does/Did anyone else feel like they get no sleep with twins? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I have posted about this a couple times and now coming back for more.  I am just soooo tired and unsure of myself ... are we doing something wrong?  I feel like a bit of a failure when it comes to babies/kids and sleep.  My 3 year old still has trouble sleeping through the night, ugh!!  So, I have 10 week old twin girls and feel like I am sleeping maybe about 4 hours accumulated a night (not enough!).  They do sleep a 4-6 hr stretch at the beginning of the night (yay) but then not again the rest of the night (boo).  I usually side lie and nurse the one who wakes up first and then have tried a variety of things after the other one wakes up.  I have tried rolling back and forth between them but I have one who seems to want to be on the boob all night so that gets tricky.  I have tried nursing them together then putting them in the co-sleeper ... one of my girls will sleep pretty well in there but the other not so much.  Also it is difficult to transfer them without waking them.  I have enlisted my husband's help but then we are both not getting sleep.  I have even tried putting my boob loving baby in the swing at night but doesn't seem to work really.  They have such different sleep patterns that it feels like I am literally up all night with one or both!!  Help!!!


Ok so my questions are ...

1. Am I doing something terribly wrong?

2. How do u go about nursing 1 or both twins at night?

3. How do u transfer them successfully?

4. Their long stretch is in a bassinet in the living room; do u think they would sleep better away from me the rest of the night? i.e. back in the bassinet after feedings?

5. They usually nap in a swing and vibrating chair; is this affecting their sleep habits negatively at night?

6. What has worked for u?


Thank u so much for reading:)

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 7 Old 11-13-2011, 04:40 PM
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I understand about the sleep thing.  When my twins were new, I remember the first night I slept 2 straight hours-- felt like I could conquor the world! for about 10 minutes... 

I remember the exhaustion, of just getting one to sleep and having the other wake up, the result being I didn't sleep neither did husband.


I will tell you what we did.  I hope you will find some answers that can help.


To start the night, both babies started out with clean dipers (husband's job). Babies were swaddled and brought to me on the EZ 2 Nurse (twin nursing pillow). I nursed babies until they were good and asleep. He came and carefully transferred each baby into their sleeping space.


When one awoke in the night, we (meaning husband) changed both babies' diapers, re-swaddled, and brought to me for another nurse. He would transfer each baby again once good and asleep.

When babies didn't fall back to sleep easily we would rock or walk with awake one in a dark room.


Not that it works for everyone, but for my family, a nice, snug swaddle is our signal for sleep. We use just a large, thin flannel baby blanket.


When babies were old enough to have longer streaches at night, we started only dealing with the awake baby. I would go get baby, nurse in a side-lying position, and usually fall back asleep. When other baby awoke, I moved current nursling back to the crib or to husband's chest , and nursed the other in a side lying position. Many mornings found husband with a baby on his chest and me nursing the other.  It makes for long nights, not very good sleep for either adult. It does get better, given enough time.


Good luck with your babies, and I hope you find a way to catch some good sleep.  My boys are 6 1/2 now. I look back on those days and have a hard time imagining how the time has passed so quickly.  

Twin boys (2/05) and little sister (10/07)
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#3 of 7 Old 11-13-2011, 05:10 PM
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It's hard hard hard.


No, you're not doing anything wrong. Two babies is really tough. You're doing great. Which doesn't mean you don't need something to change. And you need to wake up your husband when you need it. I often try to muscle through and get my husband some sleep. But you being too exhausted and burnt out to function helps no one (a lesson I should do better to learn; I spend too much time way too grumpy)


If possible, go to sleep when you get them down at that first point in the night. Even if it's absurdly early. That little extra sleep would be a help.


At that stage we were still doing bottles at night, so we would wake up and my husband would change diapers and bottle feed while I pumped. It was every two or three hours.


When we went to night nursing:


I would nurse each girl to sleep separately, then put them in the crib (sidecarred to the bed). When one baby rustled, I would get up, change her, feed her (sidelying), and put her down, then wake the other baby to do the same (if I didn't wake them, I would be up every twenty minutes all night, so waking was the answer for that). If both woke at the same time, I would feed one while my husband changed and held the other. We still haven't figured out tandem nursing at night.


Now, at five months, I let both sleep until they wake up. Going to sleep is horrible lately, like three hours of screaming. But sometimes one or the other will sleep through until 5. (yay!) Then I feed them one after the other (no diaper changes now; we just double diaper at night), then try to get them back to sleep. Often they'll sleep until 7 or 8 or 9 (other times they're up for the day). Other times I feed every hour. Often these days I'll fall asleep feeding a girl and sleep until the other one needs feeding. Other times one girl will be grumpy and I'll sleep with her next to me until the other girl rustles.


I find that they often sleep better next to me, but I can't really sleep with both of them curled up with me, so that only works for one at  a time.


I have the advantage of identical twins, though. I think it's making their sleeping patterns more similar.



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#4 of 7 Old 11-14-2011, 06:31 PM
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Janine, I know it's tiring, but I don't think there's anything unusual about what you're describing.  I would:


Try to appreciate the long stretch, and use it for sleeping, yourself.

Realize it's not unusual, and that, while difficult, this will end.

However, meanwhile, try The No-Cry Sleep Solution, for good, gentle, effective ideas on helping them sleep better and self-soothe when they rouse, without a need.  It ought to extend their sleep, at least some of the time. It has an excellent, gentle method that helped my twins stop sucking and unlatch when they were done... for a while, they did want to nurse all night... very difficult with twins.  

it should also help with your older daughter's waking, which is probably making the twins' sleep pattern feel worse for you.

Nap with them in the afternoon, if you can.  The double prone position, supported with pillows, is great for this. (Mothering Multiples has photos.)

Somewhere in Mothering Multiples it outlines a couple of ways of dealing with twin awakenings, based on the mother's sleep style.  Read that, if you can.  Perhaps your approach is a good one, that doesn't work for your physiology, so leaves you feeling more sleep deprived than it might someone else.

If this isn't what you're doing, when you transfer the babies, try to lift the babies very gently, maintaining their position, and lay them slowly down, removing your hands in ultra slow-motion.  Even hold a hand on/under/around the baby for a while, if you need to, before slowly removing it, so they settle.  Swaddling can help, but I don't do it, anymore.  (Babies are 14 weeks.)

If it's cold, adding socks or zipping them into a fleecy sleep sack might help.

Perhaps double diaper, change only for dirty or sodden diapers, and keep the room quiet and dark, if you don't, already.



I put my little ones to sleep in the crib beside my bed, or put one down, and go to sleep nursing the second, if they need it. Whenever one wakes, I transfer the sleeper to the crib, and nurse the other side-lying.  If both wake, I set both on the bed, sit up in bed with the big nursing pillow, transfer the babies to it, feed them, and then lay them down, if I can.  If I can't stay awake or they protest too much, I wrap my arms securely around them, lean back a little, and doze with the babies still nursing/on the twin nursing pillow.  I don't like that much, and it takes remaining aware of the babies, but it can be done, if necessary.



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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#5 of 7 Old 11-15-2011, 11:42 AM
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We've been struggling with transferring babies the past couple of weeks and have found a couple of things that helped:


1) Putting them down on something warm (sometimes I would pick them up, then set them down on the couch where I was sitting)

2) Wrapping them in a blanket for the last part of the feeding (again, so they wouldn't get set down on something cold)

3) Putting them down on a pair of shorn sheepskins we got from my cousin (the wool doesn't feel as cold)

4) Holding a hand on them after transfer. Sometimes they fuss for about a minute, then settle with a hand or a finger in their mouths. (sometimes it fails anyway and we pick them back up)


There are also days when nothing works.   Yesterday one of my twins woke up every time she was set down all day long.



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#6 of 7 Old 11-16-2011, 11:04 AM
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Yes, I agree with these, especially the hand laid on them.  Sleep sacks, fleecy pjs, and lightweight receiving blankets all help mine, as I think warming the bed would, if I had time/hands to do it in.


And I agree that sometimes, nothing works.  

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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#7 of 7 Old 12-10-2011, 05:26 PM
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1. You need to go to bed when the babies go to bed.  I know you want time with your spouse, but sleep is more important.


2.  On days when dh is home, take turns sleeping in and napping. 


3.  Find a helper so you can get a nap in.  Even if it is just once a week, it will be a huge help.


4.  Hire a night post-partum Doula occassionally.  She will do all the baby care, you just have to pop out a boob once in a while.


 5. Take the older child to the pediatrician.  My kids were bad bad sleepers for a variety of medical reasons: asthma, infected adnoids and tonsils, allergies, and gerd.  Once we got those fixed, they sleep!!!!!


6. Try out slings, bouncy seats, swings, etc. until something works. If you use a swing, try it on the fastest setting!  Anything slower for my boys just annoyed them.


7. Get the Sandra Boyton CD with the song "Bad Bad Babies" and when you and your oldest are having a bad day, put it in and dance!


Try to be patient with yourself and others.  It is very hard.  Ask for help from friends and family and community, buy premade meals, do what you need to do to make it through.

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They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
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