Double the pleasure, double the fun – welcome to parenting twins!
When it comes to sleep, you may think that you are doubling your sleep challenges, but have no fear, by focusing on these sleep tips for twins you’ll be able to feel like you’re #winning at the sleep game.
Check out these expert sleep tips for twins!
Focus on The Right Sleep Environment
When attempting to put your twins to sleep, keep in mind the environment that they are accustomed to sleeping in.
The womb is snug, dark, and actually quite loud. As a newborn parent of twins, your goal will be to create an appropriate environment in their nursery or sleeping area.
In order to do this, you should aim for a dark, cool room. If you need a light for midnight feedings, make sure it is soft and low.
A cheap dimmer switch from the hardware store is fantastic for this!
Blackout shades are wonderful but can be expensive. A black lawn bag or heavy blanket could do just as well and can be concealed behind curtains. (Or best of all my favorite inexpensive shades).
There is no sunlight inside the womb, so darkening the room before putting your twins down to sleep will teach them to equate darkness with sleep.
In addition to making the room dark, it should also be a bit cooler. Ideally, the temperature should be between 68 and 72 degrees.
Remember: babies have a hard time regulating their body temperatures for a little bit of time, so if you are overly warm with pajamas and a blanket on your bed while you are sleeping, your newborns might also be uncomfortable.
Many parents of multiples sing the praises of white noise, and if you think about it, it makes sense!
Newborns don’t know what silence is.
Remember when you were pregnant and you would listen to your babies’ heartbeats? The whooshing sound inside your womb is as loud as a vacuum cleaner to your babies!
A white noise machine that mimics the sound of the womb can be purchased almost anywhere, or you can simply turn on a fan, air conditioner, or dehumidifier. This tactic has the bonus perk of not forcing you to tiptoe around every time your precious angels are napping.
I’d also like to take a moment to note how incredibly adaptable and resilient twins are by nature. They honestly have to be! So don’t be afraid to make a little noise around your little ones.
Remember when we started this post I said, “Keep in mind the environment that they are accustomed to sleeping in.” So our sleeping area is dark, cool, not silent, and… small? It might seem counterintuitive for many adults who like space when they sleep, but newborns are used to being in close quarters -especially twins! This is why swaddling can be so helpful for sleeping.
Babies are also born with nine reflexes, including the Moro Reflex or the startle reflex. Have you ever been staring at your little one sleeping (we all do it!) and suddenly their little body jerks and their eyes fly open? This is a startle reflex, and one way to keep it from waking your twins is to swaddle them.
In fact, scientific studies have shown that swaddling can “significantly inhibit spontaneous arousals” caused by the Moro reflex. It also reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
After 4 months, you will notice that your babies will be less twitchy and babies will outgrow the comforting effects of the swaddle, but this gives you a decent amount of time to get comfortable enough to sleep without the swaddle compression.
Parents of multiples will say it again and again: routine, routine, routine!
Getting on a routine from day one can save your sanity.
Having two babies means that they will naturally want to eat, sleep, play at different, individual times of the day. Which means that unless you have a live-in nanny or extremely involved family members, you might struggle with time management and mental health if you don’t get them into even a loose routine early on.
Experts recommend observing their natural schedule for a few days before creating one of your own. Also, focus on the amount of sleep that your baby needs.
This will allow you to create a feeding/sleeping schedule that will work best for both babies simultaneously. Getting twins into a routine with can be difficult at first, and with definitely require some trial-and-error.
However, having both babies fed, changed, and sleeping at the same time will ensure that you are getting the rest YOU require to care for them during the day.
Now, while it is important to get your twins on the same schedule, it is equally important to remember that, although they are packaged deal, they are also two separate and wholly unique individuals.
Their needs may be similar, but often they won’t be identical and they will most certainly come with individual personality differences. Identifying their unique wants/needs will help to ensure long-term success in sleep training – and life!
While most families want to immediately visit the new additions, it is important to remember that this is a time of abrupt change, lack of sleep, and lots (and lots) of diaper changes. This means that, while you may feel some guilt admitting it, visitors need to take a backseat.
Unless your visitors are coming over to cook, clean, do laundry, or just be a mother’s helper while she gets some shut-eye, guests need to wait until you and your twins have established some sort of a schedule for your very long days.
Until then, being hospitable should be the last of your concerns. Having two babies at the same time is not easy!
You will be operating on very little sleep and running low on energy. Family and friends will undoubtedly have good intentions, but it is important to have time together with your new family time together, to find your new routine as a larger unit.
Your twins will always have a special relationship with each other so just hang onto the feeling that you’ll be out of these sleepless nights and days sooner than later. Just focus on these expert sleep tips!