Babies are blessings, no doubt about that. They are the perfect addition to any new family. But while they may be cute and cuddly, they can be a hell of a lot of stress, especially If they come in a pair. Parenting one baby is hectic enough imagine having two. This means a double portion of everything from feeding, changing bathing, burping and tucking into bed. And then there is the all-time problem of twins sleeping together and one feisty baby wakes up the other every single time you put them to bed. One might have had enough sleep and might be okay but the other, still drunken with sleep will be cranky, and we all know that this means trouble. But there is a way you can manage both and still afford some precious time for yourself when they are both fast asleep. It will, however, require some sleep training and preparation. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get twins to sleep through the night.
Set up a twin nursery
Twins can share a nursery. You can have them both in one room without any problem. However, you will need to have them on separate cribs. This is the only way their different personalities will not affect the other while they sleep. You, however, should still provide them with the option of bonding and seeing each other for comfort. For this, you can set the cribs at 900 angles of each other.
Speaking of cribs, you could purchase convertible cribs so that when they become of age, to transition into toddler beds, you will not have to rush back to the store and spend more money. You need to keep a tight leash on your finances even though you want to provide your twins with the best and comfortable life.
Darken the nursery
Babies are known to be early risers. True, but you could trick them into sleeping a little bit more by blocking away the morning sun. The rays of the sun on one of the twins is enough to wake them up as early as 6 am. If you have a window that faces east, you will have to block out the light and your light curtains will not cut it. Have room darkening shades and extra heavy and thick curtains on all windows to achieve the darkening effect.
Darkening their room, aside from getting them to sleep till late, can also get them to sleep in the middle of the day with great ease as well as get into bed early.
Provide white noise
This is yet another very important element of the twin sleep training. One that you just have to have in the nursery you set up a couple of reasons. One white noise will provide a steady hum that will cover all other distractive noises in the background such as dogs barking, cars beeping, neighbors opening and slamming garage doors, thunderstorms, and garbage trucks.
Second, and this will apply only when you limit turning on the sound machine when it is time for them to sleep. With time, their brains will get conditioned to respond to the sounds by sleeping. You will not have to hassle trying to get them to sleep anymore. For this, you will find the Graco Sound Machine to be more than perfect. Many love it for the fact that it works even with iPod – how convenient.
Developing a routine for your twins to follow daily is imperative. To create it, ensure that you follow the same steps daily in the same order and at the same time every night. This will form a habit for both you and your twins. A habit that they will respond to positively the moment they are used to it. It will help you to ensure you have covered everything before you put them to sleep, and it will help them to prepare mentally to be put to bed.
As you form a habit, here are some of the tips that you can adhere to, and that will make the process easier and far more effective.
Do both babies at the same time. This will make it easier for you to put them to bed. It will prevent disputes over pacifiers, blankies, and bottles.
Begin your routine after they have eaten. If they have started feeding on solid food, you should allow them, at least, an hour of play which will allow for the food to be digested as well. After, you could give them warm milk in their sippy cups.
A warm bath will help. Think about it, how do you feel after a long day at work and you have a warm bubble bath? Refreshed right? You will sleep through the night without waking up a single time. The same applies to babies. A bath will most certainly help them to sleep better.
Soft pajamas and clean diapers are a must. Comfort whole your twins go to bed cannot be compromised. Dry diapers will help them sleep through the night as will the soft pajamas soothing their skin.
Crib and pacifier have been both proven to improve the effectiveness of a sleeping habit. As a matter of fact, it has been shown to make the sleeping routine healthier.
Last but not least, you should know that there is so much you can handle. And while your kids are your life, you cannot have them in bed alone. Okay, you could, but it could be far less chaotic if you had your spouse help you with it. It would provide bonding time that a family so much needs. Remember that four hands are always better than two.
Most often than not, aside from feeding in the middle of the night, babies will wake up as a result of a wet diaper. Back in the day, this was a real problem and not so much could be done about it. Today however with the recent improvement in technology and the presence of overnight diapers, the problem is solved. These are designed to absorb more liquid keeping the twins dry and comfy throughout the night. They can remain dry for up to 12 hours depending on the type that you get. It is amazing just how much liquid they can absorb and retain.
Also, you could make use of these overnight diapers even when you are on the road. Pampers Extra Protection and Huggies Overnites will work the magic for you.
Blankets and Swaddlers
You might have noticed there are times that your babies will seem startled in their sleep and wake up screaming right? Well, this is a result of them having a falling feeling. Having a blanket that can keep them warm and snuggly and that can help them feel the edges and secure, just like in the womb, they would not have this feeling. Swaddlers are the best for this. They tend to mimic the comfort in the womb. Swaddlers are also important because the twins are not able to kick them away at night. You can be sure that your baby will remain warm and fast asleep trough out the night.
Past the age of 12 moths, it is safe to make use of a loose blanket, one that is airy and light, not too warm nor too cold for comfort, The Aden Anais muslin blankets are perfect for this. Parents who have made an investment in this product know why it is said to be the best there is in the market.
Tips for sleep training
Now that you have the twins’ room set up and your bedtime routine up and running, it is time that we dig into the heart of the matter – baby sleep training. But before we get into it, you should have realistic expectations for your babies. They all have different sleeping times and as they grow, their sleeping hours every session will increase. This is to mean that for kids aged below three months, you should only expect them to be under for about 2-4 hours tops. And this is perfectly normal. It might be hard with twins as this will mean that you can only get about 1-2 hours of sleep between nursing them.
As they grow, however, they will be more and more ready to take on long hours of sleep hitting 7 hours and at times even longer. They might not be asleep at the same time; as a matter of fact, they might never sleep for the same length of time. That said you should determine the good and sound sleeper and put his crib at the furthest corner of the room. This will make it easier to extract the bad sleeper without disrupting the sleep of the other.
Have an early bedtime
It is a mystery, but it works. Sleeping early helps babies to sleep for longer throughout the night. The best time to set for your kid’s bedtime is about 45 minutes after dinner an hour. This might be anytime between 6:45 and 7:00. It might be earlier than the time you had in mind, and it might seem as though they will wake up earlier than you would want them to. But getting them to bed this early will help to align your twins’ sleep and allow then to go to bed before they are too tired, and they start throwing tantrums.
Another and possibly even most important is the fact that it will provide you and your beloved spouse ample time to relax, catch up and bond after a long day’s work.
What to do when one cries?
You might freak out when one twin bursts out into crying and sleeping as they might wake the other one up right? Well, most of the time, given that they are sharing a room they will not get bothered by each other’s cries. As a matter of fact, they could not be more devoid of the noise made.
But all the same, you cannot have one making noise for the other. Placing him/her (the light sleeper) close to the door will help you retrieve him/her faster allowing the other to sleep for longer. This way they will all get what they need and want.
When they both cry
If you thought having one twin cry, try having them both cry out at the top of their lungs. Many are tempted to let them cry it out especially when they are training them to sleep in a crib. But this is not right. What you can do, and a method that most professionals agree with is letting them cry but going in every few minutes (like 10 minutes) to give them back the pacifier and show them that you are still around as you pass on a strict message. This might be very hard to do especially in the first few days. But this will work like a charm. In fact, they will wake up happier as they will have gotten their beauty sleep.
Sleep training twins is a difficult task true, but it is not twice as hard as training a single baby like many want to put it. It is three times as hard (kind of had you there right?). You might be handling both of them, or our spouse is helping you out, whichever the case, you should not expect them to go down without a fight. They will not encourage one another and neither will they bore each other to sleep. What they will do however is wake each other up for yet another round of hassle. But not all hope is lost.
As a matter of fact when your twins start to sleep through the night, and when you have the routine all set up, you will realize that one will not settle down in bed until the other arrives. They will sort of look out for each other. They will go to sleep at the same time without any fuss. This whole process will take some time and will require a lot of patience from your end. But when you got it nailed, you will be glad you went through the trouble.