Sleep is probably one of the toughest things new parents deal with. Everyone wants it, but not everybody may get it. You may even feel as a parent of twins that teaching your multiples to sleep is an impossible task, but we are here to tell you there is hope!
As part of the process of developing healthy sleep patterns, a key step is avoiding the overtired state. An overtired state can lead to sleep problems. If you have ever seen toddlers go into hyper maniac mode around bedtime then you have seen them hit the “wired is tired” state, which will make it difficult for them to settle in to get the quality rest they need. All that nervous energy may actually keep them awake.
So how do we avoid this overtired state? The simple answer—though not always simple to apply—is to read sleep cues and get those twinzies down for nap or bed when they are still drowsy.
Some cues may seem obvious to new parents and others, not as much. Start studying your babies about an hour or two after they have woken. Look for any changes in their actions or appearance. Notice anything? Cues that they are ready to snooze before you lose the chance are:
- Blinking slowly, eyelids drooping
- While eating, sucking is weaker or slower
- Deep breathing, yawning
- Brushing their hand on their face, pulling on their ears
- Slower motions, less social, less vocal
- Decreased activity, reduced animation, quieting down
- Loss of focus interest in surroundings, blank staring or gazing
- Less interest in toys or people, loss of eye contact
Every baby is different and will exhibit signs of sleepiness in a slightly different way. Lucky for you, time spent snuggling and loving on your chubby cherubs will make you an expert in understanding when they are sleepy. Babywearing is a wonderful way to dish out the snuggles without tying up your hands. It may take a little while for you to recognize the signs, but you soon will with keen observation and practice. As you are learning this process, you may find that you have at times put the twins down once they have passed into the overtired state. Clues that they missed the drowsy stage include mild fussiness, irritability, crankiness, crying upon awakening, and rubbing eyes. No sense in getting worked up over a swing and a miss. We learn from our goof ups and get it right the next time, right?
As parents of twins or higher order multiples, it is particularly helpful to understand your babies’ sleep cues to ensure they get good rest. Those with identical twins might have an easier time synchronizing schedules because you have genetics on your side, but fraternal twins may pose more of a challenge. This is why starting early is to be highly considered. So how early is too early? If your babies announced themselves a little earlier than expected, they will ultimately start life on a schedule in the NICU; those sweet nurses are the ultimate example of how to tenderly introduce sweet angels to routines. If your babies do not come home on a schedule, The Baby Sleep Site is your in-home godsend to provide gentle guidance on establishing routines at any age.
About the Author
Out-of-the-box thinker, Krystal Workman, gets creative under stress…and life with twins happens to be full of it! In order to soothe her crying babies while alone, Krystal invented the first ergonomic twin baby carrier—TwinGo Carrier (www.TwinGoCarrier.com)—to cuddle both her babies at the same time. TwinGo now empowers thousands of parents worldwide to keep their babies close. As former President of one of the largest twins clubs in the USA, Krystal assists new parents with babywearing, breastfeeding, sleep coaching, healthy routines, and positive discipline. You can get more twin-related information on the TwinGo Blog.