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Am I the only twin mum without a decent routine?

(30 Posts)
accessorizequeen Thu 21-May-09 22:13:19

Because I'm starting to feel a bit rubbish about it all. They're nearly 8 months, and although they do some things at roughly the same times, I seem to be utterly crap at actually having a routine that works for both of them every day. I don't think I was any better with ds1 and ds2, but it wasn't such a problem then. Do I just have children that don't fit the mould or do I need to mould them? You really think I would know by now with 4! I'm getting by just because I nearly always have someone around for the school run who can do it for me or stay with them whilst I do it.

But I really would like to have something a bit more concrete and am too tired to see how to accomplish it. I don't seem to have any control over how long they nap for or even if they'll nap (dd decides half the time she won't have a morning nap). DD is bfing whilst DS3 has formula so they're completely different with their feeding patterns even though I try to feed them together where possible.

I always wake one up if the other has woken, I always give them lunch and dinner at the same time because I'm feeding the other kids too. I always start the bedtime routine at the same time because of the other kids. Anything outside of that is free for all. Today they had 2 naps each, one long in the morning, one short afternoon. Tuesday dd had 3, ds had 4! I never know if the nap will be 30 minutes or 2 hours like today. DS is reasonably predictable with his bottles, but dd is demand fed and of course demands it when I least expect it. They're both still waking at night, but not at the same time.

Help!

anjlix Fri 22-May-09 08:53:40

AQ welldone on the BF so far and twins with 2 other kids.

The only other things I do is always feed them together nearer to feeding time. E.g. if approx feeding time is 11a then anything from 10.30a-11.30a is fair game. But both mine are on bottles. How do you feel about expressing breast milk? I also wake them up from their naps in the morning so they go down for a longer one in the afternoon. I find that if they sleep longer than 20-30mins in the morning they don't sleep well in the afternoon.
You already have a bath/bed time routine which is amazing with 4 kids. You could try giving them first morning feed at the same time even if they are not starving so that you can set them to be hungry together nearer to lunch.

A friend of mine gives her babies 10p bottles while they are asleep to help them go longer in the night. Mine did not care for that since they were 3 months old but always wanted one at 1a or so. Now at nearly 6mos they want one at 3a.

Its really hard with twins. I don't know when mine will stop feeding in the night. I have some what of a reasonable day but nights are all over the place still.

poorbuthappy Fri 22-May-09 22:32:28

No, I dont have a set in stone routine either...

I think the issue is that according to the experts there are only the 2 extremes of the spectrum:

1) routine - can not leave the house in case routine is upset (I think you know who what I mean...

2) no routine at all...complete carnage, ferel (?) children running about the house all the time...

Where as in reality for multiple mums there is something in between...we tend to concentrate on the bedtime routine to just get some quiet time in the evening and try desperately to get it fit in with other children so we go up the stairs once with awake children and emerge 1/2 hours later with all children in bed asleep.

Daytime is slightly different - you know when they need to sleep and eat ( and I really really believe this...) but when 1 is screaming to go to sleep and you are trying to get out the door as you need to go to the bank / shop / clinic / or just get out of the house cos you are about to go mad (delete as applicable) and the other 1 is trying to decide whether or not 3oz was enough bottle I think we would all wonder what the hell we were doing...

Sorry there is no practical advise here...just more of a "you are not alone" post...

My 2 still wake at least once a night and I have started weaning. Nia will eat anything...Gwen is slightly more picky, but its made no difference to their nighttime wakings, they are still taking a full 5ozs each time they wake up - so I'm not going to drop the night feeds because in my opinion they still need the milk.

Remember this too shall pass... things change daily and soon you will look back and laugh - well that's what I keep telling myself... grin

This makes no sense - sorry blame the wine!

accessorizequeen Fri 22-May-09 23:01:12

thanks, guys smile
It is nice to know I'm not alone, PBH - I dont' know any twin mums where I live, can never actually make it to twins club prob. because of lack of routine. i know needs must with twins, I know I know and I try to follow that BUT I get so fed up of never being able to go anywhere and thought a routine would allow me to accomplish that more. Very frustrated when I am stuck in indoors all day or can only manage the school run.
Anjlix, you are prob. right about morning nap I am sure - I can't seem to bring myself to cut a nap short as for a while then they wouldn't sleep together and it was awful, no time at all to get anything done. Yesterday when they had 2 hours, it was blissful, I actually watched some tv on my own in quiet house with a snack and drink. I don't express, I have 2 pumps but tbh dd is such an efficient little feeder (5-10 minutes if that) it would be a real faff.

Ewemoo Mon 25-May-09 22:06:56

AQ - having a routine with dts and other dcs is extremely difficult and I only have one other dd who is school age. At 5 mths old I have only started doing the school run with my dd1 and it is difficult to fit feeds in etc with this. My dts are still waking twice in the night and have settled (I use the term loosely!) into a routine where I feed them both when I get back at 9am, then they nap from 11-1pm then I feed them again and then it's school run again at 3pm. They are usually really unsettled at 4pm-6pm so have started taking them out for some fresh air at this time which helps my sanity and means they sleep a little better at night. I wouldn't beat yourself up - you are doing what you are able to do with 4 dcs. There is not enough time in the day imho. Hope you feel better soon

accessorizequeen Wed 27-May-09 21:50:58

thanks ewemoo how are you doing with them at the mo?

Ewemoo Thu 28-May-09 21:04:50

AQ - tbh I am struggling more now than a month ago. Dt1 is teething (I think!) and is a screaming nightmare, waking every twenty minutes in the night and waking dt2. They are still really unsettled in the day and now in the night which is a new and bad change and I am dreading each day. I just try and keep thinking that it will pass and one day I will have a minute to myself without crying and whinging!

accessorizequeen Thu 28-May-09 21:09:01

I just can't believe it could have got worse, really really sorry to hear that sad
Can you cosleep with dt1 so at least they're both not waking or that not poss? You must be absolutely exhausted! I've teetered on the edge of depression several times in last 8 months and my two are very good really once we sorted dt1's reflux. So can't imagine how you're feeling. a big twin mumsnet hug!

jennyroper Sat 30-May-09 04:56:35

ewemoo you sound like you have an incredibly difficult situation. I can't say enough how much I feel for you.
AQ I think routine comes easier to some than others, not forgetting that the older your babies get the more of their own will puts pressure on any kind of routine.
I have a fairly rigid feeding routine but naps are a free for all. However I normally try and get them both to bed at the same times during the day. If one cries for ages (possibly meaning she isn't tired) I just close the door. I need that time to get myself straight and sorted out in the house.
My routine works well during the morning and evening but I usually find that the twins and my son all have breakfast and tea but lunchtine doesn't really exist - just general grazing throughout the day. That way I have more time to do nice things like have a glass of wine with my mates while the kids all run riot. Bloody bliss.
We have come away on a family holiday to Taupo (2 hours drive away from home) and it's hilarious. We took the children to a Prawn Park this morning. Can you imagine anything more surreal? It was awesome.

anjlix Sat 30-May-09 21:04:53

AQ both babies have been sick and on anti biotics so routine and weaning out the window for now. I go in and out of PND as well. You are really not alone...

accessorizequeen Mon 01-Jun-09 21:39:03

Awww, anjlix, sorry they're not well and you're feeling like that. There's such joy with twins, but god it's hard work!
my routine is finally starting to come together though and it's got easier just this last week because they're both having 2 naps a day at the same time. I think it's the weaning that's helping as they're having such a lot of food at lunchtime that they're happy to go to bed straight after!

twinmam Tue 02-Jun-09 09:09:22

Well done AQ - it was at about 9 months that I got my DTs into their routine as DD2 had started waking in the night again [hair tearing out emoticon] I enforced (and I really do mean that) 2 naps a day at the same time, the first nap being an hour after getting up (read it somewhere, was very doubtful but tried it and it worked) and the second after lunch. Like Jennyroper said I need that time just to get stuff done and also like JR if one of them is screaming I close the door. That was hard but again I think vital for my sanity. One of the things that I have come to realise is that the dreams/ ideas you may have had about mothering sometimes have to go when you have twins and you do what you can to get by - it is about survival in the first year! It sounds like you're getting a good routine with them and that it's making things easier.
Anjlix I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch. I think we've all been there. Please try and remember that like with all the rotten bits with twins it will pass. You have my email address - do get in touch if you want to offload at someone who has been known to say, 'I don't want these babies any more' blush Thankfully I am now over punishing myself for those things that I can't control and I reckon that 16 months in I am doing pretty well.
Oh Ewemoo. It just keeps getting worse for you, my love, doesn't it. I'm really sorry. Again I am certain it is a phase. I think you are in that situation where if it was one baby doing that you'd struggle but with two and your little girl to take into account it seems impossible and relentless. I can't offer any advice except to do whatever you can to get through this - co-sleeping/ a rigid routine/ letting one of the babies cry/ dummies - whatever it is and please, please keep on with the 'it will get better' mantra because it will, I promise you that.

Bmum1 Fri 05-Jun-09 13:24:55

Hope things are better for you now. My twins are lovely boys so far (4 months), but then I am rigid routine mummy.

If it helps mine follow this routine in the day:

6:30am (ish) 8oz feed
Possible nap or may just sit around watching us have breakfast.
10:30am 8oz feed
Sleep
2:30pm 8oz feed
Again sit around, possibly napping, possibly playing, possibly going for a walk - whatever suits really
6pm bath and PJs
6:30pm 8oz feed
7pm bed

I must admit this is all made much easier for me as I don't do school runs much - my husband drops my oldest two off at school and nursery and then either my mum, mother in law or mother's help picks up. But I do think a strict routine makes your life easier if you can manage to impose it on unruly twins!

Good luck and I hope things get easier for you soon.

anjlix Sun 07-Jun-09 10:12:06

Routine does help. After nearly 6 months and 1 week my girls slept from 7-7 w/o any feed in the middle. They were 6 week preemies and quite low birth weigh (4lb) so it is possible to have your baby sleep through, although that was not the only motivation for a routine. Main motivation was to have a predictable/structured day. Just to add that I don't have any other DCs so it is easier for me to be persistent.

KJTWINS Sun 07-Jun-09 13:23:17

i agree with all that has been said i was all over the place with naps until i couldnt deal anymore and i have put them in a strict routine which helps a lot and once they are in the routine life is a lot easier as you can plan things round what you do. i am lucky these are my only 2 so i dont have others to worry about. very interesting about everyone and the PND really feel low myself now and wonder if i have that too do it all myself as partner doesnt help much and am struggling now mine are 9 months.

accessorizequeen Sun 07-Jun-09 20:54:19

I think (fingers crossed) that they are finally in a routine and it is helping quite a lot. They're both sleeping better at night and dd has stopped feeding at night (although still waking with teething pain), ds just once. Well done anjlix on getting them to sleep through, both of mine were from 3-5 months mainly and then decided they wouldn't hmm.

I have found it really awkward with a routine because I have to keep breaking it to spend time with the other dc's. We broke it today big time because we went out for the day and felt the dt's just had to go along with it really and they were fine but it got pretty chaotic by 4 because of that. Even my school week is not particularly predictable because sometimes I have to do the school run, sometimes I don't. I guess I just have an unruly life really grin I am happier now they're both having scheduled naps morn and afternoon. Although I can't bring myself to cut the morning nap short if they keep sleeping past an hour!

KJT, yours are nearly the same age as mine so I know where you're coming from but my dp is v.supportive and I have other help - I think that makes a big difference for an already hard situation. Why is dp not helping out much, is it because he can't or won't? What are you finding hard in particular just now? I've just got an appt thru for counselling, is that something that might help or just venting on MN more often to other twin mums! It's only now really that I am getting used to being mum of twins, it's taken me a while but I'm also getting used to having family of 6, that's even weirder to me as I never wanted this many!

twinmam Sun 07-Jun-09 22:44:48

KJTwins - I'm sorry stuff is so hard for you at the moment. Just echoing what Accessorizequeen said above really, esp wondering why your partner isn't helping you and what is troubling you so much at the moment. If it's any consolation, I found my life as a mum of twins hardest when they were 8-9 months. I teetered on the edge of PND throughout the first year and beyond (my DDs are now nearly 16 months) but actually found the first few months of their lives easier, I think, despite the total exhaustion. I think that I was so relieved to get them home from SCBU that I managed to approach it all with a kind of gratitude for having them with me and then that wore off a bit and I realised how bloody hard and relentless it all could be! It certainly did seem the most unceasing and tough at 9 months, perhaps because I was just so shattered by then and yet it didn't seem to be getting any easier. Please believe that it will get easier for you but also you need and deserve your DP's help and support.

jennyroper Mon 08-Jun-09 09:46:08

AQ that's interesting that you are about to start counselling, I started to have some 3 weeks ago. Just the 3 sessions so far hsve made an ENORMOUS difference to how I feel I'm dealing with all sorts of things in my life (in-laws mainly and being so goddammed far away from my lovely family). I hope you feel the same kind of regaining of perspective and control.
The good thing about routines is that chiddlers love them. Once it's pretty much in place you can have days off from it here and there and they champ at the bit to be comfortably back in it the next day.
KJT I should imagine 9 months is a tough time. Just keep climbing the hill to their 1st birtday. The first year's always the hardest.

Ewemoo Mon 08-Jun-09 11:15:39

I would agree with twinmam that the first few months are easier in some ways than later on as I am finding that now at nearly 6 months I am so bored and fed up with the daily routine and the dts don't give much back (apart from screaming!) I am struggling with 4-6pm every day as they both scream. I have no idea why - they are not hungry, won't sleep no matter how hard I try and playing also doesn't help. It is driving me insane. What could they possibly want that I haven't given them?

twinmam Tue 09-Jun-09 11:32:39

Ewemoo sad you are giving them everything they need and despite you feeling so bored and restless(I SO sympathise with that tho it's so hard to admit isn't it), despite you feeling that you can't go on and want to run away, despite you being exhausted and desperate you are continuing to give them what they need which makes you, IMO, a very good mummy. It's easy to love your DCs and care for them when they're being adorable and cute! It sounds as if you have particularly 'difficult' babies and you are still getting up every day and caring for them so well bloody done! Did you ever think you would make it this far? You have got through half a year already and, yes, the first year continues to be hard - like I said, my lowest point was prob 9 months - BUT the end of the most difficult period is in sight. The things that will make your particular circumstances improve, I am sure, are these:
1) weaning - I really do wonder if some of your DTs problems stem from milk (I know you've wondered this yourself). As you begin to wean them you may well find things improve. This was certainly my experience. Also dropping some of the bottle feeds is a relief AND giving them solids can be fun, honestly. My DD1's constipation and gastric reflux both improved after weaning and now she's 16 months the reflux has gone and the constipation is better than it was at least.
2) I know you've struggled with giving them both their bottles at the same time. It won't be long before you can give em bottles with handles which is a big relief
3) They will be starting to get more mobile and play will become more interesting. A major milestone for me was when my DCs could sit up on their own because it meant I could be across the room rather than always propping them up. As they get more and more mobile you will get more physical independence from them and that can be a big relief. I'm still waiting for my two to start walking and that is going to be my next big liberating milestone. Not that I'm wishing their babyhood away (although if I'm strictly, painfully honest, in some ways I am)
4) They WILL start to be more fun. They will start to notice each other, they will laugh and giggle and start to babble more. They will start to give you more back, honestly! It took me quite a while to realise that my DCs love me (weird I know). The separation from them after their birth made me feel like they weren't really mine and I struggled to get over that, feeling that they didnt really need specifically me. It is now incredibly obvious that I am the centre of their universe (just as they are mine), the person they most need and that is a really special feeling. Once they can express that love for you life begins to get a bit more pleasant. As well as slightly irritating when you're trying to cross a room with two small people clinging onto your legs crying 'Mama, mama!'. I try and see it as a compliment though.

I'm sorry it's still rotten but they will keep on changing and IMO changing for the better! Try not to feel resentful towards them (I know that's how I felt at my lowest point) and I wonder if that's the stage at which one should seek counselling. I wonder if I should have done. Try and remember that you are doing all that you can and can do no more and equally that they are not trying to be difficult what with the relentless screaming. I have been there, I really really have.

Jennyroper - I'm glad you're getting counselling and working through stuff. You always come across as so very positive and practical. All my NCT friends (singleton mums) said without doubt that I was the person who seemed to be coping the most and I felt I really had to pretend I was although goodness knows why. I think deep down I had this stupid thought that if I wasnt 'they' (not q sure who they are) could take my DCs away from me. It is interesting to think about the facade we all put on.

Blimey what a long-winded post blush

anjlix Tue 09-Jun-09 11:45:16

Glad to see I am not the only one seeking counselling. I am hoping to start this week. It is hard work and yesterday I felt so battered despite the fact that they slept thru. There was not a second to rest during the day.

Ewemoo Tue 09-Jun-09 18:55:04

Twinmam - thank you as usual for your words of wisdom. In some ways I can't believe it's been nearly half a year already and in other ways it feels like a lifetime just getting through each day. I have just started weaning and they seem quite keen so it's encouraging. I can't wait till they can hold their own bottles - that for me will be a huge milestone as I find the time taken up by bottlefeeding is vast. I had a really low point at the weekend when I took my dd1 to a bday party. There was a mum there with a 3 month old who quite honestly was the easiest baby I have ever seen. When I commented how my babies would never just lie there and look around happily, the mum just looked at me like I was insane. She said to her it was normal to have easy babies (she's had 4 so it must be). You always get the feeling they think it must be something you're doing wrong which is so infuriating. I'd like to see them cope with my two on a daily basis

twinmam Tue 09-Jun-09 19:30:53

Ewemoo - Aw 'words of wisdom' - thanks! grin

Ah but I have a friend who had the world's easiest baby - laid back, always happy, took to breast feeding immediately and slept through from something ridiculous like 2 weeks... and now she is the toddler from hell. Well not quite, but she is very hard work, demanding and frequently wakes in the night. Just think of all the karma you've earned with your two little nightmares - they will surely be perfect toddlers! People have said to me that twins are great as toddlers as they play together and amuse one another instead of you having to entertain them all the time. My two sometimes play together and it is very cute when they do. (Less so when they push each other over or bite!!) Try not to compare your circumstances to other people's, however hard that is. IME you will just end up feeling bitter and resentful. I am SO envious of people who have one baby, straightforward pgs and full term labours, no NICU, babies that took to breastfeeding, all of that. I used to look on green with envy at my friends with their oh so portable singleton as I lugged my two around. Imagine how simple it would be to go anywhere! And then if they dared to complain about how hard a time they were having...! Recently there have been times when i have been just with one baby for some time - DD1 has been poorly and napping a lot so I have had lots of time on my own with DD2. Then yesterday I sent DD2 on her own to nursery and stayed with DD1. It has been so lovely to have one of them all to myself and to be able to devote my time to them and SO easy! The thing is though, I do have them both, we are stuck with one another for better or worse and we just have to get on with it. As soon as i find myself saying 'If I had one baby...' I stop myself now because I just end up getting all those dark feelings back and that sense of injustice. Instead I think 'How easy it would be to have one baby but I manage with two so that must make me an amazing mummy' grin I have no doubt whatsoever that the mum of 4 you spoke to with her lovely easy baby would run screaming for the hills after a day with your two. Not that your two are horrid, nasty babies but because coping with two babies at the same time is a bloody nightmare, an exhausting, relentless juggling act. Not to mention the fact that you have a toddler as well! Also she prob wasn't looking at you thinking you were insane - she was prob thinking 'Poor woman, I have no idea how I would cope in her situation'. Don't be so hard on yourself. I remember the endless days and that feeling every morning of having a huge mountain ahead to climb and a sense of not having the stamina to make it. I hardly ever have days like that any more. I used to feel anxious, a sense of impending doom all of the time and that has gone now. The good days far far outweigh the bad and you will get there. I'm glad that weaning is going well. Try and hang on to the positives : there will be more and more of them in the coming months, I promise. In the mean time, it seems like a good few people on here are finding counselling an enormous support. Have you considered it?

accessorizequeen Tue 09-Jun-09 19:58:47

Ewemoo, pls don't think it's something you're not doing - you have tried everything, you've asked for ideas & support a lot on here. Babies are who they are, just as toddlers & preschoolers are and not much you can do to change them! Weaning may well be a big big help for them, I hope. The hours of 4-6 btw are usually pretty awful round here too - all of my kids kick of then!

I sort of felt how you did yesterday, ewemoo as was at the school dropping ds1 off and another twin mum next to me. Her girls are about 3 months I think, she has 2 others just like me 5 & 2 as well. Someone said 'oh I couldn't cope with twins' etc etc (as everyone does?!) and this woman said 'no, it's just like having one baby, it's easy' - I just outright stared at her - is she mad??? Admittedly they do seem v.settled babies everytime I see them and she has them in a good routine from what I can tell but Jesus. I thought, how am I not coping half the time then??? And mine are pretty peaceful, easy going babies too!

Routine has gone to the dogs, again, btw, to go back to the original thread for a moment. Sigh. It's dd, she's a PITA!

twinmam Tue 09-Jun-09 20:30:12

LOL Accessorizequeen - her words WILL come back to haunt her (I kind of hope so anyway!) I was at twins club a few weeks back and there was someone who said that having twins was easier than having one baby shock Some people say weird things. I reckon that when DDs were 3 months things were much easier than, say, at 6 months. I don't like this competitive 'It's so easy, look at me' thing tho... some ppl really struggle (ie me) and it's not v helpful to hear that someone else finds it easy as you can't help but think 'well, what am I doing wrong then?!'

What is the problem with your DD? My DD2 is a major PITA! In fact if I had two DD1s it would prob be easier than one DD2 IYSWIM. I know that sounds dreadful but she is a majr drama queen and also completely utterly adorable and gorgeous. The only reason we have a routine is because I enforced it. She fought and fought sleep until I basically said these are nap times and during nap times you will be in your cot - it's up to you whether you sleep or scream. I know it sounds harsh and it's one of those things I prob wouldnt have done with a singleton BUT I did it to survive and thankfully it worked and she is much happier when she's having plenty of sleep, as am I. Good luck with it all!

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