It goes to say then, that parents of twins have double the challenge, and it most likely feels like at least four times! As soon as one twin finally falls asleep, the other wakes up looking for a fresh diaper or something to eat. Just thinking about it is exhausting!
The good news is that many parents of twins have found success after some trial and error, and apparently, sleep training for twins is something that can be done! With a little diligence and a lot of routine, you can get both your babies sleeping through the night and on the same (or very close!) schedule.
There are a few tips on sleep training for twins that successful parents mention over and over again.
- Use some sort of white noise in the nursery.
- If both cribs are in the same room, keep the baby who is the best sleeper in the crib that is farthest away from the door.
- Start putting your babies to bed about 45 minutes after dinner. Although this may seem early, it is better to put them down to bed before they become fussy from being over-tired.
- Start when the babies are old enough that they are sleeping for longer stretches at a time. Sleep training cannot begin when the babies are only able to sleep for stretches of 1-2 hours. You may need to wait until they are a couple of months old.
- Follow the same routine every night, so that the babies start to know the signals that mean it is time to go to sleep.
- Use overnight diapers which are specially designed to hold a great deal of liquid without becoming uncomfortable for the babies. This will prevent wakeups from wet diapers.
Once you have established these routines, you have set the stage for sleep training. One of the decisions you will need to make is whether or not you are going to use the “cry it out” method. While many parents swear that letting their babies cry through their wake periods only lasts a short time and that it ultimately trains their babies to sleep well, other parents cannot abide by this practice. There is truly no right or wrong answer to this question, and each parent has to decide what is right for them.
Most parents have noted that even if one twin wakes up and cries, it does not necessarily mean that it will wake the other twin, especially if there is white noise in the room.
If you decide that you cannot let your babies cry it out, there are still ways to sleep train them without removing them from the crib. If you remove them from the crib each time they cry, they will quickly learn that crying will eventually get them what they want.
Instead, enter the nursery every 15-20 minutes during the wakeful time and offer the baby a pacifier, and tuck in their blankets. This will reassure the infant that you are near and that everything is okay. Do not say anything, and do not pick the baby up. Try this if one baby is crying, or if both of them are. Eventually, the crying will stop and both babies will be fast asleep.
Sleep training for twins is a tricky proposition for sure, but with a lot of patience, it can be done. Before you know it, both babies, as well as mom and dad, will be sleeping through the night!