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.
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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
And the final step: Anchor Naps: How to Get nap times in place with less stress
Here is more to help you out!