Written by Jill Zwarensteyn, Editor
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Can twins share a crib? We discuss safety, co-sleeping, and more.
Making the right choices around raising one new baby can be stressful enough, but now you have to make the right choices for two? Deciding whether or not to let twins sleep in the same crib can be challenging, as arguments can praise both separate and co-sleeping habits; however, there are definite risks when putting them together.
When your munchkins are newborns, it’s recommended they rest in the same room as you. However, making space for two cribs can be difficult in smaller living spaces. Knowing what’s best for your baby is tough, but ultimately, it’s up to parents to decide the most comfortable snoozing arrangement for the family.
In this article, we’ll help you navigate the options and benefits of various twin sleeping arrangements.
Twins Sharing Crib: Is it Safe?
Twins have been together since their inception, and being nearby one another brings enormous comfort, particularly while they’re young. Placing the two next to each other while they rest, as long as they are swaddled tight and not yet mobile, can be safe. However, there are no guarantees, and you’ll have to decide what is best.
Some options for co-sleeping your two include crib dividers or sleeping them at opposite sides of the bed, head-to-head. However, while dividers may feel secure, they could potentially fall over or become unlatched. Naturally, with a baby, there will be risks with just about anything; it’s merely up to the parents to be the discerning factor.
Risks Associated with Twin Bed Sharing
Studies have shown that two tykes snoozing together increases the risk of SIDS. While there are twins who share a bed and turn out perfectly healthy, we recommend erring on the side of caution. It’s merely crucial to take stock of your options and associated risks before deciding.
When babies are little, if they are swaddled tight, they may sleep just fine. They may prefer it, as they have been together since the good old days in the womb. However, if tots are mobile, one could wiggle out of their blanket, causing it to block the other twin’s airway, or rollover onto their buddy, causing harm.
Tips for Putting Twins to Sleep
Looking after one tot can offer challenges, let alone two, which is why parents of twins of multiples are child-champions. Finding a rhythm in which both little ones will fall into can be difficult. However, there are some tips and tricks to accomplish this impossible task.
Sync up their Sleep Schedules
We realize you only have two hands; however, when possible, have your twosome do everything together. Feed them, bathe them, change them, and put them to bed at the same time whenever it’s an option. Helping your tykes get into a synced routine will allow you more sanity to care for your little duo.
Create a Routine
Ask any parent what the trick is to bring up a baby, and many will strongly encourage a routine. If your tyke’s internal clocks don’t match up naturally, you can gradually adjust one or the other by keeping one twin up 10 or 15 minutes longer each day until their schedules sync.
Don’t Tiptoe Around Twins
It may be tempting to be quiet as a mouse when they are (finally!) both asleep at the same time. Naturally, you don’t want to disturb your dream monsters, but doing so can result in temperamental sleep behavior. As life goes on, you won’t be able to sneak around quietly every day, so it’s crucial to expose them to noise while they’re young; this way, they’re able to snooze through daily sounds with ease.
How Long Should Babies Share a Crib?
Deciding how long to let your babies share a crib will be up to you. Twins who share a bed have been known to have an increase in SIDS. However, if you believe co-sleeping is what is best for your munchkins, there are precautions you can take. Placing a crib divider provides a separate sleep space for each child. Additionally, placing them in opposite ends of the bassinet head-to-head will help as well.
Co-Bedding Twins SIDS Prevention Strategy
Co-bedding may feel like the right choice for your infants. Perhaps they’re quite attached, or they’re more comfortable dreaming with company. If you’ve decided co-bedding is best, there are precautions you can take. Crib dividers can help to provide a separate space for each twin, additionally, placing them head-to-head will help to avoid one waking the other up or disturbing each other in the night.
Sleeping your little munchkins in a crib next to your bed could help you maintain a watchful eye or ear. Undoubtedly as parents, you’ll grow accustomed to the sounds and noises they make, and being in tune with their needs will help you keep them safe while in the same room.
Pacifiers are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for reducing the risk of SIDS while sleeping. If the pacifier falls out during the night, you don’t have to put it back in, but your little one may wake up and want you to pop it back in.
Swaddle Babies on their Backs
When swaddling your little ones while they’re still immobile, it’s essential to place them on their backs. According to the CDC, babies who sleep on their backs have a significantly lower chance of dying from SIDS than infants who sleep on their sides or stomachs. Some people mistakenly believe placing them on a soft surface will make them more comfortable. However, firm surfaces will help prevent the risk of SIDS.
It may be tempting to put cute stuffed animals or your child’s favorite blanket in the crib with them for comfort. However, your child could suffocate on one of these things while sleeping, so it’s wise to refrain until their older and more independently mobile.
Figuring out a routine with one baby is hard, and two is certainly no cakewalk. However, with a bit of practice and help, you might be singing them to sleep with expert skills in no time— co-sleeping or not.
Twins are undoubtedly a handful, but you’ve been dealt an extraordinary double gift. While yes, you will have double the diapers, double the feedings, and double the tears, you’ll also have double the smiles, double the laughs, and double the joy.
Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.