Routine??

Hmm.

I think we are doing a good job. You know what I was saying about adjustment? Well, never a truer word were spoken. I love being a mummy. I LOVE our daughters and I LOVE being a mummy with AW. However, I worry.

Teeny baby Ivy has really changed so much – her skinny little face has rounded out and she weighed in yesterday at 2650g (almost Olive’s birth weight – Ivy was 1800g at birth). We are delighted! Olive is now 3380g, so she is gaining weight as well. I guess you could say that I’m not worrying about quite the same things as I was a few weeks ago. Today my left breast engorged for the first time, and I sat down and pumped – about 100ml came out in about 10 minutes. Olive rolls off the breast looking delighted and drugged with some milky dribbles, so there is plenty of milk. Ivy is generally feeding well from the bottle, and I try to pump for her twice each 24 hours, resulting in a balance of about 1/4-1/3 of feeds being breast milk. The late night feed sees the first of the formula night feeds – an attempt to ‘knock them out’. We don’t actually begin a night time ritual till about 9.30 pm as that’s when AW return from work.

I’d like to say that although this post will seem like a whinge, I am at this time very very pleased that I continued with the breastfeeding and didn’t give up.

routines and sleep

The feeding and sleeping currently seem to be ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE. I have read over and over of the importance of routine, and also that it ought to be established as early as possible. But can this advice really be followed for twins such as ours? Again, these books make me doubt my instincts about my own children. We have felt that given our twins’ widely differing sizes/ needs etc that this simply hasn’t been possible. Not yet. Ivy can’t feed at the breast well yet, but she does seem to be capable. The longest feed from her has been 20 minutes. We tried to tandem but it involved moving her from the cradle to the rugby hold and that was enough to make her very cross. The moment was lost. Encouraging though! Ivy’s bottle feeding is also unpredictable; today she took only very small amounts (and very slowly) till the evening, when she suddenly demanded a second 90ml after the first. She finished the whole lot. Olive’s feeds have become shorter and more frequent and I just am not sure what to do about it. Some of her feeds are 10 minutes, but more often they are broken at 10 minutes and I have to stimulate her to wake and continue the feed.

During the night Olive can finish her feed in 10 minutes while Ivy can take an hour or more. Last night Olive took hours to settle after her 2.30 am feed, and then Ivy woke up almost as soon as she went to sleep. Most nights are better than that though. I am more anxious about settling them into a daytime routine and trying to enforce naps – the twins are never in synch, it seems. Most twin mums from whom I’ve sought advice say that we are right to imagine that a routine for such different babies is a tall order at such a young age. Ivy has been so needy. Olive seems to be so grizzly.

How do we get them to nap at any set time?

How do we schedule feedings when we have a totally unpredictable bottle feeder and a breast feeder who breaks every half hour feed at least in half and has to be woken?

 

Crying and over-tiredness

This is something both our twins do – they cry and cry, even after feeding and nappy changes. I think (I’m almost positive) it’s because they are getting over-tired. But how do we rule out some sort of tummy trouble? This evening, Olive fed for 40 minutes at the breast. She was particularly fussy, squealing periodically as though she was cross with my boob. 30 minutes after finishing that feed, she was still crying and grizzling, and it turned out she wanted more. 23 minutes more at the other breast. That feed was much calmer and I was sure she’d be ready to wind down.

Nope.

She worked herself up into a huge frenzy and my mum and I consulted the Baby Whisperer book. It said to try the ‘Shh pat’ technique. That worked like a CHARM till I actually put her down in the cot, then the hysterics started up again. I had assumed that after the two feeds at the breast she wouldn’t need her usual formula knock-out, but AW insisted Olive must still be hungry. She was!! She drank the 60mls I had made from her cup in less than 5 minutes, then we swaddled her and calmed her again. That is a whapping 60mins at boob and 60mls of formula. I know I have enough milk, and I don’t have any sore nipples/ cracking/ pain/ bleeding, so I don’t think it’s the supply or the latch – growth spurt? During this time, AW had laboriously been feeding and settling Ivy.

Do any of you twin readers have any light to shed? How do you make a baby (let alone two babies!) ‘go down for a nap’ when they don’t want to? How do you know when it’s time?

I do feel like we are coping pretty well with something very challenging, but I wish the babies could tell us what is bothering them! I hope it’s all a matter of patience. If we wait till the differences in their sizes and development are less pronounced, then hopefully they will settle into more similar patterns, right?

Here is a useful thread on Twins and routine (babywise)

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7 thoughts on “Routine??

  1. Signs baby is tired: yawning, droopy eyes, slower movements (slower blinking), snuggly-er
    Signs baby is over-tired: cranky, crying, eyes closed while crying, and nothing is wrong

    Often I have to persevere through the overtired phase with one baby while the other one is entering the tired phase. The way to sort of sync this up is to make sure babies are feeding at the same time, meaning I almost always wake one baby to eat because the other is hungry. Babies generally have the same cycle (feed-awake-sleep) and generally can be awake for 60-90 minutes at a time, though smaller babies can be awake for less time even than that. So if it’s been about 60+ minutes since the baby woke up to eat and baby has gotten fussy again, good chance is it’s time for a nap. I have a nap-time song I’ve been doing for a while that I do while I put them in their swaddles/sleep sacks and then into the rockers, and sometimes if it’s too early and they aren’t quite sleepy I will read them a story, and then sing their sleepy song as I put them into their cribs. It’s a multi-step process that I do for almost every nap / bed time, so I think that helps.

    That said, the babies’ feeding can depend on the day (cluster feeding in the evening to prep for a longer sleep stretch) or growth spurts. I really liked the Wonder Weeks book because it describes growth spurts 🙂

  2. We didn’t get the twins into any sort of routine until they were around 8 weeks and even then all it was was feeding them together so they’d get dozy around the same time. Even now – at 6 months – I do struggle to get them to nap at the same time (although it is a MILLION times easier than it was when they were newborns so don’t lose hope).

    I think you are right to trust your instincts. They are your babies and you know them best. Trust your gut over what a book says – all babies are different after all. You are already doing an amazing job – that weight gain is fabulous! Good luck with it all. Xx

  3. I agree with Laura! Trust your instincts. Your body,brain and heart were made to do this. I’m almost finished with “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, which seems to have good advice on calming techniques as well. I suppose I’ll find out in about a month!

  4. Routine is very important but honestly, we didn’t have anything even resembling a routine for what felt like AGES! I remember the first few weeks were simply feeding, popping, snuggling and when we could (the ever elusive, grab it while you can) sleeping. All according to his whim 🙂

    It sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job and the fact that they are absolutely adorable and putting on weight proves that 🙂

    The grumbly moments could very well be tummy upset, but since all babies are lovely little mysteries it’s hard to tell.

    Good luck!

  5. I would love to help but I don’t remember the first 4 months. We used to put the boys down for a nap together and wake the one when the other woke for a feed. They were very similar in size though 2.5 and 2.7kg at birth. M started feeding like a champ and lost the plot. it is almost like he doesn’t like milk. He easts solids really well. L didn’t latch well but drank well from the bottle and loves his milk. L ended up an entire kilo heavier than M just because of how much more milk he drank. He is still the bigger baby even though they are exactly the same height.

    I tandem breastfed from day 1. My one boob always made substantially less milk than the other so we always had one hungry baby with feeds taking 45min. We then started formula top ups and that worked much better.

    Now a year later they are on exactly the same routine and it is a pleasure. But i do remember those first months being difficult and tiring and confusing. Eventually we got a electric swing chair which helped getting the boys to sleep at the same time.

    We also used the baby whisperer and it worked for us.

    Good luck.

  6. Such awesome pictures!!!!

    I can’t speak about twin routine, but with our singleton, we didn’t even bother trying to get into a routine until she started falling into her own routine… sometime between 6 and 12 weeks? And it wasn’t until she started daycare and we were both back at work with what would be our “final” routine that we really stuck with anything and even now our routines are mostly around bedtime; other pieces of the day tend to depend on the day.

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