When should I begin to establish a night time routine for my twins?
You can begin to establish a night time routine for your twins straight after birth if you wish to do so. Some parents start from birth/the time their babies come home from hospital whilst others wait a few weeks and then introduce a routine. There are no hard and fast rules, it depends what works for you and your family. You may find that your babies set their own patterns and you can work around that. If you have other children and work commitments you may need to fit their routine around your own routine.
How do I establish a night time routine for twins?
In the early evening keep everything in the house as calm and quiet as possible, try to limit excitement and noise. This helps to set the scene and start creating a calming atmosphere. Set your voice volume to low and keep it low until morning. This helps soothe them.
Most parents set their babies routine around the following:
Bath> bottle or breast feed> burp> nappy check> cuddles> bed
(You might find that a slightly different order works better for you, that’s fine, work it round your own children and how they work best)
If a bath doesn’t wake your babies up too much (some babies get revved up by an evening bath) you could bath each baby, give them a bottle or breastfeed, burp them, check that they’re not needing a fresh nappy and pop them down to sleep. It helps if the room they’re sleeping in is not too hot or too cold, but at a nice even temperature. Use a black out blind during the summer months and all year round if you’ve got street lighting. Sometimes having a ticking clock in the room can help them to settle.
They will need after 3-4 hours and again 3-4 hours later. It may work that you give your babies a feed at around 7 pm, 11pm, 2am, 6am. There is a train of thought where you should feed on demand and another train of thought that you should feed every 3-4 hours regardless. Personally I went with them and fed on demand as I don’t see the point of listening to a hungry baby for an hour or two when I could feed him/her, meet his/her needs and then get some peace.
Managing night time feeds with twins
At first your twins will need feeding during the night time as well as during the day. In fact a new baby is likely to need to be fed every 3-4 hours (sometimes more often). Their tummies are only tiny and need refilling frequently.
IF you’re bottle feeding it can help if you get daddy to give the 11pm (ish) bottle, allowing you to go to bed for a few hours from 9ish until they need another bottle at 2-3am (ish). If you’re breastfeeding and are able to express breast milk and offer that in a bottle, again daddy could potentially offer this during the later part of the evening rather than you having to wait up. If you’re breastfeeding you could always get him to bring the babies to you for their late evening feed.
It helps if you have everything you need set up so that you’re just able to do what you need to do without putting a bright light on. I found having a spare table lamp with a night light bulb in it helped. We also had a dimmer switch on the bedroom light fitting so that I could feed them without putting on the harsh over head light or disturbing anyone else in the room. It’s a good idea to have everything you need in order to give a night time feed to hand and somewhere warm and comfortable to sit.
As your babies get bigger they are likely to go slightly longer between feeds and then get to the stage where they don’t need a night time feed (phew)