Twins napping…at the same time.
Yes folks, it is a thing!
It can be done.
Over time, we have been asked so many questions about napping with twins. Most parents want to know about how to get twins napping at the same time which will allow for them to have some time to breathe and decompress during the day.
So…we thought, why not compile a list of the frequently asked questions and our responses just for you, our fellow twin parents? We’ve been in your shoes so we know what it feels like to desperately need an hour to maybe brush your teeth and shower.
Know that our answers are merely from the experiences we’ve had with our kiddos and what happened to work best for us. In the comments below, let us know if you have any other twin napping tips to share or questions that we can add to this post….it will always be a work in progress
So mamas, here’s to better napping in your near future (fingers crossed)!
When are my twins finally able to nap at the same time? I can’t seem to ever catch a break!
Hang in there mama, your time will come. It may seem like a long time away, but around 6 months (post due date), sleep begins to consolidate and your babies’ napping will become more predictable, allowing you to work within a consistent nap schedule.
In our previous post, 5 Tricks to Help You Avoid Nap Struggles With Your Twins, we outlined what you should expect, in regards to sleep, from your twins for first year of their life. Check that out so you can align your expectations and avoid needless frustration!
Although your babies’ nap schedule won’t be totally predictable for the first 6 months or so, you can begin establishing a routine with your twins that will help them get the sleep they need and buy you some alone time. As a rule of thumb with twins, do everything for your babies AT THE SAME TIME. Feed them, change diapers and lay them down for a nap. They may not necessarily sleep the same length of time, but if they are put down for a nap at the same time, you get a few minutes baby free!
How long does it take to get them on the same napping schedule?
Everything takes time, so don’t expect a drastic change over night. It may seem easier to throw in the towel after a few challenging days…DON’T! Getting your twins napping at the same time takes consistency and persistence, but know that you can do this. Trust us it’s worth the work.
This is what nap training looked like for us:
First and foremost, keep a routine and make sure everything is consistent AND have them nap in separate rooms. Lay each baby in their crib, turn on the white noise and gave them their lovies or any other favorites that they sleep with.
Wasn’t this supposed to be easy?
Wait a few minutes, go back in, DO NOT pick them up. Simply pat he or she on the back, shush and soothe them with minimal interaction, eye contact or talking. Then quietly walk away.
You want them to know that just because they cry, you aren’t going to pick them up and give up on the nap. You probably will have to repeat this a few times in each room. This needs to take place for all of your naps each day. In general, after about 3 days, you’re in business! It has become a new routine.
By beginning each nap in the same way, with an abbreviated version of your bedtime routine, your babies will associate that with sleep and will quickly lay down to rest. Soon they won’t fight you and they won’t cry. Your babies will actually be anticipating sleep again!
Air high-five mama!
Will my twins wake each other…they don’t at night so why would they wake each other during the day?
Chances are during the day, yes! Although some twins sleep just fine during the day while sharing a room, our informal polling of twin parents we know has revealed that most twins will get better sleep while separated during the day.
Daytime and nighttime sleep are completely different for babies, controlled by two different parts of the brain. During the night, most parents find that their twins are not usually disturbed by each others cries, or if they are, it is only for a brief moment, and will go back to sleep almost immediately! Try it out a little and see how they tolerate each other’s noises during the day and at night to help you decide what is best for your twins.
For our twins, we found that we needed to separate them for sleep during the day.
If one wakes will they cry it out and go back to sleep?
Well it depends…how long did they nap for? If your baby took a 20-30 minute nap, they actually got more of a cat nap and didn’t get all they way through their sleep cycle. If this is the case, and becoming a pattern, you need to work on lengthening their naps.
Watch to see if and when your baby begins to stir, and if it is before about 45 minutes of sleep you may need to help gently soothe them back to sleep. Go into their room and gently coax them back to sleep with a quite sush or back rub. Ideally, you will catch them in an extremely drowsy state, where they are slightly awake, but still asleep enough that your soothing gestures will get them through that transition easily.
You will learn what your babies’ cries mean and develop your own tolerance for letting them cry. If your baby is clearly hysterical, don’t expect them to put themselves back to sleep. It is ok to get them up and try for a better nap again later.
What do I do if my twins don’t sleep at all during nap time? It’s stressing me out to have them crying and I rescue them right away.
Think about what their activity level and sleep has been thus far in your day. Did you go to the museum? Did they run around a ton? Could they be over stimulated? Did they take a short nap earlier in the day? All of these things could be contributing to their current napping status.
Just remember that sleep begets sleep…skipping a nap all together doesn’t make for better sleep later in the day or at night. Overtired babies can have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
So instead of skipping the nap all together, try taking a break, getting your babies up and engaged in a short activity and then going back to try the nap again in a bit.
To minimize your stress if they are crying and fighting naps, try putting a few soft books in their crib during nap (once they are an age where this is safe — and never put things in their cribs at night). That way, if they are having trouble falling asleep or wake early, they can lay there and begin learning to preoccupy themselves independently.
Being able to independently entertain themselves is a learned skill, but over time, your babies will become more comfortable alone. If they sit and cry, that’s ok! Sleeping or just hanging out alone gives them time they need to rest their bodies and decompress from a busy day.
And you need it too! Obviously, listen to their cues and follow your instinct.
Do I put them down at the same time or try to stagger naps?
If there is one rule that you follow, always meet your babies’ needs at the same time. Feed them, change their diapers AND put them down to sleep AT THE SAME TIME!
The only way to get their schedules synced is to “force” a routine based around the clock. Your babies will eventually get it, expect it AND LOVE IT!
The only way I can get my twins napping at the same time is in the car or out and about in the stroller….should I continue this habit?
Without sounding too harsh…let us just say it, NO WAY! On-the-go naps do not provide the restorative sleep that your baby needs be rested up enough to sleep well at night.
Well say it again….sleep begets sleep!
If your babies are older than six months, their circadian rhythm is more developed, which is what regulates the ability to sleep at night and be awake during the day. Napping in the car or on-the-go can encourage movement as a sleep association. Subsequently, that can result in cat napping because your babies will typically wake up when the car or stroller stops.
Obviously families with older children can’t always avoid on-the-go naps. If you find that your babies are having meltdowns in the afternoon, have trouble falling asleep, are waking often at night or only take short naps, it may be time to ensure they are getting the majority of their naps in cribs at home.
Will teething effect my naps during the day and throw my kids into a tizzy at night?
For some babies, teething can throw your their sleep schedule and routines right out the window. For other babies, you won’t see it effect them much at all. Roll with it! Every kiddo teethes differently and responds to sleep differently. Do your best to keep them comfortable by allowing them to gnaw on frozen wash cloths, frozen food and teething toys.
When all else fails, remember that it is temporary. This will come and go for the first 3 years of their lives. Do your best to roll with the punches without throwing all of your hard work into the wind until that tooth pops through.
Should I wake my twins from nap? One baby seems to need a little more sleep than the other.
There is a quote from the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins” that says, “one up, both up”. If your ultimate goal is to get your twins napping on the same schedule, following this guideline is key. So, first thing in the morning and at nap times throughout the day, when one baby wakes up, wake the other up.
One twin may always seem to need a little more sleep than the other, which is fine and expected, they are unique individuals after all. Always use your judgement and what you know about your twins to decide if letting one get more a little more daytime sleep is appropriate. In general, we found that allowing the more sleepy twin 15-30 extra minutes worked out just fine, still allowing them enough wake time before they would need to sleep again.
Always take into consideration their individual needs, whether they had a rough night or maybe they are sick, can play a part in their daytime sleep….use your judgement because each day will bring something different.
When should I begin nap training?
Trying to get your twins napping at the same time on a nap schedule any earlier than 6 months will probably be pretty inconsistent, and rather frustrating. Nap training is tougher than nighttime training so you’ll probably have an easier time beginning with sleep training at night before you tackle naps.
Ultimately, when you begin nap training is up to you and dependent on your babies’ needs. Just remember even though your night and daytime sleep training process may look different, the ultimate goal is to teach your babies healthy sleep habits.
How do I manage regressions when they don’t happen at the same time?
This is where being a twin parent is tricky. You have two entirely different kids that happen to be at the same stage in life. Each child will reach milestones and have regressions at different times. That’s ok and normal. A little more tricky to deal with?…Yes!
Again, stick to your routine and be consistent! During a regression, the last thing you want to do is to develop bad sleep habits to compensate for your child’s regression. Use that mama instinct to meet your child’s needs while staying true to the routine that you have established.
How can I have a break if they are both crying?
Ahh…the million dollar question. Sometimes you won’t get a break, or when you do, all you hear are crying babies, who are NOT NAPPING in the next room . Truly, you are sabotaging your nap training when you respond too quickly to the crying.
This might be the time to throw on some headphones and jam out to your favorite song. Ask yourself, “Have my babies been changed and fed? Are they safe?” If the answers are yes, then they are probably ok to cry for a minutes while you take a deep breath.
Mamas, we know how frustrating your days can become when your twins’ nap schedule is sporadic and unpredictable. It is enough to make you want to pull your hair out. Don’t ever hesitate to ask for help or take a minute to step away and breathe. Nap training can be challenging, but it is worth the trouble when you get your twins to nap at the same time! You got this!