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Two Babies...Two Cribs or One?


November, 2004

By Cheryl Lage

QUESTION:

My husband and I expecting our first children, boy/girl twins, early next year. All the twin moms and dads we've spoken to have different advice about where and how our children should sleep...in our room, in their nursery, in separate cribs or together. What did you do with your twins, and would you do it again?

ANSWER:

Congratulations on your twin pregnancy!

My best advice is for you and your husband to have a jointly-established plan, but be prepared to be flexible as far as sleeping arrangements are concerned.

We fully intended to sleep our twins together, in the same crib, in their nursery, right next door to (bordering on adjoining) our room.

However, issues with spit-up and reflux in those first early weeks resulted in our pediatrician dictating their heads be elevated while they slept.

Necessity becoming the twin-mother of invention, our twins actually slept side-by-side in their bouncy seats in our room for close to the first three months.

An unexpected, but happy byproduct of adjusting the overnight "sleep" (not a lot of sleep actually occurs in those first weeks) location was that having them in our room made it VERY convenient.

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Since we were breastfeeding, it was far easier to get the twins from their bouncy seats nearby, than to carry one baby at a time, from their nursery, to our bed---where we always nursed.

Also, as a new twin Mommy, nature instills a spirit of protective paranoia. Instead of rushing into their room with every odd noise heard over the monitor, with them in our room, all I needed to do was sit up, assess that they were fine, and try to get some sleep.

Once they moved to their own room, our twosome slept in the same crib until they were 10 months old.

At four months, we got a "crib divider" from MoreThanOne.com. Once they could scale that, my creative, resourceful husband jerryrigged a padded separator...which provided their first real "pull up" motivation!

When we DID finally put them in their own cribs, we were slightly apprehensive there would be some vocalized angst about being separated after so long. Their nursery is small, and the cribs only fit perpendicularly in an "L" shape. That arrangement has provided another unexpected benefit. They could/can see each other, and be reassured.

From that first night on, they did famously, and STILL sleep in the same room. They just turned 3 in September.

There is nothing that can describe how wonderful it is to wake up next door to them horsing around and singing in the morning. (Yes, I'd do the same thing again!)

Many twin parents elect to separate their twins early on, for fear that a particularly colicky or sleepless twin screaming will awake and start the other going.

I can only speak from our experience, but we've found the reverse to be true. It is AMAZING how one twin will sleep through his/her sibling raising the roof ! On the occasion when one does wake the other, I am confident the awakened twin finds comfort in actually seeing a parent care for the sibling in distress...as opposed to "wondering" what's going on in the other room.

As you already seem to have heard, there are so very many schools of thought on how it is most appropriate to "sleep" your children...singly-born or twins.

Each family needs to decide what is the right practice/philosophy for them...and there are many "right" answers!

My advice is for you and your husband to discuss your thoughts at length prior to the twins' arrival...as well as to discuss what you expect from one another when those late night extravaganzas occur.

Addressing these things now, before the babies arrive, and before you both are exhausted from lack of sleep and the joyful emotional overload of having new twins in the house, will decrease the likelihood of heated conflicts when you're both "running on empty".

Wishing you a happy and healthy remainder of your pregnancy, and a smooth delivery!

Let us know when your twins arrive!
All the best-
Cheryl

Feel free to contact me with your experiences in twin potty-training, or with any twin parenting dilemnas you may have at http://www.twinsights.com. I hope to hear from you!

© Cheryl Lage, 2004-present
Author of "Twinspiration: Real-Life Advice From Pregnancy Through the First Year" from Taylor Trade Publishing (2006), Cheryl is a fully-mobile, full-time mom to four-year-old fraternal twins, Darren and Sarah. Cheryl's unabashed honesty, vigilantly supportive style, and willingness to share "what works" have made her a requested speaker on a broad range of topics, twin-related, and otherwise. Check out her website @ twinsights.com.

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