Twins and Sleep – Part One: Bedtime Routine

 

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I decided that I’m going to start my blog on a positive note, because it is inevitable that some topics regarding the life of a single mom with twins may be a bit on the negative side. 

I will be beginning with one of the things I am most thankful for which has made my life as a single mom of twins much easier.  Believe it or not, this topic is sleep!

Now, you wouldn’t believe that sleep would be a positive subject with two babies in the house, but both my babies have slept through the night since they were three months old!  A solid twelve hours from 8pm to 8am with the very odd exception due to colds or teething.  They also have two one-hour naps during the day like clockwork at 11am and 3pm.

When I tell someone about their sleep habits, I get many comments about how I am lucky or blessed, and although this is more than true in many respects, I credit their good sleeping habits to a bit of tough love and a very solid bedtime routine.  

This will be a six part series on Sleep. There will be information here that can help any parent, single or not, with any amount of babies, singletons or multiples, on how to get your babies to sleep through the night.  Please note that before three months of age, babies will still need fed throughout the night, so although you can start these habits earlier (I started at six weeks) to build a solid foundation, you should still feed your baby when he/she wakes up before three months of age.

Bedtime Routine:

One of the first and most important aspects of good sleeping habits is a solid bedtime routine.  We start every bedtime with a strong routine.  You can created any bedtime routine on your own, but there are some important factors to ensure are included in this routine for it to be successful:

  • It begins at the same time every night
  • It lasts the same amount of time every night (preferably an hour)
  • It includes only activities which allow winding down (quiet, relaxing activities)
  • It includes at least one activity in their room while they are in bed so you aren’t just putting them in their room and leaving them.

The Twins’ Bedtime Routine: 

Our bedtime routine starts at 7pm every night after the boys have had their last feeding.  

1) The boys have a warm bubble bath for about 20 minutes.  They are allowed toys, but it is still a fairly quite and relaxing time for them to wind down. As you can see from the picture, sometimes our dog, Zeddicus, likes to help with this step.

2) Bath time is followed by a baby massage with Johnston’s Bedtime Lotion.  Refer to this video to learn how to massage your baby.  Massage is a wonderful way to bond and allow your baby to relax.

 3) I dress them in their sleepers.  It is important that babies are put in clean, dry sleepers that are not too tight and allow their legs to fully bend and straighten and their toes to be completely flat.  They should also be appropriate for the temperature of the bedroom (warm, thick sleepers for cooler temperatures and short sleeve, footless sleepers or even onsies for the warmer nights)

4) I brush their teeth and have done so every night since they came home from the hospital.  At the beginning, I used a baby cloth and warm water and rubbed their gums down until they cut their first tooth and then began using an infant brush and infant toothpaste (make sure it’s fluoride free!)

5) We then go to their bedroom and while they are in bed, I read them two stories (alternating between regular children’s books and their children’s bible).  It is never too early to begin reading to your baby (many start while they are in the womb!) Even though they cannot fully understand what you are reading, it will encourage vocabulary and cognitive development.

6) I sing them a song (usually All Through The Night or From This Moment) and lately they have been trying to sing it with me and are pretty good at matching notes to me!

7) Then we say our prayers, have hugs and kisses and I leave the room.

At this point, they will usually just fall right to sleep, because they know now that it is bedtime after their routine is over and they have learned by now how to fall asleep on their own, but it hasn’t always been this easy once I have left the room.  It has taken quite a bit of sleep training that took from when they were six weeks old until they were three months old.

Next Post will cover sleep training and insight on why babies wake up through the night.