I want to BF, but I can't let go of the routine I had with my twins

(16 Posts)
feesh Tue 18-Oct-16 06:47:14

I am pregnant with a singleton (thankfully!) and I am quite excited about having a newborn to properly snuggle and nurture, as opposed to my twins with whom I felt like a factory dispensing bottle feeds and nappy changes - I hardly ever had time to cuddle them and I used to grab sleep in 20 minute 'snacks' between feeds when they were tiny.

The thing is with my twins, is that when I was going slightly insane in the first few days, my lactation consultant gave us a schedule to stick to, which literally saved my sanity (I was completely losing the plot, as I had hardly any milk, and one total BF refusing twin and I didn't know which way was up).

So I fed them every 3 hours on the dot. At first it was BF, express and then top up, and by 6 weeks I had stopped BF, and by 8-10 weeks I had stopped expressing and they were just on formula.

We ALWAYS had to wake them to feed, as they were very sleepy babies, and I actually think this got them into some good habits - they always were fully relaxed, not having to worry about where or when their next feed was coming. I don't actually remember them ever crying for a feed, except for one memorable occasion when we were on a plane and I couldn't cool their bottles down quickly enough.

After they were one month old, we started to stretch the night feeds out (which was actually quite easy) and they were sleeping through the night by about 10 weeks, with just a dream feed at 10pm.

So I am really grateful for our scheduled feeding, as I honestly think it gave us a couple of really chilled out and easy babies. They always napped to a schedule as well, very successfully, once they were about 11-12 weeks and onwards. I know people will say this is partly luck, but the other mums in my twins group followed exactly the same schedule and had similar results.

HOWEVER, this time round I really want to give BF my best shot and I am looking forward to lots of snuggly cuddles and being the Mum I always wanted to be, but there is also a part of me which is really scared to let go of the routine I had with the twins.

Is it possible to BF and stick to a schedule? I know Gina Ford thinks it is, but I'm not so sure. I know you have to feed on demand to build supply, especially in the early days, but is there any way of managing feeds so that you don't build up any bad habits like suckling to sleep etc? I know I am a much better mum when I get a decent night's sleep and I do want to make sure I prioritise my own health and sanity as much as possible this time around. But I also have this rosy vision of me snuggling this tiny baby 24/7! But I know that part of the reason my twins were such good sleepers was that they got unceremoniously dumped in their cots after a feed and left to get on with it while I fed the other one! It's quite a tough start in life being a twin!

ohlittlepea Tue 18-Oct-16 06:59:28

Have a chat on the breastfeeding helpline, some mums do successfully feed to a schedule, it doesn't work for everyone but it may for you. Gina Ford isn't pro bf so id ignore her advoce on feeding to be honest smile

Artandco Tue 18-Oct-16 07:03:43

You can, but i would say you need to feed at least every 2 hours during the day whilst they are small -first 6 weeks. I fed roughly every 2hrs, but would do more frequent if they needed during the day, the just fed once between dreamfeed and morning

feesh Tue 18-Oct-16 07:09:00

That's a good point, Artandco, get as much down them as possible in the day and it definitely does help with the night sleep. I will certainly offer a BF at least every 2 hours in the day (plus of course the endless evening cluster feeds which completely freaked me out the first time around, but I am now fully prepared for!) and hope it pays off eventually at night.

vichill Tue 18-Oct-16 07:17:49

i have known some bf babies (not mine) that have been fairly easy to get into a routine. at 16 months the 3 hour spacing has yet to happen for us!
co-sleeping, being pinned to sofa cluster feeding for weeks and feeding them in the supermarket in a sling are the norm in my circle of bfeeders! sounds horrific i know but we really wouldn't change a thing. knowing what to expect warts and all will help you battle through the crap bits in the early days. so my advice would be to research loads, join bf groups online and irl and to have no expectations of order and routine. you may be lucky and have a good un. smile

venys Tue 18-Oct-16 07:31:05

In my experience feeding to a schedule would be detrimental. In the early days you may well be glued to the couch (get a Netflix / Now TV subscription) and co sleeper cot. Hire a nanny or get some tablets for the twins. I have only ebf 2/3 children but it does get easier and those plane rides a doddle. I was surprised how quickly baby 3 got settled into a routine because of the others. She knows when bedtime is even at a couple of weeks old. Get a sling in the early days so you get up and get dressed first. Pop baby in sling and tend to the others. Most of my bf is at night where I doze and she helps herself. Good luck smile

Artandco Tue 18-Oct-16 07:34:41

Oh and I don't know how old your twins now are, but a breastfed baby in a sling is much easier if you need to be elsewhere. You can take toddlers to playground, go into school age play, turn up to 101 events and feed baby in sling whilst everything else Carries on.
With ours we have two but close in age, so didn't really ever have to be anywhere else, but now they are school are I can see another baby rally would have to be dragged around far more!

strandedabroad Tue 18-Oct-16 07:56:53

I have tried to follow a routine, which has gone out of the window a few times when DS has been visibly hungry/upset between feeds. He fed every 3/4 hours pretty much from the start. He never really cluster fed in the evenings either. It helped that he was always chunky and a guzzler, has really big feeds and I have lots of milk. This enabled a decent napping routine and nights have been fine too. He has mostly slept 5-6 hours at night from 6 weeks. He's now 9 weeks and last night he slept 9 hours (probably just luck but it's going in the right direction). I hope I don't sound smug but this worked for us! Maybe wait and see how it goes, it depends massively on the baby, I'd say smile

Congratulations and good luck!

Cocolocos Tue 18-Oct-16 09:59:32

At the start it is really important to breastfeed on demand, as this is how the baby helps to establish your supply. I found that DD settled in to a 3-4 hourly routine after a few weeks without me forcing it. That way, you can be happy that your milk supply can adjust up or down as required. If you do scheduled feeds early on, it may mean that the milk production in your boobs doesn't get fully primed to your baby's needs. The first few weeks can be hard but it gets so much easier and more convenient in a short time. Good luck!

feesh Tue 18-Oct-16 10:06:30

Thanks everyone. I will be giving it my best shot and will feed on demand smile

FoxMulder Tue 18-Oct-16 10:13:00

I wouldn't say feeding to sleep was a bad habit, it's just...normal. The hormones in the milk make them sleepy. Very useful tool imo!

HappyInL0nd0n Wed 19-Oct-16 19:23:09

My sister EBF her 3 and followed Gina Ford. All loved the routine, slept very well and were lovely, happy babies.

Gina Ford isn't anti-BF.

Do whatever feels right for you and your little one, but just know that many people can and do successfully EBF and follow fairly rigorous routines.

Good luck.

DocMcFanjo Wed 19-Oct-16 21:15:43

I'm just going to mention a routine a friend of mine followed with her EBF baby if you're interested- can't remember the name but it was by Tizzie Hall, something to do with sleep...

She lent the book to me but I cast it aside after a brief skim because I just couldn't have been arsed with scheduled expressing, which is part of the routine if BF.

I'm crap at routines and so are my babies but I have to say the freestyling is much less stressful this time with DD2 as I feel I know what I'm at with this parenting lark and I know I won't break her if I haven't got even the slightest hint of a rigid schedule.

My advice is to go with the flow and enjoy this one- it's all just a bit too terrifying to fully enjoy the early days first time round IMHO.

beginnersewer Thu 20-Oct-16 14:36:38

I did feed on schedule but not as a newborn - can't quite remember when I started but maybe 4 months? It did help me feel a bit in control. Although part of the reason I did it was feeding him more often than he was asking during the day to try to make sure he slept better at night. So I was still feeding him every 2 hours or so during the day - the feeds were very quick though.

Highlove Thu 20-Oct-16 15:06:53

I think you probably can combine BFing and a routine, but not really till baby is a couple of months and they're a wee bit bigger and your supply is nicely established.

Funnily enough I was googling this last night. DD2 is 10 weeks and EBF and I'm starting to think a loose routine might help me plan for dedicated 121 time with DD1, who is quite a sensitive little soul and although besotted with her baby sister is struggling with the transition. (We had a bad day yesterday where DD2 woke and howled literally every time I sat down with DD1.) Anyway, my conclusion was that I'd wait till the magic three-month mark and then I'm on to it. I have already though been trying encourage getting to sleep without feeding - she does feed to sleep sometimes but other times pram/sling/bouncer. I know they're not self-settling but I think she's too little for that and are probably easier habits to break than feeding to sleep!

I did look up GF routines for BF babies. Of course you should have a look and see if you think they'd work for you, but my personal reaction was that the woman's batshit and knows not a shiny shit about breastfeeding. grin

T0ddlerSlave Thu 20-Oct-16 19:15:37

Dd did feed to a regular pattern without any particular forcing - 2 hours then 2.5 by 4 weeks then 3. I did feed on demand but assumed she was probably not hungry and something else was bothering her if she was unsettled and she wasn't due a feed soon.

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