You have waited 9 months for the babies to arrive. Countless hours of nursery layout, painting, ordering the perfect accessories, and researching the best, new thing for your little ones to have. This can be hard enough for one baby, and now you have to double-plan. For. Every. Little. Thing.
The one thing we all neglect, that we are ill-prepared for, or just underestimate, is the importance of sleep. It affects attitude, happiness, behavior, and not only for the babies, but also for You!
Some people may tell you about how easy the first few months are in terms of sleep, and how “they are always just tired after they eat, and it's simple enough, and they can nap anywhere.” In some regards, this is true, but the most important thing is establishing a successful routine that builds the foundation for weeks, months, and years to come. White noise, a darker-the-better room (or even more recommended — a SlumberPod), and a real schedule. These are the foundations for sleep success! Babies will sleep, but you can make it work for their nurturing, and yours!
It’s not easy getting two babies sleeping on a good schedule at the same time. But it is completely doable and possible, and I want to offer you some easy tips to help get you all get there.
1. Have one bedtime
2. Team up if you can
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, you have two hands and two babies but trying to put PJs on two babies at the same time is NOT an easy task. Once baby #1 is washed and ready to get out of the bath, one parent can be putting lotion and PJs on while baby #2 is getting washed and dried by the other parent. You don’t want bedtime to be longer than 30 minutes (40 if you are nursing) to prevent overtiredness, so trying to adhere to this time with two babies means four hands are better than two!
3. A 30 minute leeway
Now, of course, the ultimate goal is to have both your kiddos on the same schedule. However, all kids are unique, independent, and different. You may have a baby that is just a sleeper, and you have to wake them up every nap and every morning to not let them sleep too long and throw their schedule off. And then your other gets just the right amount of sleep needed, never wanting to miss a thing so is always ready to go-go-go. In this case, letting baby #1 sleep longer than baby #2 is okay, but not more than 30 minutes. This is a good amount of extra time to give them without throwing their schedules completely off.
4. Together or separate?
Most parents want to keep the twins together in the same room. I don’t blame you, and who would? Everything you need for them is in that room, AND, it is very common for twins to want to be together. Nine months with no personal space creates that special bond. However, what this special bond can bring you is a centralized place of distractions. That’s right, one baby is still up (not wanting to miss out) and that heavy sleeping baby so badly wants to nod off but can’t quite get there while brother or sister is still up and making noise.
The one time of day where this can cause the most trouble is during naptime. Daytime sleep is naturally more difficult than nighttime sleep. Babies haven’t built up enough “sleep pressure” to make it easy to fall and stay asleep.
Throughout the day we build up our melatonin level, and it secretes at the beginning of the night to help us fall asleep. This isn’t happening during the day, which makes naps not as easy as nighttime sleep. But babies still need to sleep during the day which means, we must create the perfect environment.
You definitely don’t want overtiredness to carry over to bedtime because that can derail your perfectly sleeping nighttime babies. This means for naps, it can be best to separate them. Baby #1 can stay in their crib in the room and then take baby #2 in a different room in a pack-n-play.
Know what can make any room the ideal sleep environment? A SlumberPod! That’s right, baby #2 won’t even notice the difference between their usual room, or any room they have to nap in while the SlumberPod is around. Just make sure to keep the babies where you start them, there’s no need to switch who stays in the room or who sleeps in the pack n play. Again — the darker, the better.
5. Accept that it won’t always go smoothly
This is a lesson in all areas of parenthood. You can get the kids all dressed up for that beautiful family photoshoot, but then little Johnny’s apple sauce falls on his lap during lunch, on his new khaki shorts, and Nathan just tripped on a toy we forgot was right outside on the stoop. You've been there!
Now, the kiddos are in the tub, they both get out, Mom and Dad get both kids ready, and one baby poops right when the lights go out. The screaming starts.
A routine is the best way to set yourself up for success, but you have to know that some nights it just may be a disaster. Give yourself a break and tell yourself “tomorrow is a new day.” One bad night at bedtime won’t ruin any sleep progress you have made with your littles.
6. Embrace the quiet
After your longs days of caring for two, you know the work put into establishing great sleep skills means peace and quiet at the end of the night. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Job well done! This is your time — your time to catch up, your time to spend with each other, and time for you to sleep.
Some twins will have great sleep schedules and sleep all night long! For those who may not, I’m happy to help in any way I can.
Just visit my website and we can work on a more personalized program for your little ones. This is also a good, proactive step — no need to be reactive. The most common thing I hear after working with clients is, “I can’t believe I waited so long to get some help!”
So, if you’re considering hiring a consultant, now is absolutely the time. I offer a free 15-minute evaluation so I can get to know the specifics about your little one’s situation.
Book a call now, and we can move forward as soon as you’re ready to get your little ones sleeping like the angels they are.
Pediatric Sleep Consultant, teacher, and momma to an energetic little boy and a beautiful baby girl.
I work with parents looking to get their little ones sleeping through the night so they can too! Together we find practical and effective solutions to these sleep struggles that work with your family so that you can have less stress, get your night’s back, and ensure a good night’s sleep for everyone.