Routine, routine, routine! Whilst this is the main aspect of getting your twins to sleep through the night, there is also association. Babies, and especially newborns, don’t know day from night and it’s up to us as parents to show them how it works. The main way to do this is to make associations with sleep.
Here is our list of methods we use, and that we feel have made a real difference in getting our twins to sleep consistently through the night.
Putting them in their own room
It is recommended by the NHS that your babies sleep in the same room as you up until the age of 6 months. We tried this for a few days but our bedroom just hasn’t got enough space for us to do this. The cot completely blocked access to our wardrobe and en-suite which we could not put up with for 6 months! We decided to put them in their own room from an early age, as it’s just next door to our room and we could easily hear if they cried. Our health visitor also said this was fine because they are twins they can hear each other breathing and comfort each other.
Soothing lullabies or white noise
We have a Sonos (review here) that we put in their room from an early age. We would play white noise, podcasts with people talking calmly (politics or language lessons are good!) or soothing music for the girls which definitely helped to settle them. It also made a calming association with their bedroom so they knew it was bedtime.
Lavender oil & humidifier
When I was pregnant I got a lot of colds and many people recommended using a humidifier to help. It’s also supposed to be fantastic for babies, so I’ve now put it in their room. We put a few drops of lavender oil in it every night, so they have a relaxing smell to associate with bedtime. I also swear by it when they’ve got a cold – they’ve had a lot of colds, but I can’t remember having a sleepless night because they couldn’t breathe. The only time we were up all night because of a blocked nose was when we were away on holiday – with no humidifier!
Read a story
This is something I started doing at about 9 months old. Before this age I didn’t really feel they were aware enough to understand, but I do know it’s supposed to be great to read from your babies from birth. After I put them in their cots at night now, I read a story to them for a short time. This was something I introduced when we were starting to have a bit of restlessness at bedtime, and I really feel it works. Again, it’s another association for them and another step in their bedtime routine. I read in a quiet, calming voice to them and I think we all enjoy it!
Dummies / Pacifiers
Yes, we do use dummies! I was quite adamant I didn’t want to use them but honestly they have been fantastic. I’m not looking forward to when I decide to get rid of them, but at the moment they are definitely a big part of our twins sleeping well. They find them a big comfort and always like to have them when they sleep.
Keeping the room dark
We do everything we can to make their room a dark, quiet and calm environment. Due to the long daylight hours currently, we have put up some blackout curtains and these have made a big difference. One of our girls was starting to wake up extremely early in the morning and I realised it was because the daylight was coming through the sides of the blinds. After switching to blackout curtains, we have less early wake-ups.
Works like a dream in the early days when your twins are struggling being out of the womb. A tight swaddle is the key. There are plenty of videos online that show you how to swaddle a baby.
The ‘drain pipe’
Again, only effective for newborns, but we learnt this from a midwife in the hospital. First, get a towel and twist it up into a length of ‘pipe’. Then you place this ‘pipe’ around your twins, making loose contact with the tops of their heads and near to their arms so if they reach out they will touch it.
The contact of this reassures your twins and makes them feel constricted, which again mimics the womb.
Since the girls have been able to confidently roll, we’ve given them some comforters in their cots. They are little squares of soft fabric with a bunny head at the top, and they love them! They cuddle them when they go to sleep and will often quietly play with them when they wake up. If I visit family and the girls need to nap, I try and remember to bring them with me as a comfort from home.
We came across this method from a fellow Instagram user! For about a month, we used the twin nursing pillow (link here) for our twins to sleep in. This was a few weeks from newborn. At that time they were struggling to sleep with flailing limbs, and this seemed to keep them happy. We would generally swaddle them and place them in the pillow with their heads supported and with their bodies straight. We then placed the pillow in their cot.
Do make sure if you choose to try this method that you do it safely and don’t put your twins in danger or restrict their breathing.
Keeping track of nap times
As they get older, they’ll have more structured nap times. You’ll want to make sure they don’t sleep too late on their last nap of the day, or they may not be tired enough when it comes to bedtime. At the moment (almost 10 months old) we are using the ‘2,3,4’ method for napping. This means when they wake up in the morning they are awake for two hours, then have a nap. After they wake from this nap, they are awake for three hours then have a second nap. Then they are awake for four hours before bedtime. This has worked really well for us for a few months now.
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