Motherhood is a daunting task, especially when you have to care for twins. Twins and sleep go two opposite ways without proper sleep training. You must have had moments when you put one of the twins to bed and the second one wakes up, leaving no time for you to relax. You can put that aside really quick, once you train your twins to sleep through the night. It does not look as easy as it’s said, but with a few practices, you will be able to put them to bed for longer periods of time and gain a peaceful night’s sleep for yourself.
When to Sleep Train Twins
Before we settle down and start giving you tips on how to sleep-train your little ones, it is very important for you to know that though they are twins, they different sets of identities. Just like they will most likely have different career paths when they grow up, their sleep training session would differ as well. However, it does not mean that sleep training your twins can be a difficult task. It may take a while longer for both the kids to get sleep trained, as compared to a single baby. This is a little challenging when you have premature born babies, as their developmental schedule will be different – activities that a single baby can do at a certain age might take a few more weeks or months for babies who are born earlier than expected. Sleep training twins can be a different ballgame altogether. Below, are some guidelines to help you decide the right time to sleep train your twins.
Newborns up to the age of 2 months need to bond with their parents. It is a very vital part of their overall development. Newborn twins’ sleep schedule does not require sleep training. Instead, focus on getting to know your babies and bond with them.
2 to 4 Months
You can start sleep training at this age, but keep in mind that your twins will wake up several times in the night for their feeds. A continuous period of sleep will not be a possibility at this age, but it’s the best period to begin the process.
6 Months and Beyond
When sleep training twins 6 months and above, keep in mind that it will take more effort and patience to sleep train them the older they get.
How to Keep Twins on the Same Sleep Schedule?
To conquer the sleep routines of your twins, you will have to strategise your approach. Remember the golden rule: stick to a routine! Babies love routine in their lives. It’s good for the babies’ brains and bodies if they are eating every four hours and napping accordingly.
1. Double-Duty Feeding Routine
The key to getting your twins to follow the same sleep routine is to first fix their feed routines. It is usually observed that babies who tend to eat at the same time feel drowsy at the same time too. Magic! Feed them both together, change their nappies, and let them “play” till one of them starts feeling drowsy. That’s the cue. Take them both, swaddle and lay them on the bed for their nap.
2.Put the Babies to Sleep Separately
Should twins sleep in the same room? The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that you put your twins in two separate beds, so that they can sleep peacefully without the risk of waking each other up. You can put them in the same bed once they are in a deep sleep. It works out well, at times, when one of the twins has gone to sleep and the other is still waking up. You will notice that both the twins will be able to take two organised naps, per day, at the same time.
3. Wake the Other Twin if One of Them is Already Awake for a Feed
When his sibling is awake for a feed wake up his other sibling as well. It will help you set their sleep routine. Gradually they will get adjusted to this routine, and you will find them waking up for their feed at the same time and also going to bed simultaneously.
4. Create a Strong and Steady Bedtime Routine for Your Twins
Follow a healthy routine by bathing them, dimming the lights, reading them a book, playing lullabies and giving them a before-bed feed. After a few nights, they will know once the water runs that sleep time is nearing and their body clock will eventually get adjusted to the routine.
5. Make Small Achievable Goals
Many twins are born with lower weight than their singleton counterparts, and that makes it longer for them to reach their individual milestones. This can get you easily discouraged from your sleep training habits. Focus on the small achievements instead, and maintain a positive attitude. Going down from four feedings to three in the night, teaching your kids to soothe themselves with the pacifier and fall back to sleep themselves is no easy feat, so celebrate it!
How to Create a Bedtime Routine to Sleep-train Twins
Your twins will be more relaxed if they know what is coming next. The more relaxed they are, the more likely they are to fall asleep without much trouble.
1. Give Them a Warm Bath
A warm bath just before they go to bed in the night works wonders on their bodies. It helps them to relax and creates a soothing experience to them. Every day, with the same routine, your twins will know that bedtime is near, the moment you turn the tap on.
2. Read them a Book
Reading a book can help you and your twins bond well. It also signals them to soothe themselves and gradually sleep.
3. Sing Them a Song
Music is known to have therapeutic effects on babies. A round of lullabies or music can help them soothe themselves to bed.
4. Comfort Objects
You can place ‘comfort’ objects such as a toy or blanket in their cribs, which can pacify them quickly and aid self-soothing. This also helps them go back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night.
Additional Tips to Get Twins to Sleep Through the Night
Twins not sleeping through the night? Here are some additional tips for you to help your twins sleep longer through the night.
1. Finding the Best Bedtime
See what bedtime routine suits your twins and plan to put them to bed at the same time every day.
2. Sleep Signals
Look for sleep signals in your twins and put them to bed when they are drowsy, so that they have enough time to soothe themselves and sleep.
With a little patience and time, it is absolutely possible to get your twins to sleep together in the same sleep schedule. One of the siblings might be earlier to catch the training than the other, but that’s okay. Both of them will eventually get there.