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Sleep Tips for Multiples – Part 1

Congratulations on the birth and/or impending arrival of your beautiful babies!  Whether it’s 2 or 3 plus, multiples are amazing and wonderful and … exhausting!

As a mother of two sets of twins, I assure you, sleep is the key factor in not only surviving multiples but thriving with multiples!  From day one – protect their sleep with a force that cannot be reckoned with. Yes, I sound crazy, but if you could have spent a day in my life with overtired twins and twin toddlers at home, I think you may understand the crazy!

Schedule

Children thrive on schedules and routines so knowing that alone should be enough to convince us to keep to a schedule with multiples! Not only do multiples thrive with schedules and routines, it helps the parents and gives them some time for self-care – which is extremely important for all mommas but especially those with multiples.

Once your little bundles of joy are born we recommend that you try to get them on a schedule of wake, eat, activity, sleep … there are a couple of reasons we like this schedule.

  1. It eliminates the sleep association of falling asleep “at the breast” or the bottle – if we continuously allow our little ones to fall asleep while feeding we are setting up a sleep association with eating/sleeping. As they get older they will require a feed every time they need to fall asleep and/or fall back asleep. Doesn’t sound ideal does it?
  2. It allows some time for their little bodies to digest a bit of their feed before sleep. When they are infants this isn’t such a big deal but as our infants become more biologically mature they often need a little time to work out those gas bubbles and/or digest a bit of that delicious milk so their tummy settles, therefore allowing their bodies to just relax when it comes to a sleep time.

Sleep Log It

I know I am asking a lot but I highly recommend that you keep track of each baby’s sleep.  When we are exhausted, overwhelmed, exhausted, bleary eyed, exhausted and exhausted, trying to remember what time Baby A, B, C or D (if you are so lucky) woke up is going to be next to impossible.  Knowing these details are imperative in being able to determine when to put the babies down for their next sleep time. If we wait until they are too tired we have missed the window but also if we try too early we are in for a fight as well…so LOG IT!

Another reason writing it down is helpful is eventually it might become very clear the babies’ sweet spot (as in when they go down great and have a great sleep etc.). It also helps you identify the more sensitive sleeper – whom we cater our sleep schedule to.

Adjusted Age

I have a confession – when my second set of twins were born I needed them to sleep so badly that I threw out all the adjusted age advice out the window and just went for it based on their birth date vs. their due date – so let me save you from the frustration, tears, more frustration, more tears and despair by saying it doesn’t work – PLEASE use their adjusted age!

What do I mean by that?  Full term for multiples is typically around 37-38 weeks so if you are lucky enough to make it there that is great but you still are two to three weeks away from the 40 week gestation period so cool your heels – you still have to wait!  If you were like me and delivered earlier than that (34 & 35 weeks) then you have an even longer time to wait.  When it comes to teaching our babies the skill of independent sleep we typically won’t start until they are 4 months of age. If your babies were born 4 weeks early then they are actually closer to 5 months old but 4 months adjusted before they are biologically mature enough to learn the skill.  For us weary and exhausted mommas, pull out the calculator app on your phone – we won’t judge – just make sure you always follow the guidelines based on adjusted age of your babies.

I know we have only scratched the surface on the complexity of getting our beautiful blessings a healthy sleep but I assure you starting with baby steps we will get there!

 

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Barbara Henderson

I have been where you are!

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