Twins and Schedules
Make sure that you put them on a schedule from day one, or you will never get any sleep.
Yes, this is the advice that I, and every other twin mom has received, beginning from that first announcement of twins. Moms of twins are supposed to create twin sleep schedules.
When one baby wakes up, wake the other, and feed them at the same time, otherwise you will be feeding babies all day long.
This is all well intentioned advice, and most of it came from actual twin moms.
The problem is, it never did fit my parenting philosophy.
By the time the twins came along, I had already raised four sons into sleeping all night. All four had and have healthy sleep habits which include them determining their own bedtimes (within reason) and waking rested and happy.
None of those four boys were ever put on a schedule (OK, Dakotateen was, briefly, until I realized that I really suck at scheduling.). I nursed them on demand, followed their hunger and sleep cues and encouraged them to recognize those cues as well.
I’ve never been known to wake a sleeping baby, and now, when I was going to have two, same-age infants in the house I was to start waking sleeping babies, all in the name of more sleep for me? No way!
What many of these well-meaning moms forget when they dish out the twin sleep schedule and tandem feeding advice is how small and floppy newborn twins are, and that feeding two newborns at one time is twenty times harder than feeding one at a time.
Call me hardcore, but I never thought it was fair to make my husband wake in the night to help me feed the babies. Some husbands do. Some husbands want to. Some husbands need their sleep. I was of the opinion that there was only room in our home for one sleep deprived parent.
What always made me shake my head was that the same people advising:
Whatever you do, remember that they are individuals, you should avoid treating them as a unit or ‘the twins’.
were the very same people who advised me to put these very different individuals on the exact same schedule. It just did not make sense to me.
The truth was, in the first few weeks I did spend up to 8 hours in a 24 hour period nursing babies. There were nights where I sat in the nursery relciner sobbing, because the babies were tag teaming and were up every hour on the hour. There were nights that I slept in that recliner with one or two babies attached to me like ticks. The first few months were a blur.
But the truth is, that is also how life was with my singletons. I nursed them a lot, I nursed them around the clock and I did not get enough sleep in the first few months. Some days I felt resentful and jealous of the other moms that claimed that their precious bundle had been sleeping through the night since 2 weeks old (now I know that they were lying).
I just never saw the point of beating myself up and forcing my babies to conform to our schedule. Up to that point in my mothering career I had never considered my children an obstacle to overcome, but rather, I thought of each of their stages as a time to embrace, and melt our lives together.
I also knew, from past experience, that if given the chance, most babies will “fall into” a schedule, and if we are observant enough, we can help encourage that schedule. I wanted (and want) my role as a mother to be more like that of a coach than of a prison warden. I want to encourage my kids and give them the tools they need, but also allow them to develop in the ways that their personalities dictate.
There is no one size fits all in parenting, and I think it is fair to allow our twins that same freedom, even if it means a little less sleep for parents.
This is by no means putting down those who schedule their twins. If this is something that you want to do, or works for your family, go for it! However, if you are on the fence, or uncomfortable with the notion, know that you are OK. Know that parenting does not come with very many black and white answers. Sometimes the best thing you can do with advice is smile and nod.
Are you curious about breastfeeding twins? I shared a lot about my experiences breastfeeding the twins in this post: Breastfeeding Twins
Do you have twins, are expecting twins or know someone who is? Make sure you click on over to my “Got Twins?” page and learn more about the wonders of twindom! Lots of advice and experience from pregnancy, breast feeding and beyond!
Chime in! Are you a mom of twins, are you expecting twins? What are your thoughts on schedules?