The background on this question is, of course, it is a good idea to swaddle your twins so they can sleep more easily. Our girls slept in the same crib for several months when we brought them home, and we would swaddle them up in receiving blankets every night and at nap times to help them go to sleep.
Swaddling Twins at Bedtime
Every time they were going to go to sleep, we’d swaddle them in receiving blankets, just like we had seen done at the hospital. Swaddling helps keep the baby cozy and warm and keeps their legs and their arms tight against their body so they can relax. Because even in those early months, they’ll start to flail their arms around and they’re not quite sure what’s hitting them, because they can’t quite control their bodies yet. So, swaddling them helps calm them down and get them ready to sleep.
We swaddled our girls for about three to four months. Eventually, they would start to break out of their swaddle almost every night or every time we put them down for sleep. We’d go in to check on them and there’d be an arm hanging out of the swaddle. Eventually, your babies, too, will start to wiggle and move out of their swaddles and that’s OK. It’s a natural course of them growing up.
Now, we continued to swaddle even though they would break out their arms until they were too big to fit in receiving blankets. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to pay attention to when they fall asleep versus staying asleep.
If they’re OK falling asleep with a swaddle, maybe they don’t break out until they’re asleep, they may be perfectly fine to keep them swaddled to help them fall asleep. If they come out of the swaddle during the night but they stay asleep, that’s perfectly fine. You don’t need to worry about swaddling them back up and you can continue to swaddle them when you put them down for bed.
Always put your baby down to sleep on his or her back (never the tummy or side). In fact, if your infant is able to roll over, swaddling is no longer recommended.
Twins Will Break Out of Swaddles
Another question to ask yourself is how the swaddling impacts the other twin, particularly if your twins are in the same crib like our girls were. If one twin starts to break out of the swaddle and that flailing arm or leg starts to hit or interrupt the brother or the sister, that could be a problem. It may be an indication that it’s time to move your twins to separate cribs or to move them to opposite ends of the crib so they’re not in each other’s way.
Once the twins break out of swaddles, they start to get too big for swaddling and receiving blankets, a good alternative are sleep sacks, which you can find online or at lots of baby supply stores. It reminds me of a sleeping bag where you put the baby in the sleep sack where they can’t really break out because everything’s enclosed, there’s no open seams for them to get out.
It’s not a handmade swaddle like you would have with a receiving blanket, but it’s built to keep your baby snug and tight in the sleep sack. If swaddling doesn’t work or your twins are busting out of the swaddles early, you may want to consider a sleep sack as an alternative.
This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast episode 22: Twins Easier with Older Kids, Swaddling, Identical Twin Differences .
(RELATED: Expecting twins? Avoid these 4 critical mistakes expectant twin parents make.)
Picture by Manda
Need help sleep training your twins? Check out this step-by-step guide to sleep training twins from fellow parent of twins, Nina Garcia.