Twin Baby Sleep Tips From A Twin Mom
If you are a parent to twins or triplets or more, sleep is not a luxury – it is a necessity! As a twin mom myself, I know that having twins means that you have to do *everything* twice. Having one baby is challenging, but having twins can be straight-up exhausting, even if you are sleeping. Now trying to do everything on very little sleep – it’s a recipe for disaster! I’ve been there and that’s why I’m a sleep consultant today.
I’ve put together the top questions I get from twin parents and my top twin baby sleep tips. This advice is based on my real-world experience and years of helping twin and triplet families to create healthy sleep habits for their little ones. I’m sharing that with you today to help your family get more sleep!
If you have newborn twins, read this first.
Twin Baby Sleep Tips Q&A
Q. Should my twins be in separate cribs or in the same crib?
To help prevent SIDS, it’s recommended by the AAP to separate your twins into their own individual cribs if they are currently crib sharing.
Especially as twins start to move more, crib sharing goes against safe sleep recommendations. Babies need their own space to move freely and get comfortable while sleeping.
I know some people can snuggle all night while sleeping, but that is a recipe for disastrous sleep for me!
Q. How should I setup my twins’ nursery for the best sleep?
For all babies, I recommend optimizing their nursery by:
- Setting an ideal temperature – setting the temperature to in between 68-72 F. (20-22.2 C)
- Darkening the room – placing your baby down for sleep in a pitch-black sleep environment will help your little one to fall asleep, stay asleep and make the sleep more restorative. Darkness also helps to prevent early morning wake ups and difficulty settling to sleep when it is still light out.
- Playing white noise – playing white noise continuously for all sleep periods is imperative for twins to help them to sleep through each other’s noises. Also, white noise helps babies to feel secure, relax into a deep sleep and helps keep babies asleep.
- Dressing in a sleep sack – I highly recommend your little ones sleep in a sleep sack. Blankets aren’t safe so a sleep sack is a wearable blanket that helps your babies to regulate their temperature and stay cozy. Our favorite is the Snuggy Buddy (10% off with code BELLALUNA10) because it has built-in loveys which are amazing for self-soothing.
Q. How should I handle overnight feedings so I’m not up all night long with my twins?
When my twins were newborns, I would wake the second baby after feeding the first baby. But as the boys got older (around 4-5 months), I stopped waking the second baby to see if he could sleep longer stretches and low and behold, he was ready to sleep through the night. His brother was *not*. I recommend that you test it out for a few days to see if the second baby is ready to go longer stretches and if not, go back to feeding them one after another unless you are a superhero and have figured out tandem feeding! If your little ones are eating more than 1-2 times a night, this is like a sleep association, which we talk about more below.
Q. Why are my twins waking up all night long?
This is the #1 question parents ask us, whether they have twins or singletons!
There are so many answers to this question, but it is hard for me to give accurate advice without the entire picture.
If you are saying, “well that doesn’t help, Christine!” read on!
More often than not, when babies are waking all night long, it is because they have something called sleep associations or sleep props.
The most common sleep associations
- Eating to sleep
- Rocking and bouncing to sleep
- Holding to / for sleep
- Movement sleep – relying on the car, stroller, swing or Snoo,
- Replacing the pacifier
- Reactive co-sleeping – bringing your little one into bed with you
When our babies are newborns, we will do almost anything we can do in order to get our little ones to sleep. Sleep associations work SO well at helping our little ones to fall asleep and return to sleep when they are newborns. That all changes when our babies go through something called the four month sleep regression. Common challenges during and after the regression if your baby has sleep associations look like:
- Bedtime battles trying to get your little one to settle into sleep at bedtime. You feed or rock them to sleep (or whatever your baby prefers) and then try to put them down and they pop back awake, screaming like you put your sweet cherub in lava!
- Frequent Nightwakings where your babies are looking for your assistance to go back to sleep because they think they need you to this thing so they can get back to sleep.
If you find yourself in this situation, you can gradually try to remove any props or it may be time to consider sleep training.
Q. How can I prevent my twins from waking each other during sleep periods?
Unfortunately, you can’t! But twins have an amazing ability to sleep through each other’s noises once they have a chance to learn how to do it.
This is one of the biggest challenges as a twin parent. We want to rush right in any time either baby makes a sound so they don’t wake up their sibling. But what happens when we do this is that we don’t give the babies the chance to settle themselves if we intervene immediately.
Every time our babies make noise, it doesn’t mean that they are fully awake and need our help. Babies call out throughout the night when they are changing sleep cycles and they come into light or REM sleep.
Here’s what I want you to do…
Pause and observe. If one baby is calling out, but they aren’t due for a feed, pause for 5 minutes and observe your little one on the monitor before rushing into the nursery. If your little one isn’t fully awake and they are in the light sleep stages, if you go in, you will fully awaken your baby. Pausing and observing gives your little one the opportunity to surprise you with their ability to resettle themselves, which will help your babies to sleep longer stretches at night.
Also, using white noise can help dramatically with this!
Q. How do you manage bedtime routine with two babies?
We always recommend a consistent sleepytime routine before naps and bedtime. If you have twins this may seem a little bit like a three-ring circus so these tips should help:
Four Hands If Possible: if you have help (always say yes if someone asks if they can help!), it can be helpful to have both parents or a helper to do the twins’ sleepytime routine.
Allot Enough Time: start the routine 45 minutes before you want your babies tucked in. This will give you adequate time to do the routine before the babies are overtired.
Be Realistic: a bath is a wonderful part of a bedtime routine and powerful cue that sleepytime is coming, but if it is too stressful or they (and you) are too tired, it is totally ok to move bath time to another part of the day. Having twins is stressful enough – let’s take that pressure off of you if it feels like it is too much.
Q. How do I keep track of everything with twins? It’s a lot to remember.
With two babies, it is hard to remember when each baby peed, pooped, ate, and slept! I would always get confused with who did what when!
Fortunately, we had a lot of help from my Mom and Mother-in-law so we came up with a paper log where we tracked everything. It lived on the island in the kitchen and everyone wrote everything down in the log.
If I could go back and do it over again, I’d probably use an app like Huckleberry, which is popular with our clients.
Keeping up with baby books with twins isn’t realistic, so we tracked all of their milestones in there as well so we could create their baby books later, once life had slowed down a little bit.
Q. When can I sleep train my twins?
We don’t recommend starting sleep training until babies are 4-6 months of age.
Ensure your babies are at least 16 weeks adjusted age before starting any sleep training program. Before that, babies aren’t ready developmentally.
This means that you are calculating your babies’ age based on your estimated due date (EDD), not their actual birth date. This means that if your babies were born on August 1st and they were 4 weeks early, you wouldn’t start sleep training until January 1st, which would be 16 weeks after your estimated due date.
Q. Should I separate my twins when sleep training?
To help you determine the right choice for your family, ask yourself…
What is my long-term goal for my twins sleeping arrangement?
Together – if your plan is to keep your twins in the same room in the long term. I recommend that you keep them in the room together for sleep training for both naps and nights. This will give your babies the opportunity to learn to sleep through each other’s noises. It oftentimes happens quicker than you would think!
Separate – if your plan is to separate your twins in the near term, I would recommend making the transition to their own rooms as part of the sleep training program.
Q. How can you help with my twins’ sleep?
My team and I would love to help your with your twins’ sleep! There are two options:
Are you a DIYer and if you know what to do, you can make it happen?
Our online baby sleep course, Transform Your Baby’s Sleep, would be perfect for you! There is a special twin handout that goes even deeper on twin sleep.
Feel like you need a plan and support?
Our team would love to work with you one-on-one to develop a plan and support you through the sleep training process. To get started, fill out our contact form and then you’ll be matched with your sleep coach.
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