Hi! I am Marloes, the Seattle Associate for Twin Love Concierge, mom of 9-year-old b/g twins, and a postpartum doula. I love working with families during this precious and vulnerable time, especially when they have twins!
Are you curious to learn more about what an overnight shift with a postpartum doula looks like, and how it could benefit your family? In this post I describe a recent overnight shift I did for a family with 6-week-old boy/girl twins.
It’s 10pm when I let myself in the house. I walk to the sink to wash my hands and then find dad in the living room. He’s drinking a glass of wine while both babies are snoozing in the swing. After dad gives me a short rundown of the day, he joins his wife who’s already asleep upstairs. The babies just had their bottle and I know I have some time before they need to feed again, so I start with the chores mom has written down for me on a note.
I make some overnight oats, collect the dirty baby laundry and turn on the washer. I fold and put away some clean baby clothes, unload the dishwasher, and load it with the dirty bottles. Both babies have thrush, so I run the dishwasher on the sanitize setting to make sure the infection won’t spread.
After I tidy up the kitchen, I restock the changing station with more diapers. Newborns use a lot of diapers during those early weeks, let alone two! Around 600 per month! Good thing this family has them auto shipped to their house, so they never run out. Now that most of my chores are done, I join the twins in the living room and read a book.
Around 12am I hear one of them smacking their lips. Recognizing this early hunger sign I warm up two bottles of expressed milk. Since they were born a few weeks early, they’re still learning to breastfeed effectively and are working hard on mastering that skill. Feeding, burping and diapering a newborn can easily take up to 60 minutes, so on the nights that I’m with the family I handle all of that, while mom does two 15-minute pumping sessions. This allows her to get a couple of nice big chunks of restorative sleep that help her body reset mentally, physically and emotionally.
When I come back, my little friend has started fussing so I quickly change his diaper and feed him. After a while I notice he’s starting to doze off and I put him in the Twin Z double feeding pillow. I know he needs to drink more if he wants to have a nice long stretch of sleep, but I take this opportunity to get his sister ready for a feed. She is still asleep and although normally you wouldn’t wake a sleeping baby, the opposite is true for twins – you want to keep them on the same schedule, so when one feeds, both feed!
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I change her and put her next to her brother on the pillow. Then I tickle their feet. This wakes them up and I feed them at the same time. When they have finished their bottles, I zip them into a swaddle and put them in their cribs in the nursery upstairs. They don’t share a crib, but their cribs are placed side by side, so they still sense each other close by.
Now that I’m done and the babies are asleep, I lie down on the sofa in the nursery. While listening to the cute little sounds the twins make and the white noise, I doze off.
It’s 3am when I wake up from some serious grunting noises. The twins are working on passing some gas and knowing it’s almost time for their next feed, I prepare two bottles with ready-to-feed formula. Back in the nursery I change their diapers. They’re both wearing zippered sleepers which is a must have for all parents, especially at night, when – after a diaper change – it’s almost impossible to line up the snaps in a sleep deprived state, in dim light while baby keeps pulling up their legs.
I lay them on their sides on the double feeding pillow and use the Paced Feeding method to feed them. This method lets babies control the flow and thus mimics feeding at the breast. This way they have an easier time switching between the bottle and the breast.
Once they’re back in bed I go downstairs to unload the dishwasher and prep the bottles for the next day. I also move the clean baby clothes to the dryer and turn it on. Then I rest a bit more until mom comes in at 5:45am. We talk for a bit and I show her the tracking sheet so that she knows how much each baby drank, at what time and if they had a poopy diaper. I tell her I look forward to seeing her and the twins again next week and then quietly leave.
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About the author
Marloes Koning is TLC’s Seattle Associate, a postpartum doula and mom to elementary school aged boy/girl twins, Kai and Noa. She lives in Sammamish, WA with her husband Remco and labradoodle Sidney. Marloes has a deep passion for supporting and empowering new and expecting families and brings wisdom from her own experience as a mother, her work as a postpartum doula and resources from the wide network she has built. She is committed to making sure every family is set up for success so that their transition into twin parenthood is a smooth and enjoyable one. You can reach Marloes at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on our Seattle services.