Just when you are settling down for some much-needed rest, you hear the sounds–from a tiny cry at the back of the throat to full-blown, tear-filled crying. Your twins are awake. They’ve only been asleep for two hours, and you are yet to sleep a wink.
What happened to them sleeping 12 hours on a good night, and how will you deal with this new and not so lovely development?
Sleep regression in twins is a real thing. It can be a deal-breaker that will most likely put you in a cranky mood as you try to get them to sleep. That’s the bad news. The good news, however, is that you are not alone in this.
Parents from all walks of life experience the same situation you are in. Yet, through the crying babies at night, sleepy mornings, and all the frustration, they’ve managed to make it through to the next month.
Today, I take you through a simple guide to help you understand sleep regression, its causes, and some crucial tips to help you deal with regression successfully.
What is Sleep Regression?
What is Sleep Regression? Sleep regression happens when your baby’s sleep patterns change. When they slept for close to 12 hours before, now they wake up after a few hours of sleep. Your baby might also have a hard time falling asleep and also refuse to take daytime naps.
Yes, it’s frustrating, but it’s only a temporary experience. For most babies, it will happen for 2-4 weeks before resuming to a better sleep pattern. The important thing to do during a sleep regression in twins is to handle it properly.
However, you need to note that the duration of regression varies from baby to baby and depends on the cause.
At What Age Does Sleep Regression in Twins Happen?
For most babies, regression will appear first at 4 months. At this age, your baby is becoming more aware of the environment around them. They are also trying to reach for things, roll over, and sit up at the same time.
This development makes it not only stressful but also frustrating for the young soul. Regression becomes their way of trying to adapt to all the changes. (I promise, your baby is not trying to rile you up, even if it feels like it.)
The first regression at 4 months will be the hardest. (Sorry, there’s more to come, but you will be better prepared.)
At 6 months, sleep regression sprouts up again. Your baby will be experiencing another growth spurt. What this means is that they will be excited and stressed out from all the new things they can do.
Due to the fast development, they’ll need to nurse more, hence they wake up more often at night. As stated earlier, this phase will be easier and probably shorter than the first.
How long does sleep regression last?
At 8-12 months, your babies might experience another episode of sleep regression. This time, the cause of regression will be a combination of developmental milestones, dealing with separation anxiety, and changes in routine.
All babies are different, and while most parents deal with regression at all three phases, some parents never have to experience it. Regression might also affect one twin while the other remains unaffected.
Sleep regression will also happen due to some other factors besides age. Here are a couple of them:
What to expect during sleep regression
- Wakes up multiple times in the night
- Becomes fussy for no apparent reason
- Shorter or no naps during the day
7 Crucial Tips for Dealing with Sleep Regression in Twins
As promised, I will let you in on some crucial tips that can come in handy when your twins are experiencing sleep regression.
1) Respond early to your baby’s cues
Yawning, scratching their eyes, and drowsiness are all signs that it’s your baby’s naptime. Acting early on these cues is the secret. A delay could mean that the drowsy phase passes, leaving no time for a nap.
While it seems counterintuitive, daytime naps will help your baby sleep better at night when they are less tired.
2) Rearrange your schedule
Sometimes, sleep regression is inevitable—at least for a few weeks. The best way to deal with regression is to adjust your schedule to compensate. This could mean napping more during the day so you can be there for your baby at night.
What does food have to do with sleep regression in twins, anyway? Well, if your baby is well-fed and full by the time they start their sleep cycle, they are more likely to sleep through the night.
Ensure that your baby is well fed to better deal with regression.
4) Keep a lowkey interaction when they awaken
When it’s the middle of the night and your baby is awake, you need to keep a low profile. This doesn’t necessarily mean being far from your baby. It means to speak quietly, keep the lights low, and stand close enough to see what’s going on.
Fewer interactions with your baby will help them get back to sleep faster without much fuss and frustration on your end. However, if you feel that your baby needs comforting, go for it, mama. Don’t hold back on loving your baby.
5) Make them comfortable for sleep
When everything is comfy and your baby is snug, sleep will readily take over. During naptime, put them in loose-fitting clothes, ensure the temperature is right, and make sure the nursery cozy.
If it works for your baby, turn on a soothing white noise and dim the lights in their room.
6) Create a bedtime routine
Routines are a secret weapon to ease your baby into sleep mode without fussiness or struggle. Here is where your creativity is allowed to roam free to the maximum. Choose a routine that’s comforting, easy to pull through, and one that your twins respond to.
A warm bath, reading a book, cuddling, and a lullaby are a few ways to get a bedtime routine going.
7) Separate your twins
Sometimes, only one twin is affected by sleep regression. On most occasions, the twin affected will also wake the other baby. Trying to make two crying babies sleep in the middle of the night is not easy. It’s almost a disaster!
To avert the crisis that will most likely happen, separation is key. The best thing to do is to place your twins in separate cribs at night. The chances of one twin waking the other will decrease significantly.
Should You Worry About Sleep Regression in Twins?
Sleep regression is a normal occurrence for babies from about 4 months old. It’s their way of dealing with the changes that come with growing up. It’s temporary and therefore should not be a major reason for concern.
However, your baby not sleeping could also mean that there’s another underlying problem. If you feel that your baby is experiencing more than a simple bout of sleep regression, call your doctor.
If anything, don’t lose hope. It gets better after a while. Sleep regression in twins is only a temporary phase that will pass in 2-4 weeks. The most important thing to remember is to understand your baby and to create a routine that will work for them.
Finally, remember to care for yourself. Take a nap at every chance that life allows you, and don’t shy away from accepting help from family or friends. It’ll be over before you even know it.