- Keep nighttime feeds darker and quieter, so that maybe your children will more strongly associate nighttime with dark, quiet, and sleep. As I mentioned in a previous post, our lives with the twins at first seemed like an endless cycle of eat, diaper, sleep fitfully, repeat. When they woke for their nighttime feedings, sometimes my husband and I figured if we were up, we might as well be up: we would turn on the bedside lamps to see what we were doing, sometimes even the TV, sound low, to entertain us. (One of our sons was notorious for nodding off during a bottle and could take 40 minutes to drink it, and both boys usually fell asleep while nursing, so we admittedly sometimes got bored.)
- Get over your fears, either of having your children too close to you or too far from you, and do what you need to do to get some sleep yourself! I've also said that I wish we'd had the babies closer at hand. This is at first, when you are still recovering from birth and when the babies wake more often. But as time goes on, you may actually wish your children were not so close! Newborns, surprisingly to me, can be incredibly loud when sleeping. Ours made all kinds of noises. It was like trying to sleep in a room with two wild turkeys. At one point I thought about moving their pack 'n' play or sleep rocker into the walk-in closet. (We were blessed to have my parents living with us for the first two and a half months, so putting them in the second bedroom wasn't an option yet.) But I was paranoid that something from a shelf above would drop on them.
- Do your best to judge when your babies really need the nutrition during the night, or if they just need soothing. Also, give careful consideration to what kind of sleep training method you may want to use, when the time comes, and then stick with it. It provides consistency for your babies, and a clear focus for you. In my Parenting Book List I mention using The Baby Sleep Solution. However, I think I tried the techniques too soon, and both the babies and myself were frustrated by trying to cut down on nighttime feeds. But then I gave up and let too much time pass before trying again. I still had such a strong image in my mind of my twins as frail, premature, NICU babies, that I didn't realize they were being overfed (and having spit-up problems to boot). They continued to have at least one bottle in the middle of the night up until they were 6 months old. They probably could have gone without earlier.
Best wishes and sweet dreams!