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Sleep Training Your One-Year-Old Twins

  • Question From a Follower:

    I’m writing to you because I’m currently helping my friend by babysitting her twins. They are almost one year old. We would like to ask you a question.

    It is particularly difficult to get them to sleep. Mom has tried it all! Let them cry, grab them immediately, put them down right after drinking milk (the best one so far), but for nothing really works. Do you have maybe any advice? What have you tried with your babies?

    It’s so exhausting! If I feel tired, I can’t imagine how my friend feels every day. It is like her only life is taking care of the girls.

    If you could tell us what your strategy is, we will be more than thankful!


  • My Reply: 

    Well, as I wrote in this post, we did sleep training from day one, so the Joy Boys were sleeping through the night from age four months. (Three months is about the earliest any child can sleep through the night, and really they have to reach a certain weight before they can make it.) This was a Godsend for me. As an older mom, I really need my sleep, so getting the boys sleep trained meant my sanity!
    Now, my boys continue to go to bed without a peep every night, and also are very reliable at nap time, even when we are traveling. One of the reasons I am such a big fan of sleep training from the start is that you wind up with amazing sleepers.

    The older kids get, the more difficult it becomes to sleep train them. However, it is still possible and worth taking on the challenge. I promise you: Your friend will be kissing your feet in gratitude in one week’s time if you really implement a sleep training program and get those little darlings sleeping through the night.

    First off, it is critical to keep a consistent schedule all day every day and night. Get up, eat breakfast, play, take morning nap, eat, play, take afternoon nap, play, eat dinner, have a bath, read books, then go to bed- AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY. This will teach the twins to follow a routiine, so that when sleep time comes, they are ready. My boys are usually lolling around on their blankets, practically falling asleep as we read books by 7pm. When I set them down in their tents at7, they go to bed instantly.

    Once you have followed this routine for a full week, I believe you will find they are going to sleep more easily. However, you may just let have to let them cry it out. I know this is a controversial topic, and some people are wildly opposed to the idea. But the latest scientific research suggests that it does not do any harm to the babies. And it works.

    To be clear, you don’t leave your babies screaming forever. You just try to wait out 10, then 15, then 30 minutes. After a few days, your little ones should no longer cry when you put them to bed. Especially if you are keeping to the daytime and bedtime routine.

    The problem for most parents is — well, of course, it feels simply horrible. It is pretty much torture to listen to your precious little one cry. I suggest hiring a sleep training specialist to help you out for a week. However, if you can’t afford this, consider having dad or mom (whoever is tougher), a grandparent, or a friend stay in the house while the babies are crying, and send the most sensitive parent outside of the house to go for a walk.

    My night nurse also shared with me that most parents really screw up sleep training because they quit too soon. Baby will go down pretty well, after only 5 minutes of crying, the first night. But the second and third and possibly even fourth nights will be worse, as baby tries to cry even louder and do anything to get you to come into the room. Stick with it, though, and by Day 5, the baby will be sleep trained.

    This is a highly personal decision. You should check with your doctor if your baby is underweight or has any health issues. But the research shows baby cortisol, or stress hormone, levels do not go up during sleep training — only mama and papa’s stress goes through the roof! However, everyone in the family will be happier just one week later.



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