November 23, 2020

Sleep Tips for Twins and Multiples

Babies, Toddlers

As a mama of “singles,” I know how tiring those early days, especially, are with an infant, and I so admire the families who do it with twins (and triplets or more!).

While sleep can be challenging enough as it is with just one baby, it can be all the more daunting with multiples, but it’s not impossible!

So for you twin mamas and daddies out there, here are some tips for you:

Go by adjusted age

As most twins are born a few weeks early, we will be measuring awake windows and sleep “milestones” (i.e. transitioning from the swaddle) by their adjusted age.

Adjusted age is taken from your baby’s due date; so if your baby was due on August 1 but born on July 1, he would be considered “one week adjusted” on August 8.

For more help with figuring out what kind of schedule will work best for your little ones, snag The Ultimate Guide to Sleep Schedules!

Keep your twins’ schedules within about 30 minutes of one another.

When it comes to both feeding and sleep, keeping your babies on similar schedules will be helpful for everyone involved!

I know it seems so unnatural to wake a sleeping baby, but if Twin A wakes up before Twin B, make sure you wake up Twin B 30 minutes later to keep them on a similar schedule.

Then for the next nap/bedtime, put Twin A down first, as he has been awake slightly longer, and then Twin B.

Except for night feedings…

Although keeping your twins on similar schedules is helpful during the day, this is not the case for night feedings. Let the night feeding schedules develop naturally (don’t wake Twin A because Twin B woke up!), and you will likely find that they end up being on similar night feeding schedules, anyway.

If your doctor has recommend you wake them every 3 hours for weight purposes, absolutely do so! But remember, no dream feeding! We want our babies to recognize when they’re hungry, know that they’re eating, and realize they’re back in their own bed to drift back to sleep. And once your doctor gives you the okay to let them wake to feed naturally, yay!

Together or separate?

Many families desire to have their twins share a room, and this is absolutely possible! It’s often easier, however, to have your twins share a room at night but have separate sleeping spaces during the day, and that’s because daytime sleep is just harder than night time sleep in general.

When sleep training, I recommend that families separate their twins for both naps and nights, if at all possible. If twins are sharing a room, Twin A could prevent Twin B from falling asleep as quickly, or Twin B could wake Twin A more easily.

You could set up a pack ‘n play in a spare room or your bedroom to make this possible. Or if you don’t have an extra sleeping space, set up a SlumberPod in a more quiet area of the house and your little one won’t know anything differently!

After a week or two of training, and if the end goal is room sharing, it’s time to bring the twins back together for night times. (If you really don’t want to separate your twins, even while sleep training, it is certainly possible to train them together, just know it will likely take longer.)

If your goal is to have your babes share a room for naps, as well, this will be much easier 0nce they are on a two nap schedule, as their sleep will likely be more consistent and predictable!

(Side note: When sleep training toddlers, I do suggest keeping them in the same room while training, if that is your end goal. Toddlers have a tougher time making transitions in general, but especially when it comes to sleep, so with toddlers and older children, we want to “start where we aim to end.”)

Two sound machines!

When your twins are sharing a room, having a sound machine by each of their sleep spaces will help drown out a bit of the noise the other might make in the night.

Could they still wake each other? Yes, because we’re working with people, not robots! So…

When you hear one wake in the night, WAIT!

Just like we do when other siblings are sharing a room, if Twin A wakes up, wait 10 minutes before responding! I know, I know, what if he wakes up Twin B? To be honest, he might wake him up, but if we rush in right away, we’re hindering the process of learning to sleep and could actually end up stimulating him more and causing a greater night waking.

So once you’ve waited 10 minutes, gauge if it would be helpful to respond and intervene, and then be consistent with your response according to the sleep plan you’re following.

A few extra notes…

  • One twin may be more challenging when it comes to sleep, and that’s totally normal! If you are working with a sleep consultant and knowing their personalities anticipate one to have a harder time, tell your sleep consultant so she can plan accordingly!
  • Your bedtime routine may need to be about 15 minutes longer, as you need to feed both twins…that’s okay! Twin A could have some tummy time or hang in the Boppy while you feed Twin B, then switch!
  • If Twin A is taking longer to fall asleep then Twin B, do your best to not give extra “help” to Twin B in order to get him fall asleep more quickly – try to remain consistent with your plan and the way you helped Twin A!
  • You don’t have to do this alone! If you are expecting multiples or are already loving on your babies but don’t know where to begin when it comes to sleep, I’d love to help! Book a FREE, no-strings-attachecd phone call to chat more about what that could look like.

 

In all of this, the biggest key to sleep success is PATIENCE and CONSISTENCY. Teaching our kids to sleep is not an overnight process; it takes time and may be a bit of a roller coaster at first, but over time you will see success! And that goes for twins, or triplets, quadruplets, etc…you don’t have to wait until your kids are in college to sleep!

With Grace,

Lauren

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twins and multiples