After the horror that was the first couple of months’ home with premature twins for us (sigh!), we eventually got the hang of certain things. The bedtime routine being the most important! At first, obviously, the cycle of eat, poop, sleep reigns across the land. Around the point of being three months corrected though, the twins began staying up for longer stretches during the day. Their schedule typically consisted of at this age:
7:00 am: Wake up
7:15 am: Bottle #1
7:45-9:00 am: Playing
9:00 am: Nap
11:00 am: Bottle #2
11:30- 1:00pm: Playing
1:00 pm: Nap
3:00 pm: Bottle #3
3:30- 4:30 pm: Playing
4:30-5:15 pm: Nap
5:15- 7:00 pm: Playing then preparing for bed
7:00 pm: Bottle #4
7:30-10:00 pm: Sleep
10:00 pm- Dream feed (Bottle #5)
10:30pm- 7am: A Good Night Sleep
5:00 am- Bottle #6 (occasionally!)
At this point for our sanity, we felt it was important to start a very consistent bedtime routine. We had always kept a dim room with light background news on to soothe the babies before bed but we knew we needed to amp it up to differentiate between napping and going to bed for the night. We started the process of taking them upstairs at 6:45 pm, putting on a new diaper and their sleep sacks to swaddle them, turning on the sound machine, giving the baby their bottle, burping the baby, reading a quick story and putting them in their crib with their wubanub. Wubanubs are God’s gift to new moms so make sure you have about six of them for anywhere in the house that your baby would sleep! This worked perfectly (until we reached the age of separation anxiety and teething! More to come on that later!)
It was important for my husband and I with twins to keep the bedtime routine simple. I know there are many parents who do baths every night before bed, read three stories, sing a song and rock their babies to sleep. As a parent with two infants, this would have been a two-hour process, which we did not want to incorporate after long days at work or if we happened to be alone for bed time. We found that this twenty-minute process (once the bottles are heated and ready to go) worked wonders for us and is also very simple to train babysitters or grandparents on as well.
We also found this process worked great for the babies as well. They know it’s time for bed and immediately relax when we put their sleep sack on. We keep it very quiet, mellow and soothing for them. The most important part- we do this every night no matter who is putting them to bed or where they are going to bed. It has helped both of our twins grow and learn to self soothe. We have only a handful of times actually had to rock them to bed and put them into their crib already asleep, which was really only when suffering with some separation anxiety and when they have been sick.
This has also helped our twins understand how to get themselves back to sleep in the middle of the night. Our daughter, Grace, is probably awake four or five times during the night. At first, we’d have to go in every time but once we started this self-soothing bed time routine, she learned to calm herself down, with the help of the wubanub. It also was the most amazing day ever when she was old enough to find her wubanub in the crib and put it in her own mouth, which saved us the trip down the hall to get it for her several times per night!
Everyone needs to come up with their own bedtime routine! This one has worked wonders for us but you need to do what is best for you! If that’s a longer process to prepare your baby for bed, then stick to it! If it’s a quick bottle and lights out, that works too if it works for you and your babies! My piece of advice- stick with it consistently! Babies are creatures of habit and that schedule and routine gives them a sense of security and calmness!