Help! Newborn twins and how to get some sleep?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 09-13-2011, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi:)  I have nearly 2 week old twins and wondering if it is to be expected to be doubly tired?  I am just wondering what other twin mom's do to get some sleep at night.  Right now they start out the night in a mini co-sleeper/bassinet in the living with my husband (he is a night owl).  I get about 3 hours of sleep to start the night.  After they wake up for the first time it seems to go downhill.  I nurse them in bed, which seems to take quite a lot of time to get them back to sleep, then place them in a co-sleeper next to the bed.   They sleep fitfully, always making noises, which keeps me from getting sound sleep and then they usually wake up after just an hour or two at the most.  After that waking it is really tough, it seems they really don't go into a deep sleep again which means I am constantly nursing one or the other or both until the morning.  Any insights?  Do you think I should have them sleep in the mini co-sleeper in the living room all night?  Are they waking more because they can smell me once they are in the room with me?  Should I move the co-sleeper in my room farther away from the bed so we don't disturb each other as much?  Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you in advance:)  Also, I do try to feed them at the same time but after that second waking it seems awful to keep waking them up if it is just one that is restless but I just don't know what to do???

Wife to my loving husband, James.  Mother to a beautiful daughter, Jules (8/6/08).  Expecting twin girls September 19th, Jade and Jemma.



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#2 of 14 Old 09-14-2011, 06:24 AM
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It was a long time ago that I was in your situation, but I feel your pain :-)


We had a tiny apartment when our boys were born and there wasn't room for a cosleeper in our room so we had them in the same bassinet in hall just outside our room. When one would wake, I would take him to the living room to nurse on the couch and put him back on the way back to bed. They rarely woke at the same time, but I loved it when one would wake as the other was just going down, then I knew I had at least two hours. I found twe all slept better when they were not our room, but somewhere close. They also slept better when they slept in the same crib and could sense each other.


Hope this helps! FWIW, this stage does pass and it does get easier to handle.

: wife to James, MoM to R babyboy.gif and D babyboy.gif  (Aug 2007) and E babygirl.gif (Nov 2009) and Y babyboy.gif (April 2012)

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#3 of 14 Old 09-14-2011, 01:12 PM
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No advice, just wanted to commiserate!  hug2.gif I have 2 and a half week old twins and am dealing with the exact same type of situation- I'm such a zombie right now!  Hoping this stage passes quickly--- hugs to you, mama!

RN-BSN student mama to my wildchild, DS, 6 bouncy.gif....with twin boys on the way October 4, 2011!

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#4 of 14 Old 09-14-2011, 03:50 PM
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I can commiserate, too.  My twins are 6 mo.  One has been sleeping through the night every few days or so lately, but also dealing with a cold so I have hope she will become more consistent shortly.  The other still wakes very frequently.  They behave as two breastfed infants would, with unique temperaments and needs for suckling.  Bottle feeding has helped some people, but that is not for me.  I have found that surprisingly, you get used to living with very little sleep, but you also have a very diminished capacity for what you are able to do.  I used to be able to multi-task very well.  Now, I have trouble focusing on one sole task and absolutely cannot have my attention divided and still function.  Simple math is difficult, and I used to be a Math major in college.  My whole family knows not to expect too much of me.  My daughter wrote me a darling poem for my birthday on how my brain is dead, but I shouldn't forget she loves me. LOL  I have trouble speaking in full sentences that make sense.  I believe that someday they will sleep, and I will, too.  That hope gets me through this time.  I survived all summer because I would have my 14 yo DS take the girls downstairs at 7 AM and I would sleep until 9.  Dh takes them down on the weekends.  Now I have to drive kids to school in the am, so 14 yo wakes the boys up and they get ready, I get up about 10-20 min before time to leave (7:10-7:20ish), drive them and try to lay down when I get home if I can.  12 yo dd is at home doing virtual school this year so I don't have to bundle the twins and 3 yo up and take them with on the 10 min trip around town.  (The twins were not the motivating factor for this decision, but it is a perk of having her home.)  3 yo is usually still asleep, and babies often go back to sleep in their swings for an hour or so while DD has her virtual classes.  Get sleep where and when you can!


As far as your specific questions, I didn't find it helpful to try to wake one when the other woke.  The one who was woken was not interested in nursing at that time, so it just made us all frustrated.  We cosleep because the less active I am while night parenting the easier it is for me to get back to sleep.  I have trouble falling asleep some times and getting out of bed for more than a bathroom trip would leave me awake for hours.


Honestly, you are doing far better than we were at that stage.  Even now, I am lucky if I get 2 hours in a row.  They wake frequently because their stomachs are the size of their fists.  They need to eat, and you need to feed to keep building up your breastmilk supply.  At about 3 mo it got dramatically easier for me.  I know that seems like a long time from where you are now.  I have always thought that having realistic expectations for infant (non)sleep was more helpful than struggling to change what is and probably becoming frustrated and angry that they are too little to cooperate with your attempts.  


Mom to eight!!  Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.

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#5 of 14 Old 09-14-2011, 07:00 PM
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You get three hours of sleep straight?! Lucky! I didn't get that till mine were well over a year old!

You're doing great, mama. Just keep nursing nursing nursing. It will get better.

Mama to twin boys born at 30 weeks. 5/21/10. 
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#6 of 14 Old 09-17-2011, 08:59 PM
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do you swaddle them? i found good swaddles make good roommates in my house. and a lot less of one waking the other. mine slept swaddled and with a tight towel roll in between them, they could be up against that and their twin the other other side but not wake eachother with kicks and such.


how do you feel about doing one bottle of pumped milk a night? your hubby could feed them that and lay them back down and maybe you could sleep 4 hours and then you;d have more sleep than all of us and feel something slightly resembling approaching normal?


3 hours straight  is pretty good really, its just life with newborns. you will amaze yourself how you can in fact do it, i am still shocked. mine are 9 months and i cant even tell you how i slept last night, too many nights just blur together, but i feel good, tired but good, proud of the hard work im capable of

partners.gif 2twins.gif  So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!

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#7 of 14 Old 09-17-2011, 10:04 PM
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Ahh...been there. It does get better but I and DH were walking zombies for months.  Its all trial and error.  Hope you are doing better!

Married 2002.  Di-di twin girls 2010.  Mono-di twin girls 2012.

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#8 of 14 Old 09-20-2011, 12:31 AM
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I didn't care for swaddling and didn't do much of it at home but it totally helped them! I also let them sleep together in the same bassinet. I tried the co-sleeper but our bed was so high and it was hard to reach over and get the fussy baby without twisting up my back muscles. So I gave up the co-sleeper and just got bassinets. Around 3 months I discovered that the swing was really helpful in getting them to sleep. I'll admit they spent many a night sleeping in their swings. Hey, whatever would help me catch a few more Zzzz's I was okay with.


Mine are only 6 months so I don't have tons of experience or advice but I'd say being consistent has been the biggest contributing factor in keeping my girls asleep. It seems so long ago that they were newborns. I thought that stage would never end. It would be nice or at least a change of pace for me if mines woke up separately. But no, they wake each other up and I have 2 screeching owls to contend with. 


Good luck! 

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#9 of 14 Old 09-20-2011, 10:08 AM
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Oh dear. That is so so hard.


It will get better.


My twins are three months now, and it's still hard, but they get more anchored to day and night as time goes on. (less "okay, Mama, I'm awake. Let's play" in the middle of the night, though last night was an exception.


I have two suggestions:


1) Find a way to get some sleep. Either at night (can your husband or someone else take a feeding? can someone else come, either at night or during the day, and take the babies and take care of everything, then just bring you the babies when it's time to eat?) Even an hour or two will make the world a different place. And even if it's just once. But remember that you're not caught up, just falling less behind.


2) Experiment. It's a sucky recommendation, I'm afraid. But experiment with light levels, sleeping places, timings. What's going to work for your family isn't necessarily going to match any particular pattern.


3) Remember that you are doing great, and you just did an awesome very very hard thing. And that's amazing. Good work, and it will get better.


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#10 of 14 Old 09-20-2011, 01:43 PM
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It is hard, and I promise it gets better. The first three weeks were really intense for us, but it leveled off after a bit.


I recommend swaddling, as others have.  Personally, I used a large flannel baby blanket, and learned to make a nice "baby burrito". I swaddled my kids for nearly a year, although one actually asked much later to be "wrapped up" on a regular basis.


If you aren't using pacifiers yet, those are also an option for at night.


I found for the first (I'm guessing 3) months I woke up the other baby when one would wake up, nurse both, and then hope for more sleep overall. After the three month mark I only nursed the one who was awake, and then didn't need the huge nursing pillow or my husband to help me.


Make sure you sleep at least once during the day when the babies sleep.  That you are getting about three hours at the start of the night is exhausting for you, but actually a good sign. Their long sleep is at the point of the day when it should be (nighttime).  That long sleep will lengthen in time as they get older.


Hang in there!

Twin boys (2/05) and little sister (10/07)
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#11 of 14 Old 09-20-2011, 06:39 PM
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Well, I recommend you kick your husband to the couch.




No really, there is logic behind this. Get some bumpers for each edge of the bed. I found these to work out wonderful, still working at 6 months (DOn't be afraid to buy the clearance ones, they go under your sheet so who cares if they are a bit yellowed, they turn that way eventually anyways). Then put one baby on each side of the bed with you in the middle. Now use the side lying position. As soon as you hear a baby fussing scoot towards that baby and feed it as fast as you can so he doesn't wake up fully. Same process with the other baby. Don't turn the lights on! If they don't have to cry to get your attention, then get moved around getting out of the cradle, then jumbled all around trying to get the nursing pillow right and the light right and blah blah blah, then just maybe they will dream feed.

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#12 of 14 Old 09-21-2011, 08:25 AM
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I totally agree with the previous poster.  Our solution was a little different - we have a king sized mattress and queen sized mattress on the floor - making one giant wall-to-wall bed.  I sleep between the two babies on the big mattress and hubby sleeps on the other mattress.  I literally roll from side to side to nurse and it has been a lifesaver!  I don't need to fully wake up (most of the time) and neither do the babies since I'm able to get to them quickly.  I use rolled up blankets to help keep the babies propped on their side to nurse and now to keep them from rolling and scooting all over the bed - mine are 8 months though, you still have awhile before that happens!

Married to my love love.gif since 08/12/10, mama to E REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif04/06/01 and twin girls M and Z slingtwin.gif 01/08/11

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#13 of 14 Old 09-22-2011, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank u everyone for ur responses!  It is nice to know I am not alone.  Unfortunately things have gotten worse and I am no longer getting a long stretch at the beginning of the night ... they are now waking after about 2/2.5 hours (often one will sleep longer but the other is up) then it is downhill after that.  It seems they don't really fall into a deep sleep after that which means I am not sleeping but a few mins here and there from about 12:30 on.  I am soooo exhausted and hit a wall last night ... I was about to lose it but my husband took the girls after I nursed them and let me sleep for 2 hours.  Of course the girls didn't sleep much during that time which makes me feel awful for them and my husband!  Anyone else have babies that sleeps well only in ur arms?  It seems that one baby in particular sleeps much better in someone's arms and then is restless when set down.  I think I am just venting now:)  Thank you for taking the time to listen and respond.  I keep telling myself this will get better.

Wife to my loving husband, James.  Mother to a beautiful daughter, Jules (8/6/08).  Expecting twin girls September 19th, Jade and Jemma.



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#14 of 14 Old 09-22-2011, 01:23 PM
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My twins are 6.5 weeks old, and also lost their original longer night stretch.  They sleep together in a crib a foot from my bed, usually swaddled (which seems to cut down on startling awake).  They wake anything from every hour to the occasional 3-4 hour stretch (not seen every night).  The things I've found saving me are: tandem nursing most of the day and at night, just picking up whoever fusses to nurse lying in bed; if, as so often, we both fall asleep, I rotate out one baby for the next when fussing begins; putting on doubled cloth diapers at night, and changing only if I think they are dirty (rather than wet) or feel alert enough; and (now that their necks are strong enough) trying at least once in the afternoon to nurse them in a double-prone position, supported by pillows and my arms - ending in a nap for all of us.  They sleep really well that way, as do I; we all stay secure; and the 1 to 2.5 hours of sleep does wonders for my sanity and peace.



Julie, wife to my dearest friend reading.gif reading.gif since August 2009.  Mama to babyboy.gif Oliver & Lydia babygirl.gif, born August 2011.  Enjoying: slingtwin.gif and femalesling.GIFdh_malesling.GIFnursex2.gif 2twins.gifcd.gif, and looking forward to making baby food carrot.gif, and continuing to watch my wee ones grow  babyf.gifbabyf.gif.  

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