getting 6 month old twins to nap / sleep through the night

(20 Posts)
joannita Thu 31-Jan-13 16:08:14

Hi I have 6 month old boy and girl twins and a 3 year old ds. I'm lucky because my mil has been staying with us since twins were born to help out as dh works long hours.

Till now both babies wake 2 or 3 times a night and during the day they tend to have short naps of about 20 mins. We rock/cuddle them to sleep each time. I want to know how I can get them to have longer naps and learn to go to sleep by themselves. My 3 year-old was always a pain with regard to sleeping. He has only just started sleeping theough the night reliably and this by means of stickers and bribes. i don't want to go through the same with the twins, but I don't know how to get them to change their sleep patterns as I never had any success with ds1.

I am not adverse to controlled crying. In fact I just tried it with them this afternoon. Ds went to sleep quite quickly but was woken by dd's screams after about 20 mins. She screamed for 54 mins in total, with me going back to her every few mins to calm her down. Then she slept for... you guessed it 20 mins! Hardly worth all that heartache. If I'm going to do things the hard way I'd like to see results, not torture my babies for nothing. So, any advice?

joannita Fri 01-Feb-13 09:42:00

sad

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 01-Feb-13 18:14:10

I found with mine that the better they napped in the day, the better they slept at night.

Do you always put them in their cots? Have you tried getting them to nap in the pushchair? My dd would rarely stay asleep in her cot but would sleep on me, in a sling, in the car and in the pushchair.

Are you putting them straight down after a feed? Have you tried holding them for 10 minutes or so before you put them down? Have you tried the usual things like swaddling and white noise?

Have you tried the no cry nap solution too?

inthewildernessbuild Fri 01-Feb-13 19:22:21

I successfully persuaded both twins to nap reliably 2-4 pm by 6 months, and sleep through 7-7 with just one waking! And they were breastfeeding too.

First step. They were on solids, so the food side of equation was alright. I knew they weren't hungry when I put them down for a nap
2nd step. I tackled one twin at a time. First twin was a much better sleeper. I let her follow her natural sleep patterns which was to have a short nap in morning and longer nap after lunch.
3rd step. I put them both at different times in a cot for their naps in the afternoon so that was second nature to them. I had a very good sleep association created. Song, milk, closed curtains. I put them in separate rooms to start with. Whilst I was persuading second baby. He had a different routine but the same sleep associations ifysim.
4th step, once twin 1 was reliably sleeping longer for her nap (that took one month?) I tackled the second twin. I resettled him when he surfaced after 20mins. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't. Sometimes as you say, it felt like a complete waste of time to have him crying for 15 mins on and off and yet not going back to sleep. But magically he did. I used to keep resettling him. He was such a bad sleeper, and woke in night more than her too. But slowly he worked it out, that it was the right thing to go back to sleep, as he was tired too. Once he slept past 20 mins I then synchronized their naps on a regular basis. Till they were 2.7 years.

There was at least two weeks where I thought it wasn't going to happen. But I was desperate for them to have an afternoon nap. And in the end it worked.

It helped that ds1 aged 2 also had a nap at that time. I never took them for a walk for their afternoon nap. I know other twin mums that worked for,but I think they just didn't get the same break as I did beween 2-4.
I think pattingsinging and shushing isfine to settle them. When they surface after 20 mins it is worth leaving for a 5 min period, before resettling, but I don' think letting them scream for 15 mins would ever work. Just have confidence, and make sure they aren't too tired when you put them down for the nap.

Gina Ford was actually quite helpful on the nap routine, as long as you took her with a pinch of salt and realised you were still Master and did nothave do everything she said exactly to the letter.

Also fresh air in the morning before lunch is good!

inthewildernessbuild Fri 01-Feb-13 19:27:40

Rocking and cudding is fine as long as they are AWAKE (sleepy but awake) when you put them in their sleeping places. So they are learning that sleep is something they can do by themselves. I often used to put ds1 in cot with his sleeping mobile on, playing a tune that he associated with bedtime and then leave the room with him listening to it, and let himdrift off. You couldsee him heave a sigh ofrelief that it was bedtime. He had a snuggly object too that he associated only with bedtime. A piece of cloth with rabbity ears. Dd had a little woolly cardigan she used to clutch when she went to sleep. Ds2 had a variety of things, he was more tricky!

joannita Sun 03-Feb-13 21:14:29

Thanks guys. I have the problem that my 3 year old is a huge pain to get to nap or sleep. He has a story then a lights off story plus milk, then he always wants to get up for a poo(and he always does one so i cant say no) it takes 30 mins to an hour to put him to bed

If i have to do loads of complicated tweaking of the twins' nap routines, involving crying that will ruin his routine which has only just become bearable.

truth is i cant conceive of the babies going to sleep by themselves. in my experience if you put a baby down awake it screams its head off.

joannita Sun 03-Feb-13 21:16:16

i dont always put the twins in cots to nap. sometimes they are in pushchair, sometimes in our arms, sometimes in baby chair. its very random im afriad

inthewildernessbuild Sun 03-Feb-13 21:34:15

Joannita, I really feel for you. But if you are determined to get them napping together they will. I think in light of what you say, it might be better to just get them sleeping in one familiar place even if they are being put down asleep, which is what you are doing atm. Then progress on to getting them used to going down sleepy but still almost awake. Without expecting long sleep. Then see what happens! I agree what I suggested sounded complicated but I assumed you were already trying the cots.

Or give up idea of nap routine and just throw them in pushchair and take them for a walk at the same time every day! Presumably your three year oldis about to drop his napanyway. Often you can jiggle this, in sense that you could give him milk at teatime instead, whilst keeping story for bedtime. It is surprisinghow quicklythey get used to a new routine as long as it is consistent. I think it may just pan out by eight months in sense that thy will move around more and sleep longer once a day, but in light of your first child being an erratic napper, is it not worth just working on this, for your own happiness, and theirs? Babies do better with enough sleep.

sunnybobs Sun 03-Feb-13 21:38:39

I've just done a routine from
a book called Moms on Call that I got on my Kindle - very rigid eating & napping routine in day and then they're supposed to sleep all night! I'm far too much of a softy to follow it as exactly stated and find routines a bit of a bind when strictly applied but I have to admit it has worked wonders with my 6 month old & transformed her sleeping. I also have a 2 year old who has still rarely ever slept through the night and the baby is now better than him smile

joannita Mon 04-Feb-13 10:08:25

inthe... what you say makes a lot of sense. yes they need to get used to cot. Think i will try putting them down asleep for naps in cot all this coming week then progress to them sleeping there at night. at the moment they sleep in a moses basket and a rocking cradle in our room and mil's room. we swap every night. in truth they nearly always end up in bed with us because it gets cold at night and their little hands are freezing. they love co-sleeping but i am not really doing it as a philosophical choice, just taking the path of least resistance, and it has to stop!

I guess i just need a way in that isnt too painful

will take a look at moms on call sunny...

Thanks xxx

joannita Mon 04-Feb-13 15:09:34

sunnybobs I looked for moms on call in the kindle store and there are several. Did you use the 0-6 months or the 6-15 months to get the effects you describe?

inthewildernessbuild Mon 04-Feb-13 17:45:26

We had no problem with co-sleeping! We used to co-sleep with any baby that wanted to in middle of night after a feed, as long as they settled immediately! If ds2 kept gurning in ourbed, we used to move him back to cot on basis that we were disturbing him.

BUT we always started 7pm bedtime in their cots. They associated their cots with falling asleep. If they needed a night feed/comfort pat, no problem, with bringing them into our bed. We had a large bed! They slept very well in it. Usually dd ended up back in her cot, but ds2 was better settled co-sleeping most of the time. If he woke more than once, I took the line that he needed to go back in his cot, peaceand quiet etc.

We also used gro-bags with great success, cotton lined sleeping bags. That made them warm and cosy in cots. And again a sleep association.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 04-Feb-13 19:18:42

Ours always ended up in bed with us too, it was the only way we could all get any sleep. Thought you might like this on normal infant sleep and this is the No Cry Sleep Solution that I mentioned before.

You migh also like this on napping and 31 ways to get your baby to sleep and stay asleep.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 04-Feb-13 19:19:31

Sorry, I meant to say the no cry nap solution.

joannita Mon 04-Feb-13 20:30:39

Thanks JJJ! will take a look.

Have had a hideous day because 3 year old refused point blank to go down for his nap. He was climbing on his toy garage to switch the light on, throwing bedding on the floor, singing etc. And I know he still needs a nap because when he doesn't nap he's cranky and last Friday he skipped his nap because my dad came to put up a curtain rail and was doing lots of drilling, which resulted in ds falling asleep in the car on the way to friend's house and spending half of play date asleep on the sofa. I was so fed up with him this afternoon. He was supposed to go to a swimming lesson but I refused to take him because he hadn't had a sleep. So annoying. I don't know how I'm supposed to sort the babies out if he is going to insist on undoing my good work with him. Rant over!

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 04-Feb-13 20:52:39

It is hard isn't it, really feel for you. Could he be dropping his nap? With lots of children its not an all or nothing process. Lots have naps every other day or every third day for a while. In fact my dd stopped having a regular nap at 3 but would still sometimes nap still at 4.

Think you just have to get through the tired and cranky stage and perhaps put him to bed half an hour early?

joannita Tue 05-Feb-13 11:20:04

Maybe he is. I usually start putting him to bed at 8 and he actually goes to sleep at about 9 but last night did it an hour earlier. He slept till nearly 8 in the morning with one waking at 3.50. He was complaining this morning that he was tired though. I think he really still needs a nap for a good couple of months at least. He has only just turned 3. If I had taken him swimming yesterday without nap he would have been destroyed!

Thanks for the support JJJ!

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 05-Feb-13 11:34:03

Did he wake at 8 this morning? What time is his usual nap time?

joannita Wed 06-Feb-13 21:40:01

Yes he woke at 8 on Tues. Usual nap time 1.30 or 2ish. Usual wake up time 6.30 or 7am

He had a nap at the childminders yesterday and today and was lovely this morning!

sunnybobs Thu 07-Feb-13 08:08:54

Hi I used the 6-15mo one but before you read it I didn't do the hardcore leave them to cry all night long thing as I just can't/don't want/won't to do it. What I did do was follow their approach on waking her up at the same time each morning (as annoying as that is when she was actually asleep!) and followed the feeding/napping routine to the letter for a few weeks. It's not my usual style but I was utterly shattered & no longer enjoying the days with my babies so needed to make a change somewhere. In fact within a week we went from total co sleeping/feeding all night long to her mostly sleeping in her cot all night long. I know one of the authors has twins but not much else about them to be honest. I'm usually very sceptical about 1 routine fitting all babies and still am to be honest but this one helped me. I obviously don't have twins though smile and take my hat off to you for even getting through the days/nights!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now