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Put twins on schedule?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Everywhere we read we are told that we MUST put the twins on a schedule.

And some of the advice sounds very good on the surface. Like, if they eat at the same time then you will have some time during the day when you are not feeding a baby. Or if they sleep/nap at the same time then you will have time to rest, have "me" time, nap, shower, etc.


BUT. We never really did a schedule with our DD. Or I guess we did, but after her natural schedule showed we just helped her to adhere to it to get the optimal rest, etc. Like, she basically just ate when she was hungry. But for sleeping, she seemed to need each nap after a certain time of being awake. So her optimal nap time was pretty predictable, but all depended on when she awoke each morning. She wasn't a long sleeper. What if one twin sleeps for 1 hour naps and the other likes/needs 2.5 hour naps?


How do you even put twins/babies on a schedule?

Two children will have different needs. How do you choose which twins schedule to follow and force the other one on it?

If they nap at the same time...how do you put two babies down for a nap? How do you rock two to sleep?

My wife is already a pro at tandem feeding, but that is only when both are hungry at the same time. Right now they are not even 2 weeks old, so they are commonly hungry together (ie: all the time every 1.5-2 hours). But as they age a bit, they will go through their ebbs and flows of eating.

If you feed on a schedule, how do you ensure that you are feeding them enough or not too much?


Do you have your twins on a schedule?

If your twins are not born yet, do you plan on putting them on a schedule?

If you try to schedule a baby, when do you do it? Right from birth? Three months? One year?


What do you consider the pros and cons of schedules?

post #2 of 8

i think you said it right when you talked about your older child, you find their schedule and work on "cleaning it up"  o found that at nearly every stage on the past 2 years i could find a soft flexible schedule that worked for both kids.  i would regularly track their sleeping when they were young and naps seem to move around a lot. i used Baby-Connect on my iphone and after tracking for a few days i could look at it and see the larger patterns, i would then pick a time that seem good and test it out. it nearly always worked wonderful till a month or two later when they entered a new phase and i would do it again. the software made what would have been very hard, really easy.


I'm not a schedule person and dont live on one myself, but i found it really hard to not be on one for a few reasons you didn't mention. if you have one kid and they stay up a bit too long and start getting all hyper, you can whisk them away and give them your full attention and get them down to sleep. With twins you will strugle to get both nursing as they squirm around and set each other off over and over, so it really pays to put them down before they think they are tired.

with one you can wait till you see subtle signs of a need, with twins they can tend to distract each other, mask some of those signs. So by the time you see it it can again be to late and you get throwing food or crying or you just wishing that one would be calm for 2 min while the other one calms down.


so i found a schedule to be so so helpful i cant even begin to tell you. it still ebbs and flows based on when they wake, but less now that they are down to one nap. Now it seems to matter most just if we go out to big things first thing in the morning or play at home, that former will move nap up a bit.


and as for the two needing different things? i had one that always dropped naps first and needs less sleep apparently. but she has also learned to read a book in her crib and her brother has learned to sleep thru her signing to herself when she wakes.  So they go down at the same time and sometimes she stays in till he wakes other times she clearly asks to be taken out up to 45min before him. and i have no problem with that. on those days she gets a light snack to tide her over till he wakes and the eat their larger lunch together. in the few phases where they were going from 3 naps to 2 and then 2 naps to one things got wonky for a few weeks as she decided she would not nap and then would need to before her brother would be ready for the next one. i helped her lay down when she needed to and just slightly shifted it to flow together and in a short time it worked again. these times are short in the larger picture.


beyond that one snack thing they still do everything in sync, when one asks for a snack the both get it, if one does not want to eat much of it then no worries. they reality is that babies and toddlers seem to thrive on a loving flexible schedule and dont seem the slightest bit stressed by it.


what it has given me isa todo list that i can actually do each day and a small window into when i might be able to take then on an errand or plan on calling someone back. it gives me time to eat and time to find my calm in the mist of hte day. 

i guess i thrive on a loving flexible schedule too now.

post #3 of 8

What Adorkable said. We didn't have an imposed schedule, but we did do things in a more scheduled way than we would have for one baby. If one baby woke up for food, we would either wake the other baby immediately, or feed them just after feeding the first (depending on logistics). I always try to put them down for a nap at the same time (though sometimes one will sleep longer). I always offer a snack at the same time.


So for food, we go with whoever gets hungry first (once we got to the point that we thought one might just sleep through, we stopped waking the second baby to eat at night).


And then we watch what they need and try to create a flexible schedule that matches their needs. But if I were trying to manage two separate eating and napping babies completely independently...I don't know how it would work.


So...not as scheduled as the rigid schedule people, but enough structure that I can deal with two babies instead of just one. And we structure things to that they're either simultaneous or one and then right after the other.


I don't have any breaks in my schedule right now (napping is being tough), but it's the difference between being able to cope and not.

post #4 of 8

I'm not a schedule person but with the triplets, we kinda had to be.  It started out as a firm schedule, which was exhausting, and then we worked into a natural schedule.  If anything, we used early scheduling to line the babies' natural schedules together if that makes sense.  With previous children, I fed on demand and did not have a schedule but it would be impossible to approach three this way AND still pump. 


At first, our schedule was every 3 hours...at the start of every 3 hours we had to feed babies, change diapers, put back to sleep, mama pump.  When I had help, I would hook up to the pump and feed 1 or 2.  Eventually, when the babies were large enough that we did not have to wake them we let them drift into their own schedules and discovered they really preferred the every 3-4 hr schedule.  A month ago, I did start squeezing a night into the routine...as in, I would try to pump at 1 am and 5 am instead of 12 am, 3 am, and 6 am.  Little by little, the babies have worked into their own groove and thankfully it is somewhat in sync.


I don't like schedule parenting, but in some cases it really is necessary.  I think the way we made it work for us was flexibility.  I was not flexible on pumping times but when it came to the babies we were nto going to force one to eat or sleep if she was not tired or hungry.  We made sure that food, sleep, diapers are made available on schedule but also respond to each babies needs as needs arise.

post #5 of 8



I'm expecting my twins in April-May, so I don't have any words of wisdom to impart, but I wanted to say - thank you for asking this question!! I learned so much just by reading the replies! And if you care to share your experience, as you go along, there are quite a few of new parents who'd appreciate it, I am sure. 

post #6 of 8
Yes, a big thanks for the replies. One way I saw suggested in a few books is to be on the same, but slightly staggered schedule. So with infants, feed, change, put back to bed then wake 2nd infant and feed, change, put back to bed. I think if you can tandem nurse that would be even easier, but I think the staggered schedule makes a lot of sense if you only have one caregiver available. No clue how well that works in reality, but I'm trying to collect as much advice as possible so I have lots of tools hopefully when its my turn! My DD was not on a schedule at all, though she took to one fine at daycare and we do have a bedtime now, though it isn't set in stone. I like the idea of a more natural schedule and I'm going to have to research some baby apps or at least get a good excel spreadsheet set up! I tracked info for my DD and found that immensely helpful, with twins I figure it will be absolutely necessary!
post #7 of 8

We are pretty much doing what the others have said: a loose schedule. For the most part my 11 week old twins (8 weeks adjusted) want to eat at the same time. But often one will nap after a feed and one won't; the next time the other will nap.  It can be hard because this "me" time you hear about just doesn't happen ;-)  There have been a couple of times, in my sleep deprived state, that I wanted to scream at anyone who knowingly told me to "nap when the babies nap."  But on the bright side, it does give me one on one time with each twin throughout the day.  And sometimes they do both nap at the same time.  

post #8 of 8

in your sleep deprived state, please find comfort in this, it really is the silver lining, it meant more and more to me over time.




But on the bright side, it does give me one on one time with each twin throughout the day.
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