If you have twins, there might come a time that you will want to sleep train them. If they share a room this can get pretty tricky. This is a bridge we crossed when J and S were about 10 months old. For whatever reason, S was a great sleeper from the time she was 6 months old and we never had to do much to intervene. J was not the same, she was an okay sleeper. She started a bad habit of waking up one hour after falling asleep at night at 10 months old.
When J woke up , we would take her out of the bedroom, bring her downstairs and hold her until she fell asleep again. At first, this was a 10 minute process, but over the next few weeks this developed into a 2 hour process. She would fall asleep when we held her, but as soon as we tried to put her back in her crib she would wake up. It became exhausting. One of the reasons we got in this pattern was because J’s twin sister was asleep in their shared bedroom and the last thing we needed was a second baby that was awake. J’s routine got old fast, so I started researching how to deal with the situation we were facing and I came across this wonderful post on Mommy Shorts:
In this case there is a toddler and a baby sharing a room, so it is slightly different than our situation, but I followed the recommendations from the “Checking In” and “Waking Up in the Middle of the Night” sections of this post very closely. You will see from reading the link that the sleep training method is essentially the cry it out method. I know many parents are hesitant about using cry it out. IT IS HARD, but it was very much worth it. J has been a wonderful sleeper ever since sleep training and we were able to get through it without negatively impacting S.
What we did:
- When J woke up, one of us would go upstairs and give her, her pacifier (she always threw it on the ground). We would not say anything and we would leave the room.
- If J continued crying we would repeat the step above after 5 min. This process would continue repeating with the time increments slowly increasing from 10 min to 15 min and finally to 30 min.
- If S woke up throughout the crying we would make sure she had her pacifier as well. She was pretty much unfazed by the crying and most of the time she just slept through it. If she woke up, she was happy to get her pacifier and fall back asleep.
- The first night J cried for 2 hours and then went back to sleep.
- The second night J only cried about 30 minutes.
- The third night J was back to her 2 hours of crying.
- By the fourth night the crying was to a minimum, maybe 10 min at the most. Since then, J’s sleep has been pretty dependable.
- Until 2 years old, every few months J would have a regression. She would wake up in the middle of the night crying. We found that if we dealt with it the same way described above she would go back to sleeping well after 1-2 nights. On the other hand, if we held her, this led to her waking up again and crying the next night.
I definitely would recommend the method we used for sleep training with a shared bedroom. The reward was our child having the skills to sleep well through the night. In the end this created happier, more well rested parents and children, which is always a plus.