Yeah. Sleep. Sleep was glorious. Dad used to sleep when I was pregnant. I on the other hand, did not. I think I might have a full nights sleep scheduled when my tits stop crying myself awake. So at this point (9 months out) I NEED my girls with me to sleep. Or I have to get up and pump. The pump just doesn’t smile like the babies do. It’s so much less rewarding.
I co-sleep. And there is a lot to say about it. So first let’s talk about cry it out. Cry it out isn’t that bad. I did it with my singleton. He was a dream baby. Many Dr’s do not suggest starting this until 8 months of age. But ultimately, as long as they don’t need to eat all night, you can start at that age. I started with my son very early, he never actually cried it out. He just went to sleep because I put him down. He fussed for a few minutes. It killed my milk supply I might add, which is not normal.
Start with putting the babies in different rooms. We have a pack and play in our room, and a crib in the nursery. There are many ideas on how to safely CIO. Many books suggest staying in the room. Coming back every five or ten minutes. For all of my kids, that really messed with them. The crying was endless when I tried to attend to them. I simply put them down, and never went back in. As long as they didn’t have blood curdling screams, I was ok with them crying a little or a lot. Many sleep experts will say that as soon as a baby is quiet for 4 second intervals they are “starting to wind down.” I have seen this to be true with all of my kids as well.
But how do you put them both down? First, I feel like having the same bed time song every day will help them know, “hey this is bed time” not wonder, “oh my god is this a nap, can I wake up in five minutes? No she’s singing that song again? damn, it’s bed time.” Now I have no idea if it helps them actually sleep and know what time it is. But what I can say, is that it makes my heart so happy to have sang the same song to my son every night until he was seven.
So I cradle each baby on either hip facing out. I sing. I set them both down in the crib. Que every one losing their shit. I loosely swaddle the baby who is sleeping in the crib, rub her back and tell her I love her. I gather the second baby and leave. I then go into my bed room, swaddle her on my bed and then rock her on my shoulder to sleep, or maybe she isn’t asleep, I don’t know. I sing again and put her down. I reserve the one-on-one time for the fussier baby. We also prefer that one sleeping in our room because our nursery doesn’t have a door.
SO LET’S TALK CO-SLEEPING
Initially I was very very (can I say very again?) very against co-sleeping. But I wanted the twins to sleep together so I did a ton of research on it, because if they were sleeping next to each other, that was co- sleeping right? Well fun story, the world of momdom is ran by singleton parents, so no, co-sleeping didn’t pull up a single twin article!! So I am going to talk about what I found. how it applies to twins (ah ha ha hahahahaha) (I laugh because I basically just made all this up to survive).
The first thing I found that was very surprising was this; If you follow The safe sleep seven co-sleeping is just as safe, and has as much risk of SIDS as sleeping alone. Notice that the link is from the le letche league? Yeah, that’s right, they support co-sleeping. I have found the safest way to sleep with your twins will change with age, weight, and ability.
The safe sleep seven:
- Mom doesn’t smoke….. So the dad can, and it doesn’t matter?
- No one can drink or do drugs…… pretty common sense.
- Only if it’s a breast feeding mother……….. so what happens when dad is in the bed?
- full term normal weight baby…… that’s a little funny. Most of us don’t have that. But I will touch on safely sleeping with a small baby.
- Baby on back………. I’ll hire some one to stand next to me and move baby off her side every two minutes.
- No swaddles….. This is actually because almost all SIDS deaths the infant had a slight temp.
- safe surface… again this is going to change with their age and abilities. What is safe for a singleton is absolutely not always safe for twins!!
So let’s talk about the things that need to be talked about with this. Now kelly mom has a lot to say about this too. But again, this is singleton specific. On this site they talk more in depth about safe sleep surfaces and how to include dad in the shared bed. It’s worth the read. Often co-sleeping focuses on having a baby sleeper in the middle of the bed. But we can’t do that. There is a lot of focus on having baby between mom and the wall and not in between dad and mom. Also, you can’t turn your back to the baby, so you can’t have on on either side of you. They talk about NEVER sleeping on a recliner. Never sleeping on a couch. But if you are on a bed, make sure you pack any crevice with a pillow or blanket. Well I found for twins combining these two ideas was ideal. DO sleep on the recliner, and pack pillows under your arms so that you are holding the babies all night. The pillows fill the space so the babies can’t fall. And they also assist your arms in constantly holding the babies. This was the best I personally slept with the girls. I never had either of them fall or even slip down. When they started to, I woke up and scooted them back up. I’ll talk more about that when I talk about positions though.
Many of us are going to have babies that are not full term, and that are under weight. And because they were jammed so hard into a small space in utero, they want to be held more than the average baby. This is where finding a way to hold them comes in. When they are very small and young you can’t safely sleep on a bed with them, no matter what precaution you take. This is where that recliner and pillows is going to come in. The way you will sleep with the twins will change over time. Even being held my girls wanted to be swaddled. We used summer swaddles so they wouldn’t sweat. I also kept the house really cold. Because laying under two babies is excruciatingly hot. I never had an issue with them getting too hot. When my husband sleeps with them on the recliner though, they do get hot. Very hot. They will even wake up because they are too hot.
Some resources will also talk about moms weight. An extremely obese parent can not co sleep. Now I really didn’t get this. I mean I guess I do, but I didn’t. Well in my breast feeding twins journey my hormones have put a big ol’ “fuck you” to my waist line. I have gone from being “over weight” to “obese”. Even while denying myself calories. Like, eating so few calories that a woman who wasn’t breast feeding at all would lose weight, let alone breast feeding two. I suppose this is actually more common than women talk about. So any way, I was heavy enough that I made sure I rolled back instead of forward with a pillow behind me. That was when we started this. Now my stomach, with all it’s twin pregnancy loose skin glory is … well, I can’t really feel much with it. I didn’t realize being heavier would feel like that. So the other night I was laying slightly forward and then felt with my hands and not the rest of my body that my loose skin was over the baby. So I understand why this is talked about. And why it is an issue. Now, mind you, I am under 200 pounds. But I can see how this is unsafe, if proper precautions are not met.
Now that we have talked about safety let’s get to it. How do I jam all these children on me?
Newborns: you have no real option other than the recliner. A baby on either side of you. Pillows packed into any loose spots or places that could potentially become loose as you relax and shift. For instance I used a pillow under my arm, even though the arm of the recliner was right there. I felt safer. We have a big recliner that my husband fits in, and I won’t even try to fit into it with the girls. So be realistic about what space you are trying to sleep in. If you can get a cheap recliner second hand to use for a month or two it is well worth your money.
In bed I would lay flat on my back and put a folded pillow on either side of me under my arms. Again, forcing myself to cradle the babies. This is not relaxing, and it is very hard to sleep. It’s not the safest. But, when you are desperate to lay down you do what you have to do. And we all get exhausted and desperate. And it’s safest to deal with that in the safest manner than to wait until some thing bad happens and a baby falls or some thing. I read very often about moms getting tired and falling asleep with their baby in the recliner, but had they known any thing about safe sleep practices it would not cause an issue. Even if co-sleeping isn’t your jam, know how to accidentally fall asleep safely.
As they get older: about 12 pounds is when co-sleeping finally became restful and amazing and every thing I wished it was. I can lay on my back, with a pillow on either side NOT FOLDED and the babies figure it out on their own!! I can lay on my side. When I lay on my side I put a pillow behind me and lean back on it. It helps me rest better and it also stops me from suffocating my babies with my giant tits.
You can stack babies. Like blocks. Like beers. Or like puppies. I got this idea on very very tired morning. And I felt horrible for doing it. I wouldn’t recommend doing it for more than a half hour, but you can in fact stack the babies a little bit. but trying to get your tits into both of their mouths is pretty hard that way.
You can lay on your side and foot ball hold the baby who isn’t laying on the bed.
You can sleep in the recliner… but it’s harder and less safe now that the babies are more mobile.
Where we are personally I toss and turn all night and generally only have one baby with me. My husband takes the baby last fed to the crib to sleep. And I sleep alone with the baby in bed. My husband doesn’t sleep with us because he is a heavy sleeper and he snores rather loudly. I don’t have the bed against a wall like often suggested, because I don’t family co-sleep. But that means I have to absolutely have my arm around the baby if the baby is awake at all. because a few days ago one of them took off across the bed and crawled off. She was fine.Just scared.