“Is your baby sleeping through the night?” Is a common question asked to new parents. Instead I would like to re-frame it to, “when did mum and dad sleep through the night?” Ahh sleep. The most precious and valuable commodity in the world. When I was amidst the newly home baby night routine I read somewhere that new parents driving with little sleep is comparable to drink driving. Try feeding twins to a schedule!
I thank the midwives for establishing a routine while the girls were in special care. The four hourly schedule consisted of waking baby, change nappy, feed, burp, and return to cot. Repeat every four hours.
When we got home we kept to the routine but often I was told by well meaning people, “not to wake a sleeping baby” but the routine was working and the girls rarely cried to be fed. During the pregnancy I had read the usual popular pregnancy books but it was the multiple birth stories that I was most interested in. The Contented House of Twins soon became my bible, “what does the book say?” was a common daily question. It aimed to start maximizing the daily feeds, keeping the babies up more while minimizing the night feeds and sleeping. It was hard because as the girls were four weeks early and I was never quite sure what stage they were supposed to be at; their actual age or corrected age. What was also difficult was trying to keep the girls awake. They were always sleepy and this was difficult breastfeeding as it just put them to sleep whereas the bottle was easier and efficient and measurable.Slowing moving away from the four hourly routine to this structure was a challenge.
My wonderful mother bought me a diary to record their feeding schedules and I now look at it with fond memories. 8 t
o 9 feeds a day times for two babies. Wow. I remember under the Christmas lights of the Christmas tree in the lounge room at Midnight, 2 am and 4 am as we changed nappies, heated up bottles and wondered if we would ever sleep through ever again. We negotiated a new schedule. I would sleep from the 6pm feed and woke up for the 3am feed. N would stay up until midnight and sleep through to 6am. He was better staying up and I was better waking early. If one baby woke up to be fed it was habit to wake up the second to keep to the routine.
Then one day I stopped waking the second baby and she slept through.
At 11 weeks Mum and Dad slept through.