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Daily Wake Time with Twins: How To Get Your Twins on a Schedule

Daily Wake Time with Twins: Start Building Your Twin Schedule

Hi Twin Mom.  Are you pregnant and wondering how in the world you are going to handle two newborns at once? 

Are your twins already here and you are wondering if life will ever feel doable again? 

I have been there.  I have been pregnant with twins and wondered How are we going to do this? 

And I have sat there thinking Will I ever feel like I am in control again? 

The answer is yes!  You need to get those twins on a schedule.

I know, I know.  You hear that from everyone when you have twins.  Because it is true.  But actually getting a schedule going isn’t always the easiest. 

Let’s work through this.  The first step? Wake those twins up. 

You need a daily wake time with twins.

Every twin mom is told to get her twins on a schedule. But how exactly do you do that? This is step one: The daily wake time. Learn how a simple daily wake time with twins will set you up for success. #babywise #schedule #twins #newborntwins #twinschedule #dailywaketime #twinroutines Team-Cartwright.com

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Building Your Twin Schedule

I’m going to break this down into parts.  It is all well and good to have an entire plan outlined before your twins are even born.  But those early weeks are tiring.  Amazing, don’t get me wrong.  But tiring.

It is very easy to get overwhelmed by trying to make each day run like clockwork right away.  I had schedule goals, but we eased our way into them in a way that made them feel manageable.

One little goal at a time.  I’m not saying every day was perfect, but I felt confident and comfortable with our journey to a solid schedule.

A lot of these ideas come from the Babywise book.  Please, if you have read anti-Babywise posts don’t leave now.  I had read them with Ben, got scared, and quit too.  I came back to Babywise because the ideas matched what my gut told me.  And no book is going to tell me to ignore my gut.

But I needed more than just the book.  I wanted a step by step guide of first do this, now do that, etc.  Fortunately my twins Ali and Sammy were my second and third kids.  I had more mommy confidence and knew that twins meant we needed to go slow with everything.

As such this is how I implemented our schedule.  It is not the only way to do things by any means, but it really worked for us.  So I hope it can help you too.

So let’s dive in.  The first day you bring your twins home.  How can you start your family on the path to twin schedule success?

Twin moms hear that they need a schedule. But how do you get twins on a schedule? This is step one: Set a daily wake time. Here is how to kick off every day right using a daily wake time with twins. #babywise #babywiseschedule #dailywaketime #twins #newborntwins #twinschedule Team-Cartwright.com

Daily Wake Time with Twins

Step one is to pick a daily wake time (DWT) and stick to it. This is a little thing that makes a big impact.

What is Daily Wake Time

If you do nothing else in those early weeks with your twins, do this.  Stick to the same daily wake time.  What is the daily wake time?  It’s exactly the term, it is the time you wake for the day. Now, I know babies wake up a lot during the night.  This wake time is when you decide nighttime sleep is done and they leave their beds.

Daily Wake Time Equals Breakfast

For babies, the DWT is the first feeding of the day.  You switch from eating and going back to sleep to eat, wake up, and play.  So consider this the first meal of the day.  Breastfeed or bottle feed at the same time every morning.

Regardless of the last nighttime wake up, at least offer food at this time.  This first meal will help the day fall into a natural pattern.

Think about you as an adult.  When you have breakfast at the same time every day, you tend to be hungry for lunch around the same time.  Then you are hungry for dinner at the same time.  If you sleep in and have a late breakfast you aren’t hungry at your usual lunchtime.

The same is true for babies.  Feeding them at the same time every morning doesn’t guarantee they will be hungry at the same time during the day that they were yesterday, but it gives it a much better chance.

What Is a Good Daily Wake Time with Twins?

What is a good time for a daily wake time?  Well, there is a lot to consider.  Do you have other children that need to be somewhere at a certain time?  What time do you usually go to bed?  Are you an early riser or do you prefer to sleep in?  These are all things you need to think about.

First I would take a pen to paper and write out what time every member of your family needs to be up in the morning.  When does your partner need to be at work?  If you have other children that need to be at school note that.

And if you are not staying home long-term with your babies consider the time you will eventually have to be up to get your twins to daycare on time.  You don’t need to use that exact time, but if in two months you need to leave at 7 am to get to work don’t set your twins daily wake time to 9 am.  That just doesn’t make sense.

The first step to getting your twins on a schedule? The daily wake time. This is key to getting your days to fall into a consistent routine. Here is how to set a daily wake time with twins. #dailywaketime #schedule #babywise #babywiseschedule #twins #twinschedule #newborntwins #babytwins Team-Cartwright.com

Wake Before or After Other Siblings?

A lot of twin moms have other children too. So should your twin’s daily wake time be before or after other siblings? Yes, you could get everyone up at the same time.  But trust me on this one, stagger the wake times.  It’s less chaotic.

Wake Your Twins First

If you have other children that tend to sleep later, try waking your twins first.  You can feed your twins in peace and not have to worry about anyone else’s needs.  Your twins can be ready for their day, having their wake time, and you can then focus on your other children. A bonus here is your twins will have their first nap shortly after waking, so you can give more attention to the other children.

Wake Your Twins Last

This was my preferred way to do things.  Ben woke up at 7 am, and then I had a whole hour to focus on him and make sure his needs were met.  Then at 8 am I woke Ali and Sammy and was able to pay attention to them.

A bonus here was that I could start the day by filling Ben’s cup.  Older siblings still need a lot of attention and they need to feel like they matter, despite all the attention twin newborns demand.  I loved those quiet mornings where I could be with just Ben.

Another bonus is that if we had to leave early I could get everything else ready, then just wake the girls, feed them, and go.


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Twin Sleep: Your guide for the first year. Everything you need to know about getting your twins to sleep. Twin beds, twin cribs, naps, nighttime sleep, safety. Help from a real twin mom. #twins #baby #naps #sleep #eatplaysleep #twinnap #twinsleep #twincribs #safesleep Team-Cartwright.com

The Case for a Late DWT

I have one strong suggestion if you are able to do it.  Set your twin’s daily wake time as late as possible.  For us, that meant 8 am.  No, that isn’t super late.  But it is a late start to the day for little kids.  I have good reasons for it though.

Wake Time Creep

Wake times tend to creep earlier and earlier with kids.  Early waking can be a big problem with older babies. (Learn how to work on that—> Solving Early Wake Times)  When your babies wake early it is a lot easier to stay strong on your wake time when it is still an hour away as opposed to when it is in fifteen minutes.

What’re fifteen minutes?  It seems like no big deal to get your babies up. But that time adds up and suddenly your babies are up for the day at 5 am.  (Sadly I am not exaggerating too much with that.)  A later time encourages you to stay strong and keep the wake time consistent.

More Schedule Flexibility Overall

Obviously, as babies get older they can handle longer wake times.  That means they need more time before their morning nap.  My goal was long-term consistency, both for me and to fit in with Ben’s schedule.

Having a later daily wake time means that when you need to increase wake time before the first nap you can inch the nap back a little AND you can inch the wake time earlier.  Since a later morning nap means a later afternoon nap this is a huge benefit.  (The afternoon nap is an anchor nap. It is key to keep those times consistent, which I will get in part 3 of this series.)

Mama Potentially Gets More Sleep

This is my personal favorite, but a later wake time means you as a mom might get to sleep later.  Of course, when Pat was at work I was up with Ben in the morning.  But on weekends Pat and I could take turns getting up with Ben.

I breastfed Ali and Sammy, so when they woke up I was up.  A later DWT meant I could sleep in a little bit too.  No, it wasn’t anything crazy.  But in the newborn days, every bit of sleep helps.

My DWT Goal

I set my twin’s DWT for 8 am.  My goal was for it to settle into 7 or 7:30 am.  This worked for us because I was home with my kids, so we didn’t need to be anywhere too early.  But we could be up and out by 9 am, which is when a lot of the world generally starts publicly functioning.  (By that I mean store open times, library open times, early appointments, etc.)

Waking the twins by 8 am meant I could be up and totally ready for the day before them without waking up too early.  It left plenty of wiggle room for early wake times.  And it was late enough for me to feel like I got to sleep in with three kids.

This wake time also still allowed for a decently early bedtime, giving my husband and I some much-needed us time.

You need a daily wake time with twins. This is the first step to getting your twins on a schedule and saving your sanity. Here is how it works. #twins #schedule #twinschedule #newborntwins #baby #babywise #babywiseschedule #dailywaketime #routine Team-Cartwright.com

Consistent Daily Wake Time Lead to Schedule Success

Only you can decide what is the best time for your twins to wake for the day.  But whatever the time is, keep it consistent.  It is pretty much impossible to keep days consistent if they start at all different times.

This is an easy thing to start right away too.  You don’t have to worry about watching the clock all day or timing feedings and naps perfectly.  Just use this one time of day to be sure to feed your twins and start the day.  You’ll be amazed at what an impact it can have.

Coming Up Next: The next part of building your schedule: Twin Wake Times and Sleep Routines

And the final step: Anchor Naps: How to Get nap times in place with less stress

Here is more to help you out!

Breastfeeding Twins: The Ultimate Resource Guide

Twin Sleep: How To Help Your Twins Rest

Twin Schedules: Birth to 2 Years

Want to get your newborn twins on a schedule but just too exhausted to think?  There is just one thing you need to do to start getting your twins on a solid schedule.  Here is how a daily wake time sets your routine up for success.  #Twins #NewbornTwins #TwinSchedule #DailyWakeTime #Babywise #BabywiseTwins #Schedule Team-Cartwright.com

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Betsy

Thursday 12th of March 2020

Hello! Do you wake both, and one has playtime while the other nurses? Or do you wake one, nurses, then wake the other (which makes their schedules 20-30 min apart)?

Thanks for your blog- it’s been good insight as I planned for the arrival of my twins!

Kim

Thursday 12th of March 2020

Hi! Good question! I did a few things with this. Once my twins were tandem nursing we would just wake them both up to eat. But before that, we did feed one at a time. If I was waking the girls from a nap or for the first feed of the day at the DWT, I would wake up both twins and bring them downstairs. Then one would sit in the bouncer while I fed the other. I would try to talk to and interact with the non-eating twin, but in that first month if she fell asleep I didn't worry about it. If it is a scheduled wake up time I would go ahead and wake up both babies. If the non-eating twin falls asleep for a few more minutes while you feed the first twin, no big deal. The idea is to get them used to now we wake up and move to a new activity. It was more valuable to me to keep sleep times the same, but every family is different. I hope this helps!

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