Sleep Training Twins: How I Did It & All My Best Advice

June 27, 2016

The twins are now almost two! Wow, time is flying and it seems like just yesterday we brought these two amazing miracles home. I was just in complete awe that my body was capable of growing not just one but TWO little humans at one time.

Never in a million years would I have ever imagined I was going to be a twin mom. I also never imagined what being a twin mom really meant or how little sleep I would get in those first months. 

The first four weeks they were home I was like wow this is pretty easy! I mean wth does everyone make such a fuss about? Boy did I get a reality check after those first four weeks!

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Then they woke up, they started to notice the world. They no longer slept all day every day, and they didn't just fall right back to sleep after a bottle...they stayed awake (say what!?)...and they cried they cried a lot. 

I'm pretty sure some days all I heard was crying from sun up until sun down and every few hours in between. Especially baby k who not only had acid reflux but suffered from a milk allergy that we didn't know existed until he was around six weeks we just thought he was always super fussy. 

One question I always get asked whenever we go anywhere or when friends come over at naptime is how in the world do you get two to take a nap and sleep?! 

Only after many very sleep deprived nights did I do something to try to encourage good sleeping habits. Because frankly sleep is something I need. Maybe not the 16hrs I thought I needed before the twins, but ya know 6hrs minimum was still needed for me to be a happy mom. Happy mom = happy family. I had reached a point when I thought there is no way any human can go on like I was. 

That's when I turned to good ol' google (oh Google you never let me down, you may be wrong from time to time but you always have an answer.) I started searching every possible way that I could encourage these babies to start sleeping. 

I had no choice with next to no help and Josh working all the time I just couldn't do it. It was almost physically impossible. There were so many nights that I would head to bed at 7pm (B-O-R-I-N-G) while Josh took the evening shift until around midnight , just so I could get one solid stretch of sleep. We pretty much had no relationship or life together for the first four months once the twins arrived.

At this point, we (I) was up at least every three hours to feed them and the amount of time it takes to feed, burp, and put two babies back to sleep was around 45min-1hr. On top of that I also pumped for 20 min each time they would eat for the first four weeks. Then I said the hell with that and we switched to formula. 

After turning to good ol’ Google I realized there was this thing called sleep training. I started to read up on several sleep training methods ( The Ferber Method*, Babywise*, 12 Hours of Sleep By 12 Weeks*, The No Cry Sleep Solution*, The Baby Sleep Solution*, The Baby Whisperer* ) I also happened to come across the baby sleep site  seriously this is an amazing site with lots of great reads on helping your baby sleep. 

I tried several different approaches that I had read about but eventually ended up mixing ideas and approaches from different books and articles I had read. 

Once I started, I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be able to use the same method for both babies. They had two completely different personalities. One was very laid back, but extremely cuddly and a lover (baby t). baby k not so much (he cried a lot, wanted to be held a lot, and in general seemed to be very high needs). 

We first started with the 12 hours of Sleep by 12 weeks* approach. I can't remember ALL the details but essentially you would get the babies eating at 4-hour intervals and taking a larger amount and making sure they were well fed during the day so they would be getting all the milk they needed during the day. Well, this did not work for us.

They would never wait the four hours and it really became much more stressful trying to get them into this routine than it was worth. I also did not want to try to "stretch" my baby's feedings. I thoroughly believe at that age a baby needs to eat when he needs to eat so I tossed that idea. 

I did, however, keep the idea of keeping them on a schedule and getting them into a bedtime routine. Every night we would play lullabies on the sound machine* while we gave them a bath. (Seriously hands down best investment and you can get one of these bad boys here*), put pajamas on, lotion if needed, and then give bottles in the rock n plays.

Side note, if I could go back I would have done this different and not done baths at bedtime and had something else in its place like reading a story. 

Reason being as they got older this process drug out and it was tough work committing to a bath EVERY evening especially when I was dead tired and they weren’t even dirty. 

I won't even mention how this was after I got pregnant with little miss and had a big ol' belly growing in front of me to work around as I bent over the tub. Yeah, I was not pleased with my decision to do this at that point.

Once the bedtime routine was done we tried the pick up and put down method since I wasn't to keen on letting them CIO. 

This worked wonders for Baby T. He caught on quick and was falling asleep on his own in no time. Baby K however not so much he was stubborn and wasn't going to go down without a fight. 

After about a week of this and realizing going in and picking him up settling him and laying him down was just making matters worse and upsetting him more when we laid him back down we moved to a version of CIO. 

We would lay him down and then let him fuss, but never let him get hysterical because then he wouldn't settle. We started out by going in every five minutes and gradually increasing the time we were gone but never exceeding 15 minutes (so long as he was only fussing) before we would go in and pat and shush him to settle him. After about two weeks Baby K was able to start falling asleep on his own. 

We still had some nights where it was rough, but for the most part, they were going to bed at 7pm and we could just put them in their cribs and they would fall asleep and stay asleep. 

At this point, they were sleeping until 11pm and would wake to eat and go right back to sleep, then again at 4am. They gradually decreased night feedings and Baby T slept through the whole night for 12 full hours by 7 months old! 

Baby K always woke for that one bottle around 4-5am until he was fourteen months old which honestly I didn't mind getting up and giving him one bottle a night. It wasn't interrupting my sleep to the point that I couldn't function the next day, so we I just went with it. I knew eventually he would drop that early feeding. 

A couple of times we tried to wean him from it simply because his pediatrician advised it, but it was way more work to stay up and go in and keep settling him every few minutes, listening to him cry, and I was once again getting no sleep. I tried a couple times and gave up an hour into it and never tried again. 

I know a lot of people ask whether or not to they should separate their twins during sleep training. We never did and you know what? One can wake up and cry and won't disturb the other because they are used to it even to this day at almost two. 

Yeah, it sucked in the beginning of the sleep training process, but let me tell you was so worth doing now that I look back. Every morning at 4-5am when Baby K would wake Baby T would sleep right through it. 

My experience after five kids is every baby is different and not every baby will sleep train the exact same way as another baby. Each one has their own unique personalities and needs when it comes to sleep training. One way may work for one but not another and that's okay you just have to make adjustments on how you go about it. 

What's your experience? Did you sleep train? What method did you use?

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  1. My twins have always slept together, they put them in the same crib at the hospital so we kept it like that and when they got too big they had cots next to each other and even now one can wake up screaming and the other will sleep right through. We were pretty strict with bedtime routine right from the start as we had another young one doing the same thing so I think they just fell into a good routine early, my first was such a terrible sleeper they seemed like a dream compared to him! They are all so different and I think you're right to try different things with each one xx


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