My twins started sleeping through the night at 2 months old. They are now 2 years old and regularly sleep 12 full hours at night! I didn’t do any official sleep “training”, didn’t follow any specific systems or methods, and definitely didn’t let them cry themselves to sleep, but I do have some tips for things that did work for us!
*Please do not attempt to encourage your babies to sleep through the night until their pediatrician says it’s okay!
Manage your expectations.
For the first several weeks, your babies will not sleep through the night. If they are preemies, as many twins are, you will need to feed them every 2 hours around the clock, and there may be medical issues or a NICU stay that prevent them from sleeping through the night. There will also be days that they just don’t make it all night long: when they are going through growth spurts, time zone changes, and random bad days. Manage your expectations and expect them to sleep 4-5 hour stretches until they make it through the night.
Keep a strict schedule during the day.
Our babies ate and napped at the same times everyday. I put them down for naps at the same times everyday, dropping naps as they got older. No matter what we were doing, everything stopped at nap time. The same goes for feedings: we fed them at the same times everyday, even if we had to wake them up to eat. To whatever extent you can control their daily schedule, make sure feeding and nap times stay consistent.
Follow a bedtime routine.
On some advice from fellow twin moms, our bedtime routine was (and still is): Bath, bottle, bed. Every night we bathe them (either in their bathtub or with a warm wet cloth), put on their lotion and pajamas, gave them a bottle (slightly more milk than during daytime) or nurse them, and then put them to bed.
Have a set bedtime.
If they go to bed at the same time everyday, they will start to get sleepy at the same time everyday. Pick a bedtime and be flexible for the first month with what is too early and what is too late (babies can get over-tired so don’t keep them up too late!) We started at 8 PM, but 8 was too late so we slowly moved up bedtime by 15 minutes each day. Eventually, we settled on 6:30, a time that worked well for everyone.
Don’t make exceptions to bedtime.
I was vigilant about being consistent with bedtime, no matter what hubs and I had going on. We left parties, dinners and even Disneyland early to make it home in time for bed. I didn’t even bend the rule when visiting relatives. It might seem harsh, but frankly nothing we missed was worth being up all night with screaming children.
Use blackout curtains/shades.
We put blackout shades in our babies room because sometimes when they go to bed, it’s not completely dark out. It helped set the mood for naps and bedtime when their room was completely dark. If you don’t have any or can’t afford them, put black bedsheets under their curtains or cover up windows with black posterboard from the office supply store.
From day one in the hospital we swaddled the babies for bedtime. As they got a little bigger, we moved to the swaddlers that zip up or velcro and only stopped swaddling when they could start to roll over.
Use essential oils.
I started using these essential oils after the babies turned 1 and I never put them to bed without using them. The scent is calming, and after I apply it, they usually fall asleep pretty quickly. We even take it with us on vacation!
Have white noise playing
When I say white noise, I mean ocean sounds, rain sounds or even vacuum cleaner sounds playing on a loop while they sleep. There is some debate about what is considered white noise, pink noise, brown noise, etc. and I don’t know a thing about sound frequency but find a noise that works for them and keep it on overnight.
Dream feed when possible.
Sometimes I would put the babies to bed around 7 and give them another bottle before hubs and I went to bed around 10 or 11. It didn’t disturb their sleep, but it helped keep their little bellies full until morning. We only had to dream feed those first few months or during growth spurts. Eventually, they could sleep through the night without the additional feedings.
I hope my tips are able to help you get your twins sleeping through the night like mine did. Best of luck to you, and sweet dreams!