When it comes to sleep training, so many people tend to think that it involves leaving your baby to cry it out. Only this week I had a conversation on Twitter where I reassured a parent she was doing an absolutely amazing job with her three month old baby, and that she absolutely did not have to leave that baby to cry! Crying is stressful not only for parents, but for babies too. Not many parents can stand to listen to their baby in distress either- so can you imagine all that crying if you were trying to sleep train twins? Cry it out is never recommended in the Michi Sleep Academy or in any of my consultations- gentle sleep training is just that. Gentle. And this week we’re going to look at sleep training twins, gently.
Life with twins
Sometimes, getting one baby to sleep is hard work. Imagine having two babies to deal with! First of all, you need to appreciate the fact that your twins are two different people. They have unique personalities and they are most likely to have different sleep habits too. Just because they shared a uterus does not mean they will share the same temperament. And it is this temperament that will dictate how your baby sleeps. So its important to distinguish first of all whether both babies are sleeping well, or if one is waking the other one up. When you’ve made your observations, you’re ready to start!
Gentle Sleep Training
It’s worth saying again. Sleep training does not have to mean letting your baby/babies cry it out. Gentle sleep training methods are effective and way less stressful, and they work too. It’s important that you are 100% happy with the situation, so if you hate to hear your baby cry, then pick them up and soothe them. That’s your natural parenting instincts kicking in, so don’t fight it. Read this post on the Michi Method for more information on how I advise my families to work.
And yes, gentle sleep training can be done with twins too. Here are my top tips for making it work.
- Use white noise. If you have a twin that wakes more than the other one, this will help to block out the sounds of number one waking, and hopefully number two will continue to sleep without interruption. White noise is also a great way to help babies to sleep in general, so it really can’t hurt to use it.
- Be consistent. But remember that your twins have different personalities. When you comfort them during the night, one might like to be rocked and the other might like to be patted, for example. Be consistent in your methods for each one.
- Decide whether they are to share a room or not. If you want them to eventually share a room once they are sleeping independently, then start now. They need to get used to each other being there, after all.
- Make sure your routine is well polished. This goes without saying for all babies, but especially with twins. It doesn’t have to be twice the work, but it often is. So it will pay to be prepared.
- Decide what to do when twin one wakes and twin two doesn’t. During the night, obviously all you will need to do is settle twin one back to sleep and hope that twin two doesn’t wake. But for naps, you need to decide whether or not you’re going to allow twin one to stay up while twin two sleeps on. The reason this could be an issue is because of awake times. If twin one wakes at 2, and twin two wakes at 3, twin one will be ready for another nap at 4 and twin two will be ready at 5. This will start to impact on bedtime- twin one will be ready for bed an hour earlier than twin two, thus making your bedtime routine much longer than it needs to be! So often if twin one wakes up and in doing so wakes twin two, it might not always be a bad thing because you want them to be on the same schedule anyway.
- Decide what to do with night feeds. At first, it might be a good idea to wake twin two when twin one wakes for a feed, so that you can feed them both at the same time and keep them on their schedule. This also helps you get more sleep! When they’re a little older, you might want to give twin two a chance to possibly sleep for a longer stretch, and just feed twin one instead.
Do you have twins? Any tips to add?