how to sleep train twins

If you’re wondering how to sleep train twins, this is the blog for you!

Twin babies, especially for first-time parents, are a double blessing, as well as being a huge amount of work. And one of the most valuable investments in your whole family’s well-being is to get them sleeping well.

How to sleep train twins

That’s typically going to be a little more complicated than teaching one baby some solid sleep skills, for obvious reasons. If one baby wakes up crying, you’re pretty much guaranteed the other will be right behind them. And soothing two babies at the same time is just harder than one at a time.

Because one baby crying is likely to wake the other, parents of twins are often quick to rush in and soothe a crying baby back to sleep by any means necessary. And that can lead to stronger feed/sleep associations.

So imparting sleep skills to your twins will take some work, but it’s absolutely achievable. And once your little ones have got the hang of it, it definitely make twin parenting easier.

Think about it; what would you do with the extra time you’d have once both your babies are napping on the same schedule and sleeping through the night? It’s an absolute game-changer!

Where do we start?

If you’re ready, let’s dive into some strategies to maximise your chances for early success.

First off, let’s look at their sleeping arrangements. I usually suggest putting both babies in separate rooms for naps.

This is because day time sleep can often be a little trickier than night time. This will be dependent on if you have the space, and both parents available. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a bedroom. You can set up a travel cot in your office, or even the bathroom, if possible.

The process can be done with both babies in the same room. But if one of them starts making some noise, having them in separate rooms can help prevent one from waking up the other. It’s just a temporary setup while we get those skills honed, so don’t worry about giving up a room permanently. In a couple of weeks, you should be able to move them into the same room.

You’re also going to want to keep them on the same timings throughout the day. The great thing about twins is that their sleep needs are going to be pretty much the same. So putting them on the same nap/bedtime schedule is effective for both of them.

Now, you’ll likely run into a situation where one baby sleeps longer than the other, and that’s fine up to a point. I set the limit at about 30 minutes before you should wake up your other baby to prevent them from getting too out of sync. When nap time rolls around again, just split the difference. Put the twin who woke first 15 mins later than their ideal awake window, and the twin who woke later 15 mins earlier.

Having both babies going down and waking up at the same time is also pretty important for your sanity. Having a little time to yourself during the day can make all the difference in the world. Once they’ve adapted to their new routine, you’ll have a lot more time to take care of the other responsibilities that come with having two babies. Who knows, you might even get a little “me-time” in there.

What about night time?

As for night time, I mentioned earlier that parents of twins are a little more likely to respond quickly when one of them wakes up crying. And more likely to try to quiet Baby down with whatever method is quick and effective to stop them waking their sibling. For the next seven to ten days, I’m going to ask you to wait a little. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t soothe a crying baby. But if your usual response is to rush in and offer a feed, a dummy, or rock baby back to sleep, letting them figure out how to fall asleep on their own is a vital part of the process.

It’s a big ask, I know, so plan to get started on a night when you don’t have to be up early or looking your absolute best the next day. Because the first few nights are likely to be a bit more wake filled. Just remember that you’re going through this rough patch in order to arrive somewhere wonderful on the other side.

What if one wakes and the other doesn’t?

As for the very likely scenario that one baby wakes up and the other doesn’t? My advice on this situation, outside of weight gain issues or specific instructions from your doctor, let your babies sleep. If one wakes up for a feed, don’t wake the other one and offer a feed as well. We’re going to let sleep be the priority for now and allow Baby to make up the calories during the day.

As those independent sleep skills start to develop, one fussing baby won’t be nearly as likely to wake up their sibling. That’s because they’re spending more time in deeper stages of sleep. And as you’ve probably noticed, when a baby gets into a deep sleep, they can sleep through almost anything.

The other benefit that’s going to start taking effect is that sleep begets sleep. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but overtiredness fires up our cortisol production. This makes it harder for us to get to sleep, so as your twins start sleeping more, they’ll actually have an easier time getting to sleep. And staying asleep long enough to get into that sweet, restorative, deep stage of sleep that we’re looking for.

And finally…

Finally, make sure you’re ready before you get started. I see a lot of parents get started when they’re not fully committed to the process, only to quit a few nights in. This can be confusing for their little ones and typically teaches them that they need to fuss louder and longer in order to get mum to come and feed or rock them to sleep. So if you’re not entirely sure that this is the time, that’s absolutely fine. Consistency is the key here, so don’t just “give it a try” if you don’t think you’re ready to commit.

It’s going to take some work. But I can promise you that it’s going to be so, so worth it. And I’m here to support you every step of the way once you decide it’s time to get those sweet little bundles sleeping through the night.

If you’d like step-by-step advice on how to sleep train twins, my Slumber School Programme can help you. You can also find out more about working with me 1-to-1.