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We are sleep training our 4 month old twins and my question is when I put them down for a nap and they cry themselves to sleep they then awaken within a half hour, should I continue the sleep training or go and get them from their cribs? They also wake each other up when they cry.

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You will find vastly different opinions on this, but I think four months is awfully young to let kids cry themselves to sleep. I know it's hard -- it's extremely hard, and with twins it's more than twice as hard. That said, children that young cannot reason, and although you can condition them in the way you describe, I fear the broader effects will be all negative.

I am a father of seven, so believe me when I tell you I know it's a difficult period to endure.

You didn't ask, but one thing we've had luck with is laying down with them when they nap. If they feel, smell, sense the presence of mom or dad, they settle much easier. Heck, catch a couple of winks while you're at it -- you deserve it. And once they settle, you can peel yourself away while they continue to nap.

Much easier said than done, and in the interest of full disclosure, I have never had multiples.

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  • I also used this as an excuse for a nap with my daughter. Unfortunately, she always woke me up, I could have slept longer. – martin Oct 7 '15 at 11:30
  • The issue with lying down with them is in a few months, the kid will panic when they wake up and see that the parent is gone. When kids learn object permanence, you need to put them to sleep under the conditions that you intend to maintain all throughout their sleep. – swbarnes2 Oct 7 '15 at 19:33
  • @swbarnes2 Object permanence is something I've heard a lot about (my wife is a psychologist and so I've read all the stuff about piaeget etc.) but now that we actually have a baby it seems surreal. Our baby has been enjoying peek-a-boo from roughly 3 months of age (9 months earlier then piaget would predict). She will also turn around searching for me or her mom. On topic though since we have a fair amount of time for the baby (only baby and we're reasonably well off so my wife can stay home) we usually rock her to sleep while she's with us and then leave. She rarely wakes up crying. – DRF Oct 8 '15 at 19:53
  • @swbarnes2 And when she does the crying seems to be the cause usually. She does start crying sometime after waking up if noone is there but that's IMO not so much because she's afraid or panicked but rather since she has learned that to be the most efficient way of summoning someone to start catering to her every whim.:D It is also usually not real crying which she gets occasionally when she is unhappy due to pain, hunger or sleepiness but rather a sort of bleating which stops momentarily. – DRF Oct 8 '15 at 19:59
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Good work trying to help your twins sleep it is so important.

Short Answer is yes, if they wake up from a nap, nap time is over.

We have Irish twins and had to move them to separate rooms while sleep training. If that is an option for you perhaps that will help with one waking the other up. The thing to remember is you can't force your children to sleep you can only give them the best opportunity to sleep. If they are naturally waking up it is probably their natural sleep/wake cycle that is doing so. You can try adjusting the nap time earlier to see if that helps. Also every child's nap needs are different.

4 months does seem a little earlier for a cry it out, but each child is different and it may be best for yours, only you can make that decision. We had to use cry it out at about 6 months for one of our children but for the other we sat in the room and over time moved further and further out of the room while she fell asleep. We tried sleeping with our children but that just kept them (and us) up. So keep experimenting and see what works best for you and your family.

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