Sleep training twins

During our first two months with twins, we had a wonderful confinement nanny who single handedly managed night feedings. Night times were peaceful, as my husband had uninterrupted sleep and I woke up twice to pump milk (no, I didn’t breast feed my twins at night—bad mommy).

Unfortunately, our next two months were a nightmare. Each baby woke up 3-6 times at night, crying or wanting to drink milk. Even worse, our babies woke up at different times, at varying intervals, so their patterns weren’t consistent. We maintained our baby log at night, but any attempt to decipher a sleep-wake pattern was impossible.

Hire a sleep trainer

After 4 months, my husband was non-functional at work, and I had just returned to work part time. In desperate need of sleep, we decided to sleep train our twins. I read tons of books and blogs but couldn’t decide on a plan. I did some more Googling and found a local sleep trainer, Zoe Chu.

Zoe was very responsive to email and came to our house for a consultation. She presented some background on sleep training along with her personal experience (she has twins of her own) and provided us with two plans we could try. We opted for the controlled cry-it-out method. My husband and I wrote down a few goals for the first week, and shared them with our helper.

Set actionable goals

Our first few goals were:

  • Implement the EASY schedule. EASY = eat, activity (playtime, outing), sleep, you (so you can nap, watch Netflix, catch up on Facebook). The number of EASY cycles per day depends on your children’s age. At 18 weeks, our twins were supposed to take 3 naps a day, but their schedules were all over the place. We were only putting them down for naps when they appeared sleepy, but this made them overtired and cranky.
  • Remove the eat-sleep association. We used to feed our twins before putting them to sleep. Zoe recommended that we remove any sleep associations so that they could sleep on their own. To teach our twins to self soothe, we gave them little loveys to cuddle.
  • Wean night feedings (please check with your pediatrician before proceeding with this). Our twins were about 18 weeks old and >5 kg. When they cried for milk at night, we gave them small amounts of water instead, gradually reducing their intake per feeding.

Within a week, our twins had gotten into the groove of the EASY schedule and were finally able to sleep through the night!

Tips
  • Start with a few goals and communicate them clearly to all caretakers to ensure consistency.
  • Expect some crying and anxiety–be strong! We had to deal with 5-10 minute crying intervals but this stopped after a few days.
  • Remember that sleep training helps both parents and children. Our little boy was fussy and temperamental before sleep training, but after he settled into the EASY schedule, he was much happier. Many books and blogs reiterate that children love routine, and we found this to be absolutely true for our kids.