How to sleep train twins in the same room.
Many parents choose to have their twins share a room. In terms of space, sometimes there just isn’t another option. And honestly, it is very practical to have your twins share a space, at least when they are babies. You have everything they need in one spot, and in the middle of the night, you are only going to one room. But it is that middle of the night time that worries a lot of twin moms. Can your twins sleep through the night while sharing a room? Yes, they absolutely can. Here is how to sleep train twins in the same room.
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How To Sleep Train Twins in the Same Room
Is it possible to sleep train two babies in the same room? Yes! Young twins do not seem bothered when their sibling cries. In fact, I think my girls found some comfort in it. They knew their sister was nearby. And if your twins are going to share a room you need to start as you mean to go. Teaching your twins to fall and stay asleep is even more important for when your twins are older. You don’t want to be stuck teaching two 2-year-olds how to fall asleep.
What is Sleep Training?
Let me say this before we get too far into this. Sleep training does not automatically mean cry it out. That is one way to sleep train, but it is for sure not the only one. We did not use cry it out with our twins. Training means to teach, and I am all about teaching my twins how to fall asleep on their own and how to stay asleep all night long. You can teach your twins how to sleep in the same room. (Learn more about sleep training without crying it out–> Sleep Train Without Being Evil)
The first thing to always determine is whether or not your babies are ready to sleep train. Twins are often born earlier and smaller than singletons, so it might take longer for them to sleep through the night. I don’t say this to discourage, but to encourage you to be realistic. Don’t compare your babies to a singleton.
Check with your doctor to make sure your babies don’t need to be eating throughout the night. (Not needing to doesn’t mean they won’t, but it can reassure you that when they do sleep for longer stretches they are okay.) Be sure everything is medically okay to encourage your twins to sleep for longer stretches of time. This commonly occurs when your babies are over their birth weight and growing, but listen to your medical professional. (Learn about safe sleeping practices for twins—> Twin Sleeping Arrangements: Safety and Practicality)
Check in with yourself as a mom too. Are you ready to start the process of sleep training? I don’t go hardcore with this. You can lead babies to sleep without being militant. But consistency is the key to this process. If you are not ready to be consistent, that is fine. Recognize that and wait until you are ready as a mama to teach your babies to sleep.
Wake Them Up
The first key to helping your babies sleep is to wake them up. I am serious. Do you have a consistent daily wake time? (Learn the benefits of a daily wake time–> The Daily Wake Time) Waking your babies up at the same time every morning and giving them their first feed of the day at the same time every morning will encourage a consistent natural schedule. Think about it. If you wake up at the same time every day you are more likely to be ready for bed at the same time. The same is true for twins. So wake those babies up every morning.
Wake your babies up from naps. Again, I am serious. Keep to your feeding schedule. With twins, the schedule will save your sanity. Be sure to wake your babies up so they are getting all the calories they need during the day. If they miss out on eating during daylight hours they will make up for it at night. (Need some help with feeding schedules? Here are some samples to build on—> Twin Sample Schedules)
Babies tend to have one long stretch of sleep during a 24 hour period. The goal for most moms is to maximize their sleep. This means you want to line up the long chunk of sleep with your sleep. So as nice as it may seem to have your babies nap for 5 hours in the afternoon, it is nice to have them sleep for 5 straight hours while you are sleeping as well. Wake those babies up.
Set the Stage
Good Sleep Environment
Make sure your twin’s room is conducive to a good night’s sleep. (Here are some of my favorite sleep tools—> Sleep Tools to Help the Whole Family Sleep) My personal favorite tools are a good white noise machine and a good swaddle. This is my favorite white noise machine and these were our favorite swaddles. Consider some sort of night light or tiny flashlight as well. With twins, one baby will wake up and not the other at some point. You don’t want to disturb the sleeping baby by using a bright light, but you might need to see more to soothe the awake baby. Plan ahead to have a way to see what you need to.
You can start a solid bedtime routine from birth. And it does not have to be long and drawn out. I believe there are 4 main parts to a quality bedtime routine. (Learn more about what makes up a good bedtime routine—> The 4 Core Bedtime Routine Parts You Need) Start using a bedtime routine from day one and it will let your babies know it is time to sleep.
Twins Sleeping in the Same Room
The first step to sleeping through the night is, of course, falling asleep. And even if your babies aren’t ready to sleep all night long it is important to teach them to fall asleep on their own.
Start as You Mean To Go
I think we all know that we can’t rock our babies to sleep then magically expect them to fall asleep on their own when we want them to. You need to start as you mean to go, which means not starting bad habits. Fortunately, having twins makes this easier. It is hard to rock two babies to sleep at once. (Even though this can be one of the hardest parts of having twins.) You are forced to be more deliberate in your sleep practices because you don’t have the option to do otherwise.
Sleepy But Awake
Yes, the annoying sleepy but awake advice. But it is true. If you want your twins to learn to fall asleep on their own you need to put them to bed sleepy but awake. I have found this is actually easier to do with twins. Besides not being able to rock two babies to sleep at once easily, it is hard to smoothly transition two babies from one sleep space to another. Your babies don’t need to be wide awake, but they do need to be aware that they are being put to bed. Falling asleep in one spot and waking up in another is disconcerting, even for babies. Your twins are more likely to fall back asleep on their own if they are not startled by their location.
Consider a Dream Feed
The dream feed is when you feed your babies one last time before you go to bed yourself. Top off the tank if you will. You don’t fully wake your babies, but you do nurse them in a darkened room and put them straight back to bed. They wake up just enough to eat, but not enough to be fully awake. This is a handy tool. You make sure your babies’ have full bellies, which will help them sleep for a longer stretch. And you wake them just enough to restart a full sleep cycle. That means even though your babies go to bed early, you can still line up that large chunk of sleep with your own sleep. (Learn more about the dream feed—> How To Do a Dream Feed with Twins)
My number one tip to get your twins to stay asleep at night is to do as little as possible when they wake up. Seriously, make teeny tiny changes or adjustments. By doing the bare minimum you are actually helping your babies learn to sleep on their own.
When your twins wake up during the night, don’t go rushing in to save them right away. Pause, listen, evaluate. The pause is one of my favorite Babywise tools. It doesn’t mean you ignore the problem, you just observe and evaluate before acting blindly.
Is your baby really awake, or just kind of making noise in their sleep? You don’t want to wake them up more when they aren’t really awake yet. Pausing also might mean letting your baby fuss for a few moments. Give them the chance to settle themselves first. (Learn more about this—> The Pause and What It Means)
I am a big fan of the pacifier as a sleep tool. It can be such a simple way to help soothe your babies. In the early days, this does mean that you will need to re-insert it for your babies if they wake at night. But honestly, I think that is way easier than dealing with a cry it out situation. You can quickly put the pacifier back without your babies fully waking. This can actually help them make the transition between sleep cycles, which is a common reason babies wake up at night. As for me, I got more sleep when I just had to spend 20 seconds putting pacifiers back in as opposed to waiting it out for crying or by using other methods. My sleep matters, so this was a win. (Learn why the pacifier can be such a help—> Pacifiers: Are You Ruining Your Baby?)
The shush pat is so simple, but can really work. The name says it all, you make a shushing sound while gently patting your baby on the belly or back. At just a few weeks old babies can really only focus on two things at a time, so this distracts them and stops the crying. Plus it is something you can do without actually picking up your baby. It sounds mean, but cuddles don’t help reach the goal of sleeping on their own.
Don’t Jump to Feeding
Don’t misunderstand me. If you think your babies are hungry of course feed them! But make sure they are waking to eat out of hunger, and not just out of habit. With twins, this is especially important. You don’t want to wake up a sleeping baby in the middle of the night, but you don’t want to be up and down feeding all night. So do you wake both babies to eat? Or just feed one?
Because of these questions, I don’t turn to hunger as being the first reason my babies woke at night. And it is really easy to tell if your baby is actually hungry. Don’t feed them right away. I know, that sounds mean, but I am not saying don’t feed them at all. Just don’t make it your first answer. Try a pacifier or the shush pat first. A hungry baby is not going to be ignored. (Note: this is also why you want to make sure your baby is strong enough to sleep all night long.)
Trust your gut on this too. If you think your babies are hungry, then for sure feed them. But if you think that isn’t the true reason, try a different solution first.
Size Up Diapers
I hate changing diapers in the middle of the night. It always just woke my babies up more! In order to prevent that we would size up diapers at night. (Or buy night time diapers.) They could hold more and kept my babies more comfortable. No need to wake anyone up to change a diaper.
One of the best things I did while helping my girls learn to sleep through the night was to take notes. Yes, there are a lot of apps out there, but old-fashioned pen and paper worked best for us. I would note wake times, any feedings, any diaper changes, etc. It can be hard to analyze what is happening when you are half asleep.
With two babies and two different personalities, it can feel like you aren’t making any progress. But taking notes lets you see that your twins are making progress, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Your Twins Will Sleep in the Same Room
Your twins will sleep. These tips got our twins to sleep through the night by 12 weeks old. Yes, this is later than my singleton and a lot of singletons, but it is pretty good for two babies. As I said twins are often born earlier and smaller, and they often need a little more time to reach this sleep milestone. But they will get there.
Sharing a room doesn’t mean you can’t help your babies sleep. Many twins room share and sleep all night long. You can do this, Mama. Your whole family will sleep.
Here is some more helpful information!
Do you need help tracking your twins sleep habits? I created worksheets to help me take notes on who was sleeping when along with feeding and diaper habits. You can grab copies of these worksheets to use yourself in my free printable library! Sign up to get the password emailed directly to you and sign up for the Team Cartwright mailing list. (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.) This library also has science projects and learning activities to do at home!