Episode 121 of the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Show Notes
A twin dad asks, “My twins are a month and a half old and still spend all night awake and all day asleep. Any tips?”
Listen to this episode as I discuss how to help break this pattern and what to expect with your twins, including:
- When your twins will have day and night sorted out
- How to interact with your twins during the day and night to encourage good sleep behavior
- Newborn sleep habits
- Sleep Training your twins
Mentioned on the Show
Hello there! Welcome to the one hundred and twenty first episode of the Dads Guide to Twins podcast. This is Joe Rawlinson. As always, you can find me on the web at twindadpodcast.com where you’ll find much more information on having and raising twins, as well as the show notes for this episode and all previous podcast episodes.
In case you missed our last podcast episode, with fellow twin dad James Bethe, I’d like for you to go check out that podcast at twindadpodcast.com where he shares the experience his family had with extremely early newborns and the time they had to spent in the NICU and recovery and how they came out of that.
So, today we have a good topic that has to do with sleep. Now if you already have your twins or are still expecting them, sleep is one of those topics that probably causes us the most anguish and difficulties as parents of twins because it physically wears us down. Today’s question comes from Brandon. He asks, my twins are a month and a half years old and still spend all night awake and all day asleep. Do you have any tips to help with this?
Well for you Brandon, and any other twin dads, unfortunately when your twins are so young, they are going to have things switched around. It’s like their bats and they want to be up all night and sleep all day. And so they’ve got the cycle switched around. This is a natural occurrence with all babies. They’re going to have their clock kind of messed up when they are born. At a month and a half, your twins are probably still a little bit young to try to sleep train them. By 3 months of age, your babies should have their days and nights sorted out. So between now and then, they’re going to sort of gradually fall into a better and better routine that is more agreeable with you actually getting sleep. Now once your twins reach around 3 months or older, you want to continue to reinforce good sleep habits. You should definitely try to sleep train your twins.
Sleep training twins is a very methodical and systematic approach to helping your twins form good sleep habits. And it’s a combination of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, and how you’re doing it. So I encourage you to check out that previous episode once your twins are a little older and if they’re still having sleep problems.
Now, when they’re still infants you are starting to establish routines and habits that will carry on into the future. So you want to do things and start as you mean to go on. Otherwise, you’re going to have to break some of these bad habits as you progress. So if your twins have day and night messed up, which they will when they’re infants, some things that you can do to help encourage them to switch the other way around. Remember that at night time you want it to be as boring as possible for your twins. You want nothing exciting. You want it dark and there’s no lights, no distractions, no noises, there’s nothing to do. So when they wake up, the only choice is for them to go back to sleep. You don’t want to play with them. You don’t want to encourage their activity. So at night it has to be as absolutely boring as possible so that it encourages them to go back to sleep.
(RELATED: Still expecting twins? Will you be having two boys, two girls, or boy/girl twins? Answer these quick questions to see what several old wives’ tales claim you’ll be having….)
The opposite is true during the day. You want to let the sun shine, open up the window blinds, make sure it’s bright and cherry. And that there’s a lot of activity going on through the day. You want to make sure they know hey it’s day time, it’s party time. This can also be enforced when you’re feeding your babies. When they’re still young, you’re going to feed them in the day and night time. How your feeding them, how you interact with them during feeding time should be very different. So in the day time when your feeding them, talk to them, play with their hands or feet. You want to be very interactive with them during feeding. But when you’re feeding them during the night it should be like the silent treatment. It’s quiet, it’s boring, it’s dark. You’re not playing with them or trying to make them smile. It’s all about getting them fed and back to bed. And so how you interact with your twins will greatly affect their interactions and sleep patterns during the day and night time.
Now newborns, they sleep anywhere and everywhere all the time it seems. They can sleep the 20 hours a day. As you have probably noticed if you have your newborns now, they’re not really distracted by noise. They can sleep in the stroller, or car seat, and they can be surrounded by noise. They are just sleeping away without even noticing. So you don’t have to tip toe around the house. You don’t have to be really quiet when they’re newborns because they’re going to sleep anywhere anytime in the midst of the noise. That’s because if you can think about it, when they were in the womb, it was a really loud place of them. They’ve got the direct audio to mom. They can hear mom’s heartbeat, and her talking. They can hear all of mom’s internal organs processing. So it’s kind of loud in there. Plus, they’ve got their sibling in there splashing around, punching them. However, that doesn’t last forever. They’re going to start become more cognizant of the noise around you and they’re going to be more like you where you want a nice quiet dark place to go sleep. If you have concerns about how much or how little your twins are sleeping during the night, you should definitely talk with your pediatrician about eating requirements. You don’t want to form this habit of every time they wake up you feed them, especially ask they start to get older because they don’t necessarily need to eat all night longs.
Now when they are newborns and infants, they are going to be eating all the time. That is natural. That’s why you need to talk to your pediatrician to make sure you’re on a good feeding schedule for your twin. As they start to mature and kind of hold longer over feeds overnight, that’s what allows them to sleep through the night without interruptions. So remember if your twins are sleeping during the day and staying awake during the night, that’s perfectly normal up to a couple months old. And then once they get past three months old that’s when you can start to sleep train them.
As a general rule of thumb, make night as dark and boring as possible. Make day as exciting and bright as possible. That’ll start to reinforce the fact that day time is when we do stuff and stay awake and night time is when we sleep. That basic force of environment will help encourage your twins to form good sleep habits.
Well that’s our show for today. I want to thank you folks for joining us today. If you have any questions about twins that you’d like answered, email [email protected] or send me a tweet @twindadjoe on Twitter. Thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you next time.
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