DROWSY BUT AWAKE: The Secret to Get Your Twins To Fall Asleep Independently

In talking with other moms or maybe reading a few baby books during pregnancy, I am sure you have Teach your twins to fall asleep independently by putting them down drowsy, but awake.heard this popular phrase…


And now your babies are in your arms, you are extremely sleep deprived and desperately trying to figure out how you are going to get more sleep for you and your babies.

In your tired state, those three words just sound crazy!  Or maybe you have tried laying your babies down “drowsy but awake” and felt like it was impossible.

We are here to support you because we know it isn’t always as easy as it is made out to be.  

We believe that laying your babies down awake but sleepy is fundamental in teaching them the healthy sleep habits that will get them to successfully sleep through the night.

Not sure if your babies are ready to begin sleeping through the night? Start reading our Ultimate Guide to Sleep Training Twins series here.

When you work to teach your babies to fall asleep on their own, they will be able to do so when they stir between sleep cycles in the middle of the night and don’t need you to come running.  That means more uninterrupted sleep for you!

And if they need something, don’t fret mama, your babies will surely let you know!

So, how am I going to teach my babies to go to sleep independently you ask?  

Well here you go…

Successfully put your babies down “drowsy but awake” by keeping these things in mind:

Routine, routine, routine…

We talked about the importance of your sleep routines in our post about bedtime routines, which you can read here. Having a consistent routine for bedtime and naps will signal for your twins that sleep is on the horizon.  

This, in turn, will make it easier to lay them down, kiss them and walk out of the nursery.  Routines provide predictability for babies and children.  This is comforting when the world around them seems very unpredictable.

Part of your routine should include spending some time to calm your babies. Putting them down “drowsy but awake” means that they are calm, but their eyes are still open.  Be careful not to spend too much time soothing them so that you aren’t crossing into the overtired zone.  This will only cause you problems.

Learn your babies’ sleep cues

Timing is everything and will determine if you can successfully put your babies down “drowsy but awake”.

And that is exactly why we are telling you that you need to carefully watch your babies and know their sleep cues.

A sleepy baby will yawn, rub their eyes, become disinterested or fussy.  When you begin to see signs of sleepiness, act quickly, because babies quickly become overtired. Overtired babies will either begin crying quite a bit or become hyper-active.  

Patience Grasshopper

Putting your babies down “drowsy but awake” is a new routine for you AND your babies.  It is not something they will learn overnight. It will require some patience on your part.

With a little time, practice and patience, you will conquer this.  You WILL get more sleep!

If your babies cry and protest, it is okay to soothe them.  Do your best not to pick them up, but pat and shush them to the point that the fussing stops. When your babies are calm, walk out of their nursery again.  

Repeat this until they fall asleep.  

Use your best judgement here.  You can wait for a short period of time to see if they settle themselves or go in right away to provide your babies’ some comfort.  It really depends on your comfort level.   Like we have said before, you know your babies best!

We know that teaching your babies to fall asleep independently isn’t a quick fix for your sleepless nights. We promise that this important skill will benefit you in the long run! 

So before you dive head first into our SLEEP TRAINING strategies, we encourage you to spend a little time putting your babies down “drowsy but awake”

Have you tried laying your babies down “drowsy but awake”? How did it go?  We’d love to hear how things are going for you.

Let us know in the comments below.


Ready for some strategies?  Coming up next is our post, Sleep Training Twins:  Say Goodbye to Zombie Mom with These 5 Sleep Strategies.  Don’t forget to check back in next week so you can get your babies sleeping through the night.

  • Great point! This strategy has helped me and my post colic Sam to get much needed rest. If you would have told me he would sleep 10 straight hours without getting up at 5 months….I wouldn’t have believed it. But putting him to sleep, while still awake, was a key component. (After colic ended). Now onto nap training…

  • I have started giving Luke a back rub after stories which really helps him get drowsy for bed. 🙂 otherwise he still cries when I lay him down.

    • Keep it up, setting new habits takes time and consistency. You are doing great! Keep us posted on your progress.

  • Thanks you so much for these tried and true sleep strategies! My twin boys are three months old today, but they were born premature. I have put them down for naps when the are drowsy but slightly awake, and they will sleep for about 10 mins before one of their startle reflexes wakes them up. Do I have to wait until this stops to fully dive into sleep training?

    • Hi There Jill!

      Without having more detailed information about your sweet babies, it’s hard for us to give you detailed sleep training advice, but yes, the startle reflex will disappear soon, which will help with your sleep training efforts. Keep us posted on how things are going, we are always here to help. Don’t forget to check out our sleep coaching support!

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