This week’s question comes from Toni and she writes:
“I have twin boys who share a room but not the same crib. They are six months old and they wake up two to four times a night. I just do not know what to do. I feel like I cannot let them cry because one is going to wake up the other one.”
That is a great question, Toni, and it’s an issue for many people who have twins or even just siblings that share a room or even siblings that are in separate rooms. The worry is always if you let one cry, then the other one is going to wake up and then everyone is awake. My answer to that is that while that might happen, it also might be what needs to happen in order to get both the boys sleeping right through the night.
But first you want to back up and have a look at how the boys go to sleep at bedtime. You want to make sure that there is a routine in place and that whatever your routine is, it should be in the same order every night and sleeping should not have started anywhere in the routine.
You never want to nurse or rock to sleep; the routine should just be steps that lead up to going to bed. Once they are in their cribs, then the falling asleep takes place. If you have got them both in the same room, you could do the stay in the room method for twins where you are present and you are being supportive; saying some key phrases and doing a little bit of comforting with touch to allow them to figure out the way to get themselves to sleep. Once they have mastered those skills at bedtime, those skills will start transferring to the rest of the night.
It is going to take a little bit of work for them to figure out what these skills are and the only way to get there is to go through it. Do the best you can, without interfering with the learning of sleep strategies. You do not want to rush in there every time one starts crying for fear that it is going to wake up the other because then you are just sort of perpetuating this idea that the baby needs you to do something in order for him to go back to sleep. It is challenging with two children but by six months of age, there is really no reason why they cannot be sleeping through the night or pretty close to it.
I would get started right away Toni, so that the boys learn the skills they need for being great sleepers!