What is worse than trying to get a baby to sleep through the night? You’ve guessed it! Trying to get twin babies to sleep through the night.
As much as getting up in the middle of the night is part of the joy of having a small baby, (seriously, it is, you’ll miss it in years to come)…there comes a time when you think that you’d be a better parent if you could just have a little more shut eye.
By now, you know that your baby is getting all the calories that they need during the day and that they are waking up out of habit. They haven’t quite grasped the idea that night times are best spent asleep. They want to party.
When Should You Teach your Baby to Sleep Through the Night?
There is no correct answer to this question. It’s a totally personal thing and you have to think what is best for you and your family.
Should You Let Your Baby Cry to Teach them to Sleep Through the Night?
Another totally personal question. There are lots of people who claim that “crying is cruel” and you are neglecting your child but they don’t know the whole situation.
All of my children have cried during the night to some extent or other. I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, I hated it. It was absolute torture to me.
But you know what? I couldn’t find a “gentle way” to get them to go back to sleep. Even though I read a mountain of books, I tried every trick I could get my hands on…nothing worked. In the end, they cried a bit.
I felt that sleep was more important to all of us so I let my children risk a bit of crying.
I do love this method that I used for my twins as it did seem to be the least amount of crying that I have yet encountered.
How I got My Twins to Sleep Through the Night
I did this when my twins were around 5-6 months old. Celeste was a very good sleeper but Sebastian wasn’t so great. They both enjoyed being fed during the night, but were having lots of feeds during the day and had started on a bit of solid food.
This method does involve a little bit of crying but because you extend the time each night, it’s not as bad as just expecting them to sleep through straight away.
The rules are simple:
- You have to leave them to cry for 10 minutes.
- You can only go to them later than you did the night before.
I set a time that was around the time that they normally first woke up. Before that, I had to leave them to cry. If they woke up after that, I would leave them to cry for 10 minutes and then go to them, check their nappies and feed them.
Each night, I couldn't go to them earlier than the night before. If they woke up at 2.30 one night, I had to leave them until at least 2.30 the next night. Also, I stopped waking the other one and just fed the one that was crying.
The system worked surprisingly well. I think Celeste would have slept through in 3 days if Sebastian hadn't woken her up so much.
It did mean there were times when they cried quite a lot. If the time was set at 3 and they woke at 2.30, they had to cry for half an hour before I was allowed to go to them. The problem with this is that I didn't want to teach them to cry for a long time and then get picked up as I wonder if it gives them an incentive to do it again the next time. If this happened, I sometimes just left them to cry until they went back to sleep. (Not something that I enjoyed but as I say, I’ve never found a total “no cry” method that actually worked.)
Generally however, they stretched the time between waking and before long they were both sleeping through the night (somewhere between 5 and 6 months old.)
What Happens if they Wake after they’ve started Sleeping Through?
Now they're 10 months old and normally sleep through. If they do wake, which is unusual, I leave them for 10 minutes (hoping that they don't wake everyone else) and then feed them.
If they started waking frequently, I would stop feeding them.
Teaching a baby to sleep through the night can be really difficult. It can be emotionally draining for the whole family. But most people function much better when they have enough sleep. Personally, I feel that I can be a better parent during the day after a good night’s sleep and I think that the pay off of letting my child cry a little is worth the benefit of getting them to sleep through the night.
How to Teach Your Baby To Sleep (Free Book)
How to Teach Your Baby to Sleep by Dr Orlena Kerek, mother of 4. Everything you need to know about baby sleep and setting up great sleeping habits. Join my newsletter to receive your copy