If you did Gina Ford (or any other routine)....

(24 Posts)
crazychemist Wed 24-Feb-21 21:57:02

..... what do you do if the baby doesn’t seem able to follow the routine?

With my first DD (now 4) I was pretty much a standard attachment parent, and was very happy with how that worked for us. In all honesty, I don’t think anything else would have worked - she had severe obstructive sleep apnoea, until that was surgically corrected there was no way she was ever going to be able to link sleep cycles,nor would it have been safe for her to do so, so I was totally on board with cosleeping, frequent night wakings for feeds etc. No complaints at all.

I’ve now had twins, and although I’m still quite “attachment” style with them, it would be helpful to get them into a bit of a routine because when their needs diverge during the day it can cause chaos!

I’ve just been reading the Gina Ford book for twins. Right now, it just doesn’t seem vaguely possible for mine! It suggests that at 2 months they should be able to stay awake for 2 hours. There’s absolutely no way mine can manage that just yet, they are desperate for a morning nap after 1 hour. It also says they need to have a nap of 2 and a bit hours at lunchtime. Mine would be SERIOUSLY overtired if they were at lunchtime and were only just on second nap - mine are usually on their second nap by 10.30 or maybe 11.

So if you followed a routine, how did you deal with such situations? If they wake up and won’t resettle, what do you do? What happens if they fall asleep before their scheduled nap time (which mine would definitely do)?

I’m not looking to bash anyone for their choices. As I said, with my first I chose not to do schedules or any form of sleep training. This time round I’d consider it, but haven’t made up my mind. I know that babies can be very different, so I’m totally ok with parents making different choices - I’m sure everyone is doing what they think is best for THEIR baby.

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Pleasedontputthatthere Wed 24-Feb-21 22:07:00

I did GF with my first and found it was virtually impossible but looked at it as an aim rather than what I could do. So I would encourage DD to stay awake at the ‘right’ times and I would wake her after the correct time. Feeding never seemed to be a problem as she was always hungry at those times (sometimes you have to kind of entertain them for a bit to delay for a big feed). She was and still is (8 yrs later) a really good sleeper. I let anything go with DS and he was in and out of our bed for years.

dementedpixie Wed 24-Feb-21 22:10:27

Might be better to have a set order of what you do rather than strict timings e.g. feed then play then sleep, repeat

FudgeSundae Wed 24-Feb-21 22:21:15

Try one of the routines for a younger baby. My understanding is Twins are often smaller and sleepier so they might do better on the 6-8 week or even the 4-6 week routine.

crazychemist Wed 24-Feb-21 22:24:16

@Pleasedontputthatthere so what did you do if she woke at night? It doesn’t say in the book how to settle them, just that you shouldn’t feed them or rock them. So what are you supposed to do??? It just seems a very long way away from my experience of babies, I feel like I must be missing something. My DD we were led entirely by her, but she has been a great sleeper once she was past the need to wee in the night. I’m aware that we were lucky in that regard and that some children need a lot more nudging. We did everything very gently with her, so these routines just seem totally foreign to me, I don’t understand how you implement them without a lot of crying, which the books says isn’t how it happens.

@dementedpixie that is how things naturally happened with my DD. She was a frequent snacker and a catnapper, but there was a definite rhythm to her day from about 10 weeks onwards. My issue with my twins is that they seem to have a different pattern, which is causing problems, so I was looking for some guidance on what is typical for their age so I would have some idea which way to nudge them. One twin is waaaaaaay sleepier during the day than the other, which makes keeping them in sync tricky.

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crazychemist Wed 24-Feb-21 22:28:52

@FudgeSundae I did think of that. They have an adjusted age of 11 weeks (they were 5 weeks premature) and are now roughly average size for that age, although that’s only very recently been the case, they were really quite tiny at one point and we had a lot of difficulty getting enough milk into them to get their weight up. I was looking in the 8-12 weeks section, but maybe I should look at 6-8 weeks first. Suggested feeding times are still nearly 4 hours apart though, and my twins are used to feeding every 2 hours (which was what the hospital recommended when they were originally discharged, and they have become used to).

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Pleasedontputthatthere Wed 24-Feb-21 22:29:21

Crazy, it wasn’t easy. I was delaying things all the time so often in the early days I would get less sleep than if I had just fed her back to sleep etc. I would maybe rub her back and stay with her or shush her to try and get her to sleep for a bit longer. I didn’t follow the bits which suggested ignoring them or no eye contact. It was more trying to eek out how long between feeds and making sure she didn’t sleep for too long in the day.


dementedpixie Wed 24-Feb-21 22:31:32

My kids never went 4 hours between feeds until they were over 4 months old. If you think about it, we dont make ourselves wait 4 hours between eating/drinking so why would we make our babies wait if they are hungry?

Africa2go Wed 24-Feb-21 22:34:19

Only my view (also had premature twins) it's a bit early to try to get them into a routine. Personally I thought GF was hopeless for twins, it just wasn't remotely realistic.

PortHills Wed 24-Feb-21 22:35:57

I just remember making a note of the times that I fed (on demand) and compared to GF, picked the one we were closest to and went from there. But my DS was a real routine baby so it was simple. Plus my DM was with me for first 2 weeks , (NZ) and she helped with that.

Tickly Wed 24-Feb-21 22:41:29

Have you tried getting in touch with twin mums on TAMBA or similar for twin specific advice?

mammmamia Wed 24-Feb-21 22:50:24

OP I have twins and GF book for twins is RIDICULOUS. I actually threw it across the room. Please don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong if you can’t make that routine work.

converseandjeans Wed 24-Feb-21 22:55:18

DD just did the routine. DS took more effort & I would make sure he was awake 7am. He used to try to sleep all afternoon and would then be up til midnight. I used to wake him up in the afternoon. There was no way I could manage a full day with a toddler and a small baby then stay up til midnight. He never cried or was left to self settle & gradually got into routine & would sleep 11hrs at night and 2hrs at lunch by 6ish weeks old. I don't recall restricting any feeds but the times in the books worked as did the nap times.

I imagine with twins it would be a challenge. You need to get partner on board with timings.

They seem to manage at nursery to have them all in a routine so I guess it must be possible!

mammmamia Wed 24-Feb-21 22:59:03

Your babies are very young - I know it’s hard but at this stage I wouldn’t worry about getting them into a routine. With twins you need to do what’s right for each baby at this stage and unfortunately it just means feeding one or the other for what seems like all day.
Once mine were about 3 months I did follow a vague routine. I can’t remember the book but it was basically- feed both babies every 3 hours. So they fed at 7, 10, 1, 4, 7, then dream feed at 11 ish. This didn’t work all the time as you can imagine, but it did give us a bit of structure. They hardly ever slept at the same time though.
Once they’re on solids and eating 3 meals a day it’s a game changer. If you stick to the same meal times every day - they WILL eat, poo and sleep at the same time unless there are developmental differences etc.
Obviously I’m only talking about my experiences and I’m sure someone will come along to say how they got their 2 month old twins into a lovely routine....

Mine are now 10. I still believe that regular meal times are essential for young children and so we are still quite strict about lunch and dinner time and it just means we all know where we stand.

mammmamia Wed 24-Feb-21 23:03:49

Also the other thing I want to say is that it does also come down to what is right for the child. My DS didn’t sleep much in the day but slept through the night at 8 weeks. He’s always been a great sleeper. My DD had reflux (until she started solids) and was really difficult to settle, she co slept for YEARS. If I’d had him first I’d have assumed I was a great parent... in reality sometimes it’s not about what you do they just get there when they’re ready. And that is the greatest lesson from having twins.

FudgeSundae Thu 25-Feb-21 14:30:25


*@FudgeSundae* I did think of that. They have an adjusted age of 11 weeks (they were 5 weeks premature) and are now roughly average size for that age, although that’s only very recently been the case, they were really quite tiny at one point and we had a lot of difficulty getting enough milk into them to get their weight up. I was looking in the 8-12 weeks section, but maybe I should look at 6-8 weeks first. Suggested feeding times are still nearly 4 hours apart though, and my twins are used to feeding every 2 hours (which was what the hospital recommended when they were originally discharged, and they have become used to).

Maybe start on the 1-2 week routine then? The book I think does say start at a younger age routine if you need to and that may be a gentler transition for your babies.

crazychemist Thu 25-Feb-21 18:12:26

@dementedpixie I don’t necessarily want them to go 4 hours between feeds, I’m only looking into routines because they aren’t happy in the evenings and I’m certain that one of them (who generally is the poorer napper) is getting overtired - he fights bedtime like a tiger, then eventually crashes and inevitably wakes half an hour later. So I wondered if being used to eating every 2 hours might be contributing to him waking early. I was completely happy demand feeding my DD, I’m only considering alternatives because it doesn’t seem to be going so smoothly this time.

To those saying it’s too early to get them into a routine, I’m really not trying to force anything, just considering options as one twin is very unhappy in the evenings and I wonder if some tweaks might improve things or if he needs a whole overhaul to help him.

@FudgeSundae even the newborn bit expects the baby to stay awake for at least 90 mins, which mine can rarely manage, certainly not several times in a day. Maybe they just have very atypical sleep needs at the moment.

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FudgeSundae Thu 25-Feb-21 19:12:09

@crazychemist I only have the single baby version but does this paragraph help?

EL1984 Fri 26-Feb-21 19:00:22

Firstly, well done for taking care of twins! I dont know how you do it! I have one and I struggle massively!

I have a 6 month old and still find getting on a routine difficult. Hardly any 2 days are the same. He was up for the day at 4.45am this morning!

Im not familiar with GF routine but the wake windows sound ridiculous. My 6mo has wake windows of 2hrs -2hrs 20mins depending on how his naps are going. My boy feeds approx every 3hrs and would never make it to 4! At 2 months I was feeding responsively ... like every hour!
I also think you'll struggle to get in a timed routine at 2 months, is more like 4 months you can start adding a bit of structure. Just do things in the same order and hopefully it'll start going in the right direction.

Take a look at millie poppins or parent and baby coach on Instagram. I could be worth booking a call with someone like this as they should be able to help you, I can see why you would benefit being in a routine with twins!!

crazychemist Fri 26-Feb-21 22:39:06

@FudgeSundae thank you. I’m still not really sure what I should do, but I guess just gradually stretching the awake time is going to be necessary. My Dd was awake for that sort of length by now, my boys just seem to really struggle to stay awake! One in particular is often ready for a nap after only 45 mins and will drop off when he’s being burped really quickly.

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crazychemist Fri 26-Feb-21 22:41:48

@EL1984, thanks, that’s a helpful suggestion. Honestly, my instinct is to be much more baby-led, that’s how I was with my eldest, but I’m looking into alternatives because one of my twins is MISERABLE every bedtime and ends up screaming for a good half hour to 45 minutes. I just desperately want him to be less overtired and unhappy at the end of the day. My DD says the other twin is her favourite “because at least he doesn’t wreck bath and story time” sad

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FATEdestiny Sat 27-Feb-21 16:54:39

I would be inclined to time naps according the the sleepy twins needs. Also sort the sleepy/grumpy twin first. So feed/wind and put down the sleepy twins before you start on the other twin. That will allow for maybe 15-30 mins extra sleep at every nap.

Defo take Gina Fords awake windows with a pinch of salt. Best in mind that her routines were published 22 years ago, a lot has changed in that time. The reprints (the New Contented Baby Book), including the twins book are 15 years ago so these are also not in-turn with recent parenting methods.

willowsandroses Mon 01-Mar-21 03:02:54

I sort of had the opposite problem as I can’t get my baby to sleep when he ‘should’ be sleeping - he just sleeps when he’s tired and eats when he’s hungry! It’s beyond me but I think some babies are more cooperative than mine! He seems content enough though.

lunarlife Mon 01-Mar-21 12:47:32

I have twins but they are now tweens.
After a chaotic first couple of months where I realized that the babies were finding their own sleep patterns (but they were totally different and I was going to break) I started following the baby whisperer.
I also read GF.

I was on a 3 hour feeding schedule, I slowly brought the two together by waking to feed and putting down for naps even if they weren't super sleepy.
It wasn't easy but over time it did become manageable.

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