Tips for making the night go more smoothly:
- Have a plan. Are you going to nurse every feed by yourself? Will your partner take any of the feeds with a bottle? Will you each be assigned one twin? Decide before hand so that you don't feel as confused at 3 a.m.
- Write it down. Keep a log for feeds, timing, diapers, etc. This way you won't forget which twin has eaten, which has been changed, and when. Sometimes it's easier to detect patterns (later, in the light of day) when looking at what you wrote down in a sleepy fog. (Here is a link to the chart we used: a blank log, and a sample log with filled in details.) I actually made up a document using two charts on each page, so that one page would have all the info for both boys side by side for a 24 hour period. I printed up tons of sheets front and back and put them into a 3-ring folder, which I kept by my bed. This later became a useful note-taking place when I didn't have time to do a baby book!)
- Prepare as much in advance as you can before going to bed. Make sure you have enough diapers and wipes on hand. If nursing, keep your nursing pillow, your nipple shields, burp cloths, and whatever else you use as close to hand as possible. If using formula, see below.
- Pre-measure powdered formula! At first we used the ready-to-drink liquid formula the NICU gave us. That was pretty expensive, so we switched to powder. We learned the hard way: at first I would mix up any bottles needed for night time and put them in a mini-fridge in our room. But then they needed to be warmed. It's no fun holding a screaming newborn in one arm while waiting for an old faucet to produce hot water to warm a bottle in the other. Spending a few seconds to pour the pre-measured amount of powder into a pre-measured bottle of water and shaking it up was infinitely better.
- Use gowns or zippered pajamas! I abhor trying to match up snap buttons on a squirming baby at 4 a.m.
- Switch to overnight diapers as soon as possible so that you won't have to change diapers as frequently during the night.
- Find a spot as close to you as you are comfortable with for your babies to sleep. We started with a pack-n-play, but they were so uncomfortable with the flat angle. We often resorted to a sleep and rock, a bouncy seat, and one night even wrestled our swing from the living room to the bedroom, desperate for anything that would soothe them in the middle of the night! We weren't comfortable co-sleeping as an ongoing thing (just every now and then when needed) but they do make sleepers that can attach directly to the side of your bed. (Here is one, it's expensive, but just to give you an idea of what's available.) Or you could even just place whatever you're using right next to the bed. We were getting out of bed, into bed, out of bed, into bed, like musical beds. Not good.
- Pacifiers. If your child won't take one, oh well. If you're really into the "no sleep props" or "it's a crutch," thing, oh well. Ours loved theirs and sometimes all I needed to do in the middle of the night was reach over and replace the pacifier or wiggle it in their mouth and they felt soothed. It's true they became so attached to them that later we needed to train them not to need it, but for us, it really helped early on. Wubbanubs highly recommended.
|Our little guys with one of the pacifiers from the NICU.|
- GET HELP. If at all possible try to recruit family or friends or your spouse. Could someone give the babies a bottle of pumped milk or formula for their evening feed while you get a head start on sleep? Is your spouse able to do any of the middle of the night feeds themselves? Is anyone available to come watch the babies and help in the mornings or afternoons while you catch some sleep that obviously won't be gotten in the middle of the night?
Best wishes and lots of prayer for those of you out there with multiple little ones waking all night!