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How Newborn Twins Affect Sleep

You may have pulled all-nighters before, but did you do it night after night? Of all the changes that come with new parenthood, lack of sleep may be one of the hardest.

Before your twins, you took it for granted that you could go to bed at night and sleep till morning. But newborns don't respect their parents' normal schedule: 

  • Newborn babies sleep practically around the clock, but only for about one to two hours at a time.
  • Babies usually don't start sleeping through the night until they are at least 3 months old.
  • At 3 months, many babies will sleep for stretches of five hours at a time.
  • Normal, healthy babies cry about two hours a day until they are 6 weeks old.

This adds up to a lot of sleep loss for mom and dad.

If your partner breastfeeds solely, you may get to sleep for longer stretches during your twins' first weeks. But you'll also be making middle-of-the-night diaper changes and soothing your babies when they are crying but aren't hungry.

Taking It All in Stride

Yes, being a new dad can be hard sometimes, but the benefits of fatherhood will make it all worthwhile. Try to keep these things in mind as you work through the challenges of those first few months. 

Lower your expectations. Don't expect to keep up with your normal daily routine as you're adjusting to your new babies. Some days, just taking a shower will be a major accomplishment.

Keep a positive attitude. Stay positive and work with your partner as a team. That's a great way to nurture your relationship.

Remember -- it's not forever. The first few months or so are often the hardest. Before you know it, your little bundles of joy will be walking and talking. Keep in mind that these early days will pass quickly, and you and your partner will adjust to your new life together.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Matthew Brennan, MD on October 02, 2012

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