Twins Week: Sleep tips for multiples

Alexis Dubief writes Troublesome Tots, a website about ending bedtime drama for babies. She was excited to share four tips for parents of multiples to help everyone get a better night sleep.

Four tips to a better night’s sleep for twins

Read up on preemies. Since multiples tend to be born a bit early, neurologically they may be a little undeveloped at birth. Thus, they respond REALLY well to swaddling and mimicking a womb-like environment. They may need to be swaddled all the time for the first few weeks and that is TOTALLY OK to do.

Find a schedule that suits your family. Generally, with multiples, the concept of “on demand” feeding needs to go out the window pretty quickly. The babies will need to learn how to eat and sleep at the same time for you and your partner to stay sane. After about 2-4 weeks of feeding them on demand,  work toward getting them on the same page. Baby #1 seems hungry, then baby #2 is offered a meal too. The same goes true for naps and sleeping. In the long run, syncing their schedules will be worth it.

Use two baby swings. I recommend the Fisher Price Papasan swings to my clients. Having one baby who wakes frequently at night is rough but when you have two you could literally never get any sleep. I’ve worked with moms of nine month old twins who were quivering bowls of jello from the night time shuffle. Baby swings can be powerful tools to help get babies on the same nap schedule and to minimize night wakings. Here is more information about swings as a baby sleep aid. Multiples tend to do especially well with swings since preemies often thrive on motion.

[Editor’s note: We believe in borrowing equipment like swings until you know if it works for your baby, so put your credit card away and ask your Facebook friends and neighbors if anyone has an infant swing you can test for the first six weeks.]

Turn on the white noise. Loud white noise (50 db) will go a long way towards helping to keep them from waking each other up at night. Most twins do share a room and they do just great.

I found a great article on sleep training twins based on my favorite sleep guru Dr. Marc Weissbluth (author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples), but it didn’t really address the issue of crying twins waking each other in the same crib or bedroom.

If you’re already beyond the first four to six months of twin parenting, how did you sleep train two babies in the same crib or in the same room?

Thanks to Alexis Dubief for participating in Twins Week with her advice for sleepy parents. After two sleepless babies put her through the wringer, she used her professional skills as a researcher to pull the most current medical and academic research on newborns, babies, and sleep to provide evidence-based practical solutions to tired families.

[photo by Sarah Hubbell of Water Water Everywhere]