Encouraging twins to sleep Put your babies down in a safe sleeping position, on their backs with their feet touching the bottom of the cot or Moses basket. Make sure they don’t get too hot, particularly if they’re sharing a cot.
Keep blankets securely tucked in. Have a bedtime routine and stick to it. This will help the babies get into a good settling routine. If your babies have been sleeping together, you can try to put them in separate cots if one is waking the other.
You need to be flexible, as one may prefer a cot while the other is more comfortable in a Moses basket. You can place cots next to each other, so the babies can still see and touch each other. In the early days, try to co-ordinate night feeds so if one wakes up you can feed the other at the same time.
Be prepared for one twin to sleep through before the other. Don’t rush to cuddle a baby if they cry. Normally, the other twin will sleep through their twin’s crying.
View Article Sources American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. “Policy Statement: The Changing Concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnostic Coding Shifts, Controversies Regarding the Sleeping Environment, and New Variables to Consider in Reducing Risk.
” November 2005. Tomashek, K., Wallman, C. and the Committee on Fetus and Newborn, American Academy of Pediatrics. “Cobedding Twins and Higher Order Multiples in a Hospital Setting.” Pediatrics Nov. 30, 2007; 120, 1359-1366.
A lack of sleep can be a problem for any new parent. But for mothers of multiples trying to get two or more babies into a sleeping routine, it can be even harder.
You may put your twins to sleep in a single cot while they’re small enough, either because they slept together in hospital or because space is limited. This is called co-bedding and is perfectly safe. In fact, putting twins in the same cot can help them regulate their body temperatures and sleep cycles, and can soothe them and their twin.
When your twins are older, you may choose to put them in separate cots placed close together, so they can continue to comfort each other. If older twins are disturbing one another, you may think about giving them separate rooms if you have enough space.
Studies show several possible benefits to letting twins sleep together in the NICU. Multiples who are co-bedded seem to sleep better, gain weight better, have fewer episodes of apnea and bradycardia, and (as long as they’re about the same size), keep each other warm. No studies have looked at co-bedding twins at home, but it’s likely that these benefits continue after hospital discharge.
The American Academy of Pediatrics policy on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) recommends that babies sleep in a baby bed in their parents’ bedroom. The policy says that it is unsafe for babies to sleep in bed with a parent, but doesn’t address the risk of SIDS when infants sleep with a twin or other siblings. Other studies show that the risk of SIDS may be higher when babies sleep with other children, but no study has been done to show whether it is safe to let twins sleep together.
If you’re still visiting one baby in hospital, it can be hard to establish a good routine with the other baby at home.
Many twins and multiples are born premature, and the risk of SIDS is higher for premature babies than for infants born at full term. Also, when twins sleep together, they often turn to face each other. The side-sleeping position is no longer recommended for babies. Twins who sleep facing each other may also get less oxygen because they re-breathe each others’ exhaled air.
Use a single cot for co-bedding, but not a Moses basket, as it’ll be too small for two babies. Co-bedding means you can keep your babies with you in your room for longer.
However, there are plenty of ways to encourage a good sleeping routine so that everyone gets enough rest.
Premature newborn babies have tiny stomachs and need to feed every two to three hours. By the time they’re four to six months old, they should generally not need their night-time feed. Coping with two babies is harder than coping with just one, so it may take you longer to get into a routine that suits you.
More than one person may be caring for your babies, which can be unsettling for them, and they’ll take a while to get used to being handled in different ways by different people. You may want to comfort a restless twin faster than you would a single baby, as you are worried they may wake up their twin.
If you put your twins in the same cot, follow the same safe sleeping advice as for a single baby. They should be placed on their backs with the tops of their heads facing one another and their feet at opposite ends of the cot, or side by side on their backs, with their feet at the foot of the cot.
Although there may be benefits to letting twins sleep together in the NICU, you probably shouldn’t continue the practice at home. If you choose to let your twins sleep together, then make sure to reduce the risk of SIDS in other ways: put your babies on their backs to sleep, put them to bed with a pacifier, and keep them in a crib in your bedroom that’s free from toys and plush blankets.
It’s recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months, as this is known to reduce the risk of cot death.
For more advice on creating a soothing night-time environment, read our page on Getting your baby to sleep. The Multiple Births Foundation produces a book called “How do you get twins (or more) to sleep?” that can be bought for £3 from their website.
If you’ve had twins or multiples, you may wonder if it’s safe to let them sleep together at home. Maybe your twins sleep better when they’re lying next to each other, or you remember from their NICU days that there are specific benefits to co-bedding multiples. Although there may be benefits to letting twins sleep together, it’s best to follow safe sleep practices.
You can also read our advice on sleep and tiredness after having a baby.
There are several reasons why two or more babies may be more difficult to get into a good sleeping routine.
Twins and triplets are more likely to be born prematurely and spend time in neonatal care, where they’re used to being touched and nursed frequently. They may miss this contact and find it hard to settle when they come home.
With triplets, you can place them next to each other across a cot while they’re still small enough to fit. They should be laid on their backs with their feet touching the side (effectively the foot) of the cot.
Getting twins or multiple babies into a sleeping routine will help make sure everyone gets the rest they need.