Monday, July 11, 2011

Babywise Success Story: TWINS!

This post may contain affiliate links.
Hi! I'm Amanda from and I have a Babywise success story with my identical twin boys, Atticus and Rhett.

When I found out I was having twins, my friends all started recommending sleep training books. Only one woman recommended Babywise- and she happened to be the only woman I know with truly well-behaved, happy, confident children (a 2 year old and a 4 year old). The rest of my friends with kids said that Babywise wasn't “compassionate” enough- these were attachment parenting types, and I knew I wasn't going to parent like them. Their kids were clingy, insecure, and whiny. So I took the advice of my friend whose children modeled the behavior I hoped my twins would one day have, and I read Babywise in my seventh month of pregnancy. I loved it, and so did my husband. I vowed to implement it from day one.

When the boys were born, they were healthy and had no NICU time (woot woot!). The nurses put them on a 3 hour schedule automatically, which meshed with Babywise. We just modified it slightly by keeping the babies awake during their feedings instead of letting them snooze. This was hard- they were 4 weeks early and just. Wanted. To sleep. But we used all the little tricks the book recommended, and managed to keep them awake long enough to get a full feeding. This was from day 1.

The boys are only 11 weeks old now, and we've had nothing but success. Their waketimes gradually lengthened to 45 minutes or an hour, depending on the time of day. So, you know, they can get in all their staring-at-the-ceiling-and-cooing time. Or realizing they have fingers...that fit in their MOUTHS! We stick to the 3 hour eat/wake/sleep schedule, and they were sleeping 5 to 6 hours at night by 6 weeks. We have gradually moved back their dreamfeed, so now they sleep from 9 p.m. (ish) to 7 a.m. (ish). They also have consistent naps, in their own crib, every day. The schedule allows me to know when they'll be up so I know when to schedule appointments and run errands. Stress is minimal. The boys are chill- they know what to expect, and you can tell they feel secure.

Whenever we are out, people say that we're “lucky” or that we just have “good babies.” There's no such thing as a bad baby- just bad habits developed by parents. Thanks to the book, our babies don't have them. We've been able to handle going from two cats to two newborns without too much stress, and honestly- I'm more rested than most moms of singletons I know. Mostly because my babies don't sleep in my bed (don't even get me started...).

A few notes about applying Babywise with twins:

1. Cry-it-out may be a little different with twins. My boys didn't consistently cry at the same times. One of them would fuss when I put them down for naps, and he would keep the other one awake. The way I dealt with this was to move the fussy one out of the crib and let him CIO in a bouncy chair so he didn't disturb his brother. Pacifiers really helped us, though I know not everyone is a fan. Also, if you're not a fan of CIO, just know that you'll end up doing it anyway. You only have two hands and arms, so you won't be able to run to one who is crying while you're changing the other one's diaper or whatever. It's ok. The baby will survive- pinky swear.

2. We always, always, always keep them on the same feeding schedule. When I was nursing, I tandem nursed. When we moved to bottles, I just set them in Boppys on either side of me on the sofa and gave them their bottles. If we had fed one, then the other that would have added 30 minutes of feeding time, and meanwhile the other would have fallen asleep and skipped waketime. That's just too confusing.

3. Waketime was/is a bit of a struggle for me, in that I feel first-time-mom guilt about not being able to give both of them my undivided attention during every waketime. Babywise helped me realize the importance of independent play, so for their first two waketimes they play by themselves in their bouncy seats with the hanging toys, or do tummy time. Their next waketime I play with them. Sometimes I tickle them both or sing to them or whatever. Sometimes I let one do more tummy time while I dance around with the other or do something else that allows me to focus more on him. Then I switch. Their last waketime, daddy comes home and I work (I work from home), and he does story time. He does great voices, so they're entertained.

I just want moms of twins to know that Babywise isn't just helpful when you have two babies- it's essential. Without a consistent schedule, you will be on 24/7 nursing duty. One will invariably wake up just when you put the other one down. You will always have a baby in your arms, whether you want him there or not. If you plan to shower, leave the house, pay attention to your husband again, or catch up on the last season of Mad Men, you NEED NEED NEED this book.

Good luck and God bless :)



Nikki said...

I agree! I am also a mom of twins (boys, 13 months), and we did babywise from day 1. (well, from week 3 actually, which is when they were released from the NICU). With twins, organization and routine is KEY to your sanity! That, and getting plenty of sleep (:

Casey said...

My twins are 9 months old and we did Babywise from Day 1. I can only agree 100% with this post b/c our twins behave better, have more content personalities and sleep better than many of my friends with ONE who did not follow babywise. It is VERY difficult with the CIO method with twins...we ended up moving Crying Baby to a packnplay in another room for a few nights until they had learned to self soothe then we moved them back together. Love Babywise! It has made our twin parenthood such a wonderful experience.

Simple Mom said...

Thank you so much for this success story. I have been planning a multiples post and will definitely be including this link!

Amanda said...

Hey guys, I'm glad you liked our success story! Just to update you, the boys are now 16 weeks (I emailed this story in several weeks ago) and they're doing GREAT! The still fuss when going down for naps, but we can time it to about 6 minutes. They sleep through the night so well, even through their growth spurts and everything. My mother recently came to visit and said that handling the boys was easier than handling me when I was a singleton baby! :)

Kendra L. said...

Loved your story, just had to visit your blog. You're cool...and now famous, congrats! :)

Tracy said...

Here, here!!! I am a mom of boy/girl twins that will be three in September, and we have followed Babywise since the beginning, too. We often get compliments on how well-behaved our children are. They are pleasant to be around, polite to be with, and obviously very secure and happy.

They aren't perfect, but when they're acting up I can almost always attribute it to hunger or fatigue and act accordingly. My friends with twins that do AP or have a more lax parenting style are struggling CONSTANTLY.

I am so thankful I read this book and followed the advice given.

Tracy said...

(Oh, and when we did CIO, we had them in the same room. They did not disturb each other until they got a little older...say maybe 16 months or so? At that age, they learned they could wake the other if they wanted company, so had to move one of them into another room. Before that, they slept through the general squawking.)

rs said...

Hello, I have a quick question regarding twins... I am due in 2 weeks and have successfully applied bsbywise to both my other children. My question is regarding full feeds. With one I pretty much knew if they got 15 to 20 mins on both sides it was adequate. How do you do this with 2? If I feed them together one on each for 15 to 20 wouldn't the other one have drained the breast when I need to swap??? Do I just keep them on the Arne breast for longer?
Looking forward to and appreciate all posts :)

rs said...

Sorry, I meant to write, do I just keep the
On the same breast for longer?

Plowmanators said...

rs, I am pretty sure moms assign one breast to each twin and stick with that one for each feeding. You don't switch at all. Best of luck to you!

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

We have 11 week old (8week adjusted age) B/G twins. I am going back to work next week and the boy continues to wake around 2am. We are breastfeeding every 3 hours with the last feeding between 10 and 1030pm. We have let them CIO the last few nights which have resulted in everyone (mom and dad included) staying awake from 2is till 4ish. When he wakes at 2 he is not showing any hunger cues. We change them and put them back to bed. Any suggestions for encouraging them to sleep through the night?

Plowmanators said...

Consider if he is warm enough. Is he swaddled? Is it time to wean the swaddle?

Also, adjusted, he is still quite young. It isn't uncommon to not STTN until 12 weeks--especially for boys.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the response! We are now 13 weeks (10 weeks adjusted) and they have been STTN for almost 2 weeks! AMAZING! We just powered through it and a few days after I posted my question, they were both STTN! Everyone is amazed when I tell them they not waking until 7am.

Plowmanators said...

How exciting for you!

siriannitwins said...

I am a mom of B/G twins who are 7 weeks old, adjusted age is 4 weeks since they were approx 3 weeks early. We have started to implement BW principles in the last couple of days with some luck. It seems each twin has their own "fussy" time and more awake and alert times so naps are a little tricky still. My question is around STTN and feeding schedule. When was your last feed of night? I am trying to put them down with no wake time after 7 feed and then they wake to feed again around 3 hours later. Should I wake them before for more of a dream feed? They are currently still waking every three hours at night and we are exhausted. I am breastfeeding and pumping so my husband can help with bottles and take a "shift" so I can rest.

I know my guys are still young but want to know how to get them to stretch at night. Any hints would be great. I am also having trouble keeping one twin awake after 4 pm feeding. She fights me all the way and then ends up being fussy when I want to put her down after 7pm feed.

Thanks for any advice

Plowmanators said...

My last feed of the "day" was around 7 PM. My older two did have some waketime.

Then we had a dreamfeed around 10 PM.

To get longer stretches at night, you want to have some waketime after each feeding in the day, then regular naps in the day, and enough feedings in the day to not need as many at night.

Like you said, they are young and part of the difficulty is just that they are young. They should get more predictable as they get older. Stick with your routine and consistency and it should work out.

Laura Cherry said...

Oh my gosh I am so relieved to find this post!! Had our big ultrasound for our second child today - what we thought was going to be ONE GIRL turned out to be TWIN BOYS!!! We are floored, but I knew I had to get home and study up on -wise principles for multiples. SO glad to read multiple success stories!!! You're all amazing!!

Hillary Lowles said...

I have 11 week old twin boys (but they were 4 weeks early). They are heavyweights though and weigh 12 and 13 lbs. Our bedtime is 7pm for them, the a dream feed at 10pm and then they wake between 2:30am and 3:30am each night to eat. How do we get them to stretch or eliminate that middle of the night feeding? Do we need to let them cry it out for several nights? I ask because they seem to be waking for the middle of the night feed out of habit (but they also eat well). Any and all help is appreciated.

Hillary Lowles said...

Additionally, do you all put your babies down for a nap in their cribs after each wake time? It just seems like overkill on crib time to me. Thanks!

Rachel said...

you are having the same problem that I was. You just have to power through the 230 waking. They are waking out of habit and need to develop a new habit. and as far as cribs and nap times go, we put them down in the pack n plays, bassinets and even on the floor. That way they can get used to a variety of sleeping arrangements.

miaminemo said...

Hey guys -

My wife and I had b/g twins 5 weeks ago, so they are adjusted age 2 weeks tomorrow.

Ive read BW cover to cover, and was all about implementing it - but the twins seem to fight it at every step. They were too weak to breastfeed at the hospital, so we had to go to bottles. Weve had a ICLBC consultant out, and the twins are just now seeming strong enough to actually feed. Baby girl has gained some weight, and is doing much better - but her brother is still struggling to gain any weight.
He sleeps well during the day, but at night he's up every 2 or 2 1/2 hours and doesnt fall asleep for hours apon end at night. We cant imagine just letting him scream for an hour before feeding him, and are just at wits end trying to figure out the BW solution when your twins refuse to stay on the same schedule?

Are they just too young/weak at this point?

Could you give me an approximation of at what adjusted ages you were doing feedings and how frequently? The lactation consultant has told my wife to pump every 3 hours, to maintain her supply. Between 2 feedings, burping, diapers, washing bottles, and pumping shes lucky to get 40 minutes of sleep every 3 hours. She can't keep this up.


Rachel said...

I think they are to too small right now to start worrying with schedules. They need to eat and gain weight. I am all for breastfeeding and you can with twins but if it comes to Moms sanity and sleep, formula is your friend for a little bit. We had to for ours otherwise they would have had to go back to the hospital.
Just pumping for 5-10 min after a feeding will help with her supply. then she can nap. Is she feeding them at the same time? That was a HUGE time saver for us. We got the "My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow - Twins Plus". It was amazing and made it super simple to feed them both at the same time.
Tell her it gets better! They do eventually sleep through the night and someone else needs to wash bottles and burp the babies! :)

Rachel said...

We have 10 week (4week adjusted) BG twins. We put them down at 7:30, dreamfeed at 10:30, and they are usually up to eat around 3:30 and up for the day at 7:00 or so. Naps are where our trouble is at the moment. I've been trying to keep them up for 1.5 hours from the start of a feeding and then putting them down for a nap. Inevitably at least one of them resists the nap. I've tried CIO but they will scream the entire time if I let them and I'm hesitant to do so. Suggestions? Sometimes they'll even wake in the middle of a nap. Thank you!!!

Emily said...

Rachel, I have 7 week old twin boys (due date next week; they were born at 32 weeks). With naps, I try to follow individual sleep cues, which means they don't always go down at exactly the same time, but I do make sure they are both down for the last 1.5 hours of the eat/wake/sleep cycle. When I've tried to put them down at the exact same time, it seems one may not be tired enough or one may be overtired at that point which results in crying and resisting the nap. This way, they usually go down within 15-20 minutes of each other, and since I'm watching for sleep cues they fall asleep immediately without crying. I'm finding that one stays awake more after the 7 and 10 feed while the other stays awake longer after the 4 and 7 pm feed. it gives me good one on one time though and I still have a consistent 1.5 hour nap, at least. I am keeping them as much alike as possible but for my boys, some individuality has been beneficial and resulted in more sleep and less crying!

At this point if one wakes early (rare), I try the "shush, pat" and if that doesn't work after a couple times, I let them finish out in the swing. (According to Val's sleep hierarchy). They are still pretty sleepy though so waking early hasn't been a huge problem for us as long as they are swaddled and in their cribs. They don't do as well napping elsewhere.

Abby Bishop said...

I'm 17 weeks pregnant with twins. We did BW with our first two and plan to with the twins as well. I'm curious whether you put them in the same crib or not? Everyone is telling me they sleep better together, but at some point they'll have to learn to sleep apart, and I'm wondering if it isn't just better to start out that way (though if I can save on buying an extra crib that'd be great!)? Thoughts?

Rachel said...

We put them in the same crib in the beginning. Shoot, when they were less than a month old we had them in the same bassinett! But once they started moving around and creating the potential for waking each other, we moved them. But that wasnt until about 4-6 months (I cant remember exactly!)

LeahM said...

Hello, we have 2 boys - 13 weeks old, but 10 weeks adjusted. We are just starting BW but are a little confused where to start. We tried AP approach for the first few weeks, but now realize it is not working for us. We are on our third day of trying the 7-10 weeks suggested schedule of seven feedings per day. My questions are:

* One of our boys had been doing 5 feedings per day while his smaller brother was doing 6 feedings because he didn't take as much expressed breast milk/formula at each feeding and his brother could sleep longer between feedings. Are we doing either one any harm by putting them on the same schedule?

* They weigh about 12 and 14 lbs now. Our 14 lb baby can fast about 7-8 hours at night while his brother can only go 4 or maybe 5 hours at the most. Does our 12 lb baby just need to cry through it?

* In general with BW, how do you know when it's time to merge feedings if you're constantly waking up a baby to feed? Do you just try it when the appropriate age comes around?

Any help and advice would be very appreciated! Thanks... Leah

V said...

This is so helpful to me! I've done Babywise with my two older children and had great success. They are great sleepers (at 4 and 6 people are shocked that they go to sleep at 7pm and sleep until we wake them at 7am for school. On weekends they'll sleep in until 9 or 10.)
Now I have twins and it's a whole new ballgame! They are 10 weeks old and they are on opposite schedules and I NEED BABYWISE! Wish me luck!

Valerie Plowman said...

Good luck! That is an adventure.

Drea said...

I'm having a ridiculously hard time keeping my 6 week old twin boys awake after their feeds! By the time they actually wake up it's time for nap time and then one or the other is over stimulated and therefore fights me. Do I just let him CIO? Because at this point, he'll cry off and on the whole nap and is then exhausted when it's time to eat again. It's like a vicious cycle. I'm usually laying them down after 1.5 hours from start of feed time because they still take quite a while to eat. Any suggestions would be appreciated, thank you;)

KToews said...

Hi! I have 13 week old b/g twins. We started doing babywise consistently only about 10 days ago. They are doing great with it but I have a few questions. I am exclusively breastfeeding them, as they won't take a bottle! They go to bed at between 7-7:30. They have a dream feed at between 10:30-11 and then are up again between 3-4 and up for the day at 7. My little boy is 14 pounds and my little girl is only 10.5. What I'm struggling with is that they arnt hungry enough at 7am to take a full feed, and are hungry again before their first nap. Should I be thinking of helping them drop the 3-4am feeding it wait to see if they do it themselves? And will I loose my milk supply if I drop that feed? I am also wondering if any of the twin moms used pacifiers when their babes went to sleep and once they fell out let them cry it out? We don't want our kids to suck thumbs or fingers. We have 2 older kids that had pacifiers and it was fine. How long did it take you guys to do CIO? Should I be thinking like a week or 2? I have been doing it for 3 seems like it is very slowly getting better. The reason I am letting them CIO is because they would only sleep 40 min them wake for their soothers and I don't want them to get used to me popping it back in every time!! Thanks so much for any help!

Rachel said...

KToews-I would drop the 3-4 am feeding. They have developed a habit of waking at that time and need to make a new habit. Maybe this would be the time to give them their pacifies if you are wanting them to have one.
If you drop the feed, yes, you will drop some of your supply, but your body will adjust. If you want, you can still get up at that time and pump to build a freezer stock for times you are on the go or someone else has to feed them.
I would give them a week to get used to the dropped 3am feeding.

Good luck with everything!

Emily said...

I hope you can still see this comment! Hi, I have 10 week old twin boys that are still waking a few times in the night!! We're exhausted and I'm getting frustrated. They're bottle fed with BM and formula. They eat around 7:30/8 and go down for the night ok. We dream feed 10/10:30 and they go back down ok too. One wakes up around 2 most nights!! After shushing for awhile he falls back asleep, only to wake again at 3 or 4. It's not always the same one, and then they're up in the 6 o'clock hour and we can't settle them so we feed them and they want to stay up. I want to start our day at 8! Not to mention get more than 4-6 hrs of sleep. Somebody help! :)

Valerie Plowman said...

This is frustrating--BUT they are still in a normal age for night waking and they are likely smaller than most 10 week olds since they are t

Valerie Plowman said...

Sorry my phone sometimes kicks me off of the comments. Since they are twins.

It seems most twin moms say to wake both when one wakes at night. I would feed them both at two when the one wakes then.


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