What to Do When Your Twins Wake Each Other Up

We’ve all heard the saying, “never wake a sleeping baby”, right?

Sure, but what happens when every new twin parent’s worst nightmare comes true: their twins wake each other up?

While there are many twin babies who will easily sleep through each other’s cries, there are parents who struggle with twins waking each other.  

If you’ve experienced this in the middle of the night after about 8 weeks of no sleep…then you know first hand it stinks!

It’s disheartening when you are desperate for sleep.  

Aside from making the decision to separate them into two different rooms, is there anything to try to make this better?  If you are anything like us, separating your twins into separate sleeping spaces can be a hard pill to swallow.

What to do When Your Twins Wake Each Other Up:

White Noise

White noise is magic.  The womb was a very noisy place for your babies before they made their earthside debut.  Not only are they used to noise, it’s actually quite calming. Babies are trying to get a grasp on life and all of their new surroundings using their senses. The sound of white noise is soothing. If you haven’t already added white noise into the nursery, consider it if your twin babies wake each other up.

Sounds amazing, but what if you already use white noise?

Your first line of defense, if you choose to keep them in the same room, is adding another machine into the room to muffle the sound of crying a bit more.

Lastly, think about placement.  It may be helpful to move the white noise closer to the baby who is frequently being woken, or in between both babies to muffle the noise more.

Schedule

The key to saving your sanity as a new parent of twins is getting them on the same schedule.  While we find that twin babies will generally get used to each other’s noises, having them on opposite schedules isn’t going to help anyone or anything.  When their sleep schedules are synced, their sleep and wake times are synced meaning that you won’t have as many opportunities for crying to wake your sleeping babies. That doesn’t mean one won’t wake up before the other, but a well-rested baby will wake up happy, not crying.

Reconsider Crib Sharing

May parents like to have their twins share a crib, especially during those early newborn months.  However, being in the same crib means that they’re closer together and likely waking the other baby.  Try separating them into separate cribs and putting a white noise machine between the two cribs. You can always put them back together if this is a bust!

Give them Some Space

Once your twins are sleeping in separate cribs and the problem still persists, try moving the cribs as far apart as possible, for example, on opposite walls of the nursery.  And again, put white noise machines near each baby’s crib.


Have A Back-Up Plan

Consider having another space in your home, that is more temporary, where you can move one baby if they are having a harder time sleeping or settling.  A pack ‘n play in your bedroom or an office is a great solution.

When working with clients, we tell them to deal with the easiest baby first. In the instance that twins wake each other up, the easier baby may be the one that is sleeping, which means you will have to work with the fussy one. Sometimes, it is easier to remove that baby from the other baby’s sleep environment until they settle down or their sleep/wake habits become more predictable. If that baby needs the consistency of their own crib, consider moving the other baby for the time being.  Remember, you know your kids best. These are all ideas, but ultimately you have to do what will work best for your twins!

This doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, but it can definitely help your sanity while you are teaching your babies to soothe themselves back to sleep.


So what if your twins wake each other up continually:

We have yet to have a client whose twins waking each other up is a habitual problem.  With some trial and error, as well as consistently implementing healthy sleep habits, we have found that parents generally do get their sleep back.

If you continue to struggle, don’t be afraid to separate your twins until their sleep has matured a bit and you have them on the same schedule.  Again, it doesn’t have to be a permanent solution but can help you regain some sanity if the constant waking is becoming stressful for you.

All babies are different. Each family has to find their own groove. Try to adapt, be consistent and take a deep breath. This will be a just blip on the map and gone before you know it.

  • I separated my twins at six months at the recommendation of my twin-mom pediatrician. We needed more sleep! One baby needed to do a bit more crying to get herself to sleep and we were rushing in so she didn’t wake her brother. It didn’t need to be a permanent solution, but it worked well for everyone.

    • That is great to hear and will be helpful for other parents struggling. Sleep is so important for everyone. We are so glad you found a solution that worked for your family and thank you for sharing it here so that other parents can feel hopeful!

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