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How to Manage Sleep with Twins.

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I have worked with different age groups of twins now and have learnt a lot about what best practices to use and how to manage sleep with twins. This blog will discuss most common aspects of twin sleep.

Having one baby is tough but having two babies is a different level of tough. It is often two babies needing what one baby needs at the same time as each other, therefore creating a real emotional and physical juggle for the parent/carer especially if they are parenting on their own in that moment.

Teaching your baby to sleep as soon as you are ready will pave the way for easier and better-quality sleep and will make getting into any new sleep habit easier, therefore lessening the worry for you.

Sleep teaching concerns with twins

Naturally the main concerns that a parent of twins has is that the twins will wake each other prematurely from naps and night time sleep. When this happens and one of your babies wakes before the other, the parent will naturally rush to try to get the wakeful twin back to sleep as quickly and as easily as possible which is quite often by using a prop (something external to help you baby get to sleep) therefore strengthening the reliance on the prop and thus not allowing the child to work out how to get themselves back to sleep.

Your twins will not wake each other every time and dependant on where your other baby is in their sleep cycle, they may stay asleep. Teaching your babies to sleep may be tough for a short time (1-2 weeks) but will lead to both babies having great sleep skills and being able to sleep incredibly well. As I have seen from the families I have worked with, the hard work is always worth it.

Daily Twin Routine

One of my aims is to make things as easy for you as the parent(s)/carer(s) and I will always try to get you to manage both children at the same time where possible and this can be done for their sleep and feeding routine. Implementing a good routine will make sure the twins eat and sleep well but also give you a little time to rest and recuperate.

I have often found that one twin is a better sleeper and one twin feeds better than the other. For the twin that is sleeping longer than the other, I always suggest rousing them 25-30 minutes after the other twin has woken. Doing this will make sure that they are on roughly the same schedule. You would start the awake window from the time the first twin woke up and both babies would go to bed at the same time for bedtime.

On the other hand if one of the twins was harder to settle than the other twin, put this twin down to sleep first.

Unless there is a weight issue which means you may have been advised to wake them for a feed, allow your babies to sleep for as long as they would like to. If one twin wakes for a feed and the other twin does not, do not be tempted to wake the other twin. I say this as if you wake the other twin for a feed, it could create a feed to sleep association. Waking them mid-sleep may also interfere with their consolidated sleep development especially if they were in a deep sleep cycle.

Be guided for the naps and bedtime by using the appropriate awake window for their age (corrected age). See a list of awake window timings here.

A Twin Bedtime Routine

I am sure parents of twins feel this way too but with many aspects of their lives including sleep, it is very important to understand that they are two different little people with two very different personalities. As parents you will see one twin as being ‘a better sleeper than the other’ or ‘the more content’ or ‘the better eater’ and so there must be some wiggle room for the other twin.

The bedtime routine is something that can be carried out at the same time. If you are solo parenting and a cloth wash will not suffice that day and you want to give your babes a bath, you could find a safe place nearby for one child to rest whilst the other baby is having a bath and then swop over.

You can see what a good bedtime looks like here. A good bedtime routine with twins would take no more than 45 minutes once upstairs.

Feeding

When teaching a baby to sleep one very important aspect is having them go to sleep independently and by that, I mean without them using anything external, like feeding, to get them to sleep. By doing this it will ensure that your baby knows where they are when they naturally wake between their sleep cycles and so are more likely to drift back into their next sleep cycle.  Feeding twins can be tricky, especially if you are feeding them at the same time as it means keeping two little people awake and actively feeding that want drift off to sleep. They both need to go into their separate sleeping spaces awake with full tummies.

Sharing a Room

If your twins are old enough to move out of your room you may be wondering whether or not to have them sharing a room or have them go into their own room. Naturally if they have their sleep skills before they go into their shared room, sleep will be easier to manage. Having them share a room will make it easier to do bedtime when you are solo parenting especially if you are feeding them.

The downside of twins sharing a room is that they will wake each other from time to time even if they do have sleep skills and going to sleep has the potential to take longer if one twin is more wakeful than the other.

Teaching your babies to sleep in separate rooms is highly recommended but after they have learnt their sleep skills you could bring them together again if this is your ideal.

If you would like help to teach your twins their sleep skills then get in touch. Teaching them to sleep before they go into their own room will make sleep a lot easier to manage. Book a free, no obligation call and we can talk about working together to get you a better night’s sleep.

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