For many new parents sleep-deprivation is the most significant challenge of the first few months. There just aren’t enough hours between feeds to get any decent sleep.
“My twin girls had to be fed in those very early days every two to three hours throughout the day and night. My husband and I both did the night feeding, we would set our alarm clocks to wake up at the ungodly hour of 1am, 4am etc. to feed the girls (it sometimes took an hour to feed them) and then try sleep ourselves before the next shift. We had a book where we wrote down who fed who and how much milk they had taken. Once the girls’ stomachs got bigger they could sleep for longer stretches. My husband was very supportive as he carried on helping with the late night shift work even after paternity leave had finished.
I think as a new parent you get through the lack of sleep on pure adrenalin but then when the adrenalin wears off there’s this cumulative tiredness that takes hold.
Probably around the six week mark, we asked family members to come up to help. We also used the Night Nanny agency one night a week. It was a lifesaver for us.
We were quite strict in feeding the girls at the same time, this was the only routine I had as when they fed out of sync they then would sleep out of sync and your day and night would be upside down!
I found sleeping when babies sleep hard so I did try lying down and just shutting my eyes – just resting (not pressuring myself) to sleep for 30 minutes snatches. Getting out and about always lifted my mood. Treating yourself, leaning on friends, going out with your partner and talking to your friends and other mums all helped.
Lack of sleep can leave you feeling jet lagged, emotional, irritable- just accept you will not feel like this forever and there will come a magic time when your twins will start sleeping for longer stretches which means so too can you.”
Catherine from West Dulwich, mum to Tess and Sophie, 3
Here are some tips to help you cope:
- Take short naps throughout the day
- Tackle only essential tasks (for example ironing may have to take a backseat)
- Get out of the house (fresh air can work wonders for you and your children)
- Meet up with other mums during the day and if you can other mums with twins/triplets
- If bottle or mixed feeding, share the feeds with friends/family
- Have a healthy diet
- Take up all those offers of help.
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