Sleep training and schedules with twins can seem overwhelming. Because, what's worse than one baby up in the middle of the night? It's two!
Here are my best tips on keeping twins on the same schedule and sleep patterns so that everyone can get some sleep.
1. Where should twins sleep?
Investing in a twin pack n play with divider or two bassinets can give you options to keep your twins in your bedroom for the first few months. It’s very important to note that twins should NOT share a sleep space. As in, they need their own crib, pack n play or bassinet. Invest in two separate ‘beds’ when you are expecting twins.
But where should they sleep?
Moving them to their room only when you are comfortable is very important. That could be their first night home or anytime in the first year. The AAP recommends keeping your newborn(s) in a room sharing environment for the first 6-months and up to a year as it keeps everyone in a lighter sleep. Many parents keep their twins in their room out of convenience given the time it takes to feed middle of the night. There is no right or wrong answer here, so follow your intuition! Once moved into their room, I recommend setting the cribs up on parallel walls or at least adjoining wall. You'll be thankful you did once they become toddlers. :)
2. Will my twins stay on the same schedule?
They can! But, in the beginning, it will be difficult.
Always, always keep them on the same feeding schedule overnight. But, keeping one from falling asleep or waking up during the day will prove to be tricky. Around 4 months, you will see a pattern of sleep and naps emerge and your twins will start to be more in sync. Here’s what their schedule may look like at each age. Download my FREE Newborn Schedule to get started with a plan each morning.
Another thing I want to stress, is to keep your expectations low. Figuring out nap schedules, wake times and realizing they are humans and not robots is extremely difficult. I had a hard time with the unexpected daily events when my twins were little. It brought on tons of anxiety as the sun started to set. Sleep training literally saved my sanity.
3. When do twins start sleeping through the night?
Babies start sleeping through the night at all different ages. Some are organically born with natural sleep skills, but most are not. With a parent led approach, your twins can sleep through the night as early at 4-5 months old. With a baby-led approach, it can happen as late as 2 years.
4. How to sleep train twins?
Pretty much just as you would sleep train a singleton. Learning how to help our children sleep is a skill.. it can be difficult, overwhelming and confusing. My biggest advice here is:
Choose your method that fits your philosophy. Typically, I do not recommend the chair method for twins. The logistics are tricky and it may not fit both personalities. A leave & check approach can work wonderfully when paired with a solid bedtime routine. Not sure how to start a bedtime routine? No worries, I have a guide just for you.
Stay consistent. Our children thrive on routine and consistency. They look to us to see what environment and routines they can rely on.
As a sleep consultant who has coached close to 150 sets of twins, I help families pick the method most suited for them, and then I coach them through it. With twins, there are things to consider, but the process of sleep training isn’t different. With two babies, the number one thing to remember is keeping them on the same schedule. If one wakes to eat, then you will wake the other to eat in those early months. Also, keeping them within 15-20 minutes of each other, during the day sleep and eating-wise, will keep bedtime the same for both. And, always start out as you wish to finish. So, if you plan on keeping your twins in the same room long term, then practice new sleep routines while keeping them together.
5. How will your twins sleep in the same room without waking each other?
Okay, ready? They WILL wake each other! Think about it this way. Your twins are no different than you are. When you first moved to a new house or slept in the same room as your partner, in the beginning, you had to get used to the sounds and patterns that disrupted your sleep.
First step is to put yourself back to sleep after you get woken up.
The next step is to put yourself back to sleep in a shorter amount of time.
We can't protect our twins from each other forever, so with that in mind, you kind of just have to let it play out. Because, once they get it, they HAVE it!
You’ll need a few things in your tool kit to be successful when sleep training twins.
Stellar bedtime routine (no drowsiness)
White noise machines (two of them if you have a large room)
Chosen soothing method
And tons of consistency!
Many twins share a room because parents don’t have the option to separate them! Or because they want them to share to secure their bond as twins. With that in mind, your twins can learn to sleep in the same room and sleep through each other’s noises. It would be like moving somewhere new and having a train come by in the distance some nights at 2am. You would hear it at first, maybe it will wake you, but your brain will start to process the stimulator and eventually it won’t wake you at all.
My biggest piece of advice here is to let them get used to each other’s noises by not intervening, and if a twin wakes up the other, let them practice falling asleep if they truly woke up because of the other’s noises. This may be hard at first, but over time each of them will become desensitized to their siblings sounds. The wakings will be super short or wont even happen at all.
I know you may be reading this and wondering if you will ever sleep again! Yes, you will! Each phase with twins comes with its own set of challenges, and I am here to tell you that you are doing a great job! Being a parent to multiples is no easy task. Give yourself grace and reach out to those around you for support. I took to relying heavily on routine with my twins, and it saved my sanity. Looking back, I am very glad I made sleep a priority for all of us! My twins have been sleeping through the night since they were 5 months old. The same can be true for you!
Lastly, let's check the room/environment for your twin's nursery setup
Dark, dark room- here is my favorite room darkening curtain. Use code tweetdreamzz for a discount on Sleep Out curtains!
Two cribs, opposite walls. This will be ideal come toddler stage.
White noise between the cribs. Protecting them from each other's noises versus the noises in your house is the way to go.
Cribs that will convert to toddler beds and then big beds. You will save money in the long run by only purchasing one piece of furniture that your twins can grow into.
Author: Lindsay is a Mom to twin girls and she’s a sleep enthusiast! Lindsay is a certified child sleep consultant, and she helps families all over practice sustainable sleep patterns that will keep their children sleeping soundly for years! Lindsay understands how life-changing it is bringing twins into the world, and that is why she’s chosen the life path of helping parents navigate this momentous time.
You can reach out to Lindsay at Instagram.com/tweetdreamzz