Cubby Reader Jess writes:
"What about for a 10-month-old? I have twins and one sleeps great (all night, rarely wakes up) but my other one wakes up multiple times (3 or 4 times!) and will not go back to sleep without a bottle and won’t sleep unless we hold him. This is very recent; he started waking twice a night from one after day light saving and it’s been down hill from there. None of us are sleeping. I tried letting him cry the other night in a separate room but after forty minutes he was hysterical… help!"
Twins are a whole different breed when it comes to sleeping! Mostly because they probably share a room, they love to sleep near each other, and if you have one that is a perfect sleeper, and another that is not so great, what do you do?!?! My twins are now 19 months old, and have basically kept the same schedule their entire lives - thankfully! Mostly because if one woke up (and they were allowed to be awake), I would wake the other up. I always felt bad waking one if they could still sleep a bit longer, but it keeps a twin mama sane! BUT, as they get older, especially when they go down to one nap, I stop waking the other twin up, and let them sleep for that one nap as long as they can. Some days one wakes up before the other, sometimes they wake up at the same time. But while they are still younger, how do you help the one twin get the sleep he's supposed to get? Let's start with the basics. A 10-month-old baby should have the following schedule: Breakfast - 7 am (or whatever your morning time is) Feed, awake, sleep Midday - Feed, awake, sleep Late afternoon - 4-5pm Snack after nap, awake, Dinner time, early evening waketime Bedtime- 7/8 pm - down for the night First, make sure this schedule matches the good sleeper first, and then try to match the other twin to it as closely as possible. Because they should be taking two pretty good naps, you want those to last quite a while. At this point, you're obviously not doing the 2.5-4 hour cycles anymore. They may be awake for two hours, then sleep for two or three, possibly taking them to a 5 hour cycle. This is NORMAL for this age. My twins took two 1.5-2 hour naps a day. So first step...match this schedule as close as you can. Second, make sure they have the same awake time each morning and the same bedtime each night. For my twins this is 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. This time needs to stay extremely consistent. Obviously the exact minute will change each day, but it should be as close to the same time as possible. Cubby reader Jess added in an email later that her twin who doesn't sleep takes horrible naps as well--sometimes only a half hour. This is when I would do more to get him to sleep for the naps, rather than focus on nighttime, because this is probably affecting nighttime greatly. (If you need more suggestions for how to get a baby to go back to sleep for his whole nap, read this. I would also add trying a swing to soothe him back to sleep, or rocking him back to sleep at naps until he's taking long naps again--just don't make this a habit!) If you're already doing this, or change to this schedule, and the other twin doesn't automatically change his nighttime sleeping habits, then you'll want to evaluate what's going on at night as well. Is he having a nightmare, does he just want mom or dad, does he think he is hungry, does he need a binky? If you can figure out this answer, you'll have a better chance at getting him back to sleep. If he's just having a nightmare, a hand on the back may be enough. If this is happening consistently, you could try filling a glove with something a bit heavy like rice, sew it up real tight, then lay it on your baby when he wakes up. It will feel like mom is still there, but you can go back to sleep. If he just wants mom or dad, notice Jess said she has to hold him to go back to sleep, then I would try this. First, do not take him out of the crib. Lay next to the crib and hold his hand until he is calm. Then, take your hand off, and if he's fine, just lay in the room for a bit. Once he goes back to sleep, sneak out. This may need to be done for a night or two, but hopefully fixes the issue. If just being there doesn't solve the issue, I would pick him up, hold him until he is calm, lay him back down, and try just sitting next to him again. You may have to do this a few times before he is calm in the crib. If he wants a bottle, as Jess said her baby does, give him a bottle of water instead. After a week or so of giving him water instead of formula, he will figure out he HAS to take his calories during the day, and doesn't need to wake up during the night anymore. (This trick should only be used for babies who have ALREADY been sleeping through the night.)
wubbanub. These binkies can't roll out of the crib, so they can always find them again. My twins no longer take binkies, but my one twin must have her Aden and Anais blanket with her, and my other twin doesn't want anything in her crib. Totally different babies with totally different needs. One more piece of advice for today...twins usually stay asleep through the other one screaming. I have no idea how, but they just do. I don't know if it's because they are used to being kicked by the other one while sleeping in the womb, or if they just drown out the other twin when they are trying to sleep, or what!! So try not to worry about the one twin waking up the other twin. More than likely, he won't, and if he does wake up his twin, that twin will probably return to sleep with no issues.
Jess, if any of this still doesn't ring true for you, or any of my other wonderful readers, let me know! I'll answer your questions as soon as I can!!
*Sleep is essential. We need sleep to function, to take care of our children, to keep up on every single task life throws at us, to keep our sanity. Are you getting your 8 hours or do you have a baby who is keeping you up? Let’s remedy that! In the “Rested Mamas are Happy Mamas” series of our blog, sleep expert Jackie calms all of your sleep woes. Have a question or problem that needs fixing? Comment on the series, and a blog will be published just for you!* Featured Image PC: @pursuingpie