot more enjoyable and manageable.
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding you will want to hold off on this for a few weeks while establishing your supply. After a few days, you can begin waking just to pump while your partner feeds them a bottle of expressed milk. After six weeks your supply should be regulated and you can usually skip that nighttime feeding and start getting more shut-eye!
5. Keep things boring at nighttime
Don’t overstimulate the babies or make them think it is fun being awake in the middle of the night. Keep the room dark and speak softly or not at all. Keep your sound machine going and don’t turn on the tv. Babies thrive on routine and expectation and while no one is going to sleep well for a while, they will quickly get the idea that nighttime = sleep.
If you do find yourself with a changed, fed and wide-awake infant at 3am, don’t despair. Rock them and reassure them that they are safe. When they settle, lay them on their backs and place your hand lightly on their chest for a few minutes to soothe them off to sleep.
Nighttime feeding does get easier
As a parent, there will always be nights when you’re sure you’ll never get enough sleep again and it can feel extra hard with twins. Remember to prepare ahead of time and keep things quiet and cozy. With patience, time, and a bit of luck, you’ll soon get your twinnies into a good nighttime routine and everyone will get more sleep!
Dr. Brown’s Options Wide-Neck bottles are the perfect way to get started with feeding your newborn twins. We LOVE the Options bottles from Dr. Brown’s, which allow you to use the bottles with OR without the venting system. GENIUS! So when your babies get older and they aren’t gassy anymore, you can remove the vent and there’s suddenly a lot fewer parts to clean. The wide-neck Options bottles are also a great transition bottle from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, as the wide nipple more closely resembles the mother’s breast.
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