5 Ways a New Twin Father Can Get More Sleep

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - January 15, 2020

5 Ways a New Twin Father Can Get More Sleep

Don’t expect to get lots of sleep with newborn twins in your house.

As you know, sleep deprivation is brutal and will be your reality for several months with newborn twins.

You have to change your expectations and routine to try and maximize the sleep you can get.

Here are some things you can do to improve your sleep:

Forget Normal Schedules

Traditionally you sleep at night and are awake during the day. Throw all “normal” expectations out the window when caring for newborn twins. There is nothing wrong with going to bed right after dinner at 6:30pm. Any time can be sleep time, so don’t say “I can’t go to sleep, it’s only 7:00.”

Yes, you can go to sleep whenever you need!

Sleep in Shifts

Take turns sleeping in shifts with your wife. For example, you can take the midnight to 4am shift and then swap from 4am to 8am. Your twins will have a pattern to their waking and eating. Plan your shifts around those predictable feedings.

Tag Team

During nighttime feedings, both you and your wife can get up to feed the babies. (This works best when bottle feeding.) When you work as a team, you can feed two babies in the time it takes to feed one. Everyone then gets back to sleep faster.

The disadvantage of this method is that no one sleeps for a longer period than the twin babies sleep. You’ll get more interruptions during the night.

Get Helpers

The best way to get a full night’s sleep is to not have to wake up to care for the babies. Who will take care of the babies then? I don’t recommend pushing all night time feeding responsibilities to your wife just so you can sleep. Instead, invite family or friends to come and help with the twins during the night shift.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

With our newborn twins, we had someone staying with us for the first several months. With three adults in the house, we could rotate two people on child care every night. The third person could then sleep through the night. Knowing that I could sleep the whole night every third night was an awesome relief!

Sleep When You Can

If you aren’t caring for the twins, you can take a nap. You have my permission. It can be any time of day (just not while you are driving). After the babies are fed and changed, seriously think about your next activity. Is it more important than some sleep? Choose wisely.

Getting adequate sleep as a parent of newborn twins is a huge challenge. You need sleep to function properly both at home and at work. Expect and plan for small stretches of sleep instead of a solid night’s worth of rest.

Take heart that the sleep interruption is only temporary. The good news is that when you awake in the middle of the night, the routine is pretty straight forward: feed baby, burp baby, change baby, go back to bed. You don’t have to think too much and that definitely helps in your sleepy stupor.

Picture by Rob Sharp

Need help sleep training your twins? Check out this step-by-step guide to sleep training twins from fellow parent of twins, Nina Garcia.

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

4 thoughts on “5 Ways a New Twin Father Can Get More Sleep”

    • @Timo – Teething definitely causes some sleep problems when your kids are young. It seems that just as soon as you get in a schedule and rhythm, your kids start teething and everything is crazy again.

      Reply
  1. My wife and I work in shifts. Our twin boys are 2 months old now and showing good signs of progress with their night time routine.

    At 7.00 my wife baths our 2 yr old son and puts him to bed. By 7.30 the lights in our lounge go down low, as does the TV volume and all conversation is kept to a minimum. The babies are changed and put into their sleep suits. My wife then heads off to bed at 8.00pm for 6 hours good solid sleep.

    The twins feed heavily knowing that it is bed time and like to be cuddled. They are effectively resisting me putting them into their cribs. I ‘juggle’ them one at a time: feed, cuddle, crib until about 10.15 twin one stays in the crib asleep and by 10.30 (it is almost on the dot each night!) twin two finally gives in. They then sleep well until about 1.30/2.00am when I give them a bottle and settle them back. My wife then takes over and I get some good solid rest.

    Last night, after 2 months, twin 2 went from 10.30 to 3.30 without a feed. Hopefully a sign of good things to come. They certainly take enough each in the 8.00pm – 10.30pm feeding frenzy to last them that long!

    At weekends I take them until about 4.00am to give my wife a bit more rest and in turn I get a bit longer to lay in too. We have considered taking one each through the night but decided that some good sleep is better than a night of bad broken sleep (which will happen especially when they are ill or teeth).

    Reply

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