By Janelle Kent, Certified Sleep Consultant at Fais Dodo Sleep Solutions
They shared a womb so why wouldn’t they share a crib?
Choosing to have your twins share a crib may not actually be up to you. You may have dreams of sweet little heads nestled together while they sleep peacefully away; but your reality may look more like reciprocal baby nail scratches, reflux stained sleepers that got caught in the line of fire and babies disrupting each other’s sleep.
While the practical part of twin-rearing implores you to save some cash where you can, getting away with one crib will not be a long-term option.
Why one crib can work, for a little while
- Your twins will likely find comfort in knowing and sensing that they are close to one another, especially during that fourth trimester when they are hardly moving around.
- Babies are pretty tiny, and a standard crib is huge compared to a newborn, so they won’t need their own ocean of space at first.
- There is some literature that suggests that when newborn twins share a crib they adjust to the environment and regulate their sleep cycles.
- Oftentimes—as long as they aren’t swinging their arms and legs around—twins who share a crib may actually have an easier time learning how to tune out each other’s sleeping noises. They may even learn how to use those noises as cues for sleep, which can be really helpful if you intend on having them sleep in the same room for the foreseeable future.
Why one crib can’t work forever
1- It can be dangerous. Babies start rolling, and even before then they shimmy and wander all over a crib trying to find a sweet spot to rest their heads. This inevitably leads to babies getting too close for breathing room (and parents’ comfort!). You can expect rolling over, even accidentally, to happen any time starting around six weeks.
2- They have different needs. Twins are not the same person and do not have the same needs and preferences. They may have shared a very tight space and perhaps even a placenta for many months, but they have their own personalities and temperaments. Usually, one is a more sensitive sleeper and that little person is usually best in their own space. Having said that, the sensitive sleeper may need the cuddle, much to the independent sleeper’s chagrin.
How to share the crib safely
As soon as one of your twins is able to kick off a swaddle blanket or shimmy to cuddle with their sibling, you should separate them to avoid accidental suffocation. Until then, follow the these tips for sharing the crib safely:
- Give them some room. If you have to sleep them side by side, try to put at least two feet between them when unsupervised.
- Position them at opposite ends of the crib, head-to-head.
- Give each baby a specific spot in the crib to establish consistency and a routine, the foundation for healthy sleep habits. (Be sure to avoid putting baby to sleep with their head always in the same position, which can possibly lead to plagiocephaly.)
Consider the use of alternative products carefully
There are products out there made for twin sleeping. Some may be options that work for your family and home, and others may seem as dangerous to you as they do to me.
- Twin-cribs. Many twin-cribs are designed to attach together in one way or another. This may work for your space, but consider this: once they are more mobile, they may try climbing the divider to get into each other’s beds.
- Crib dividers. Some families consider using crib dividers when the twins are really little, but I strongly caution against this as extra materials in a crib compromise safety.
- Play yards. There are play yards for twins on the market that use mesh dividers, which may be a viable short-term option. However, caesarean section mamas won’t appreciate the low-to-the-ground options and like me, you may not be too keen on the kind of “mattresses” most play yards come with.
- Along the same idea as the play yards, there are stand-alone bassinets and bassinets that attach to a play yard that do not require much bending, but these are also temporary as they only support a certain amount of weight. (Maman Loup is a big fan of the Joovy Room², but at 4 months old, the Cub Twins have almost outgrown the bassinet feature.)
Deciding whether or not to sleep your twins in the same crib is a personal decision, but one that’s heavily influenced by your twins’ unique needs and what you consider to be safe practices that you can monitor. There is no “best” way to do it as long as it is safe and works for your family.
Healthy sleep for you and your baby are vital to your family’s well-being. If you and your baby are struggling with bedtime, a Certified Sleep Consultant can help!
Janelle Kent, director of Fais Dodo Sleep Solutions, is a certified infant and child sleep consultant based in Calgary, Alberta. She believes that quality sleep is paramount to family units thriving. With extensive professional experience working with children and three little ones of her own (a 4-year-old and 2-year-old twins), Janelle is passionate about helping children and families get the sleep they need and deserve. Janelle offers a variety of sleep support packages, and her services are offered remotely via phone and email consultations.
* All content provided in this blog article is for informational purposes only. In no case shall Fais Dodo Sleep Solutions Inc., our directors, employees or shareholders, be liable for any errors or omissions in this information, nor for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.