Once your twins arrive, you will be primarily preoccupied with matters such as feeding, cleaning up, dressing, and putting the babies to sleep. This last matter, in particular, will often prove to be more of a challenge for parents of twins; whereas the parents of a single child only need to ensure that the rest of the household is quiet to ensure that the baby gets solid hours of uninterrupted sleep, parents of twins also have to consider the fact that many twins may not sleep or wake up at exactly the same time. There is always the risk of one twin waking up the other, especially in the middle of the night.
To help you establish a better sleep routine for your young ones (and to help get a good night’s sleep yourselves), here are a few practices that can help improve the schedule and quality of the twin babies’ sleeping times.
1. Create a sleep routine for the twins.
There is the routine that you go through each night to prepare the babies for bed. This can involve a soothing bath, a gentle massage, a few minutes spent singing a song to the infants or whispering a story, and then putting them to bed. Repeating this routine every night, even during the weekends, can help the twins become familiar with the pattern, anticipate the approaching bedtime, and learn to settle down.
2. Try to put both babies to sleep at the same time.
This goes for both naps and bedtime; it can help them wake up at the same time more. Even if one twin has the habit of sleeping longer or waking up less often, make it a point to put both to bed at the same time and see if this practice encourages the baby who sleeps less to sleep longer as well. Also, if one twin wakes up and wants to be fed, try rousing the other one from sleep to be fed, too, so that they can be up at the same time.
3. Figure out if you should be putting the twins down in a shared crib.
Many parents choose to put twins together in the same crib so that they can build an emotional bond from their physical closeness. Twins have often been observed to crawl toward or snuggle up to each other and hold onto their hands or fingers as they sleep. However, the concern is that because of their proximity to each other, one twin may wake up the other when it cries to be fed or carried. While some babies may not be bothered by their twin’s cries, others may have trouble sleeping through the sound, and this would be the time to consider separate cribs.
4. Let the twins fall asleep on their own, in the crib.
Most babies will doze off after feeding while still in the parents’ arms, but when the babies are between six and eight weeks old, you can try putting them down in their crib while they are still awake but already drowsy. Doing this instead of rocking and feeding them until they fully fall asleep can help them learn to sleep on their own faster.
Picture by bhenak
Need more help sleep training your twins? Check out this step-by-step guide to sleep training twins from fellow parent of twins, Nina Garcia: