If you’re currently expecting twins, you may be freaking out about how the heck you’re going to manage to get those babies on a newborn twin schedule.
It probably seems daunting because it’s hard enough to get ONE baby on a schedule… TWO babies seem next to impossible.
They are different babies and need different things. What if one twin needs a longer nap time than the other?
Mamas, I am here to tell you that not only is it POSSIBLE to get your newborn twins on the same sleeping schedule… but it was actually easier than I anticipated.
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My identical twin girls were born 8-weeks early (<– you can click to read our story).
They spent some time in the NICU and so by the time they came home, they were already on a solid 3-hour schedule. While their NICU stay was hard on all of us, I will say that it was nice to not have to work that hard to get them on a schedule because they already WERE on one.
You may be thinking, ‘sure, it was easy for HER because the NICU staff put them on a schedule!’ While this is true, I kept at it when they got home. We worked really hard to keep them on a schedule, and it was 1000% worth it.
How to Get Twins on a Schedule
Literally, keeping my twins on a schedule saved my sanity.
Our son, Theo, had just turned 2 when they were born, and the structure and consistent routine really helped to ease him into being a big brother. (You can read my tips for siblings welcoming twins into the family <– right there!)
It will be a decent amount of work, but it’s so worth it. The schedule won’t be there from the very beginning, but after a few weeks, things will click into place. Here are my tips for getting and keeping newborn twins on a schedule.
1. Eat, Wake, Sleep Newborn Twin Schedule
Don’t worry about setting a strict schedule with newborn twins.
Instead, focus on getting a solid routine of eat, wake, sleep established.
This means that the babies eat as soon as they wake up and then have designated ‘wake’ time. Wake time for a newborn should only be 30-45 minutes, including their feeding time.
If your twins were born prematurely, it could be even less time than that. After their wake time, it’s your twins’ sleep time.
Ideally, your routine will repeat itself every 3-hours.
If your babies are hungry sooner than 3 hours, by all means, feed them.
Some parents even start their babies on a 2.5-hour schedule. The NICU and our pediatrician both wanted us to do a 3-hour schedule, which is what we stuck with.
Apparently, at one point, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised parents not to follow Babywise, which is a book where the eat, play, sleep method is from.
Their point was that parents could become too focused on baby sleep and not feed a hungry baby. I just need to point out that Babywise specifically says to feed your baby if they are hungry, no matter how long it’s been. If your baby is hungry… feed them!
Anyways, moving on!
I’ll be honest- I can’t imagine raising twins without Babywise. If you’d like to try it for yourself, you can read this post: 5 Tips for the First Time Mom Using Babywise, or get your copy of the book –> here.
2. Full Feeds
Focus on full feeds! Making sure your twins eat enough at each meal time will help them to not ‘snack’ or eat casually throughout the day.
You can undress them or change their diapers if they become drowsy, and stroke their cheeks to encourage swallowing.
3. Wake Both Twins at the Same Time
You know the phrase, don’t wake a sleeping baby?
Any twin parent will tell you that does not apply to multiples.
If you want your twins to sleep at the same time, you need to wake them up at the same time.
You don’t want your twins on different schedules. This will also mean that they have the same feeding schedule and you can find helpful tips to feed twins at the same time <– right here.
4. Solid Morning Wake Up Time
Start with having a solid morning wake-up time that is consistent every day, within 30 minutes or so..
In the Babywise book, this is referred to as desired wake time (DWT).
Once they are consistent with the morning wake up time, you can start adding more solid feeding times throughout the day. But at first, don’t stress and aim for every 3-hours-ish. Nail that solid wake-up time for sure though.
5. Put to Sleep Drowsy, Yet Awake
So, your twins wake up, eat, get a diaper change and a little bit of awake time… then put them in their beds, drowsy, yet awake. Your goal is for them to fall asleep independently.
It’s really, really hard to rock two babies to sleep, especially as they get older. Try to establish them falling asleep on their own when they are newborns. Give them a snuggle until they are nice and sleepy, and then put them in their cribs or bassinets to go to sleep.
Read more about putting your baby down drowsy yet awake.
Sample Newborn Twins Schedule
Once your twins are on a pretty solid routine of eat, wake, sleep, you can start following a newborn twin schedule.
Of course, just because you are on a 3-hour schedule doesn’t mean that you don’t feed your baby if they’re hungry earlier.
How do you know?
If they settle down when you pick them up or give them a pacifier, they probably aren’t hungry yet. Use your mama gut and trust your instincts though.
Newborn Twin 3-Hour Sample Schedule
This schedule will work whether or not you need a breastfeeding twins schedule or a schedule for formula feeding twins. It can be used for either, trust me.
- 7:00: DWT (Desired wake time) and first feeding
- 7:45-10:00: Nap
- 10:00: Second feeding
- 10:45-1: Nap
- 1:00: Third feeding
- 1:45-4: Nap
- 4:00: Fourth feeding
- 4:45-6:45: Nap
- 6:45: Bedtime routine
- 7:00: Final feeding and in bed for the ‘night’
- 10:00: Optional dream feed (read more about the dream feed)
During the middle of the night, let them sleep as long as they will, as long as you’re cleared by your pediatrician! We had to feed our girls every 3-hours in the middle of the night for quite some time since they were born so early.
The newborn stage is one of the most difficult seasons of raising twins (another of the most difficult seasons is toddler twins…)
You will get through this!
I knew it can seem daunting as a new twin mom, but before you know it, your twins will be sleeping through the night and the first year will pass by in the blink of an eye.
As always, I am only an e-mail away if you need advice or support <3 And, don’t forget to follow our twin journey over on Instagram!