How to do a dream feed with twins.
Sleep. Oh, how sleep is such a big deal in the newborn days. You think you will never get a big chunk of sleep again! But you can, and you will. One of my favorite tools to help get maximum sleep is the dream feed.
This is one of the best ways to line up your babies’ long sleep chunk with your own. You can totally do a dream feed with twins, you just need to be a bit more strategic. Here is how to do a dream feed with twins.
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How To Dream Feed With Twins
What is the Dream Feed?
So what exactly is the dream feed? It is a last feeding of your day, but one that takes place after your babies have gone to bed for the night. You wake your babies up just enough to feed them, but the goal is to keep them as asleep as possible.
Feed your twins, then get them back into bed with minimal wake time.
Why Do a Dream Feed?
Why do you want to do a dream feed? The goal is to maximize your sleep as a mom. So the dream feed should take place right before you go to bed.
When your babies go to bed at 7 or 8 pm, they might need to eat again in 3 to 4 hours. If you go to bed at 10 that means you have about an hour or two before your babies need to eat again.
But if you feed them one more time when you go to bed you can reset that clock, and as a result, you get more sleep.
Along the same line of thinking, babies generally have one large chunk of sleep in a 24 hour period. It just makes sense to try to make that long sleep line up with your sleep. So if your baby gets one long stretch of 5-6 hours of sleep, you want to be asleep for those 5-6 hours too.
Top off that tank and get the most sleep you can. (Learn more about why I love the dream feed—> Favorites: The Dream Feed)
How to Prepare to Dream Feed Twins
So how do you get ready to do a dream feed?
Pick a Time
When should a dream feed take place? The Babywise book recommends between 10 and 11 pm for your dream feed. I sometimes went with a 9:30 time. I am a big fan of not worrying about the exact time to call it a dream feed, do what works best for you.
You want to think about what time the last feeding of the day was. The dream feed should be between 2 to 4 hours after the last feeding of the day. The goal is to give a full feeding before you go to bed yourself, so it makes sense to not do it too quickly after you put your babies to bed.
Also, take into account when you want to go to bed and how long your babies take to eat. I wanted to get to bed relatively early. I mean, you are a tired mom of newborn twins! And my twins tended to take a long time at this feed.
So I had our dream feed start at 9:30 pm. This means I was in bed by about 10:15/10:30. Not too bad.
If you are extra tired then, of course, go to bed when you put your twins to bed at their earlier bedtime. Just set an alarm to wake up and feed for the dream feed.
Pick a Location
Like all things with twins, you are going to want to plan ahead. Where will your dream feed take place? The goal is to wake your twins up as little as possible, so try to keep them close to their beds.
It is recommended that babies room share with their mothers for the first few months of life, which makes your bed the perfect place to dream feed twins.
Why your bed? It’s big enough. Breastfeeding twins can take up more space than in just a single chair. Of course, if you have a large rocker or other space to nurse your twins that works too.
I also don’t like to take my babies out of the room they are sleeping in, and as they slept in our room the bed just made sense.
Gather Your Supplies
Plan ahead and gather everything you think you will need for the feeding. For breastfeeding, this is your nursing pillow, burp cloths, and anything else you need for the duration of the feed.
For bottle feeding, this is the bottles, burp cloths, and whatever you are using to help prop the bottles. (Learn what you need to breastfeed twins—> Breastfeeding Twins Supplies)
Be sure to bring your phone to this feeding. Yes, it will come into play later.
How To Dream Feed Twins
I’m going to focus on how to breastfeed for the dream feed because that is what I did. But the same ideas apply to bottle feeding.
Get Everyone Into the Feeding Position with Your Partner
Once I had all my supplies ready to go, I would strap on my nursing pillow and have Pat come and help me. I would pick up one girl and he would hold the other. I would get settled on the bed with my baby, then he would hand me the other and I would nurse.
Get Everyone Into the Feeding Position On Your Own
Sometimes you have to dream feed on your own. If you are already experienced with the logistics of breastfeeding twins on your own, this won’t be much different.
The major change is the location of your feed. Normally during the day I would breastfeed sitting on the couch. For the dream feed on the bed.
(Want to know more about breastfeeding twins on your own? This will help—> How to Breastfeed Twins: The Logistics)
Gather your supplies and strap on your nursing pillow. Yep, it’s like a giant fanny pack. Super fashionable. Keep the lights in the room low, the sound machine on, and minimize any bright light or loud sounds. The goal is to keep your twins as asleep as possible.
Pick up whoever is the heavier sleeper and place that twin gently on the middle of the bed. Now, safety first. I know you are never to leave a baby lying on a bed alone.
But your twins will be swaddled and still mainly asleep, so I never really worried that they would roll off the bed. Plus you will be staying right in the room with an eye on your babies, so I felt they were indeed safe.
Pick up the second twin. Get onto the bed so you can lean back comfortably (yes, your comfort matters too!). Place the baby you picked up second and are still holding into position to nurse. Then pick up and place the second baby into position.
Feed the babies. One reason I liked to bring my phone to this feeding sessions was that Ali and Sammy sometimes took up to an hour to nurse during this time. That’s a long time to be sitting in a darkened room.
Yes, breastfeeding is a great time to bond. But during a dream feed, you are not trying to engage with your babies. They should be as asleep as possible while they eat. So having something to look at made the time more fun for me. (It was too dark to read a book and I didn’t want to fall asleep myself.)
Returning Your Twins to Their Beds with a Partner
This is the second half of the process. Once your babies have finished eating it is time to return them to their beds. This is where the cell phone can come in handy again.
I would text my husband to come up at the end of the feed. (No sense in him sitting around a dark room with me, so he would be doing other things.)
You do not want to wake your babies. He would pick up one twin and return her to her bed, while I would get the other. This made it a smooth transition.
Returning Your Twins to Their Beds On Your Own
While most nights I had Pat home to help, sometimes he would be out or unavailable. But you can get your babies back to bed on your own.
If you don’t have anyone available to help, you just reverse how you got your twins into the feeding position. Move the heavier sleeper to the center of the bed. This twin is less likely to wake up by being moved more than once.
This frees you up to hold the other twin and get off the bed yourself. Place that baby back into bed, then gently get the other twin back into bed.
Go to sleep yourself! The goal of the dream feed is, in part, to maximize your sleep as a parent. So get to bed!
A Few Final Tips
A few final tips for the dream feed. The goal of this feed is to help you and your twins sleep. (Need more help getting your twins to sleep? Try this—> How To Sleep Train Twins in the Same Room)
Keep the Bed Warm
My girls adored being toasty warm to sleep. A problem with that is that their bed will, of course, cool down without them in it. Placing them back into a cooler bed tended to wake them up.
So I would put a heating pad into their bed on a low setting while I nursed during the dream feed. Do not leave the pad in the bed with the babies! This is not safe. Use it to keep the bed warm, then take it out to put your babies back to sleep.
Size Up Diapers
I did not like to do diaper changes during the dream feed. If they have to be done, try to do it before your twins eat. (Yes, this is a time when you want to nurse your babies to sleep.) We would use diapers that were a size bigger overnight so we didn’t need to do as many diaper changes and wake everyone up.
Ask For Help
I am a mom who likes to do it all on her own but do not be afraid to ask for help with the dream feed. It went so much smoother when Pat was able to help me move the girls on and off of the nursing pillow.
Your ultimate goal here is sleep. Utilize any help you have. (Looking for more dream feed help? Here is a great resource—> Dream Feed FAQ)
Twin Schedules: If you need more information on getting your twin schedule into place, check this out—> How To Get Twins on a Schedule
I Love the Dream Feed with Twins
The dream feed is one of my favorite things that I learned from Babywise. It just made sense to me, and it really helped all of us get more sleep during the night. Having twins can make feeding times a bit tricky, but it doesn’t make dream feeds impossible. Give it a go, and see if you too can maximize your sleep.