Things to Know Before You Sleep Train Your Twins

A few things to keep in mind when sleep training twins.

Before you sleep train, understand your twins. 

There is a lot of uncertainty in parenting, especially at the beginning. The daunting task of raising kids can feel monumental and I would imagine with twins, it could feel insurmountable. And while parenting doesn’t get easier per se—because things are always changing and there are new stages to navigate—you do gain perspective over time.

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I remember well the overwhelming feeling of indecision when it came to sleep training my daughter; pouring over information trying to accurately interpret the signals of her varying needs. No doubt you are feeling very similar, with the added weight of two babies.

As with all things, sleep training takes intentionality and requires you to learn as you go. Learning to recognize certain cues and indicators and then make appropriate adjustments. You will not get it right every time, but you will figure out a system that works for your family.

Through my research in sleep training twins, the basic principles of sleep training still apply, but it also necessitates an understanding of twins and related modifications.

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Things to Keep in Mind Before You Sleep Train Twins

• According to research by Dr. Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins, “Parents report that fraternal twins are harder to get to sleep because they are often fundamentally not on the same ‘clock’ or schedule. Identical twins seem to be more in sync with each other from the very start, and many parents of identical twins find that they have an easier time getting the twins to be on the same sleep schedule.”

• Twins are often born premature and since sleep rhythms mature as the brain develops, you should think in terms of due date, not birth date. Twins will pretty much sleep and eat with very little wake time until they are close to their due date, at which time they will become more alert and active.

• While trying to get two babies on the same schedule, remember that they are two individuals with different temperaments. One may be able to self-soothe more easily while one may be more sensitive. One blogger suggests identifying the more sensitive sleeper and adjusting the more laid back baby to follow the more sensitive baby.

• Keeping a log of everything is even more crucial with twins. You will be sleep deprived and foggy, so having a detailed account of each baby’s sleeping, eating, diapering will help you stay organized. Look for an app, such as Baby Connect (available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and on the web for $4.99) that will allow you to track more than one baby and can be accessed on more than one device, which is helpful for multiple care givers.

Let me reassure you that parenting is a journey, as I’m sure you’ve heard before. We all have different personalities, as do our children, and different levels of anxiety and tolerance of the unknown.

But as I have learned, when you genuinely care for your child and are intentionally seeking their well being, the bumps you encounter in the learning process will not ruin your babies. Indeed, those bumps may be good teachers and you will all come out better on the other side because of the experience.

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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