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Mommy Musings: Thoughts and Opinions

Why “sleep when the baby sleeps” is not good advice.

wpid-o56.jpegOkay, before I start, I do understand the root of this advice. I mean things need to get done and since caring for a newborn will eat up your days it is very tempting to do chores, eat or have a shower if they dose off.
However, I think it was my undoing.with my son. Because the way I interpreted it was that you sleep when the baby sleeps and on the flip side you are awake when the baby is awake. And since Sawyer was awake all night, so was I. I wouldn’t bother going to bed, I mean, what was the point? I sat on the sofa nursing all night and watching television. It didn’t help that Jeff would come home around 3am and wake us up if we were settled and then my brother would get up around 5:30am for work and interrupt us again. It was terrible. I was so tired, I started to get depressed and irritable. I also made stupid mistakes like over boiling water in the microwave trying to make tea. The water exploded on my and I got severe burns on my chest and breast (which made nursing that much harder).

wpid-553006_10151515133099474_726949224_n-1.pngFast forward to now. Well, since I have a toddler I knew from the get go that I couldn’t sleep when the babies sleep (not to mention I did not want a rerun of last time). So right from the beginning I established a night routine. When it comes to babies I am very blase about routines. I feed them when they are hungry, they nap when they like. But, at night I knew it would be necessary, especially with twins.

Sadly for hubs he was the sofa, but it was only fair since he has had the bed to himself for months (I was much to big to sleep in anything other than a recliner).  At first bedtime was 1am, and now it has moved back to 11pm. But whatever the time, I would make sure to cluster feed them and then get them washed and changed. They both sleep in the bed with me (yes I know co sleeping is controversial, but I believe it is much safer than caring for three kids with no sleep). We turn off the lights except for a night light in the washroom and I nurse the girls while sleeping. They lie beside me and I nurse one until the other cries and then I switch sides. I continue this all through the night. Then we usually get up at 9am when my husband leaves for work (Sawyer is usually up by 8am so he needs supervision).

I can honestly say that with twins I get more then double the sleep I did with Sawyer. And within a week the girls have learned that at night they wake, eat and go back to sleep. At first, if the were both awake I could nurse one and give one a bottle.  Once they got bigger (about 6-8 weeks) they could go long enough that they don’t wake at the same time.  There are a few hiccups occasionally during growth spurts etc but getting a night time routine down is one of my proudest achievements. I would encourage any new mom to do the same. Especially since normalcy is something new moms absolutely crave.  Eventually you realize your current life is the new normal and things will never be the way they were, but at least you can realize this after a night of sleep. 🙂


About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of four children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.


6 thoughts on “Why “sleep when the baby sleeps” is not good advice.

  1. We had a great routine from the get go with vinnie and even with being breast fed he slept through the night from 3weeks in till around 5months. Since then ive only ever had a hand full of night where he sleeps through.
    I think having a routine is.good, although im very baby led. He naps when i see his cue he also eats when i see his cue. Bath and bed have always been by my cue. 😉

    Posted by journey2dfuture | August 6, 2013, 11:10 am
  2. I found ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ was great, in theory, when I only had one child to care for. But I couldn’t sleep when my twins slept during the day because I had a toddler to watch at the same time. I did eventually get them into a routine where all three went up for an afternoon nap. I made sure I grabbed a nap myself then! I was very lucky that I also had all three sleeping for most of the night, most nights by the time the twins were about 6 months old. Not sure if that was skill or just pure luck!

    Posted by Dawn Frazier | August 6, 2013, 4:23 pm
    • That’s exactly what it was like for me. I had the twins “sleeping” by which I mean waking up eating and going straight back to sleep for 10hrs by 3 weeks old. They are now 7 months but they still wake about three times each a night to feed (sleep from 11pm-8 or if I am lucky 9 am)

      Posted by Shannon | August 6, 2013, 6:08 pm
  3. I think every mum needs to figure out what works for them and not worry too much about what the textbook or nurse says they ‘should’ do.

    Posted by melbournemummy | August 7, 2013, 3:04 am


  1. Pingback: Everyone Else’s Kids Nap But Mine! | A Game of Diapers - December 13, 2013

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