10 Tips to Help You Tackle Your Twins Sleep Problems
Let me address this from a parents point of view: there are few things that can ruin your day as bad as lack of sleep. Most people need to get an uninterrupted six to eight hours of sleep to function well – and most parents of newborn don't get these hours. If you have twins the problem multplies by two, so it is even more important to know how to make sure your babies What can you do to make your twins sleep through the night?
Here are some tips from a mom of twins plus one, all three of them bad sleepers at some point of their baby years.
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Be realistic: everybody knows somebody whos baby slept through the night from the very beginning. I have heard lots of these stories, but never actually met one of these lucky moms personally. So it might be an urban legend, it certainly is not the rule. Newborns need to be fed severla times throughout the night. So all you can do, is to make it the most comfortable for you to attend to your twins. Put their cots in your room, have bottlewarmer handy, prepare bottles in advance if you are formula feeding. Newborn babies need time to learn that the night is for sleeping.
Don't listen to what people tell you. Almost everyone has had a baby with the same problem / knows of somebody who has a baby who didn't sleep / knows the magic formula... You will get more contradictory advice than you can handle. You as parents know your babies best and you are the only ones who can come up with a plan that will work for your specific situation.
Let your twins take regular naps during the day. My mother in law always said “sleep brings sleep” and she was right. If you think your twin babies will be more tired if they don't nap during the day, you might be right, but being exhausted won't make them sleep through. Especially smaller babies are not able to get all the sleep they need during the night, so you will have to deal with cranky tired twins during tha day – wich can be a nightmare you want to avoid at all costs, believe me! Keep to a regular schedule. Babies love the security of things they already know. Take them for a walk every afternoon. Have some playtime at the same hour every day. Babies don't get bored by doing the same activities every day (you might, but your reward are happier, healthier twins).
Have a bed routine, even for small twins. All babies love rituals, it makes them feel secure ad safe Do the same every night before bringing your twins to bed: feed them dinner, give them a bath, if you feel it relaxes them (bathing twins can be quite exciting, so if you feel this activity is not really calming your babies down, do it at another time of the day). Read them a story or look at some books, even small babies enjoy the calming voice of mom or dad, even if they don't really understand a word. Sing some songs, talk about what happened during the day. Anything that creates a calm, serene atmosphere is fine. Avoid wild plays or anything that could exite the twins.
Get your twins on the same schedule. Some twins have very different needs, but most can be brought to follow more or less the same schedule. If your sleep at different times, one of them will always be awake – and it will be really hard for you to get some sleep at all.
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Put your twins to bed when they are still awake. Research has shown that babies automatically check if everything is how it was when they went to sleep when they wake up at night. If you let them fall asleep while feeding or carrying them around, they will want the same thing again when they wake up. You shouldn't use a pacifier either (at least not when putting your twins to bed), because especially small babies are not able to find a pacifier in their bed – they will start to cry til mommy comes and poppes the pacifier back in. Same goes for putting them on top of the dryer, going for a walk around the block, switching on the vacuum cleaner... There are few things parents won't do to get their babies to sleep. When my twin boy was about ten months old he wouldn't go back to sleep if I wouldn't take him for a ride in the car. I ended up driving around our little village at any time of the night and gained asthonishing insight in the nightlife of my teenage niece and her friends. But it was really hard to cope with my twins and their older sister during the day, given that I seldom got more than an hour of sleep and spend hours every night in the car. In the end I decided that we couldn't go on like this. I just stopped taking my son for nightly rides. He was very angry the first night, and a little less the second. The third night he slept for eight hours straight
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Your baby is crying. Screaming, actually. You have no idea what to do. As far as you know you have covered the basics: clean, full, burped, unwounded. Things should be good. But they're not. Baby needs...
Once the twins are in bed, don't stay with tem for too long. They should learn to go to sleep by themselves. Tell them good night, say a prayer or sing a song for them – and leave! If your twins start to cry, wait a few minutes, before you go in again, say something reassuring ad leave again. Repeat until the babies are asleep.
Let your twins sleep in the same bed. Most twins like to be in contact with their brother or sister, their presence calmes them. I actually never bought cots for my little boy and girl, they started out sleeping in the same bed and loved it. When they were really small they just looked at each other. Then they started playing with each other and eventually they started to fight – it was time for a second bed.
Swaddle your twins. Swaddling calmes babies and gives them a sense of security. Babies have been swaddled for centuries and in different cultures, an while you might want to give your twins some time to play during the day, if you want to calm them down before sleep, swaddling might be a good idea.
When your twins wake up at night, don't switch on the light, don't talk to them and in general make things the least interesting possibe. This way you don't give your babies incentives to wake up at night. During the night you should hold and cuddle your twins plenty to fill their needs of contact. Nighttime is not playtime!
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