Getting twins (or a singleton) on a schedule can seem like a daunting task. There are a zillion books out there that tell you a million different ways to help get your baby on a regular schedule. 1. If you are trying to survive with one or more infants, you don’t have time for reading entire books. 2. If you are trying to read ahead while pregnant, you can’t stay awake long enough to read entire books. So, I thought I would give you the rundown of strategies that worked for us. I will also link the books where I picked up what I consider the most helpful strategies. Really, I took pieces of information from here and there and combined it all because I’m a rebel. It also took a lot of making things up as we go along, but I can say that our boys are now 7 months, and their schedule is like clockwork. So, something must’ve gone right.
In the beginning…
Before leaving the hospital with our boys, my nurse gave us some advice that replayed in my head over and over those first couple of months. She said, for at least the first month, focus on keeping them healthy, the rest will work itself out. I would put a lot of pressure on myself because I thought it was my job as a mom to get the babies on a schedule immediately. I thought I should have them on a routine early, and this willy nilly “schedule” we had meant I wasn’t doing my job. Well, I’m here to tell you, the schedule takes a while. If your babies are fed, and they aren’t screaming out of exhaustion, then you just willy nilly on, girlfriend. One thing we did do right off the bat was feed and wake at the same time. I tandem nursed the boys, and at night, if one woke, we got the other one up also…no.matter.what. For credibility purposes, I’ll let you know that we tried letting them wake individually. We got about an hour of sleep those nights. Total.
The strategy I found in this book is what really helped us get on an actual schedule. (FYI, our working toward a real schedule didn’t start until the boys were a little over 3 months). Anyway, Hogg suggested making note of your babies’ sleep and hunger cues, times of day they ate, and times of day they slept and for how long. She suggested noting this information for four days. Now, did I take incredibly specific notes? No, ain’t nobody got the time. Over the span of a few days, we did notice the boys were getting sleepy around the same time every day. This was our first step in establishing nap time. Trying to follow the boys natural schedule avoided such pitfalls as a spontaneous fit from being over tired, or scrambling to get everyone on the boob while they’re crying from hunger. If you do have time for some book skimming, or even (gasp) reading an entire book. I would highly suggest Baby Whisperer.
In between eating and sleeping
Who knew that what you do in between sleeping and eating actually plays a role in establishing a successful schedule?? The book On Becoming BabyWise explains an eat-play-sleep schedule with feedings being every 3 hours. Hogg expands on this cycle with E.A.S.Y which is eat-awake-sleep-you. I took these two, meshed them together, and made up my own steps. Does that mean I created my own? Do I smell a book deal?Anyway, we took the natural sleep/eat times we noted for the boys, and incorporated time for play/stimulation in between. We also made sure that before sleeping the boys got lots of cuddles as, I’m convinced, is also one of a baby’s basic needs.
Timeline for Results
As I mentioned earlier, we did not start trying to establish a real schedule until around 3 months. I feel this is really when babies begin sleeping less during the day and you can note more consistent sleep/hunger cues. *I’m not a doctor, and all babies are different. This is just what worked for us.*By three and a half month to four months the boys were down to waking once in the night to eat. At around 4.5 months the boys were sleeping through the night and taking pretty consistent naps during the day. Every once in a while they would take turns napping because, twins life.
The boys are now 7 months and are still sleeping through the night. They also take two naps a day MOST of the time without issue. This isn’t to brag, but to show that it can be done and to maybe give a little hope to those struggling. Here is our boys’ typical schedule:
5:30-6am- wake for 1st feeding
7:30-8- wake for the day
1:30-2:30/3- Afternoon Nap
*Sometimes a cat nap around 4:30*
I hope sharing what worked for us has been helpful. As always, you are welcome to connect with me on Instagram at blwalker_528