When Terri and Vince Canziani of Chappaqua, NY, brought their newborns, Rebecca and Jasmine, home from the hospital, the twins shared a crib in their parents' bedroom. "They'd never been apart, so it seemed natural," says Terri.
It can be practical too. Co-bedding may comfort multiples and help them sleep better, says Rebecca Moskwinski, M.D., author of Twins to Quints: The Complete Manual for Parents of Multiple Birth Children and mom of twins. A study of neonatal intensive care units found that keeping premature twins and triplets together led to improved vital signs and shorter hospital stays.
Co-bedding can benefit parents as well. A single crib takes up less space and makes it easier to check on the babies. Luckily, an infant tends to sleep through the cries of a sibling lying beside him, says Dr. Moskwinski.
Place newborns side by side crosswise, to make it easier to lift them. As they grow, turn them lengthwise, head to foot. Triplets can also sleep in the same crib, but quads or more need extra space, says Maureen Boyle, executive director of Mothers of Supertwins.
Avoid confusion about who was last fed by assigning each baby his own spot.
What if one child gets sick? It's okay to keep them in one crib, says Dr. Moskwinski. "Since they're usually together, it wouldn't affect whether the other baby or babies get sick." But if one infant has a serious communicable disease or a chronic health problem, check with your pediatrician.
Once your multiples are 5 or 6 months and start to go bump in the night, separate cribs may be needed. "Jasmine and Rebecca became so active that they'd wake each other up," says Terri Canziani. They got their own cribs, placed end to end so they could still enjoy and be soothed by sisterly contact.
Etta Sanders is a freelance writer.