The first year with twins, can be an amazing year, but it doesn’t come without its ups and downs. Sleep, for parents of twins in the first year can be very precious. Some babies are good sleepers and others are not so good, waking every couple of hours.
Under 6 months old babies tend to sleep around 13-15 hours a day (per 24hrs). The aim is to get your little twins to sleep, without the aid of holding, singing or rocking etc. This will hopefully then teach them how to settle themselves to sleep.
Here are my tips for getting your babies into good sleeping habits:
- Have a regular bedtime routine at the same time each day
- Have the same bedtime routine each day
- Use blackout curtains or blinds in the summer
- Keep all night feeds and nappy changes as quick and dark and calm as possible and always put babies straight back to bed, if it is before your getting up time (ie, if baby wakes for feed at 6.30, you feed them and treat it like a night feed as it is still before your getting up time, though I know it would be tempting to say, oh well, it’s only a few minutes early, so no point putting the babies back to bed. If getting up time is 7am, stick to it)
- If going to check on a crying baby, try not to pick them up
- Don’t bring them into your bed (though it is very tempting at times)
- Above all, try to stay relaxed yourself
See also newborn twins and sleep for further information.
Should twins share a cot?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. You must do what you feel is best for you and your twins. My twins shared a cot for the first 12 weeks. One reason being we couldn’t fit 2 cots in our bedroom, so it is a great space saver. Some people say twins appear more settled when they are together and maybe settle into a more similar routine and sleep pattern, which is always a bonus. My twins didn’t seem to wake each other or disturb each other when together. I personally loved seeing them sleeping in the cot together.
Sleep after 6 months
At around 6 months babies seem to develop the ability to stay awake on purpose (even when everyone is absolutely exhausted!). Often at this age waking can be due to specific causes such as teething or illness or hunger. It is important to try to find the possible cause and then try to work around it. Try to gradually reduce night-time feeding if possible, maybe try to give water instead of milk, so there is less incentive for them to wake.
When a baby cries,you could try to go and check on them, and comfort them, but without picking them up if possible. They will know you are there for them, maybe gently rub their back or tummy and then leave. If still crying go back and repeat this again after a few minutes. (this should not be tried before at least 6 months old).
Lack of sleep for parents can be very waring on your energy, mood, relationship and many things may suffer. Please speak to your health visitor if you are experiencing problems, you are not alone, there is plenty of advice she may give you and support.