If you have twins, you need all the help you can get, especially at bedtime. Twins often have special sleep issues (for instance, many are premature or smaller-than-average and need extra feedings). They also have different personalities — even when they're identical twins — and that means double trouble when you try to get them on a schedule.

Some parents find that twins sleep better in the early months when they share a crib. That's no surprise — after all, they shared a much smaller space for nine months! Other parents say their twins are just as happy in separate beds or even separate rooms.

If your twins do share a crib, make it a temporary arrangement. By the time your babies are about 3 months old, they need separate spaces for safety's sake.

If one is a sleepyhead and the other is wide awake:

  • Tend to the calm baby first. After she's asleep, you can focus your attention on your other little rascal.
  • Look for clues. Why isn't your wide-awake twin longing for bed? Ask yourself these questions:

• Did this baby feed as well as her twin today?

• Did this baby take a longer nap?

• Was this baby more stimulated, making her all wound up? Or was she under-stimulated, leaving her ready for action?

• Is this little darling coming down with a bug?

• Is this twin always the tyrant at bedtime? (If so, it's a temperament issue.)

  • Make a plan. Depending on the issues you identify, a calming bath, a feeding, or a long rock with Mommy or Daddy may be just the ticket.
  • Have a backup crib. If your little fussy-face simply refuses to calm down, pop her into a portable crib so she doesn't wake up her sleeping sib.