Swaddling Twins

Secret Strategy for Successful Sleep

Swaddling spawns sound sleep for these twin babies.. Heather Hawksford / Getty Images

What’s the most valuable commodity for parents of young twins? SLEEP! Parents of twins will do or try anything to get their baby twins to fall asleep and stay asleep. Because when baby twins don’t sleep, parents of twins don’t get any sleep either! One of the tricks that many parents find effective for their twins is swaddling. Swaddling is the practice of wrapping an infant snuggly in a blanket. Picture a sweet, snuggly baby burrito.

According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep (compare prices), swaddling resembles the constrained environment of the womb. It also keeps babies from waking themselves up if they startle or twitch, and triggers a calming reflex that helps them sleep. 

Will it work for your twins? Well, if you are desperate enough for some shut-eye, anything that promotes sleep with twinfants is worth a shot! Not every baby likes swaddling, so be flexible in trying it. Don’t hesitate to use it with one twin but not the other if you find it is not effective. 

Swaddling is best for newborns and younger babies. Once babies start rolling around, it’s less effective and can even be dangers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends stopping the practice of swaddling after babies are two months old. Of course, if your twins were born prematurely, you should consult your pediatrician about the appropriate timeline based on their adjusted age.


Be aware that their are some risks associated with swaddling, and do it safely. Use swaddling only at nighttime or during naps, not all the time. Always place your twins on their backs to sleep and monitor them to ensure they are not rolling over. Don’t keep any extraneous bedding or blankets (including pillows or toys) in their cribs and remove loose blankets if the babies become unswaddled.

Don’t let babies become overheated due to swaddling; discontinue if they are sweaty, with damp hair or flushed cheeks. Don’t swaddle too tightly around the hips or legs to minimize any risk of hip dislocation or dysplasia

Use the right blanket for swaddling. Dr. Karp recommends a 44” square blanket or a premade swaddler product. Soft cotton blankets are a good choice; look for blankets that are lightweight and thin, not thick or fuzzy.

Finally, swaddle your twins individually. Don’t wrap them up together!

Here is the swaddling procedure recommended by the AAP

  • Spread the blanket out on a flat surface, in a diamond shape.
  • Fold down the top corner. 
  • Lay the first baby face-up on the blanket, with his or her head just above the fold on the top corner, and feet pointint towards the bottom corner.
  • Straighten the left arm and pull the left corner of the blanket across the boyd. Tuck it between the right arm and the right side of the body.
  • Tuck the right arm down and pull the right corner of the blanket across the body and under the left side. 
  • Fold the bottom corner of the blanket and tuck it under.

The blanket should be loose enough for the baby’s hips to move, but snug enough that the baby feels the comforting sensation of the swaddle. Now get another blanket, and repeat the steps with Twin #2. Sing them a sweet lullaby, and settle down for some sleep!

More swaddling strategies from About Pregnancy and About Pediatrics.

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