The first four weeks of newborn twins is a wild ride. The lack of sleepy is literally and undeniably exhausting. You will probably argue (a lot) with your spouse, you will be thankful/frustrated with who is at your house helping. Sometimes you will even look at those sweet, innocent newborns and attempt to recall a time when you felt like a normal functioning human being, but you’ll be too tired to remember that far back. A twin friend of mine says that she used to judge the type of day by how many times she had to reheat her cup of coffee before finishing it. Remember, sleep deprivation is a real thing. You will laugh about falling asleep standing up, but not until much later. It’s not funny, at least for now.
I will tell you that I have an unfair advantage. My early twenties were spent as a nanny for a set of twins, full time from 10wks – 1yr and part time from 1yr – 3yrs. Then full time for another family with 2yr old twins & a younger baby – until the twins were 5yrs. Twins are easier than a singleton, trust me! Survive the first 8wks and then work hard to make it past the 4-8mo stage and you have it made in the shade! A single baby
wants needs you to entertain them. Twins entertain each other.
There is very VERY little I can tell you, to help with those first couple weeks. Here is all I have to offer.
- If you have someone who will watch them while they are awake/sleeping, even for 30min – GO SLEEP. Don’t feel an obligation to visit – run, don’t walk to your bed.
- Go to bed early.
- Put them down drowsy but awake – at least once a day (this is investing in your future sleep!)
- Use a pack n play, co-sleeper (the full size, the mini won’t fit twins) or a hacked IKEA crib next to your bed.
- THE MOST IMPORTANT – when you hear them making noise during sleep, DON’T PICK THEM UP IMMEDIATELY. We all go through different sleep cycles. Babies will make noises, sometimes they aren’t really awake yet and sometimes they are, but if you leave them for a just a bit, they will go back to sleep. Picking them up WILL WAKE THEM UP. Resist, wait and listen.
What follows is the night routine that worked best for us.
- Babies wake
- I turn on our light, dimmed as much as possible. Sometimes I would just use the light from my iphone
- Dad changes the noisiest one and places on the bed next to me, then starts on 2nd
- I arrange myself and put the My Brestfriend Nursing Pillow on
- I install 1st Baby to the breast
- Dad finishes with 2nd Baby and hands to me
- I nurse them – while drinking a bottle of water
- As soon as a Baby finishes, I attempt to burp or if I’m really tired or the other Baby finishes at the same time, I wake Dad and have him burp
- Dad places Baby back in bed
- I burp the other Baby and place that one back in bed
I would watch TV the first two weeks then started moving to my iPhone with headphones/bluetooth after that. I watched Netflix & Amazon Prime and it was great!
If you have older children – beg someone to take them for the weekend. Swap off with the grandparents. Then you can spend a much more relaxed weekend with the Hubby. He might (should) go pick up breakfast in the mornings, OR you might decide to go to the grocery store at 6am when the Babies wake up! This was our favorite thing to do one morning on the weekend. Better parking, less crowded and we would pick up breakfast on our way home!
This time is your trial by fire. If (when) you make it through this, the rest of twindom is much easier. Until they are about 18mo and you have runners…