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Exploring Sleep Solutions for Twins

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.
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