Super Detailed Sleep Training Guide for Twins

Super Detailed Sleep Training Guide for Twins

Alright you guys. Are you prepared for a super detailed sleep training guide for twins?

Well buckle up because here you go:

So what exactly are the girls doing right now?

They go down for the night at 7:30-8:00, we wake them up to eat at 10:30-11:00 and then they sleep until 7:30.

If you read my post on how we feed the girls, then you know that we practice a modified version of Babywise.

Now before I go any further, I will preemptively say that I know Babywise is a somewhat (okay a lot) controversial method of sleep training due, in large part, to the “cry it out” method it has become synonymous with.

Let me just say that, if you have actually read the book (I have twice now), then you know that the author’s don’t actually tell you to let the baby cry even if they are showing signs of hunger. In fact, they constantly repeat that hunger signs always trump the clock.

What they do recommend is giving your baby a little bit of space to re-settle themselves if they’ve woken up from sleep. If the crying continues (or escalates), you check on the baby and soothe them however you need to.

But the biggest, and often times overlooked, point of Babywise is that a well fed baby is a well slept baby.

In other words,

If your baby is taking in full feedings that allow them to fully consume the correct amount of hindmilk then they should naturally be able to sleep for better and longer periods.

It makes sense doesn’t it? I can’t sleep on an empty stomach either!

In my experience (we did Babywise with Kit as well), if you ensure that they are getting full feedings, better naps and sleeping through the night will naturally come sooner than later without having to resort to any sort of cry it out method.

Okay so there’s my little preface in why we practice Babywise.

So what does this actually look like for us?

Currently we do six feedings a day with about 4 ounces of milk being drunk at each feeding.

I will say that one advantage of exclusively pumping is that you don’t have to worry about whether or not they are getting the hindmilk. It’s all mixed together in the bottle.

If you are exclusively breastfeeding there are several ways that you’ll know they are getting it:

One: if they breastfeed for at least 15 minutes on each side.

Two: If they are not breastfeeding for at least a half hour, are they able to do three hour stretches between feedings? If not, they are likely not filling up on the hindmilk.

The basic rule of thumb is that a baby should be able to give you a three hour stretch if they have had enough to eat (this only applies to babies that are over six weeks of age… younger babies will vary in their stretches).

The other thing that we do is create a consistent wake time every morning (7:30). Doing this trains their brains to know when to expect their first feeding of the day, which allows them to make that stretch a little quicker.

Also, you may have noticed above that we wake them up at 11:00 p.m. to feed them. This is typically a very chill feeding. I do change their diapers, but I keep the lights low and try to keep them as asleep as possible.

The reason we wake them up is that I would rather have their long stretch be while we are sleeping rather than while we are awake.

So this is when they eat every day:

7:30 a.m. | 10:30 a.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 4:30 p.m. | 7:30 p.m. | 11:00 p.m.

And yes if they are still napping when it’s time to eat we do wake them up.

One reason is that we follow the Babywise recommendation that you create a cycle for your babies of eat/wake/sleep (except at night obviously… then it’s just eat/sleep).

The goal is to create a pattern in which the baby is not coming to rely on milk in order to fall asleep. Instead, they spend a healthy (and appropriate) amount of time awake after their feeding so they can be put to bed while they are still awake.

So the twins have a little bit of play time after each meal and then when they start to fuss or yawn excessively, I put them down for a nap (at bedtime they get put down regardless of yawning or fussing).

Right now they are awake for about an hour and then are napping for about two hours.

So to put this all together these are the steps that we’ve taken to get them to sleep 8.5 hours at night by 8 weeks gestational age:

  1. Make sure they drink a full bottle for at least 5 out of there 7 bottles.
  2. Make sure they don’t fall asleep while eating (this was incredibly hard to do until about 4 weeks gestational age).
  3. Let them have “play time” until they show signs of sleepiness.
  4. Put them down for a nap and keep them there until the next three hour cycle starts (unless they wake up hungry… then just start the cycle over again).
  5. At night we wake them to eat and then put them right back in their swaddles and lay them in their cribs.

Now some troubleshooting:

  1. Falling asleep while eating? This can be frustrating, but you just have to work at it. Babies aren’t going to be naturally good at staying awake while eating, so I take the first month to work on this aspect alone without doing any sort of formal schedule. Eventually as they get older it gets easier, but a few things to try:
    1. Tickle their ears or toes
    2. Talk to them
    3. Take off their jammies
    4. gently blow on their face
    5. If it still doesn’t work, just let it be and try again at the next feeding
  2. Waking up in the middle of the night/nap, but not acting hungry. One limit (in my opinion) that demand feeding has is that it doesn’t allow you to get to the root of why you’re baby is crying. Offering the breast isn’t always going to solve the problem in other words. If the girls wake up, but they’re not rooting or bringing their hands to their mouths we will just go in and reinsert a fallen pacifier. This almost always does the trick. Or sometimes we’ll rock them if they seem like they just want to be held. Also, sometimes babies cry when they are coming in and out of sleep cycles so if it’s just a quick burst of crying that goes away after about five minutes or so I don’t worry about it. Obviously if they wake up hungry then feed them! But I have found that most night waking/middle of the nap waking is solved by a pacifier.

So there you go! Super long sleep training guide for twins so thanks for sticking with me. This twin thing is not the easiest job I’ve ever had, but putting the babies on a schedule has been our saving grace. I can’t imagine what it would be like without it. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them as best I can in the comments!

Until next time,

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P.S. The twins onesies where a gift and are no longer available, but there’s a similar set here.

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Karin
Karin

Hi there! My name is Karin and I am a lifestyle blogger with a focus on mindful style, clean beauty, and joy filled motherhood. I hope you find some inspiration here!

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20 Comments

  1. May 8, 2017 / 7:21 pm

    I adore those onesies. You must be a very busy parent with two adorable little ones to take care of.

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 4:59 pm

      I definitely am!

  2. May 8, 2017 / 8:12 pm

    This is great information for a new mom. We recently started a similar routine and it has helped a ton! Thanks for sharing.

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      I’m glad it’s helping! It seems like a lot of work, but it’s all worth it in the end!

  3. Jayme
    May 8, 2017 / 9:11 pm

    Great post! I wish I would have read this a year ago because it would have been so helpful! I’m going to pass this along.

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 5:00 pm

      Thanks Jayme!

  4. Jayme
    May 8, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    What a fantastic post! I wish I would have read this a year ago because it would have been so helpful! I’m going to pass this along.

  5. May 8, 2017 / 11:47 pm

    The first time my baby slept five straight hours, I woke up in a cold sweat. I nearly fell out of bed and ran down the hall. I was so sure that something was horribly wrong. I nearly wept when I found her sleeping peacefully

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      It is scary isn’t it?! I STILL feel that way when my two year old sleeps in longer than she normally does!

  6. Kristen
    May 9, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    Totally needed to read this! I have a 4 month old and he isn’t sleeping through the night yet! Going to research a little more and definitely try this out!

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      I hope it helps Kristen! It can be super exhausting and it’s better for mommy and baby when everyone is getting more sleep!

  7. May 10, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    This is some serious knowledge! I have w=always wanted twins and keeping my fingers crossed that I’m lucky enough to have some!

    • Karin
      Author
      May 14, 2017 / 5:03 pm

      They are seriously the best!

  8. Joanna
    May 23, 2017 / 7:13 pm

    This brings back memories of feeding my 2.5 yr old twins. I exclusively pumped too (if possible while they were taking their bottles w/bottle holders on boppy loungers). Bottles + Babywise is a match made in heaven for twin moms!!! My 33 weeekers slept through the night earlier than my full-term single baby ?

  9. Patricia
    November 27, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Hello! My twins are 8 weeks old and I pump but also have to finish with formula. How much should they be eating to get a “full feed”? They don’t nap more than 40 minutes and at night they still wake up every 2 hours!

    • Karin
      Author
      December 1, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      Hi Patricia! I’m no expert so PLEASE keep that in mind! And it really depends on how early your twins were born. Mine were 7 weeks early so at 8 weeks they were technically only a week old. At that point, 3 ounces was a full feeding for them, but they dribbled a lot of it so they were probably only getting around two ounces. At their adjusted 8 weeks they were probably doing closer to 5 ounces and dribbling a lot less. Also, what bottles are you using? We use the Dr. Brown bottles because they have nipple sizes that grow with your baby. I hope that helps!

  10. Jessica
    September 30, 2018 / 9:58 pm

    This article was so helpful to me. My twin boys are 7wks and still can’t seem to make it the 3hrs between feedings so i will try to focus more on full feedings. I’m debating on exclusively pumping and wondered if you got up in the night to pump once your twins slept through the night?

    • Karin
      Author
      October 1, 2018 / 2:23 pm

      Hi Jessica! I’m glad you found this helpful. I did not get up in the middle of the night after they slept through the night, but I got up early and pumped for about 45 minutes to an hour. Crazy I know! But the extra sleep was worth it to me.

  11. Cristina Correa
    April 10, 2019 / 6:56 am

    Hi Karin. Thank you so much for this info. We are following Babywise, which had my first born STTN at 10 weeks. Now, I have twins (b/g) who are 9 weeks & still waking at around 3:30am each night. We put the pacifier back in but it feels as though by the time we get back into bed, they’re crying because it’s fallen out again! It makes for a torturous night going back & forth. Having read Babywise, there’s a portion that says sometimes their “clock” is stuck & they’re waking for that reason, not hunger; enter the CIO approach. What do you recommend for us at this point, considering we are following the routine during the day?

    • Karin
      Author
      May 17, 2019 / 4:59 pm

      If you give them a bottle/feed them do they drink the whole thing? I think if they are super slow with it and not interested then they probably can be weaned from it (a little less every night) because at 9 weeks they may still need a feeding (ESPECIALLY if they were preemies). If they are eagerly taking a feeding at 3:30 then they still need it. I’m not an expert of course, so this is just my advice based on my own experience but my personal opinion is that 10 weeks is still too early for cry it out. I hope that helps!

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