Help! My Twins Are Different Sleepers

being a twin mom

A MoM recently asked:

I’m a Mom of 7 month old boy/girl twins, the loves of my life, but they are completely different sleepers! Anyone have twins with totally different sleeping needs? My daughter will do long naps and go most nights all 12 hours without waking. My son won’t nap more than 30-60 minutes, and is up at least twice during night, usually 1 or 2 times to eat depending on his day, and sometimes just because he wakes up. We don’t always go in right away. I am continuing to try and get them to sync their schedules, but any and all suggestions or experiences appreciated!

Here’s what our Twiniversity fans had to say:

– If you’re feeding them when they wake up they will always wake up. I learned this the hard way. I told my pediatrician that one would wake at 2am every night crying–so I gave her a bottle and she went back to sleep–yay! This meant that she was always hungry at the same time. It was a vicious circle for us. I cut back her milk intake at that time by 1 ounce each night she woke up for a bottle and after a week or so she stopped waking up for a bottle. Once that is taken care of you could then begin sleep training. Pick one method and stick with it.

different sleepers

– We chose the self-soothe method. We set up a good bedtime routine, for example, lavender lotion before bedtime. Once they realized the lavender lotion came out they knew it was bedtime. Next they had their bedtime bottle and off to bed they went. We kiss them goodnight and say “goodnight we’ll see you in the morning”. They will cry. Wait 5 minutes before going in to check on them–do not pick them up–just rub their back and say “it’s ok, goodnight we’ll see you in the morning.” They will cry again, next time wait 10 minutes before going in–do this until they fall asleep. We did it on average 3-4 times per night for about a month. We have always used a sound machine. We started training them at 8 months. They are 2 now and have not had any issues sleeping 12 hours each night.

– Ok momma. Take a deep breath, you will be ok. If you feed them every time they wake they will continue to wake out of habit not because they are hungry.

– I feel your pain! We were swaddlers and Rock-n-Players, too! This is how I broke both habits. Start getting them used to their cribs during naptime. Once they’re used to that, start breaking them of the swaddle, one arm at a time. We did this over the course of 1 week and they’re still swaddled, but with arms out (I think they like the tight wrap around their torsos more than anything). Once you break them of the swaddle, start cribs at night. To break the feeding habit, try doing a dream-feed and slowly pushing it back. My babies ALWAYS woke at 11:30 PM, out of habit. I started dream-feeding them at 10:00 PM. I’d go in their rooms and without waking them, feed them, then put them back to bed immediately – no diaper changes, no lights, no eye contact, no talking. Once they were sleeping 6-7 hours straight with 10:00 PM dream-feed. I gradually moved the dream feed back by 15 minutes until I got to midnight. I gradually reduced the amount I gave them as well. I feel like the whole process took about 2 weeks, but they’ve been sleeping through the night 7 am – 7 pm since 5 months old.

different sleepers

– We use sleep sacks. We also did cry it out at 5 months. They are now 7.5 months old. My daughter sleeps through 6:30 pm – 6:30 am. My son usually wakes up 1-2 times to eat, and has just started having night terrors. Even when you have a routine and get them sleep trained, I feel like it’s always something. Hang in there.

– We don’t do Cry it Out, but “Pick Up Put Down.” If they cry, they get picked up, then I put them down as soon as they’re calm. I’m a firm believer in sound machines, dream feeds, and black out curtains! HANG IN THERE!

– I came up with a bedtime routine that worked for us. I would start to wind the house down, turn off extra lights, speak softer, do baths or story time, change into pjs. They started reacting to the environment knowing bedtime was coming. I used the music at bedtime, and that music only for bedtime. Once they started getting it, I would peel off the layers of the bedtime, like the music as I didn’t want them to become depended on it. When they were older, they had particular bedtime stories they liked to wind down; we wouldn’t read them other than nap/bed time.If they woke up in the middle of the night, I would keep the chatter and lights low so they wouldn’t think it was daytime and ready to wake up. Now they are 12 years old and they still like to wind down from the day.

– A consistent routine, sound machine, room darkening shades, and let them cry it out for first week. It’s hard but only way that worked for us.

– When the girls were 3 months when we moved them to their own room (they share) and to their own cribs. We did the self soothe method. I really felt it trained me more than anything. My husband had to hold me so I wouldn’t go in there. We had a timer to wait 5-7 min. It took about 2 weeks or so. I stopped giving the milk in the middle of the night once they started with solids. We started at 4 months with cereal and slowly brought more stuff in. I learned to be more patient but to this day (they’re 28 months) it hurts to let them cry. They know now that I won’t go in there right away. You can do it mom!

different sleepers

– We hired a sleep coach. Best money I ever spent to save my sanity and possibly my marriage. Sleep sacks, white noise maker, room darkening shades, schedule. It took 2 days!

– At 5 months we did the Ferber sleep training. Put them in their cribs awake, go in and calm them down after 5 minutes, then the next time you wait 10 minutes to go in and calm them, then the time you wait 15 minutes, increasing your go in time by 5 minutes. This way they know you haven’t abandoned them, but that it’s sleep time. The first 3 nights was PURE HELL and they both cried for 4 hours straight! Night 4 I put them down and they went right to sleep and have been 7 pm – 7 am sleepers ever since and they are now 16 months old. Cry it out is awful, but if you can survive it truly works!

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