Twinning the Baby Bedtime Battle

twin birth plan

Bed time with babies is the most stressful time in many homes.  No amount of soothing baby bath soap, shushed lullabies, or time spent in a rocking chair seems to work.  And a tired parent usually turns into an angry parent.  It’s a “losing battle” as many stressed out, exhausted mamas would say.  But there is a way to tWin the battle!  In this article I am going to give you three easy steps to get your kids in bed… wait… who am I kidding?  If it were that easy we would all be doing it, right?

So step 1 – there are no steps.  Frustrating, right?  Getting your kids to bed is less about what you do and more about how you do it.  It’s not as much a battle of wills with your children as it is a battle of the mind… your mind.  So before I give you a few little tips and tricks of what worked for my kids… let me tell you WHY you should forget the “steps” to bedtime first.

bedtimeEvery well-meaning mother of multiples is going to recommend a book.  What’s the first thing we do when we find out we are having more than one baby?  We read.  Everything.  And every book is going to recommend a path to having the perfect, happiest, and heaviest-sleeping baby.  While I do recommend reading – a lot – I also recommend NOT reading when you find what works for you.  Nothing will kill your spirit and your will to do things YOUR way than reading a book that swears there’s a better way to do things.

So before asking, “How do I get my kids to go sleep?” ask yourself this question: “How do I want to put my children to bed?”  If you want to co-sleep with them, then read books about family beds and sleep safety.  If you want them in their cribs right away then read books about sleep training and nighttime routines.  DON’T read a book about a method that you aren’t invested in; you will only frustrate yourself and then, frustrate your children.   The things I share in this article are twists on ideas taken from the many books I’ve read, my own trial and error with my kids, and advice I have received from others.

bedtimeIt was important to me that my girls learned to soothe themselves when going to sleep and waking in the middle of the night.  But just as important to me was instilling in their little minds that I cared; that I would respond to their cries of distress.  This left us very much in the middle of two extremes.  I didn’t want them sharing our bed but I also didn’t want to leave them screaming in theirs.  This was a mind game for me.  How long is it OK to let them cry?  Is it OK to snuggle them in my bed every once in awhile?  Am I spoiling them?  Am I being uncaring?  How was I going to win this war in my head and decide what to do?

Well, I don’t think I have it all figured out, but I am tWinning this war!  My girls are 10 months old and have been sleeping through the night since 5 months.  We lay them down awake and they don’t cry (usually) – they talk and babble until they fall asleep.  On the rare occasion one wakes up in the night, she will usually give a little yelp or cry for a minute or two and then roll over and go back to sleep.  When a harsh cry is heard, I immediately respond to their room and attempt to voice soothe or hold, rock, and sing her until she calms… usually laying her down while she is still awake but nodding out.  How did I accomplish this?  How did we get here?  It was a few small things that we did consistently… and that I’d like to share with you.

Involve both parents.

bedtimeIf both parents are in the picture, I cannot stress enough how important this is.  Agree on a plan of attack for bedtime and sleeping and back each other up.  If you are breastfeeding, try to get your spouse or partner to lay the babies in their cribs or respond to distress.  Just the smell of breast milk may be enough to agitate a baby who would otherwise be able to go back to sleep.  If you have agreed to let crying go on for a certain amount of time, support one another when it’s hard to wait!

Voice soothe when possible.

It amazes me how many people don’t speak to their children.  I talk constantly, even when going through the mail, announcing to the babies that we are pre-approved for yet another credit card.  At night, I would often sit out of sight or in the doorway and talk and sing to the girls if they were upset.  I would inch more and more out the door and sing softer and softer.  I wanted them to know I was there, but that this was time for them to be in their beds.

Don’t rush to get them when they wake.

My girls are learning that their cribs are a safe place to be.  When they wake in the morning or after a nap, I don’t rush to their room to pick them up.  I let them babble and stand at their crib rails.  Just recently they have started interacting more with one another during this time.  I feel like they are reassured that it’s OK to be alone in their cribs.  If it’s OK when they wake up, then it’s OK when I lay them down.  And besides, they are twins… so they are never really alone anyway, are they?

Stick to what YOU want for your kids and your bedtime routine.

Resist the urge to change your method because someone somewhere swears that their method is better.  As long as safety is a top priority then keep at your plan to tWin the bedtime battle.  It’s OK to try different things to find what works.  But routine is best when you do have an idea on the right path for your family.

Everything is easier when you’re not tired… when they’re not tired.  So keep fighting!  You can tWin the bedtime battle!


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Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz’s new book “What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!


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meghan weberMeghan Weber is a former career woman turned stay at home mom in Baltimore, MD.  She has a beautiful 4 year old daughter named Karli Anna.  Her 9 month old identical girls, Laurel Brynne and Lindyn Brooke, are her pride and joy.  She serves on the board as the co-chair of the Philanthropy Division for her local mothers of multiples organization, CAMOM (Columbia Area Mothers of Multiples).

1 Comment

  • Hi. I have twins who are 9 weeks old. what are your thoughts about placing them in the same crib? Also we have two cribs and they are on seperate sides of the room. Any recommendation on crib location. Should they be next to each other so they can talk or is that just a distraction.