First off, congratulations! You’re having twins. That’s incredible. Second off, if you don’t want to sit at the dock and wave goodbye to your sleep schedule and sanity, you’re going to have to become best friends with a construct that starts with “R.”
And that construct, mothers-to-be, is a lovely word called routine.
Routine, The Great Lifesaver
If you’ve done your research, like you seem to be doing right now, the most emphasized approach for surviving and caring for newborn twins is to establish routines. Your newborn twins routine will be the sole reason you’re able to stay sane during that first year.
It might sound relatively simple, but it can require more work than you expect. With our suggestions below to guide you and some tenacity from you, you’ll be able to find your groove as parents of multiples in no time!
Start Scheduling ASAP
Shelly Vaziri Flais is a triple threat: mother of twins herself, M.D. and author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' book Raising Twins: From Pregnancy to Preschool. And even she confirms that "getting infant twins on the same sleep and feeding schedules is key to staying sane."
Since more than half of twins are born premature, your newborn twins will likely be spending a few days in the hospital before coming home. The nurses will already have them on an eating and sleeping schedule, so you could reap the benefits of their hard work. Ask them to write down when they’ve been feeding and sleeping your twins, and continue to do the same at home.
All for One and One for All
Getting your babies on a manageable routine will require implementing these tips for raising twins:
You might revolt at the thought of disturbing that adorable sleeping face. You may even think it’s absolutely illogical and takes away your chance at sleep.
But yes, you have to do it. Waking up one baby if the other needs to be fed is essential to getting them on the same schedule. It may take a handful of extra minutes now, but you’ll be thanking us when they’re napping, sleeping, and eating at the same time later.
Be Flexible and Patient
It is easier said than done, so don’t be discouraged if the routine isn’t settling in immediately. Routines are established through weeks and months of repetition—not hours and days.
You also can’t anticipate unexpected changes, such as sickness or travel. However, Dr. Flais reassures that "when your baby is well or you're back home, [just] use the 'wake a sleeping baby' method to get your two little ones back in sync again."
So, being flexible and continually adapting will be necessary for success and your sanity. Take some additional insights for the road:
- Familiarize yourself with your babies’ cues to learn what they need faster.
- Don’t be shy! Ask your pediatrician and fellow parents of multiples for advice.
- Remember, your twins aren’t the same person and will still have individual needs.
- Consider staggering schedules, if managing both at once is too difficult.
- Separate the twins for naps if that helps them get enough sleep.
Once a routine becomes as concrete a schedule as it can be, your life will become a little easier. You’ll finally be able to integrate your schedule and make time for yourself.
Life will be a lot less complicated, and soon you’ll be able to make plans of your own, getting the self-care breaks you deserve.
For more information, check out our checklist for newborn twins.
Parents. 4 Ways to Get Your Newborn Twins on a Schedule. https://www.parents.com/baby/twins/caring/4-ways-to-get-your-newborn-twins-on-a-schedule/
Twins UK. Establishing Routine with Twins. https://www.twinsuk.co.uk/twinstips/15/9934008/the-first-year-!/establishing-routines-with-twins/
Very Well Family. How to Get Your Twins on a Schedule. https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-to-get-your-twins-on-a-schedule-2447433