Should Twins Sleep Together at Home?

Deciding Whether or Not to Co-bed Your Twins

Twin babies sleeping next to each other

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If you’ve had twins or multiples, you may wonder if it’s safe to let them sleep together at home. Maybe your twins sleep better when they’re lying next to each other, or you remember from their NICU days that there are specific benefits to co-bedding multiples. Although there may be benefits to letting twins sleep together, it’s best to follow safe sleep practices.

Risks and Benefits of Twins Sleeping Together

Studies show several possible benefits of letting twins sleep together in the NICU. Multiples who are co-bedded seem to sleep better, gain weight better, have fewer episodes of apnea and bradycardia, and (as long as they’re about the same size), keep each other warm. No studies have looked at co-bedding twins at home, but it's likely that these benefits continue after hospital discharge.

The American Academy of Pediatrics policy on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) recommends that babies sleep in a baby bed in their parents’ bedroom. The policy says that it is unsafe for babies to sleep in bed with a parent, but doesn’t address the risk of SIDS when infants sleep with a twin or other siblings. Other studies show that the risk of SIDS may be higher when babies sleep with other children, but no study has been done to show whether it is safe to let twins sleep together.

Many twins and multiples are born premature, and the risk of SIDS is higher for premature babies than for infants born at full term. Also, when twins sleep together, they often turn to face each other. The side-sleeping position is no longer recommended for babies. Twins who sleep facing each other may also get less oxygen because they re-breathe each others’ exhaled air.

The Bottom Line on Cobedding Twins

Although there may be benefits to letting twins sleep together in the NICU, you probably shouldn’t continue the practice at home. If you choose to let your twins sleep together, then make sure to reduce the risk of SIDS in other ways: put your babies on their backs to sleep, put them to bed with a pacifier, and keep them in a crib in your bedroom that’s free from toys and plush blankets.

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  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Published November 2016. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2938

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