Author: Wangui Hinga
The first 3 months after our twins, Matt and Abby came home, was a whirlwind. We were exhausted and trying hard to figure out how to raise newborn twins as first-time parents. Abby was always hungry and woke up multiple times than Matt through the night.
The plan we adopted for night time feeding for our twins was a fail. We ended up tired, frustrated, and barely getting through the day. It was also hard getting help from family and friends, forcing us to go through it alone.
The strategy we used for twins nighttime feeding
Whenever Matt and Abby got up, I would join Polly and assist her with the twins as she breastfed. Getting up at the same time meant we had lots of interrupted sleep and ended up always tired during the day. On some days, I had to step in and hold her as she would fall asleep whilst breastfeeding the twins (Says Nebert the father).
In hindsight there is obviously a lot we could have done differently, to better manage the phase which could have led to a better experience.
Now that they are older, I wish we did things differently.
Feeding your twins at night
While ensuring that your twins are full and gaining a healthy amount of weight, you need a plan that gives you enough care and resting time. It’s easy for your baby to roll off when you are drowsy.
Here are a few tips to help you night-feed your twins better than we did.
Alternate nighttime feeding shifts
When both of you are exhausted, it’s easy to neglect other parts of life, like your older kids, cleaning the house, or shopping for groceries. If one partner has to show up to work in the morning, their performance is sure to suffer.
Using alternate feeding shifts will give you both enough time for uninterrupted sleep. If breastfeeding exclusively, you and your partner need to be awake for the first few weeks until the mom can comfortably breastfeed without help.
The dad can take the first shift to bottle feed while the mum takes the second shift to breastfeed. Alternate feeding shifts will give you 5-6 hours of uninterrupted resting time.
Use a dream feed
A few minutes before you head to bed, around 10- 12 pm, feed your baby one last time. This is known as dream feeding, and it happens when you feed your baby while they are not fully awake. Is it not better to let them sleep?
Though it feels counterintuitive, a dream feed ensures that your baby will sleep on a full tummy, which means more sleep for everyone.
Keep your twins on the same feeding schedule
Same schedules are a timesaver. If one twin wakes up at night, wake the other for the nighttime feed, then get both to sleep. Also, changing their diapers before nursing them makes it easier for your babies to fall asleep after nursing.
Invest in a twin pillow
If you go with the alternate shifts method, you’ll need to have a twin pillow. It will help you comfortably hold your babies as you feed them while keeping you in an upright posture. Our favorite twin pillows are my brest friend pillow and the twin z pillow.
Keep everything close by
Do your twins have their room? If so, you will have more space to have everything you need close to you. Put extra pre-measured formula bottles, water, bottle washers, napkins, bibs, bottle warmers, and where possible, a mini-fridge in their room.
With everything close-by, you will save time instead of rushing to search for bottles and pacifiers.
It’s only for a short while
The first months with twins are usually the hardest. Your babies are adjusting to a new environment, and you are learning what works for them. Give yourself grace and try different plans until you find whatever works for your family.