Twins can be a real handful! Even having three children myself, I realise having twins is very different.
The ideal situation would be starting by getting them into good sleep habits so that there isn’t a problem to resolve. This will mean that your parenting journey is much easier.
One of the main concerns parents of twins can have is that one baby waking and crying will naturally wake the other. This means the parents will rush in and take the crying baby out of the room, or get them back to sleep, to prevent the second baby waking up. This can sometimes mean that reliance on any sleep props is more developed the twins have never been allowed to figure out how to fall asleep themselves because of the concern they will wake the other twin.
Another worry is that both babies will be awake and things will just be too much and too crazy but we do need to face this. The great news is that it won’t happen all the time and will depend upon where your little one is in their sleep cycle as they may stay asleep. It may be tough for a week or two but it will lead to a lifetime of both children having great sleep skills and being able to sleep incredibly well for most of their lives. It is absolutely worth it!
How to get twins into a routine
One of the best tips is to try to get your twins on the same routine which will make it much easier for you, as a parent, to ensure they sleep well but also feed well. It would also mean that you are able to have a bit of a break when they are both napping at the same time. If they were premature they will probably be on a good feeding schedule, in any event, because of the extra care they will have received at hospital but, if not, this may be something you need to help them towards at home.
If one baby is sleeping longer than the other I would suggest rousing your second baby no longer than half an hour after the first baby has woken. This will ensure that they are on roughly the same schedule and you would still ‘start the clock’ for the next nap/bedtime from when the first baby woke. You would then put both babies to bed for bedtime at the same time regardless of whether the second baby naps for longer.
Let them sleep for as long as they will sleep at night unless, of course, there are weight issues or you have been advised to wake them to feed. Don’t wake the second twin to feed if the first twin wakes. This will help prevent a feed to sleep association and if we try to feed when they are in a deep sleep it is interfering with their sleep cycles and may interfere with their consolidated sleep development.
As time progresses your little ones will develop great sleep skills, even if it’s tough for a couple of weeks initially.
Where should they sleep
If your twins are of an age where they will be moving into their own rooms you may be considering whether to share a room or have their own room. There are pros and cons to both of these ideas.
The pros of having your twins in the same room is that it’s easier for parents to feed and many parents do say twins have a very strong bond so they may find comfort in sharing a room together.
The cons of twins sharing a room is that it is possible that one twin will wake the other a little more easily or that one twin will prevent the other from falling asleep as fast as they could.
If you need to help your twins towards their independent sleep skills, having them in separate rooms will make this much easier for you in the long run. This is also true of siblings if you need to help guide one of them towards their independent sleep skills but, of course, you need to do what is right for your family.
How to handle the bedtime routine
We need to ensure both babies are awake going into their cots, which is the rule for all babies.
Ideally start your bedtime routine with a bath; this is a great cue for babies because it is a very different experience to the rest of the day. You may not be able to bath both your babies every night if you do not have help so don’t worry too much, they can both just have a face and hand wash.
Feeding can be another tricky time for parents but there are some mums of twins who are able to feed both babies at the same time, which is an amazing skill. If you are doing this then that is fabulous but do keep a close eye on them to ensure they are not falling asleep or becoming drowsy during the feed. We also need to make sure that they have a good enough feed so that they are full so ensure that you were tickling, talking, etc to prevent them falling asleep whilst you are feeding both so they can go into the cot awake.
If you need to feed them both separately just find a space for the second baby to wait (hopefully patiently) while you feed one baby and then they can swap. You would then pop them into their cots and allow them to fall asleep independently.
You may find one twin is a little more spirited than the other and finds it more difficult for the sleep. Be aware of this because your twins are very different, separate and independent people and so you may have one twin which is a little more challenging than the other. Be patient with this twin, some twins do find it more difficult than the other so you may need to help preserve the sleep of the other as far as you can.
If your little ones have trouble with sleep or you feel help getting them into a routine would benefit your family, just let me know, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you all get a better night’s sleep.