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How I Got my 8 Week Old Twins to Sleep Through the Night

Karin Rambo of truncationblog.com shares how she got her Eight Week Old Twins to Sleep Through the Night

Okay I’ll admit, I did a little bit of a click bate there.

They weren’t actually 8 weeks old because they were born at 33 weeks.

But they were 8 weeks old gestational age. In fact, I’ve pretty much just started thinking of them as being 8 week old babies (even though they are almost four months old).

So what exactly are the girls doing right now?

They go down for the night at 7:30-8:00, we wake them up to eat at 10:30-11:00 and then they sleep until 7:30.

If you read my post on how we feed the girls, then you know that we practice a modified version of Babywise.

Now before I go any further, I will preemptively say that I know Babywise is a somewhat (okay a lot) controversial method of sleep training due, in large part, to the “cry it out” method it has become synonymous with.

Let me just say that, if you have actually read the book (I have twice now), then you know that the author’s don’t actually tell you to let the baby cry even if they are showing signs of hunger. In fact, they constantly repeat that hunger signs always trump the clock.

What they do recommend is giving your baby a little bit of space to re-settle themselves if they’ve woken up from sleep. If the crying continues (or escalates), you check on the baby and soothe them however you need to.

But the biggest, and often times overlooked, point of Babywise is that a well fed baby is a well slept baby.

In other words,

If your baby is taking in full feedings that allow them to fully consume the correct amount of hindmilk then they should naturally be able to sleep for better and longer periods.

It makes sense doesn’t it? I can’t sleep on an empty stomach either!

In my experience (we did Babywise with Kit as well), if you ensure that they are getting full feedings, better naps and sleeping through the night will naturally come sooner than later without having to resort to any sort of cry it out method.

Okay so there’s my little preface in why we practice Babywise.

So what does this actually look like for us?

Currently we do six feedings a day with about 4 ounces of milk being drunk at each feeding.

I will say that one advantage of exclusively pumping is that you don’t have to worry about whether or not they are getting the hindmilk. It’s all mixed together in the bottle.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding there are several ways that you’ll know they are getting it:

One: if they breastfeed for at least 15 minutes on each side.

Two: If they are not breastfeeding for at least a half hour, are they able to do three hour stretches between feedings? If not, they are likely not filling up on the hindmilk.

The basic rule of thumb is that a baby should be able to give you a three hour stretch if they have had enough to eat (this only applies to babies that are over six weeks of age… younger babies will vary in their stretches).

The other thing that we do is create a consistent wake time every morning (7:30). Doing this trains their brains to know when to expect their first feeding of the day, which allows them to make that stretch a little quicker.

Also, you may have noticed above that we wake them up at 11:00 p.m. to feed them. This is typically a very chill feeding. I do change their diapers, but I keep the lights low and try to keep them as asleep as possible.

The reason we wake them up is that I would rather have their long stretch be while we are sleeping rather than while we are awake.

So this is when they eat every day:

7:30 a.m. | 10:30 a.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 4:30 p.m. | 7:30 p.m. | 11:00 p.m.

And yes if they are still napping when it’s time to eat we do wake them up.

One reason is that we follow the Babywise recommendation that you create a cycle for your babies of eat/wake/sleep (except at night obviously… then it’s just eat/sleep).

The goal is to create a pattern in which the baby is not coming to rely on milk in order to fall asleep. Instead, they spend a healthy (and appropriate) amount of time awake after their feeding so they can be put to bed while they are still awake.

So the twins have a little bit of play time after each meal and then when they start to fuss or yawn excessively, I put them down for a nap (at bedtime they get put down regardless of yawning or fussing).

Right now they are awake for about an hour and then are napping for about two hours.

So to put this all together these are the steps that we’ve taken to get them to sleep 8.5 hours at night by 8 weeks gestational age:

  1. Make sure they drink a full bottle for at least 5 out of there 7 bottles.
  2. Make sure they don’t fall asleep while eating (this was incredibly hard to do until about 4 weeks gestational age).
  3. Let them have “play time” until they show signs of sleepiness.
  4. Put them down for a nap and keep them there until the next three hour cycle starts (unless they wake up hungry… then just start the cycle over again).
  5. At night we wake them to eat and then put them right back in their swaddles and lay them in their cribs.

Now some troubleshooting:

  1. Falling asleep while eating? This can be frustrating, but you just have to work at it. Babies aren’t going to be naturally good at staying awake while eating, so I take the first month to work on this aspect alone without doing any sort of formal schedule. Eventually as they get older it gets easier, but a few things to try:
    1. Tickle their ears or toes
    2. Talk to them
    3. Take off their jammies
    4. gently blow on their face
    5. If it still doesn’t work, just let it be and try again at the next feeding
  2. Waking up in the middle of the night/nap, but not acting hungry. One limit (in my opinion) that demand feeding has is that it doesn’t allow you to get to the root of why you’re baby is crying. Offering the breast isn’t always going to solve the problem in other words. If the girls wake up, but they’re not rooting or bringing their hands to their mouths we will just go in and reinsert a fallen pacifier. This almost always does the trick. Or sometimes we’ll rock them if they seem like they just want to be held. Also, sometimes babies cry when they are coming in and out of sleep cycles so if it’s just a quick burst of crying that goes away after about five minutes or so I don’t worry about it. Obviously if they wake up hungry then feed them! But I have found that most night waking/middle of the nap waking is solved by a pacifier.

So there you go! Super long so thanks for sticking with me. This twin thing is not the easiest job I’ve ever had, but putting the babies on a schedule has been our saving grace. I can’t imagine what it would be like without it. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them as best I can in the comments!

Until next time,

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P.S. The twins onesies where a gift and are no longer available, but there’s a similar set here.

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14 Comments

  • Reply Elise Cohen Ho

    I adore those onesies. You must be a very busy parent with two adorable little ones to take care of.

    May 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm
    • Reply Karin

      I definitely am!

      May 14, 2017 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Jessica Wilkins

    This is great information for a new mom. We recently started a similar routine and it has helped a ton! Thanks for sharing.

    May 8, 2017 at 8:12 pm
    • Reply Karin

      I’m glad it’s helping! It seems like a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end!

      May 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Jayme

    Great post! I wish I would have read this a year ago because it would have been so helpful! I’m going to pass this along.

    May 8, 2017 at 9:11 pm
    • Reply Karin

      Thanks Jayme!

      May 14, 2017 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Jayme

    What a fantastic post! I wish I would have read this a year ago because it would have been so helpful! I’m going to pass this along.

    May 8, 2017 at 9:12 pm
  • Reply Instant Baby Sleep Sound Track

    The first time my baby slept five straight hours, I woke up in a cold sweat. I nearly fell out of bed and ran down the hall. I was so sure that something was horribly wrong. I nearly wept when I found her sleeping peacefully

    May 8, 2017 at 11:47 pm
    • Reply Karin

      It is scary isn’t it?! I STILL feel that way when my two year old sleeps in longer than she normally does!

      May 14, 2017 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply Kristen

    Totally needed to read this! I have a 4 month old and he isn’t sleeping through the night yet! Going to research a little more and definitely try this out!

    May 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm
    • Reply Karin

      I hope it helps Kristen! It can be super exhausting and it’s better for mommy and baby when everyone is getting more sleep!

      May 14, 2017 at 5:01 pm
  • Reply Taylor Mobley

    This is some serious knowledge! I have w=always wanted twins and keeping my fingers crossed that I’m lucky enough to have some!

    May 10, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    • Reply Karin

      They are seriously the best!

      May 14, 2017 at 5:03 pm
  • Reply Joanna

    This brings back memories of feeding my 2.5 yr old twins. I exclusively pumped too (if possible while they were taking their bottles w/bottle holders on boppy loungers). Bottles + Babywise is a match made in heaven for twin moms!!! My 33 weeekers slept through the night earlier than my full-term single baby 😊

    May 23, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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