I had a conversation with a mom this week with a pretty important question in the world of raising twins and multiples and I wanted to share a bit about what we talked about. This was her question:
“I have twin girls who share a room but sleep in their own cribs. They are six months old and they seem to take turns on who will wake up two to four times on a given night. I just do not know what to do. I feel like I cannot let them cry because one is going to wake up the other one which will make everything so much harder.”
This is a reality for many people who have multiples, or even siblings that share a room. As it is, I have also gotten this question for siblings that are in nearby separate rooms. The predominant concern is that if you let one baby cry, then the other one is going to wake up and then you’re left with a situation where everyone is awake. It can be a painful solution to recognize that is that while it may might happen to where everyone is awake in the middle of the night, it also might be what needs to happen in order to get both babies sleeping right through the night.
First Things First
But first you want to back up and have a look at how the kids go to sleep at bedtime. You want to make sure that you have a bedtime routine in place and that however your routine looks, it should be done in the same order every night and sleeping should not have started anywhere in the routine.
While it is tempting, you never want to nurse or rock the babies to sleep; the routine at bedtime should just be steps that lead up to going to bed. Once they are in their cribs, then their process for falling asleep takes place. If you have them both in the same room, you could do a bedtime strategy modeled off the approach of staying in the room for twins where you are present and you are being supportive; including you saying some key phrases and doing a little bit of comforting with touch to allow them to figure out their way to get themselves to sleep on their own. Once they have mastered those skills at bedtime, those skills will start transferring to the rest of the night, making those night wakings occur less and less often, giving everyone a good night's rest.
It Can Be Done!
By no means is there a super quick and easy solution for them to figure out what these sleep skills are and which way suits their process the best. However, for them to learn what works best for them, you have to give them opportunities to try. Do your best to remain supportive without interfering with the learning of sleep strategies. You do not want to find yourself taking over every time one starts crying for fear that their noises is going to wake up the other because then you are just sort of reinforcing this idea that the baby needs you to do something in order for them to go back to sleep. It is challenging with two children but the good news is that by six months of age, babies do have the capability to sleep through the night when all of their needs have been met and they have their independent sleep skills mastered.
If You Need Help, Don't Be Afraid to Ask For It
Knowing that babies can be successful while sharing a room with each other and learn to adapt to each other’s noises, it’s a great opportunity to capitalize on what we know is possible and put the babies on track to being independent, great sleepers. It is not always easy to move forward if you aren’t confident in your ideas to make it happen and sometimes you may need the extra support and guidance that comes along with a plan followed by support. If you find yourself feeling the same way the mom in this situation felt, feel free to sign up for a call to learn more about how I can help and how having someone in your corner can make the next step feel much easier.
I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant who works with families to help them resolve their littles' sleep issues. As a mom of two littles herself, Katie has walked in the shoes of her clients and is passionate about helping them re-discover peaceful sleeps in their own homes.