Monday, August 30, 2010

How do you sleep train twins in the same room - won't they wake each other up?

Question from a CMOTC mom:

I need some advice please. I am having issues with my 8 month old twins sleeping at night. If I decide to let them cry it out how does that work? They are in the same room but have their own crib and they are side by side. Usually only one is awake at a time (imagine that). Do I let them wake the other one up? One of my boys is typically a good sleeper, but thanks to his brother crying constantly for several nights now he has started waking up and fussing too.

I let one of them cry for about 15 minutes last night but he was downstairs in a pack n play so we didn't wake up the other one. Then it took me 20 minutes to calm him down but he slept from 2 am until almost 7. I'm just not sure what to do but we are all exhausted as we enter night six of this new routine. Please let me know what worked for you or any ideas you may have. Thank you in advance for any help.

Advice/experience from CMOTC moms:

Mine are 2 now and I remember those miserable nights. My Ped mentioned giving them "baby boot camp" around 9 months because mine weren't sleeping through the night either. They were also prone to ear infections & reflux, so I was constantly in their room for one reason or another not knowing if their crying was related to that or to something else like teething.

We would let them each "cry it out" and they both had their turns. It was miserable. To this day my daughter always wakes up before my son and can wake him up at times. We just let her do her thing. At that young age my son learned to tune her out and keep sleeping through her screams. At times we let them each have a moment of "crying it out". One would start, then the other. My son usually settled down after 20 mins but overall, each could cry it out for over an hour. I remember my heart beating fast, my blood pressure rising/boiling and freaking out at the clock wondering if we'd ever get sleep again. I think they finally got used to it after a week or so, but it was no picnic.

Good luck & many blessings to you during this transition.


I've had the same issues with my girls and are still having them at 13 mos!!

Mostly we let them cry it out. It's very hard to do, since your instinct is to go to them. But if one is crying, it almost NEVER wakes up the other. Almost. I have to be honest, I have one cryer and one sleeper. It's frustrating. But if you go to them every time they don't learn to "self-soothe". Sounds barbaric, I know. I think it's harder on the parents.

However, if you hear their cry change... and it's a HURT cry, then of course check on them. Mine like to throw out their blankey if we don't come in right away. Then the cry changes. I go in, put the blankey back in the crib, caress their head and leave. No talking.

Good luck. I know it's hard.


At 9 months, I was about to lose my mind and sanity from lack of sleep. At 11 months, I separated them and put them in the own room. BEST decision ever. It is probably not the popular opinion, but at some point you need sleep. I wish I would have separated them sooner. So that is my advice. And then let the non-sleeper cry it out. We also put a fan in the hall way to drown out the noise. And a white noise machine in their rooms which REALLY seemed to help.

We left them in the same room and let them cry it out. Their cribs are about 3 feet apart. My daughter would sleep fine through her brother's crying. I really just tried to read their signs. I could tell if the cry was getting better or worse. If it was getting worse, I would go in after 15 minutes and try to calm him down by singing, rubbing his tummy, whatever I could do without picking him up. Every day a different thing would work or not work! Once he was calm I would leave again and the cycle would repeat itself. It started out once an hour, then by day 5 he was sleeping through the night. If he would not calm down at all after an hour, I would pick him up, but I would do everything I could to avoid this. Now my daughter is the worse sleeper, so probably once a week we have to go through this process again, but typically after 15 minutes she is asleep.

It was the most difficult week of my life, but my kids are great sleepers now. I put them down wide a awake and they do not make a peep, sometimes laying there for 30 minutes awake. Unfortunately every kid is different, so this may not work for you. Just remember the hard work now will pay off in the long run. It was right around your twins age that my twins really fell into a routine and slept rather well. I no longer woke up wondering what would happen that day. Good luck!

I am sure you will hear from the others.... continue to let them cry it out. Though I kinda forget, I think at 8 months they could at least go from 10pm till 6 am without feeding. They do not wake each other. I would continue to keep them in the same room. I do recall sometimes putting the one in a separate room (pack-n-play) but that was out of my fear of them waking the other up and on those nights I HAD to get the sleep.

Good luck... it will get better soon!!!


I used the book Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Twins for sleep issues. When I decided to do CIO. I just put the two in their own cribs in the same room. I read a story to them while they were in their cribs. As long as I knew that they were well fed and in a safe location, I felt comfortable just shutting the door and leaving the room. I think they cried for about 30 min for about 3 nights in a row. When they woke in the middle of the night crying I didn't go get them (I was just too tired anyway). It might help if you leave the house or have your husband listen on the monitor when they are crying. I know it was hard to listen to. As long as they sound like they haven't hurt themselves, they should be okay crying and the crying should get shorter and shorter each day.

Mine are 22 months and have been sleeping well since about 6 months. It's tough to do the CIO but a few days of crying is worth it for them and for you in the long run. Mine are now trying to climb out of their cribs which is a whole new problem for me. :) Hope this helps.

My two cents is that you need to keep them in the same room (rather than one in a pack and play downstairs) and let them cry it out. If you change it to where one is downstairs, then even if he starts sleeping through the night, it's very likely that once he is in his own bed again, he will not. It's different. Maybe this wouldn't happen, but for my kids routine was routine and part of that is sleeping in their own beds under the conditions of their own rooms - lights, sounds, space, smell, bed, etc.

Next, mine were in different cribs but butt up next to each other too. Luckily for me, one of them started sleeping through on his own at four months. The other I had to sleep train at nine months. I had the same concerns about the one waking the other, especially because the twin I was sleep training still had the really horrible hair-sticking-up-must-pick-him-up baby cry (he still does at three years old!). However, it's kind of a necessary evil of the sleep process, since they do sleep together.

As it turned out, sometimes my sleep trainer would wake up his brother, sometimes not. They get used to each other and sleeping through the other. That's not to say that the other won't always wake up every time, but it is to say that you might be surprised, he might start only waking up only on occasion (rather than all the time like now). For my twins, this sleep training for the one twin at nine months took two weeks. It is painful. First, the longer you wait (like nine months) the harder it tends to be. I knew this, but still waited because he had issues when he was younger and I just let it go. But it is harder the older they get. Second, I was not a by the book kind of girl. I was a two minutes crying, go check (no words, no pick up, just lightly touch MAYBE), then wait maybe five minutes and go check, then eight minutes, check. My graduation in adding time was there, but not as big a gap of time as some say you should do. I just couldn't do it. I was weak. Same with my singleton who needed sleep training (we did that at five months). You have to do what works for you and them. Sleep training/cry it out (totally or in intervals of time) works though. It really does. They need to learn to sleep by themselves.

We had a mobile that had a detachable music box (Tiny Love brand). We detached the mobile part and left the music part. At eight months they can press the music button if they want it in the middle of the night when they wake up. Sometimes that is soothing and it's self soothing, so that is good. It's hard for them to learn to sleep without you helping them. One of my friends, back when I did my now five year old singleton's sleep training, said that a doctor told her "if your favorite thing in the whole world that helped you get back to sleep was there every time you woke up, why wouldn't you wake up wanting it?" It's just a matter of them comforting themselves and learning how to fall asleep by themselves, not relying on you to help them.

That said, I think sleep training was the HARDEST thing ever! It was painful and I didn't like it. But it worked and they now sleep very well. All three. Woo hoo. But when you go through it, ESPECIALLY with multiples, you question everything you do and worry and stress and all that. I get it. I so get it. I do not miss that time (the sleeping part - I miss the little baby part at times - just because it goes WAY too fast!) at all. But, once we got through it, they slept well. However, expect vacations and sicknesses to throw it off balance again. You might have to go through some "cry it out" nights after those things too, but they typically do not last as long as what it is now. Typically, I would say try it for two weeks (one week with a singleton) and if it doesn't work, stop, wait a couple weeks and try again. However, if your twins have been separated (downstairs in pack and play) the entire six days so far, you may have to restart it from the beginning with them both in the same room. ????

Good luck. It doesn't seem possible now, but it will work and they (and YOU) will sleep... soon!


Do you have more advice? Please comment below.


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