Advice please! Can't remember what's normal for breast feeding 6 week olds and unsure how to deal with v diff twins with v diff routines...

(20 Posts)
Cheerymum Wed 20-Nov-13 08:48:53

Not a lawyer, but 9 week old MCDA girls born at 37+1 and a nearly 3 year old. EBF at the mo and struggling to achieve any sort of routine compatible with the other demands of family life. My older daughter goes to nursery 3 days a week but is struggling with the changes and has become quite challenging. Husband at work leaving at 6.45 am and back at 7-7.30pm. I'm still feeding the babies at roughly 10pm, 1am, 4 am and 7am and keen to start trying to stretch things at night so I am better able to be patient with the tantrums - I think she needs love bombing really but that's hard to deliver! So watching the thread with interest.
Fortunately so far the babies are very placid and sleep between feeds at night, as well as quite a lot during the day.
V interesting to see what others are doing. Have worked out a hugely long and complex family routine that could work in theory, but isn't so far!!

beachesandbuckets Fri 25-Oct-13 21:38:12

Jeez, lots of lawyers with twins. We are gluttons for punishment!! smile

Mandy21 Fri 25-Oct-13 21:36:00

Another lawyer here smile

Oh and I sang A LOT in the early days. I picked 3 or 4 songs (not all nursery rhymes) which I sang in repetition, with them and also when I couldn't get to them. The crying in the early days was one of the hardest things.

I am also a lawyer! In house now but used to work MC - the one with best friends, if you know what I mean.

I went into the office the other day and my bosses were rubbing their hands in glee, saying "you were already pretty efficient but with twins, you're going to be super efficient when you come back!" I laughed but it is true I think! I have got much more confidence now and truly do not give a shit what people think of me.

beachesandbuckets Fri 25-Oct-13 21:01:05

LB, I will pm where I live just in case we randomly live each other. You never know!

Our savings were decimated when we brought our house last year (luckily 4 bedrooms now we have 4 kids!) hence financial concerns and me worrying about going back to work.

My dh also changed career (twice!!) when my older dc's were born, and on maternity leave, know how bloody hard it is to hold the fort. Sounds like an interesting career choice! Hopefully you'll get some nice pieces for your home smile

Agree about the crying, I have to just zone out and accept that I sometimes cannot get to both babies at the same time, and will carry on what I am doing unless they are going really nuts.

Anyhow, glass of wine, Friday night TV, everyone in bed, gonna savour this moment! X

legallyblond Fri 25-Oct-13 20:37:21

* we are rinsing our savings - paying out each month the equivalent of my salary from savings account into current account sad.... Grrr

legallyblond Fri 25-Oct-13 20:33:59

Thank you thank you all... Your responses have helped enormously!

Halpyasasandboy - juggling needs if both is so hard! I am coming to terms with the fact there is just a lot more crying with twins! I all the time am saying "I'm just dealing with [twin], mummy is just coming..." To the other twin! A surprising number of people have said to me "oh I know what it's like... I had two close together." Errr, no, you have no idea!!!!

Mandy - interesting that your b/g were similarly totally different!

FreeButton - I plan to stick to feeding both when one roots... It does seem best....

Beaches - our bizarre parallel lives?!?! My DH is also a teacher! I am therefore also the breadwinner... Tbh, it's all a bit crazy at the mo. DH spent the last couple of years mostly being a stay at home dad, but is now setting up his own business (totally different... Furniture design!!) that can in theory be run from home and, obviously, bring in some income.. This setting up phase is v busy, so in fact DH has been away for three while weeks since the twins have arrived... So it's literally just me at home. At the mo, day goes:
- feed twins at 6ish
- 6.30 get DD and me up and dressed
- 7.30 breakfast for DD and me, so DD's lunch, my breakfast eaten while feeding at 7.45/50ish
- 8am twins into pram (cue crying from twin girl if she's not deeply asleep) while DD and I clean teeth and last wee for DD
-8.10 - leave... Twins fall instantly asleep in pushchair
- drop off at pre school then back and take dog for a walk, finally back by 10 or so
- feed any times up to constantly until school run time, then sleep, then random (tandem) feeds
- from 5ish - cooking then eating dinner, the whole time with a twin attached! Or if not feeding, twin boy dozing or lying in downstairs travel cot, twin girl in sling.
- 6.30 - bath twins, DD helping (every night)
- 6.45 - twins out, DD in
7-7.10 - bedtime story (with increasingly grumpy and crying twins) in DD's room then she goes down
7.30 or so - into my room and feed twins in the dark
8.20 (now!!) - twins asleep, so I'll have a shower (no time in morning), then tidy up downstairs and deal with dog, then bed
Twins will feed anytime next between 9.45 and 1am (the latter being bliss!!!!!)

Really, DH hadn't yet been around for moe than a day here and there of the above, so that's just me. Once the business settles down, I'm hoping evenings may be easier!!!

Re going back - I've said 11 months to work, but I'd love 12 and will prob take that with holiday... I'm on stat mat pay only though (moved to regional firm from city firm 18 months ago) so we are finding our savings and I am not sure how long they'll last... I went back full time with DD, but it just depends on DH/ the business / finances....

beachesandbuckets Fri 25-Oct-13 06:53:34

Morning. Hope you had a decent night. Have re-read your post and like you, my older dcs were born at 42 weeks-ish, and babies at 37+2 so was always expecting the routine to take longer to establish as they are a month younger in theory.

As mentioned by another poster, it was around 10wks that something like a routine was established and some of the random feeds to calm a crying baby down petered out.

I recognise that I am really lucky having dh being a teacher and being able to help in early evenings (the benefit is wiped out by his rubbish salary sad which means finances are really tough at moment). What time does your dh get home? Is there anyone who cld give you a hand early evening if you need it? On the other side, my dh has only changed one baby nappy thus far, so not all roses!!!

With my dcs, they aren't getting as much of my time, and feel guity, but sit with them feeding when they are watching TV, and try to comment on stuff they are watching (whilst mumsnetting!), have laid out Lego and drawing materials on dining room table permanently so they can play with them, and they come into my bed in the morning whilst I am feeding babies and cuddle up to my side/leg! I have also arranged a few playdates which isn't so bad, as long as food is supplied and tea comprises of something yummy, they occupy themselves and are happy.

Btw, totally different subject but given we share same vocation, are you going back to work, and if so, when? I did the finances yesterday and can just about spin it out to 10mths by using annual leave. But seems quite early, what with them being twins and the madness that will be our life them. Thinking about it too much now when shld be enjoying leave.

HappyAsASandboy Fri 25-Oct-13 04:20:05

Congratulations smile

My twins are now three, and don't have an older sibling, but so much of your post sounded familiar.

For us, it was one round of constant feeding/changing/settling until about 10 weeks, when suddenly feeds started being more predictable as well as shorter. I didn't tandem feed (never got the hang of latching two without ending up pulled in two directions!) though, which meant there was always a baby on the boob.

I also gave my DD formula in the first week, on the advice if an over enthusiastic, newly qualified, doctor. He later came and apologised for being alarmist, but I still feel guilty that her first feed was formula. I know this is irrational and pointless, but I know where you're coming from with the frustrated/guilty/regretful feeling sad All I can say is that your twins have had the very best start in life by getting so much breastmilk, and there is no way to turn back the clock.

Routine wise, I remember feeling more in control and able to predict things at about 8 - 10 weeks, and then another step change at about 4 months. The change at 4 months was life-changing - feeds dropped from an hour ish to 10 minutes almost over night smile At 4 months they also started reliably sleeping for a longer stretch after a feed at 6.30/7pm ish, so I felt like I got some evening back.

Well done for doing all this with your family of three smile It sounds very busy, but I think your philosophy of doing what each child seems to need at the time is the only way to go. If you start trying to divide yourself 'fairly', you'll end up missing more of their needs. I remember thinking of it as 'what is the most urgent/important thing right now', and letting the rest take care of itself. It may mean your three year old watches more peppa pig than you would really like, but too much telly for a couple of months won't harm her, and it is a price she can harmlessly pay for the benefit of the whole family.

Take care of yourself. You have a lot of others to care for, so getting others to help care for you so that you can pass the care on to your three babies is important. Delegate cooking/cleaning where possible (good quality ready meals? Ask your mum/friend/aunt/neighbour to batch cook for the freezer? Make it DH's job to cook several nights a week? Online shopping? A cleaner? A friend who'll drop your older child off in the morning one day a week? DH holding the fort for two hours on saturday morning so you can have a sleep/long bath?)

Another thing I foun helped was to join a local twins club. It was so helpful to speak to other mums who had to split their time between two babies with similar demands, and to watch the more experienced twin mums deal with the never ending barrage of 'need' (there was a fair amount of 'wait. I am dealing with X at the moment') and their children cope with it. It helps relieve some of the guilt and pressure to see first hand that this is normal twin parenting smile

I've written an essay, but good luck and congratulations! By worrying about the things you're worried about, and fining things a bit difficult to juggle, you are showing that you're aware of everyone's needs and are doing your absolute best to meet them all. This is a great thing for your children, who are no doubt getting everything the need as a result of your efforts smile

Take care of all of you smile

beachesandbuckets Fri 25-Oct-13 03:38:44

Ps at 6wks, had much less of a routine and fed more. If one or both baby didn't settle at 7pm ish, wld bring them downstairs and feed them in front of TV into sleep oblivion and then take them back upstairs.

beachesandbuckets Fri 25-Oct-13 03:35:55

Legally Blond, can't believe that we are facing almost identical circumstances bar mine are a few weeks older at 12 wks and I have an extra older dc (5).

Currently b/feeding and typing with thumb so excuse the shortness!

Our day goes like this:

6.30 alarm set, I b/feed babies for half an hour, older dcs still asleep. Babies then nod back off in their Moses basket or just lie there.
7am: I have shower, dc1 (5) wakes up and gets himself up. I get changed then wake dc2, and get her up. We have breakfast, with babies asleep upstairs. If they kick off may have to alter things by getting them up, and have breakfast after with them sitting in bouncy seats or one being held if going crazy. Someone lent us a seat which mechanically swings/plays music/lights which is guaranteed to send a baby back to sleep which is used for one baby if both going nuts.
8.15 to 9.30 - school and pre school run. Babies sleep.
9.30 - 10am - give babies a massive feed for as long as they like.
Morning: babies either in seats watching me do errands or nod off in seats/car/pram if I am out and about or I lie them on tandem feeding cushion on lap so they can watch me whilst I watch films/catch up on recorded TV and eat biscuits! Have tried to sing songs, read them a book, give them mat time but they aren't too bothered yet.
12 - 1pm - another big feed. Have just started putting them down upstairs for a sleep after but they don't seem in synch v often and only one may sleep and then for no more than half hour.
1pm - 2.45 - ditto morning
3ish - school run, babies sleep.
4ish - massive feed to see us through our dinner whilst older kids watch TV
5pm - I cook dinner whilst babies watch me and older kids play/watch TV. Witching hour (aka hell) kicks off, one or both babies will go nuts. Swing seat used again. Dh gets home (he is teacher) and will hold one or have booked my mum or a friend to hold babies one or two nights a week to give us a peaceful meal. although in last week or so, babies more chilled at this time and happy to sit and watch us some nights.
6pm I take babies up, top and tail (only managing a bath once or twice a week) whilst dh washes up and kids play/watch TV downstairs. I feed babies in dark room for 45 mins whilst mnetting. Dh brings kids up, bathes them. I put babies in basket, come out of room, finish off dd wash, read and sing to her whilst dh practices ds's reading. Babies may be crying a bit but have to leave them and now they are self settling.
7ish - all kids in bed, in last 2 weeks, babies goes down every night and slept til 10ish when I wake them up for dream feed. I collapse on sofa, watch trash TV, graze on food all evening and enjoy the peace.
10pm change nappies and dream feed.
Night - babies in last week down to one night wake (around 3/4am) - ie now! Last night they woke at 4.30am so hoping we are going in right direction for sleeping through.

What a marathon, but hope it gives you an idea of what I do. One baby is MUCH more high maintenance than other, and needs to be held more/cries more easily. I take turns to hold. Don't feel guilty, they won't even remember this period, and am doing my best. If family/friends around, will pass both babies around for lots of cuddles. I always feed both at same time, if one needs less, then can just lie on tandem cushion and doze whilst the other takes their time.

Babies just stopped feeding, so going back to sleep!

I also fed both when one of them rooted for a feed. It meant that the chilled out one had more short feeds but tbh until they were about 14 weeks, it was survival. It did mean that they went a bit longer at night because thy fed more in the day (this didn't last!).

I also had no routine at 6 weeks. At about 8-10 weeks, I introduced a bath in the evening (mainly because it was something to fill the fractious evening hours til DH got home!) - but you could just do a change into bedtime clothes and into sleeping bags if that's all you have time for. The rest of the day was pretty free form other than starting to feed 1 hour before I had to be anywhere. Mine were very slow feeders.

Honestly, you are doing fabulous.

Mandy21 Tue 22-Oct-13 21:34:47

Hi my situation is slightly different in that my b/g twins were my 1st children and didn't have an extra one to cope with, and mine were early, but they were quite different like yours - boy like yours, laid back, fed well, slept relatively well, just a happy boy as long as he was well fed, well rested and well loved just like his dad, whereas girl was just like yours too - more needy, fed more often etc. At 6 weeks, I was kind of following girl's routine (feeding wise) for both of them - whenever she fed, I fed him too (even though he'd go longer). At about 4/5 months, I stopped waking him in the night and let him sleep through.
Wishi's advice sounds great.

Twicethehugs Tue 22-Oct-13 10:41:56

Congratulations legallyblond. I've got two girls and I think they fed like your girl for a while I.e. short, frequent feeds (as much as every 1-2 hours) and falling asleep on me a lot. I think they're probably both normal patterns! I was lucky that mine were similar and also I don't have any other children so have respect to you for ebf. I have a friend who had a similar gap between older child and twins and she had a lot of help from family to make it work (also ended up bottle and breastfeeding each twin on alternate days after a while as that's what worked for her - lots of bottles to wash though!). They sound like they're gaining weight really well so you must be doing a good job. I heard some good advice to help with guilt once - that with twins it's not the aim to be fair in the amount of time etc you're giving to each but in responding to what they both need - which you're doing so try not to feel guilty about holding your daughter more if that's what she needs.

Franchini Tue 22-Oct-13 09:22:51

Wishihadabs - please can I be your friend! You seem to have some fab advice there. I have got twins due in March and my DD will be 2.4 at that point. This sounds like amazing advice. I am really hoping I can BF them both.

Congratulations legallyblond on your lovely twins and BFing them.

Wishihadabs Mon 21-Oct-13 14:48:39

Hello,
First of all congratulations. Solely bf twins is something to be realy proud of for sure. I have no direct experience (of twins, I have 2dcs) but have worked on scbu and on post-natal wards. Boy twin sounds fine and a bit like my dd was, laid back, going a long time between feeds (sadly not anymore, she's 7). I would say both patterns are normal at this stage. In the evening I would change both twins before trying to give dd her tea. Then bf girl twin at the table while she eats (5ish). All go upstairs and get bath ready, feed boy twin whilst dd is in the bath (6ish). Then you might get your hands free to help dd on with pjs, teeth etc before cuddling and feeding girl twin again (at 6:45-7ish) whilst reading dd a story.

legallyblond Mon 21-Oct-13 14:32:42

God - what is wring with me?! top up!!!

legallyblond Mon 21-Oct-13 14:31:29

Duh - I had to top up girl with formula because she had variable blood sugars and lost 6% of birth weight hmm - I ignored them as soon as she started gaining weight!

legallyblond Mon 21-Oct-13 14:21:07

Sorry - every wobble I have I post.. I know!

So... Boy / girl twins born six weeks ago tomorrow at 37+3. Boy was 6lb2 and girl was 5lb3. I'm bf them and, after a load of b***ocks from the midwives meaning I had up top girl with formula, they've just had breast milk (no expressed milk even - I can't be bothered!) from one week old. I also have a just (birthday last week) three year old DD who I bf as well until she was 2. She however was born at 40+14 and seemed to act like the twins do now when she was born - because she was over a month older! Weight gain for both twins is fine - he's jumped two centile lines, she's gone from below 4th to halfway between 4th and 9th grin

I just can't remember what's normal for a six week old, especially because the twins are so drastically different!

Twin girl still feeds very much like a newborn. Her feeds are short and she falls asleep quickly. She roots for a feed anywhere between 1 hour and 2.5 hours later. Twin boy is MUCH more chilled out. Unlike girl who cries a lot (but us easily settled by bf or by being in our arms), he never cries, easily self settles in the cot (girl needs to fall asleep deeply in arms or on breast, but will then sleep in cot until next feed at night) and would go 3-4 hours between feeds...

First - remind me... What is normal at 6 weeks? It's still all on demand at this stage isn't it? When should I introduce a routine...? Bear in mind we have a routine of sorts - school runs mean set feeds just before we set off then they sleep in the pram, and they bath with DD at half six and I feed them in a dark room and attempt to put them down in the cot at 7.15 after DD has gone to bed. When does a routine of feeds and naps emerge... I can't remember at all!

Second - linked to one.... How do I deal with their diff needs and routines as well as find time for DD?!?! I had been tandem feeding pretty much always (apart from between 4.30-7 when they cluster feed but I need a spare hand to cook, feed DD and get her to bed - then they take constant turns). This has usually meant waking twin boy when he would have gone an hour longer. I thought this would give more time for DD, and more sleep, but not so sure now...?!

Also, twin girl cries a lot more than twin boy, so get held a lot more than him... I feel guilty about this but what can I do?! I sort if think I'm just responding to each of their needs... Argh! Not an issue with a singleton!

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