Sleep Training Methods for Twins
Updated: May 21
Sleep training twins can be a complex journey for parents, but it's not impossible. In fact, better sleep is closer than you think!
If you're the parent of twins seeking the best sleep training methods, look no further.
Our latest blog delves into effective sleep training strategies specifically tailored to support twins on their sleep journey.
Discover the secrets to nurturing healthy sleep habits in your little ones below.
No time to read the full article?
Here are quick Links to each sleep training method option for twins.
Sleep training your twins may seem overwhelming, and putting the information into action might leave you feeling paralyzed. Especially when Michelle down the street said how “easy” it was for her one baby.
Let’s start by walking through things to take into consideration before starting one of these sleep training methods.
Your twins are individuals
Identical twins and fraternal twins are all their own unique, individual selves. You may feel one is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ at sleeping than the other, and this is common. Twin parents sometimes get stuck in the comparison game, myself included. So, knowing that you are working with two separate babies at once, this may help you choose a method that works for both.
How to know if your twins are ready for sleep training
Generally speaking, 16 weeks is the minimum age for sleep training. Not sure if your babies are developmentally ready?
We’ll answer that for you in this article.
A few other markers we look for are:
Average wake windows throughout the day are 1.75-2 hours long
Babies are showing signs of self-soothing abilities during wake times and sleep times. Examples of self-soothing are sucking on fingers, rubbing head, changing body position & even mild protest/crying before baby puts themselves to sleep or becomes content again.
Keep in mind that sleep training does not mean night weaning! Night feeds can be kept as long as you and your babies are needing to keep them. You may be thinking, ‘well doesn’t sleep training mean sleeping through the night?' Find out here what sleeping through the night really means.
How to set your twins up for successful sleep training
Consistent bedtime routine, optimal sleep environment, age-appropriate schedule. You can read more on those topics here.
Sleep Training Methods for Twins
Stay in the room/ Chair method/Sleep Lady Shuffle
The main concept here is that you are ‘camped out’ in your twins room while sleep training.
Bring a chair in from the home like a kitchen or office chair and place it near both of the cribs. Ideally you can reach out with both arms and touch both but it’s okay if you cant.
Just try and state equally distanced from both. Having two parents in the room can be overwhelming, so we just suggest one parent at a time.
You may alternate or take turns as you see fit.
This sleep training method allows you to soothe your twins consistently and without taking breaks if you don’t want to. Soothing can look like rubbing back/tummy, loud shushing and hand holding to name a few.
We suggest giving louder crying more attention and softer crying less attention.
Timed Intervals/Leave & Check/Ferber
This sleep training is the most popular choice for most parents, especially with twins.
This method allows parents to step out right after bedtime to give babies time to understand the transition to separation at bedtime and also a chance to calm themselves and soothe before parents intervene.
We recommend starting at 10-minute intervals and responding using soothing techniques like belly rubbing, loud shushing and key words.
Parents will then step out again and start an additional timer before entering to soothe again.
Pick up/Put Down
This method can be used in a combination with Ferber method or Chair method. This sleep training method adds in pick-ups as a means to soothe baby. Pickups are short (10-15 seconds) and are intended to interrupt crying if there is any and allow their self-soothing to kick in. Sometimes pick-ups don’t work, and that’s okay. Use your intuition as to what is helping and what is not. We don’t recommend pick up/put for babies older than 6 months old. It’s also okay if one twin responds to this method and the other doesn’t, their individual needs may be different!
Cry it out/Extinction
This method means that there is no interaction from parents after the initial bedtime routine and put down despite the child’s signaling or crying.
Parents will stay out of the room until morning time.
How to interpret crying when sleep training twins
We don’t believe all crying is the same.
A baby who is slightly fussing or complaining isn’t the same as a baby who is screaming or hysterical. It’s important to be in tune with your babies signaling. If they are signaling less, this means self-soothing is also taking place.
You may not want to interrupt this beautiful process
This article was written by sleep consultant, Lindsay Loring.
Lindsay is the owner of Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting.
She works with families of twins worldwide and specialises in helping parents of twins achieve their sleeping goals!
Visit us at www.tweetdreamzz.com