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Sleep or Milk

We love having our kids sleep in bed with us and believe it’s good for everyone’s health and wellbeing. Among other positives like temperature regulation and literally generating love (oxytocin) vibrations, it affords new moms and babies more sleep than constantly getting out of bed to nurse or feed. Please read La Leche League’s Safe Sleep Seven, which verifies my natural inclination to keep baby close. Bed sharing is for good reason controversial and no health care professional will encourage it and most moms are fearful to even mention it but I know it happens and happens safely. That said, there are no guidelines for bed-sharing with twins and I have yet to find a truly comfortable position or method for tandem dream feeds.

Astrid and August moved from co-sleeping next to the bed (in the same cot) into their own cots (still in our room) about a month ago. Astrid is consistently a champion sleeper, often waking just once around 2am to eat and then sleeping until about 6. August however cannot settle unless he is latched and wakes every 45 minutes. I often bed-share with Auggie latched and merely wake to feed Astrid – at which point Auggie will wake up and cry for me to come back. Going to the bathroom in the night is equally troubling for him. Some nights, my breasts are so sore and I worry terribly that there is nothing left for Astrid to eat (there always is). Nursing all night means I have an insatiable appetite during the day and August and I do not sleep well with constant feeding. It’s too much.

Thus, the parental conundrum of how to get more and better sleep begins. With the twins in their respective cribs, a good night is me getting up three to four times to nurse. A bad night (more common) is August waking up every hour needing help to get back to sleep.


  • The first approach was steered by my helpful granny, whose generational wisdom is to let the baby cry the first night and then it’s done. On a dark and stormy night, I was frustrated and sleepless and went to her for help. She sensibly put them in their cribs, patted their tummies with appropriate detachment, left the room and sat to wait with me. August cried for 40 mins with her swanning in to sing a hymn and pat them every so often. It was fine for a night but ultimately didn’t work.


  • My husband and I tried other variations of the Sleep Wave described in The Happy Sleeper, a ‘gentle’ cry it out method that worked well for Theo (granted at 18 months not 7). August was not having it and just filled the house with anguish. He will eventually wake up Astrid and even Theo two doors down – at which point we have three awake and sad bubbas on our hands. No fun.

P.S. No matter how much love and light I send him from across the way, I can’t sustain it long enough to soothe him. It does work momentarily but then It’s too stressful and I am too tired. After three horrible nights and heavy heart (an OBVIOUS sign that it’s not working), we needed a new strategy.

Eureka moment...

  • The problem isn’t August in the bed – it’s August eating all night. Now I nurse, nurse, nurse, settle him in his crib, and upon first waking I cuddle him back to sleep in our bed. I wear a sports bra all night (which isn’t great but eventually I won’t need to) and no one is super stressed at night. He wakes every few hours (improving every night) and is definitely annoyed he can’t latch but I offer him water, loads of cuddles, and visualise wrapping him in love and eventually he gets to sleep. I know he feels reassured and secure.

Next up is to make him a ‘lovie’ or little security blankie – I will stuff the head with lavender and a rose quartz so every time he fuses or chews, it will release love into the air and soothe his big sensitive soul.

Every kid really is different, even with twins. August and Astrid are miles apart in personality and will need very different things going forward. She is happy in her crib most of the night. Auggie isn’t. When we cuddle Astrid, she floats along with her neck long and straight and arms poised at her side. When we cuddle Auggie, he holds on with both hands and burrows in. Most of parenting really is just observing your kids, loving them for them, and observing your own heart too. Fingers crossed August and I keep feeling the love and getting more sleep.

…Stay tuned for updates…


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