As a momma of twins myself, I’m well acquainted with the challenges of managing two at one time. So believe me, when I say, I know how hard it is to sleep train twins. And just to mentally prepare all of you, fellow twin mommas: know that this challenge also extends to teaching your new babies solid sleep skills.
For one, having one baby cry in front of you is heartbreaking enough, but two?? It takes twice as much willpower and discipline to sleep-train twins. But having done it myself, I want to say that with the help of your spouse, it's very possible. And once your newborn twins' sleeping arrangements are in sync, and they have mastered sleeping well, your parenting burden will ease significantly. The effort is worth it!
If you’re up for it, then here are 5 tips to increase your chances of success with sleep-training twins:
Consider keeping them in separate rooms
That way, if one twin starts making noises, the other isn’t disturbed. And don't worry about permanently giving up a room; it's only a temporary setup until we solidify those skills. You should be able to move them back into the same room in a few weeks.
Keep them on more or less the same schedule
That means your twins wake up at the same time in the morning and go down for bedtime at the same time. Now, it's possible that one kid may sleep longer than the other at some point, and that's okay up to a point. To keep them from becoming too out of sync, I set the time limit at roughly 30 minutes before you should wake up your other kid. And when deciding when to put them down for the next sleep, consider the wake window of the twin who woke up earlier. In other words, disregard the extra 30 minutes and put both children down at the same time.
Always wait 10 minutes before going to them at night
If your twins are sharing a room, you might be tempted to rush in to soothe the crying twin so as to keep the sleeping twin from waking. I'm going to ask you to repress that need a little over the following 7–10 days. You want your children to learn the skill of putting themselves back to sleep, even if that means sleeping through the cries of their twin.
Give your sleeping twin the chance to consolidate nighttime sleep
You may have a situation where one twin wakes up to feed, and the other doesn't. Now, barring any weight gain-related problems or special instructions from your doctor, my advice is not to wake the sleeping twin for a feed. Yes, I know this contradicts #2 about keeping them on the same schedule but hear me out. Waking children up in the middle of the night ultimately prevents sleep from consolidating, and we want your children to learn to sleep in the night for night-long stretches. So, just for the time being, we'll put sleep first and let the baby make up the calories missed in the night during the day.
Check your readiness before starting sleep-training
Lots of sleep-deprived parents of twins start the process in desperation, only to stop after a few nights. This is extremely confusing for your twins. All that it teaches them is that they must cry more loudly and for a longer period of time in order to get mommy to come and nurse them or rock them to sleep. So it's fine if you're unsure whether now is the right time. The key in this situation is consistency, so if you don't feel ready to commit, don't just "give it a try."
I hope you find these tips helpful! And if you ever need some additional support, I’m always here! :)