While researching the sleeping schedules of twins, I came across something odd. Multiple sources claimed that allowing newborn twins to sleep together in the same crib or bassinet would help their sleep schedules align, and it would also help them sleep through the night successfully. Considering everything I’ve read about SIDS, this seemed like the opposite of most advice regarding sleeping babies. Most studies say that no extra items should be placed in the crib during sleep because a baby could easily suffocate by becoming pressed against it. So, it didn’t seem like twins should be an exception. I researched the topic further, and opinions on the matter are certainly in a grey area of the SIDS debate.

Research does show that twins rest a lot better when they are sleeping together. In fact, many studies suggested that they develop more quickly and show better vital signs when they’re close to their twin. This makes sense, considering they’d been growing together for nine months prior. Separating them only makes the world less comfortable than it already is. However, you should allow your twins to sleep together when they are very small and unable to move themselves around. Once they’re able to roll over, they could easily move onto the other twin and suffocate him unintentionally. When your baby reaches a mobile age, you could consider finding an attachment for the crib that allows the twins to sleep together with a barrier in between. That way, they won’t be able to contact each other, but they will still feel a sense of closeness.

If you decide to let your babies co-sleep, make sure you have an extra crib or bassinet on hand just in case anything goes wrong. If one twin falls ill, it will be better to keep them separated for a few days so that you don’t have two sick babies on your hands. The other crib might also come in handy if one twin is acting particularly fussy while the other is trying to rest.

Though studies do not clearly show that co-sleeping is safe, many experts still recommend it. It should be a personal decision you make based on the temperament of your own twins. Talk with your twins’ pediatrician about co-sleeping to learn about the real risks and benefits, and make sure you create a deadline for stopping so that they don’t sleep together into adulthood.

Source: Lynn Hutchinson et al: The Prevalence of Cobedding and SIDS—Related Child Care Practices in Twins. European Journal of Pediatrics Volume 169 Issue 12 pp. 1477-1485 December 2010

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