Congratulations! You are the proud parent of twins!
“There are two things in this world that life doesn’t prepare you for. Twins.”
Twin babies are a huge amount of work. However, one of the most valuable investments in your entire household is to get the twins sleeping well.
Now getting two babies to sleep well is going to be a little more complicated than just teaching one baby.
If one baby wakes up crying then it is likely that the other baby will follow suit shortly afterwards. Soothing two babies is more challenging than just the one.
The other complication is that often twins are premature and premature babies tend to be sleepy. This means that if one baby wakes up crying then this is likely to wake the other twin and therefore, parents will rush to soothe the first twin by any means necessary which leads to strong feed/sleep associations.
I will not play it down, getting your twins to be superstar sleepers is not going to be a doddle. It is going to require strong will, determination, consistency and discipline on your end. It is 100% achievable but you will need to put in the work first and foremost.
It is key here to remind yourself why you want the twins to sleep better. What would you do with the extra time you will have once both your babies are sleeping on the same schedule and sleeping through the night? How much easier would parenting them be?
Having a baby sleeping well is a total game changer for one baby so imagine how amazing it would be with two!
Let's look at ways you can achieve better sleep with twins:
Firstly, it is key we look into their sleeping arrangements. If you have space, I do recommend placing babies in separate rooms. This does not apply for under 6 months but once they do hit that 6 month mark, I would seriously consider this option.
You don't need to separate them but having them separated makes it easier to manage the noise levels whilst they are learning the skills needed to sleep independently.
Once they are superstar sleepers in a few weeks, you can reintroduce them back together again!
Next, you are also going to want to get them sleeping on the same schedule. The great thing about twins is that their sleep needs are going to be pretty much the same, so putting them on the same nap/bedtime schedule is effective for both of them.
One complication can be that you will find that one baby will sleep for longer than their sibling. This is fine but only for around 30 minutes. Beyond this, you will want to wake the baby up to prevent them getting out of sync with their sibling. When the next nap time is due, ignore the 30 minutes difference and put them down together at the same time.
Ensuring both babies are sleeping at the same time is important for your mental health also. This will give you a little peace to get things done or to have a well deserved hot drink!
During the night, parents of twins as I mentioned are more likely to respond very quickly when one twin wakes in the night.
For the next seven to ten days, I’m going to ask you to try and resist the urge to rush in. I am not suggesting that you should not calm your crying child but if your usual response to them waking is to run in and offer a feed, dummy or rock them back to sleep then I am asking you to hold off. This is probably stopping your child from being able to develop the self soothing skills which they do need to learn.
I know that it feels like a tall order so plan to do this on a night where you know you have very little on the next few days. The first few days are hard but once you push through, the other side is incredible.
It is very likely that one baby will wake up in the night and the other will not. This is where things get a little challenging. We do want both babies sleeping on the same schedule but we do not want to interrupt sleep. I would advise on this is that if your Health Visitor/Doctor give the all clear then you can let them sleep and not wake them for a feed. However, it will all be dependent on their weight gain. That is why i say ask the health professionals their opinion. From a sleep perspective, if they are not waking for a feed then it is fine to let them sleep as they will pick up the calories usually during the day.
After three or four days, you’re going to notice something amazing start to happen. As those independent sleep skills start to develop, you will see that one crying baby won’t be nearly as likely to wake up their twin. That is down to the fact that they are spending more time in deeper levels of sleep, and as you will also notice that when a baby goes into a deep sleep, they can almost sleep through anything.
You will also see your babies become more well rested. Previously, they were likely to be overtired. Overtiredness stimulates cortisol production which makes it harder for baby to sleep, so as your twins start sleeping more, they will find it easier to fall to sleep and stay asleep for the deep and restorative sleep which is vital to their development.
Lastly, when you are thinking of starting this process, ensure that you are ready. I see many parents that get started before they are fully committed to the process. I then see them give up one or two nights in to the process.
Giving up after one or two nights is very confusing for your Little Darlings and makes it more challenging then next time you attempt to instill changes.
If you are not sure that this is the time then that is OK. Consistency is going to be the magical key here so don't just going into this thinking you will give it a go... you have to be willing to say 'WE WILL DO THIS'.
This process is going to be hard work but I can honestly say that it is going to be worth it.
I am here to support you if you need me...
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