Sleep Training Twins: A How-To Guide
Little Yawn Collective - Mar 18, 2022
Double feedings, double changings, double love, double cuteness, but double the sleeplessness. Parents of twins know that although they have twice the love, playing tag team with hungry and fussy babies in the middle of the night can be exhausting.
Sleep training twins allow parents to help their babies learn to self-soothe and build independence. But is it possible to train twins at the same time? If so, how do you know when is the right time to start?
Are My Twins Ready for Sleep Training?
With all babies, a big question is if your baby is ready for sleep training. For babies that are full-term, four to six months of age is an optimal time to begin sleep training.
Once your baby is weaning off or no longer needs nighttime feedings, sleep training can help your baby start to sleep through the night. If your baby wakes in the middle of the night, they will be able to self-soothe and go back to sleep without needing parental support.
When it comes to twins who may have been born early, using their adjusted age is essential in determining when to start sleep training.
According to the March of Dimes, 50% of twins are born early due to overcrowded wombs. If your babies were born early, you would subtract how many weeks preterm they were born from when they were born.
For example, if your baby is twelve weeks old but was born four weeks early, their adjusted age would be eight weeks.
Knowing your baby's adjusted age is key in determining if they are developmentally on track. If your baby is seven months old but hasn’t started to sit up and their adjusted age is five months, then there is no need to worry as sitting up is a skill that is seen around six months of age.
When it comes to sleep training, go by your baby's adjusted age to determine if the time is right. The biggest indicator of readiness is that your babies are starting to wean off their nighttime feedings. You can sleep train and wean simultaneously, but knowing your baby’s signals for when they are hungry is essential.
To be the most successful with sleep training, keep your twins' sleeping environment as cozy and comfortable as possible. Blackout curtains can be a saving grace when the summer’s early mornings and late evenings cause sunlight to interfere with your twins’ sleeping hours.
Blackout curtains are also ideal for when your twins take a daytime nap in their crib or bassinet.
A white noise machine is also beneficial in drowning outdoor noises. If one of your twins is a lighter sleeper, they may be woken up by simply a car passing by and may be slightly fussy for a few minutes before falling back asleep.
Having a white noise machine can help the sleeping twin stay asleep.
A cool temperature is also conducive to better sleep. You can keep your babies cozy in footed pajamas and a swaddle if they have not started to roll over. If your babies have started to roll over, you can put them in a sleep sack for extra warmth.
The first true step in sleep training is making sure that you have a consistent bedtime routine established for your little ones. Bedtime routines are influential in setting your children up for healthy bedtime habits.
A consistent bedtime routine is a clear signal to your babies that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed. Bedtime routines do not have to be elaborate, in fact, simpler is best. The routine should be in the same order every night so it stays routine and predictable for your babies.
Make Little Yawn Collective A Part of Your Routine
A soothing, warm bath with plenty of bubbles and giggles – Little Yawn Collective has created the perfect companion for bathtime.
Our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula makes the first step of your bedtime routine ideal with our NaturalSnooze fragrance. Gentle, infant-suitable scents of organic lavender, sandalwood, and cedarwood help create an environment that is soothing and relaxing.
After bathtime, a baby massage with soothing lotion helps your babies unwind and get ready for bed. Bond with your double scoops of cuteness by massaging their little arms and legs with our Nourishing Body Lotion and Oat & Shea Butter.
Zip or button your babies into their jammies (the biggest question here is, will they be matching?) Before settling into a snug spot for some quality time, spray our Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray so the gentle NaturalSnooze fragrance can aid in relaxation.
A bedtime story or lullaby gets your baby feeling snoozy and cozy. As your babies are drowsy, gently place them into their safe sleeping space so they can drift off to sleep on their own.
If it were a perfect world, your babies would sleep peacefully through the night and would be greeted by your grin the next morning. Although your babies are perfect, it isn’t a perfect world and your twins will likely stir and awaken during the night.
Sleep training will help your babies learn to self soothe themselves back to sleep if they awaken in the middle of the night. This means that you get more sleep, and everyone feels more fully rested and happy the next morning.
Train Separate or Together?
With twins, it may be easier to train your babies together. Having your twins on the same schedule eliminates from playing tag team with each baby if they wake up and feed at different times, as well as giving you more time to sleep. Training together is also an important consideration if your twins are going to be sharing a room.
From womb mates to roommates, your babies will need to be used to each other’s habits and schedules. If one twin is experiencing difficulties with a sleep schedule, or has a medical condition that prevents them from being on the same schedule as the other twin, you may have to train separately.
If you are going to sleep train your twins separately, having them sleep in different rooms can keep your twins from waking each other.
When it comes to sleep training, there are a variety of methods to try. Some parents may be hesitant of sleep training, because they may think that sleep training means that your baby will be crying alone, and will feel abandoned. Although some sleep training methods do call for you to allow your baby to be fussy for a few minutes, if your baby is in distress most methods absolutely support you comforting your baby.
You’ll be able to determine which method of sleep training is best for your twins. Once selecting a method the most important thing is to be consistent. Sleep training can take days to weeks to be successful, and switching up methods day after day can confuse your babies. If you are not seeing success, you may need to stop sleep training and try again with a different method in a few weeks.
With all methods, you’ll want to lay down your babies while they are drowsy but not yet fully asleep. Also, some fussiness is expected and okay. Give your babies time to adjust and learn the skill of self-soothing. If your twins are in the same room, knowing that their sibling is close by is a comfort as well.
Cry It Out Method
The cry it out method is when your baby is laid down to sleep, and not picked back up until morning or their scheduled nighttime feeding. This method can be hard on parents, as they want to console their crying babies.
Some babies do just fine on this method, and learn to self-soothe after only a few days. Other babies do not like this method, and want some type of comforting during the night.
With the Ferber method, you can check in with timed intervals if your babies are fussy. Checking in on your babies reassures them that you are still there, but without picking them up.
After leaving, you’ll wait a little bit more time before checking in again. This allows your babies to start to learn to self-soothe but also, you’re providing some comforting words and encouragement as you go.
The Chair Method
The Chair Method allows you to keep a constant eye on your babies as they drift to sleep while gradually moving out of their sight. Keep a chair within eye distance of both twins, and stay until they are both asleep.
If they wake, come back to sit in the chair until they drift off again. Move the chair towards the door every few nights until you are no longer in the room.
After laying your babies down for sleep, you provide physical comfort if either of them is fussy or begins to cry. You hold them until they are soothed and lay them back down, then leave the room.
Your babies are receiving the comfort that they want, and you not lingering allows your babies a chance to drift off to sleep on their own.
Using Combined Methods
As you know your babies best, you’ll be able to make the best determination on which sleep training method will be the most beneficial. If a particular method does not work, that’s okay too!
Some parents have found that combining multiple methods works well for their baby’s temperament and routine.
As you probably have heard multiple times, your twins are different people and may respond in different ways. One twin may succeed at a particular sleep training method, while the other may not.
Do whatever works best for their individual needs!
Feeding while Sleep Training
If your babies still need occasional feeding through the night, it may make sense to only feed one of the babies while allowing the other one to sleep. With sleep training, we are wanting to enforce allowing our babies to sleep as long as they can.
Your babies may be on the brink of no longer needing nighttime feedings, one baby may be at this milestone while the other still needs a little snack to get through the night. Feed the one twin who is feeling peckish, while allowing the other one to snooze away.
However, if you find that both babies are still waking up hungry, try to feed them both when the first twin wakes up hungry. Babies who eat at the same time are likely to feel drowsy at the same time. Aligning feeding and sleeping schedules will make the nighttime wakeups much easier to deal with.
When it comes to twins and their sleeping schedules, you may wonder if you’ll ever have a full night’s rest again. With sleep training, your little ones will learn valuable skills, and you will have supported them all the way.
Even if each twin experiences success with a different sleeping method, these two paths will lead to the same road of dreaming bliss. Rest assured, with patience, flexibility, and practice, your twins will be sleeping soundly in no time!
Your friends at Little Yawn Collective know that bedtime can be challenging. Your twin buddies will feel relaxed, cozy, and ready for bed with our melatonin-free sleep solutions.
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