Establishing a routine with twins can be a game changer for tired parents.
I did not even think about routines before I had the boys, even when I was pregnant I didn’t really spend anytime reading or thinking about what routine I would like, or if I should even have one. I had heard a lot of negative comments about the Gina Ford book and how you don’t want to have to always follow a strict routine, so I thought I would just be relaxed and be led by the babies!
Then they arrived and the realities of having two to look after hit me, especially when my husband went back to work.
I didn’t start a routine until they were past 3 months, I think before then they are not quite ready for a routine, but once past this stage I started to find it hard when I didn’t really know what they wanted, they would get grumpy and over tired and NEVER sleep at the same time. Extreme tiredness is hard, as is two screaming babies, so I soon knew I needed to get them in a good routine.
For me it turned out to be the best thing I did, they soon fell into one and it made my life SO much easier, and the babies were so much more content. Having a good routine is really one of my main pieces of advice for new twin mums, it makes everything so much easier I promise!
Below is what I followed. It can take time, so my advice is:
- Stick with it, establishing a routine takes time
- Start when you have a quiet week and you are maybe staying in more
- From the first week you are starting have them take naps in their cots/baskets
Once established do remember you still need a life and its good to get out, so once they are in the routine the odd day out where it all goes out the window is not a bad thing. It’s all about finding balance.
3 – 6 months
At this point they were feeding every 3-4 hours and having a dream feed, every baby is different, much depends on weight, how you are feeding etc. But mine followed the below:
7am – Feed
9am – Nap (around 45 mins)
11am – Feed
12pm – Nap (longer nap – around 2 hours)
2:30pm – Feed
4:00pm – nap (Short one – 15 mins)
6:30pm – Feed and bed
11:00pm – dream feed
Once we got to 6 months we introduced food and started the fun journey of weaning! It took a while to get them into food and we started to wean them off the 11am bottle, I haven’t put a routine as I think you may need to see how your babies are with food and adjust things for you.
7 months onwards
By now they may be starting to get to grips with food – I have put in what I did when they were on 3 meals a day.
6:45 – 7am – wake – mine nearly always woke around 6:15 / 6:30am – but if they were happy I would leave them in the cots until around 7am. If they are still asleep at 7am I would wake them by 7:30am.
7am – Milk (however many oz you feel is best, mine took 7oz)
09:30 – Nap – 40 mins
11:30 – Lunch
13:00 – Nap 1.5 hours
15:30 – Milk (again mine took 7oz)
16:30 – Dinner
18:30 / 19:00 – Milk (7oz)
19:00 – Bed – I find it best to put them down awake, if they are super awake I usually put on some white noise.
Past 9 months I found lots of changes, they start to move, drop milk, want snacks, so I think you need to then adjust the routine to what you feel fits your babies.
They are a year now and still have 2 naps, one for just 20mins at 09:30 and one at 13:00 for 1.5 hours. Unless teething or ill they do tend to sleep through. Around 11 months when they started to walk we had some terrible nights but they have gone back to being good.
White Noise – I brought a white noise machine and this really seemed to help settle them.
Light – the room should be as dark as you can possibly make it – I had black out blinds and still used to put material around the edge to make it super dark, especially in the summer.
Sleeping bags – from birth until they could roll we used the Love to Dream swaddles, I cannot recommend these enough. They were one of our most used purchases and I wouldn’t have been without them. Ours liked to have there arms up and not swaddled down, so these were perfect. The tighter and more still you can keep them the better. And when they get bit older they have ones you can take the arms out.
Try not to wait until they seem tired, sometimes before the 1pm nap they seem really awake, as soon as we get upstairs and dim the lights they suddenly get sleepy. Trying to get an over tired baby to sleep is hard.
Stick with it, they may cry and not want to be left, everyone is different but you have to be consistent and sometimes this means letting them cry for abit. Often I would go in and settle them but don’t take them out. Leave again and keep popping in, I found if you take them out they get used to it and cry more.
I would like to say I am not expert in this area AT ALL, and my boys had no health issues. It is just what worked for me and kept me sane. Also every baby is different, so don’t be afraid to tweak things for them.