I’m a member of many online twin mom groups, and it is often asked… did your twins share a crib? The simple answer is yes, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, there are many different sleeping arrangements for twins. Whether you’re concerned about safety or practicality, there is a lot to consider. So before you go shopping for cribs, consider how you want those babies to sleep.
Is it Safe for Twins to Share a Crib?
You may have concerns about the safety of your twins while sharing a crib. You often see photos of twins snuggled tightly together while sleeping, after all they were pretty up close and personal in utero. We have a number of those adorable moments captured on camera ourselves, but, generally I felt more comfortable when the twins were close together but not snuggling. In the hospital I had them share a box (that’s pretty much all you can call those plastic tubs) but only for a couple of days because I found they started to wake each other up. Still, I believe having them close to each other helps them stay calm, even today now they’re 20month old.
“Cobedding promotes self-regulation and sleep and decreases crying without apparent increased risk.” (Effect of Cobedding Twins on Coregulation, Infant State, and Twin Safety – JOGNN)
Sleeping Arrangements for Twins in a Shared Crib
For the more snuggly orientation, go for a classic side by side set up. I worried about them moving and getting in the way of each other’s breathing, and it was also incredibly difficult to pick one up to feed without jiggling and therefore waking the other.
I must say, I never tried this one, although it is often recommended as the safest way to co-bed twins. Their heads a close enough to hear each other’s breathing, but faces are clear of legs and accompanying swaddles/sleep sacks.
This is how we had our twins sleeping for the first three months. They have enough space that you can pick them up without waking the other, but they feel close enough to encourage self-regulation. At three months, they became too tall to lay in this position, and they started to rotate in the night and kick each other in the head! So we moved them at that point into their own cribs.
Another popular choice for the early days:
Many twin moms choose to use a pack n play with basinet attachments for the first couple months. They are at a good height to reduce bending (especially useful post c-section) and allows separate sleeping space without swallowing the room while they’re in with you. The Graco is particularly popular –> Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet (Amazon affiliate link)
For more options for bassinets, double cribs and strollers, check out my other post –> Clever Stuff for twins to Sleep In.
Slight Side Note: The Use of Blankets in Cribs
A generation ago, we were all bundled up in blankets, in cribs decorated with padded bumpers, sleeping on our bellies nuzzled up against a cuddly toy. The campaign to encourage moms to sleep babies on their backs and keep them away from smoke (amongst other things) has seen a huge decline in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But sadly since 2000, deaths classified as ASSB (accidental suffocation and strangulation in bedding) have slightly increased.
The horrific story of Jordan DeRosier and the loss of her 7month old son this week made my stomach wrench and my eyes fill with tears the second I saw her post on Facebook. I can not stress enough the importance of not using blankets in your crib before 12 months. With twins there seems to be even more of a risk that one will get tangled, because there are two blankets and two moving babies. I had mine swaddled for the first couple of months, but once they started to bust out of that swaddle, they only wore sleepsacks.
What about co-sleeping with parents?
This is always a delicate subject, because the world is torn between whether its a great idea or a terrible one. Accidents can happen, but at the same time they are so close-by, you are more likely to notice if something is wrong. I honestly don’t know where I stand on the safety factor, all I know is when there is a child in my bed, let alone two, I don’t sleep. They fidget, you get butts in your face, and it’s all round a disaster for mom’s precious sleep.
Having said that, there were times during the first few months when they were sick, or teething, or just outright cranky, and I would bring them into bed for a cuddle to get them to sleep. I found they always rolled into each other and me, and it all became a little congested to feel safe.
“Try putting one baby next to you and the other in a bedside co-sleeper, a crib-like bed that attaches safely to your bed. ” (Dr Sears, Parenting.com)
Many twin moms will find it easier to have one baby on each side of them, making breastfeeding during the night simple. Personally I like to be able to slide out of bed without disturbing them, so on the odd occasion I had them in the bed they went between Daddy and me. But they would always end up smooched into my armpit together, so I never got any sleep!
Sleeping Arrangements for Twins is Separate Cribs?
It can be difficult to find the space for two cribs. And you may limited as the arrangement you can create in your new nursery.
This seems to be a popular option, because it’s the most space efficient for smaller rooms. If you do decide to have the cribs touching, do make sure decorative mouldings do not cause a small gap. A fellow Phoenix twin mom brought this to my attention after her 18month old was found hanging from his head after getting stuck in the small gap between the cribs. Luckily, the boy was fine because his Mom found him quickly. It could have ended differently.
Visually, I like end to end… it gives a symmetry to the room that can look adorable. However, if you want to have the cribs touching, just make sure they do actually touch, you may even want to fix them together. Otherwise, spread them apart to create a good sized gap, one that will mean baby will land on the floor rather than get caught on their way down.
This is how we have our cribs arranged. We were really limited with wall space because of the closet, two windows and a door. That left no space for two cribs! Placing cribs along an outside wall is also not advised because babies can get cold at night (whoever came up with that one doesn’t live in Arizona); so if you are trying to reduce contact with the wall, this arrangement is a good shout. Just allow a good gap between the cribs or make sure they’re safely fixed together.
If you want to reduce the temptation to try and climb from one crib to the other you may choose to just keep those pesky babies as far apart as possible!
What about when they move to beds?
Twins have the best incentive to escape their crib… they have a sibling to get to! Once my boys have worked out how to do this, they will be moving into beds, even though it may be earlier than I’d like. If you’re considering your sleeping arrangements for twins in beds or bunks, head over to my design post on beds for shared rooms.
Many parents decide to separate twins into separate rooms when they move into beds, because they just run wild through the night. I’m remaining hopeful that with some perseverance we can work it out… I’ll keep you posted on that one, haha!