Newborn Twins Sleep/Feed Schedule + Ollie Swaddles
As soon as I found out that I was having twins I quickly realized that I needed to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible for a smooth transition into not only breastfeeding, but a solid sleep schedule as well! The number one piece of advice that I received from other twin mamas was to KEEP THEM ON THE SAME SCHEDULE and after being a #twinmom myself for less than two weeks I can already say that I wholeheartedly agree with that advice.
While I was still pregnant, Ben and I both read Babywise and agreed that we would follow their format for the most part, with a little bit of flexibility, when it came to sleep training our twins.
We have been super lucky that I've been able to tandem feed since the second day in the hospital so that the twins quickly adjusted to a similar sleep/feed/wake cycle!
Since we've been home we've been on a strict three hour feeding schedule during the day. For example, if the twins wake up at 6 am, we then get them undressed down to a diaper to keep them awake and alert and I tandem feed them for about 15 minutes. After 10-15 minutes they are usually ready for a burp, or if they've fallen back asleep already in that amount of time, then Ben will change their diaper to wake them back up! After they are awake again, Ben hands them back to me to nurse again for a few minutes until they either fall asleep or want nothing to do with eating anymore. Then we burp a second time and change diapers if needed. That puts us at about 6:30 am when all is said and done. During the day, we try to interact with the boys for the short time that they might be awake after a feed by holding them, talking to them, singing, etc. We also take advantage of this time to maybe go on a walk or give them a sponge bath. This is also the best time to put them in their car seats and get out of the house for a doctor's appointment or to run errands, because then we know we have a solid 2.5 hours before the next feed!
Nighttime is a little bit different. Right now we don't have an extensive nighttime routine since the babes are still a little too small to take submerged baths or be read to or anything like that. The one thing that we absolutely do after the last feed of the day and before we put the boys in their beds to sleep is put their Owlet socks on and SWADDLE them! Specifically, in The Smarter Swaddle from The Ollie World. Swaddling the boys in the hospital using the hospital blankets and at home the first couple of nights using our softie muslin blankets was a nightmare through the night, because they would both kick and punch and wiggle their hands free and then scratch or otherwise wake themselves up. The night that we switched to our Ollie swaddles was a whole new world. The Ollie swaddles are made of a super soft material with a little bit thicker fabric that has some stretch to it. They have three velcro bars across them to keep the blanket secure all through the night and even an elastic on the bottom to tie up the extra fabric! The boys look like cute little Chipotle burritos all swaddled up and they fall asleep (and stay asleep) so quickly with their arms wrapped away from their faces and wrapped up tight and squishy like they were in the womb.
One night, we had a little mishap with a loose diaper and some pee leaking through onto the swaddle. One of my finer moments as a mom including freaking out about the baby not being able to go back to sleep at 2am without the Ollie and making Ben use my hair dryer to dry off the swaddle so that we could continue using it through the night instead of going back to a normal blanket! Now, I recommend having a backup to avoid scenarios like this one ha!
At night, we try to let the boys sleep just a little bit longer than during the day. Right now, I set my alarm for every 3.5 hours, but they still usually wake up around the 3 hour mark, which is fine. Babywise loosely suggests that you can add one extra hour at night for each week of life, so I'll extend my alarm time to every 4 hours when the boys are 4 weeks, and so on and so forth. During the first two months, I'll continue to feed "on demand", but it's nice to know that if they sleep a little longer than usually that's a natural progression towards sleeping through the night, which is the ultimate goal! My personal goal is that the babies can sleep close to 5-6 hours at night in a row by the time that Ben goes back to work. (He has two months off!)
We also try to keep the boys calm and sleepy as much as possible during nighttime feeds. We still have to burp them and change diapers in the middle of feeds just to keep them awake enough to fill their bellies, but we don't turn on any extra lights and instead of playing with them when they are all done, we immediately swaddle them back up and place them to bed to soothe themselves back to sleep. As a new mom, I usually hover over them waiting for hiccups to go away or eyes to close, but at least they are learning to sleep without being rocked or cuddled or held at all!
I don't use a pacifier yet, because I'm trying to get a really strong foundation of breastfeeding first and don't want any nipple confusion, but my pediatrician is pro-pacifier during sleep per recommendations from the AAP. So, we will see if I change my mind in the near future. I'd also eventually like to replace one of the nighttime feeds with a bottle feed so that I can continue sleeping and Ben can take a turn in the night every once in a while, but I'm having trouble deciding when I should start pumping in addition to breastfeeding as well. Any experiences and advice is welcome regarding pacifiers and/or pumping!
So, there you have it! Our newborn twins sleep/feed/wake schedule to date at just 11 days old! Let's hope it continues to be this predictable as they continue to grow! :)