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Feeding twins

Establishing a Night Time Routine for Newborn Twins

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)





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Coping in Hospital with Newborn Twins

How long will I stay in hospital for after the birth of my twins?

This largely depends on you and your babies. If you’ve had a vaginal birth and your children are not needing any special care, you could potentially leave within 24 hours of having them. If you have a Cesarean it largely depends how it went and how you’re feeling after it.

Some mums stay in hospital for a day or two, maybe longer. Others stay in just 24 hours and then are released and monitored by their health team at home. It depends on what resources are available to you in your area and how you and your babies are doing. If you are unsure how long you are going to be in hospital for, ask your midwife for advice.

Establishing a Feeding Routine (see also article on Breastfeeding Twins )

Shortly after the birth you will give them their first feed. This could be by giving them a breast feed or offering a bottle of expressed milk or formula. If your babies need a fresh nappy, change them before you begin. Wash your hands, make bottles if you’re bottle feeding. Get comfortable and offer the feed. Your midwife should give you guidance as to how to breast or bottle feed and check that you’re correctly latched on if you’re breast feeding.  You might need help lifting the babies up if you’ve had a Cesarean. Newborn twins need feeding every 2-4 hours round the clock. It helps if you can feed them together. Your midwife will be able to advise you how to breastfeed your twins and help you to latch on.

What happens if they fall asleep at the breast/ during their feed?

Should they fall asleep during the feed gently wake them up again. Once they’ve had enough milk they should remove their mouth from your breast and turn their head away, or simply stop suckling. You might find that one twin/triplet finishes their feed first, it is handy to be able to put the one that has finished their feed into a bouncy chair for a few minutes whilst you finish feeding the other baby. After the feed, make sure you burp both babies by gently rubbing or tapping their upper back until any trapped wind comes up.

If you haven’t already done so, about 5-10 mins after a feed is a good time to change nappies.

Once they’ve been fed, burped, changed etc you can pop them back down into their cot.
This process is repeated every 3-4 hours (sooner if your babies are very hungry).

Whilst in hospital get as much help with feeding as possible from your midwife

Whilst in hospital get as much help with breastfeeding as you can from your midwife. If you find that your babies are always hungry, or it seems particularly painful to breastfeed, ask your midwife to check that you’re latching them on correctly. If possible ask your midwife to show you how to breastfeed them both together as this will save time during night feeds once you get home.

Coping with visitors in hospital.

It is up to you and your partner who visits you in hospital. Take as much time as you need. If you are happy to have lots of visitors (and the hospital is ok with you having them, some are keen for it to be ‘partners only’ for the first 24 hours if you’ve had a cesarean! If possible arrange it so you know in advance who is coming, so you can stagger visitors. It is very difficult when people all turn up at once!

Getting enough sleep(!)

When the babies are asleep try to get some sleep yourself. It can be really difficult getting enough sleep in the early days so every little helps. Some hospitals have an ‘afternoon siesta’ policy before visiting hour, where everyone has a lie down for an hour in the afternoons. This is a great idea. If you cannot sleep at all, please contact your midwife or doctor to see if there is anything they can suggest or give you to help.

Going Home

Once you’ve got to grips with caring for your babies, you’ve established either breast or bottle feeding and you and they are all in good health, you will be allowed to go home.

  • Before you go, make sure that someone has everything ready for you at home.
  • There needs to be enough staples like milk, tea, coffee ready to make yourself and visitors a hot drink.
  • There needs to be something easy to cook ready in the fridge/ freezer. Also having something nice to drink (that is non-alcoholic and caffeine free) would be a good idea as it’s important to keep your fluid intake up especially if you’re breastfeeding.
  • All the equipment needs to be organized and set up ready to use, in a suitable place.
  • There needs to be enough nappies to last you a few days at least, and if you’re bottle feeding enough milk formula too.

Your partner/ friend will need to bring in 

  • A blanket each for the babies,
  • Car seats (unless you’ve not got a car!)
  • Coats or cardigans for you all (depending on what season it is).
  • Proper clothes for you. Loose-ish leggings or tracksuit bottoms are ideal.
  • A suitcase or holdall to take all your belongings home in (unless you’ve kept one with you!)

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