There are many sleeping arrangements that exist for newborn twins. If you’re trying to figure out the best newborn twin arrangement for sleeping, then this post should help guide you in your efforts.
Is It Safe For Twins To Sleep Together Or Should You Be Concerned About SIDS?
To co-bed or not to co-bed? That is the question for parents expecting multiples. Ask experienced parents and you are likely to get about a hundred different answers as to why you should or should not co-bed your twins.
Co-bedding simply refers to sleeping twins together in one crib, as opposed to their own separate crash pads (not to be confused with co-sleeping with parents…read below for info on co-sleeping twins!).
The Lowdown on Co-Sleeping Twins
Advocates of co-bedding say that it is soothing for twins to snuggle up with their womb-mate and that it can even promote temperature regulation and help sync up sleep cycles.
For some parents, putting twins together in one crib is simply a matter of space: parents are encouraged to share a room with their newborns and many cannot fit two cribs and a bed in one room.
Opposition to co-bedding twins primarily concerns SIDS. Among a slew of other guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents of multiples that babies should snooze solo and in their own cribs to be safe.
Still, more than half of twin parents co-bed their babies at some point.
How to Decide What Sleeping Arrangement is Best for Your Family
One final consideration is the babies themselves. You always hear the phrase “every baby is different,” and this rings true for twins as well.
They are different from each other and they are different from other sets of twins. What works well for one family may not work well at all for another.
Some newborn twins are known to fuss endlessly when separated, while others seem totally unaware of the other’s existence. Ultimately, it is best to do what is best for your family.
If you are able to put your twins in separate cribs in your room, this is the best advice.
If this doesn’t work for you or your babies, just be sure to follow these other important SIDS guidelines: babies should sleep only in swaddles or sleep-sacks, in a crib or Pack n’ Play with only a fitted sheet, and they should be put down on their backs.
Sleeping Arrangement Options For Twins In A Shared Crib
If you decide that sharing a nest is best for your two little birds, there are a few ways you can go about it, each with their own advantages or disadvantages:
Option #1: Side By Side-Vertical
Babies placed side-by-side in the same crib would have their feet at the same footboard, and their heads together. This is a somewhat impractical arrangement due to the space limitations on either side of the babies.
They will have to be positioned very close together and will outgrow the situation quickly.
Another disadvantage to this arrangement would be moving one baby without disturbing the other. Nobody wants that!
Option #2: Side By Side-Transverse
In this arrangement, your twins would lie across the crib side-by-side (instead of along it, i.e. heads and feet next to the side rails). This arrangement allows for more separation of the babies so they can have their own bubbles.
The limitation here is, again, they will quickly outgrow being able to sleep this way. It is a possibility though for small newborns if parents believe them to sleep better when in proximity to one another.
Option #3: Head to Head
Sleeping head-to-head (heads in the middle of the crib, babies facing away from each other with feet on either footboard) is the most practical, and probably safe, way for twins to share a crib.
Parents can still easily access one without disturbing the other-phew! With length and not width being the limiting factor, in a standard size crib your twins should be able to fit this way for a while. The best part is that they are each in their own little space.
How Long Can Twins Sleep In The Same Crib?
It seems like only yesterday (or was it a century ago?) that you were laying your two tiny burritos together in their crib for the first time.
They lay there like two lumps on a log: sleepy, sweet, and unaware. Now they are kicking, and flailing, moving and grooving: it is time to part ways.
Once even one of your babies shows potential to break free of their swaddle, they can no longer share a crib (or be swaddled).
If your twins have been sleeping together for awhile, try separating them during naps to transition them into their own cribs. You will be glad that you did once they start munching on each other’s faces and trying to grab one another’s eyeballs…sigh.
Other Popular Sleeping Arrangements For Twin Babies
There are other ways that newborn twins can share a room with you without sleeping together in a crib. Most twin parents fall into one of two camps: a Pack ‘n Play with Twin Bassinets, or two Rock ‘n Plays.
Option #1 Twin Bassinets
There a ton of different bassinets on the market, and you can purchase either two free-standing bassinets or a Pack ‘n Play designed specifically for twins with two bassinets perched on top.
The PNP with bassinets pour deux is the road most traveled as you can sleep your twins in a relatively condensed space, and the unit functions as a play yard when the bassinets say goodbye.
It is also a great crib for traveling (though when they get older you will need two).
Option #2 Two Rock ‘n Play Sleepers
Two Rock n’ Play Sleepers are another popular option among twin parents. They are small enough for most people to fit two next to their bed and they can be moved around the house with relative ease if you want to use for naps or as an infant playtime seat (hence the “play” in Rock ‘n Play).
The shape of the sleeper snuggles your baby and they can rest on an incline, which is great for newborns with reflux. You can also rock your baby in the sleeper (automatically or manually) to soothe them while humming along your favorite lullaby!
Parents Co-Sleeping with Twins Arrangement
Co-sleeping (sometimes referred to as a “family bed”) is, yet another, option for sleeping your twins (yes, considering all the possibilities is enough to make you want to take a nap…but where should you take it?!).
Co-sleeping is when a parent, or parents, share their bed with a baby, or in this case babies. Like co-bedding, co-sleeping is a subject of debate.
Proponents declare that co-sleeping promotes bonding and a sense of security for the baby, and facilitates breastfeeding and better rest for the mother.
The position of the AAP is that co-sleeping is a SIDS risk and does not recommend that parents share a bed with their children. That said, if you choose to co-sleep, just be aware of the risks and how to minimize them.
Co-sleeping is not a good choice for obese individuals or parents who smoke. Just like with the crib, your baby should be laid to sleep on their backs, on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet, and not covered with blankets.
If you will be sharing the bed with your partner as well, talk it over with them to make sure everyone is comfortable!
Alright, now that we have covered co-sleeping basics, let’s progress to how it works with twins!
How Co-Sleeping Works With Twins
There are a couple of reasonable options, and both are geared toward breastfeeding mothers to easily reach their babies to feed at night.
Twins on Either Side of Mother
One option is for the mother to sleep with a baby on either side of her. For this arrangement, the parents would need a large bed, or perhaps only one parent would be sharing the bed.
Most moms who co-sleep twins in this fashion will sleep on alternating sides as she nurses each in the side-lying position. The baby you are facing can be cuddled in the nook of your bottom arm, or else you can stretch the arm above them. Both ways will help create a little space for the baby in the bed.
Use a Co-Sleeper Bassinet
A second option is to use an Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper Bedside Bassinet. A co-sleeper bassinet is kind of like the intersection between co-sleeping, co-bedding, and bassinet sleeping. It is basically a little crib with one side open that is nudged up against your bed.
Newborn twins can lay side-by-side in the co-sleeper, and you can easily reach them in the night without worrying about them being in your physical bed.
This is a great option for parents who would like to co-sleep but find that their bed is too small to accommodate two extra friends.
Twin moms who have used a co-sleeper bassinet also appreciate that it is helpful for keeping the babies close while recovering from a C-section.
The only downside, like most shared arrangements, is that your twins will quickly outgrow it.
Sleeping Arrangements For Twins In Separate Cribs
Whether you are starting off sleeping your twins in separate cribs or moving them in later, at some point you will probably need two cribs in your nursery and you have a few options for how to arrange them. Choices…choices…choices…
Option #1 End to End
Cribs can be placed end to end in the middle of a room or against a wall.
Wherever the location, just be sure that there is a sufficient space in between the cribs to discourage them from trying to dive into the neighboring crib and/or get stuck between. Really, they are rather mischievous and remarkably acrobatic!
Mini cribs are a great option for this layout as you will save room lengthwise unless of course, your nursery is actually a repurposed ballroom, in which case space should not be an issue.
You can also work some other nursery furniture in between the cribs, such as a changing table, glider, or bookshelf. With the end-to-end arrangement, your twins needn’t see into each other’s cribs.
Option #2 “L”-shape
Break out your protractor for the following lesson in geometry: The “L” configuration of cribs places one crib in the corner of the room with the other one intersecting it perpendicularly along the adjacent wall.
It seems a shame not to throw the word “hypotenuse” in here…While it may seem a bit odd to have one crib cutting off the other, both cribs are still perfectly accessible.
For smaller nurseries this might be the only possible option for fitting two cribs; it is the most space-conservative way to arrange two baby-beds. The only downside? You just created a meeting place for shenanigans.
If you suspect your twins are doing more plotting than napping, you can separate the cribs a bit, one along each wall (provided you have the room).
Option #3 Parallel
Another option is to place the cribs parallel, each with a head against the wall and pointing into the room.
Once again, you will want to leave enough space that you can walk in between the cribs and so that they cannot reach one crib from the other crib.
There are countless sleeping arrangements for twins. It goes without saying, but the best are the ones that work for your babies and you!
Do they feel better together or are they fine apart? Do you see yourself as an integral part of their sleep environment? What works with the space in your home?
As you consider all of the possibilities, know also that nothing is set in stone. You may decide on one arrangement to later find that something completely different works better for your family-that’s ok! There is no one-size fits all approach for twin sleeping arrangements.