The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Twins to Sleep Through the Night
Having twins is an exciting and challenging experience. One of the most difficult tasks for parents of twins is getting their babies to sleep through the night. In this article, we will provide you with in-depth information on how to develop healthy sleep habits for your twins, various sleep training methods that work well for multiples and ways to overcome common sleep challenges that arise. By following these steps, you can help your twins achieve a peaceful, restful night’s sleep.
Understanding the Basics of Baby Sleep
Before we delve into how to get twins to sleep through the night, it’s important that we understand basic baby sleep science. Newborns spend most of their time sleeping, usually around 16 to 17 hours each day. But what most parents don’t realize is that a newborn’s sleep cycle is different compared to adults. Babies spend most of their time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is lighter and more active compared to the deep NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep that adults enjoy.
This means that babies are very likely to wake up several times during the night – more so than adults would. Additionally, since twins often share a womb and are used to being close together, you may find that one twin wakes up the other twin during the night quite frequently.
Signs and Causes of Sleep Issues in Twins
It can be very frustrating for parents when their twins experiencing more waking episodes than expected. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether there’s a problem or if it’s just normal newborn fussiness. However, here are some signs of sleep issues in twins:
- Their naps don’t last long enough
- Your babies have trouble falling asleep at night
- The twins wake up frequently during the night
Some common reasons why twins often wake up at night:
- Teething Pain
- Wet or Dirty Diapers
- Nighttime Anxiety
You can avoid some of these issues with several easy sleep safety measures, including giving your twins a comfortable sleeping environment.
Creating a Suitable Sleep Environment
When it comes to sleeping well, having a safe and comfortable sleep environment is paramount. Not only does it provide peace of mind for you as the parent, but it also ensures that your babies can sleep comfortably – which has been shown to reduce crying and nighttime waking.
- Make sure you use a firm mattress that fits well within their crib frame.
- Use fitted sheets that fit properly over the mattress and tuck them in tight so they stay put throughout the night.
- Avoid using soft objects around your baby while they’re sleeping, such as pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals on or near their face. Keep any type of crib bumpers out of the crib as this will help prevent choking and suffocation hazards.
- You don’t want your nursery to be too hot or too cold, so keeping the room temperature between 68-72°F is the optimal temperature for sleeping.
Developing Healthy Sleep Habits in Twins
To get twins to sleep through the night, you need to develop healthy sleep habits. Here are five strategies for establishing healthy sleep habits in your twins:
1. Establishing Routines
Routines are essential in the early stages because they help your babies to understand when it’s time to sleep. Establishing a daily routine for your twins minimizes confusion and prevents them from overstimulation of unnecessary activities.
Bedtime routines can include soothing activities such as singing lullabies, reading books, and using a warm bath to help relax the babies.
2. Implementing Age-appropriate Sleep Schedules
As your twins grow older, their sleep needs and schedules change. Make sure you’re creating age-appropriate sleep schedules to fit in with their current routine regularly. It’s easier for multiples to follow a predictable schedule, especially if both napping at the same time or will be putting down to bed together.
3. Providing Consistent Comfort Measures
Your baby’s surroundings play an essential role in their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Cribs or bassinets that are designed for multiple babies can help your little ones sleep better throughout the night.
- Swaddling is an effective technique used on newborns as it provides security and comfort that keeps newborns feeling safe and relaxed.
- Invest in a decent sound machine – White noise can help muffle any sudden sounds around the house/room (such as doorbells, pets, etc.) that could disturb either twin’s deep sleep.
4. Navigating Feeding Schedules
Feeding schedules typically affect sleep patterns; therefore, you should establish healthy feeding habits. Here some tips:
- Maintain regular feeding schedule: Keep regular intervals between feeds so your baby can fall asleep calmly.
- Give the last feed or bottle: This way, they’ll be full and, therefore, far more likely to sleep an extended period.
- Keep activities light before bed: Avoid-play time before bed as this will charges your baby with energy which will make it difficult for them to settle down.
5. Encouraging Daytime Naps
Daytime naps are essential for good night’s sleep in babies. During the day try to stick to a similar structure as you would at night.
- Offering the first nap of the day an hour after they wake up will help them establish a peaceful sleep schedule throughout the day
- Try to keep their sleeping environment similar during nap time and bedtime – so using similar bedding and a consistent setting.
Sleep Training Methods that Work Well for Twins
Sleep training involves an approach of teaching your twins how to fall asleep on their own without your assistance. Here are four sleep training techniques that could work well for twins:
1. Parent-led sleep training techniques
The following parent-led sleep-training methods often work well for twins:
Cry It Out method
The cry it out method is a technique whereby parents let their baby fuss or cry without comfort until he or she falls asleep. This method works best during the nighttime gradually increasing in length over several nights.
Graduated Weaning method
This is a gentle technique that can work well on twins because it aims to provide emotional support while easing your babies into self-soothing mode.
2. Baby-led sleeping training techniques
The following baby led sleeping training methods may require more patience from parents but gives babies the power to develop the skills to fall asleep independently.
This involves placing twin babies into their crib or bassinet, and when they fuss or cry, allow them to soothe themselves on their own to sleep.
3. Coordinated Sleeping Training Techniques
The following coordinated sleep training techniques present constructive ways of synchronizing the sleep patterns of both twins:
- Bedtime Routine- Establishing a consistent bedtime routine will help your twins learn when it’s time for bed
- Combined feedings – feeding both twins simultaneously to ensure they are put down together
- Scheduling naps that coincide with each other
- Adjusting one baby’s schedule to match with the other twin
4. Combining Different Methods
You can choose to combine different methods that work well for your twins as long as they create a conducive environment that leads to peaceful sleep.
Coping with Common Sleep Challenges in Twins
Twins go through different stages of development that may lead to changes in their sleeping patterns; therefore, you should be well prepared for these challenges. Here are some common challenges parents of twins face:
1. Separation Anxiety
Symptoms of separation anxiety often manifest around six months and may cause disruptions in your twins’ sleep patterns. Ways you can prepare includes increasing the level of comfort your twins get from their surroundings by adding familiar toys or items around the room, evolving their nighttime routine, and gradually increasing the time spent away from you during daytime naps.
Teething can cause distress in babies affecting their sleep patterns. Give your baby teething objects to chew during the day (ensure they’re safe) and use medication such as a teething gel to ease discomfort.
3. Sleep Regression
Sleep regressions could occur at four-months, eight months, or any stage during your twins’ development process. The best approach is not to panic about it, but instead work out what the issue could be and take steps to fix the root cause of the problem.
The first sign that your twins may be sick is potentially sleeping more or less than usual because their bodies may be working hard to fend off infection. You can reduce the risks by performing hand washing actions and regularly sanitizing equipment around them.
Traveling with twins who have different schedules from your home environment can be stressful. To minimize disruption, try to recreate sleeping situations in your travel destination by using similar bedding items and sticking to as close to routine as possible.
In summary, getting twins to sleep through the night requires patience, effort, and a structured environment based on age-appropriate, coordinated sleep training methods that suit your twins and their unique needs. Once you establish healthy sleep habits in twins early on, you’ll find that they’re more rested and happier overall.
FAQs: How to Get Twins to Sleep Through the Night
1. Why won’t my twins sleep through the night?
Babies have different sleep patterns based on their age. Newborns tend to wake up frequently for feeding, while older babies may wake up due to discomfort or hunger. With twins, one baby waking up can wake the other one. It is important to establish a consistent sleep routine with your twins.
2. When should I start a sleep routine for my twins?
You can start introducing a consistent sleep routine for your twins as early as 6-8 weeks old. Consistency is key in helping your babies develop good sleeping habits and decrease their night wakings.
3. What should I include in a sleep routine for my twins?
- A bath
- A story or song
- A feeding
- A diaper change
- Putting them down in their cribs while they are drowsy but still awake so they can learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own.
4. Should I let my twins cry themselves to sleep?
There are different opinions on this topic among parents and professionals. Some believe in the Ferber method, which involves letting babies cry it out for shorter periods of time until they learn to soothe themselves to sleep. Others believe in a gentler approach, where parents soothe their babies until they fall asleep more naturally over time. Consider what works best for you and your family.
5. How can I prevent my twins from waking each other up at night?
- Put each twin in their own crib or bassinet
- Use a white noise machine to mask noises
- Keep the “awake” twin entertained with quiet toys and books until their sibling falls back asleep
- If possible, have one parent attend to one twin while the other parent attends to the other.
6. When should I stop night feedings?
Babies typically no longer need to be fed at night after they reach 6 months old and are consuming enough food during the day. However, if your twins are underweight or have certain medical conditions, consult with your pediatrician before eliminating night feedings.
7. What should I do if my twins still won’t sleep through the night?
If you have tried various techniques and your twins are still waking up at night, it may be time to consult with a pediatric sleep specialist who can help identify any underlying issues and provide tailored strategies for your unique situation.
4 Key Takeaways for Getting Twins to Sleep Through the Night
1. Consistency is key: Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it every night to help your twins develop healthy sleep habits.
2. Consider sleep training: Techniques like controlled crying and fading can help your twins learn to self-soothe and fall asleep on their own.
3. Create a comfortable sleep environment: Keep the room dark, quiet, and cool, and make sure your twins are dressed appropriately for the temperature.
4. Adjust feedings as needed: If your twins wake up hungry during the night, try increasing their daytime feedings or giving them a bigger meal before bedtime.