Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our twins' feeding and sleeping schedule

So lots of my friends have been asking about the babies - how often do we feed them, what times do they sleep, etc, etc.

Well, let me start by saying that they were on a strict 3-hour schedule in the NICU and we thought, "great! we'll just keep it going and all will be well"

Not so easy!

When Connor came home, we kept to the schedule very well. 2, 5, 8 and 11. Rinse and repeat.

By the way (and don't feel bad if you didn't know this - we didn't either), 3 hours does not mean you get a 3-hour break between feeds. It's wake at 2, change nappy (sometimes multiple times if baby pees/ poos while you're doing, which they seem to have a habit of doing in the wee small hours of the morning), feed, burp, feed, burp some more, rock to sleep, put down, shhhh baby if he's a bit fussy.... At this point 1 - 1 1/2 hours have elapsed, so there's 1 1/2 to 2 hours left before the next feed. I thought babies ate a lot quicker before having them.

Also, we were aware that we were "on trial" as he'd be weighed two weeks later at the appointment with the paediatrician so we were very careful to feed exactly on schedule. We even woke him (which, by the way, goes totally against my feelings - how can you wake a sleeping baby, especially one as cute as this boy, but apparently I want to be a competent mother more :) so we woke him to feed).

All went well and we were approved as good parents because Connor gained something like 45g a day over those two weeks, which is great.

At that same appt, we asked about moving him to 4-hour feeds, which she (the paed) was fine about doing, as long as he had the required amount of ml per day.

So we because slightly more lax in favour of more sleep and let Connor wake at 3 1/2 hours and sometimes, gloriously at 4 hours.

All this was easy to keep a record of (I'm a nerd, remember) because he was just one baby.

Then Kendra came home.

It's a whole new ballgame monitoring two babies and I totally abandoned The Notebook. I was actually so proud of this notebook in the days Before Kendra. I knew exactly when Connor made a poo, how much he drank and when, etc, etc.

After that, D would ask when C or K made a poo and I'd say something vague (I'm not a vague person by the way) like, "oh, sometime yesterday, or maybe it was last night. Actually could have been this morning".

No idea!

Anywayyyy, since life is about survival, we basically let the babies do their own thing. If they woke together, good and well; if not, also fine. We'd take whatever sleep we could get!

And the truth is that they let you know with their cries when they're hungry. When they cry, we do the NICU routine - grab baby, change nappy, feed, burp, put back to bed. Of course, as I said above, that takes anything from an hour to 90 minutes.

Although I must be fair to Connor - there have been some nights where he's slept longer, woken up starving after 4 hours, and the whole routine from start to finish has been 30 - 40 minutes. Yesss! More sleep for me.

The two of us love our sleep so we get the business done and then it's back to sleep.

This pic was taken while I was reading blogs on the laptop and feeding him, propping the bottle up with my chin. I'm trying to teach him to hold his bottle but so far he's not that interested in being independent :)

Back to Kendra... so she is strictly a 3-hour gal. Never sleeps a moment longer; in fact, often wakes a half hour earlier! You know what that means, right? Yip, even less sleep for us.

Interesting thing about Kendra - the MINUTE she pees, she screams in her sleep, waking herself up and then screams properly until the whole house is awake, even her brother.

D and I joke that we initially thought we'd have to buy separate cots so the babies wouldn't disturb one another; looks like we now have to buy separate HOUSES!

It's a joke but actually very true.

Seriously, she cries when wet, when hungry, and anytime she feels like it. You'd never say it looking at this pic though...

but this is a very familiar sight in our house. In the beginning I'd keep taking pictures hoping for one "nice" one and then I realised this is actually Kendra, no point denying the fact :) So we have lots of pics like this!

If they wake together, then D and I will each attend to a baby. Otherwise, it's really whoever gets to the baby first.

Confession time - I think I missed out on that "mother always hears her child crying" gene.

The truth is when one of the babies starts crying and I'm asleep, the crying weaves itself into a dream. By the time I'm aware that it's actually a real baby crying, the baby in question (usually Connor) is crying as if his heart is breaking because he's been ignored for some time. Either that or D will nudge me out of sleep.

Kendra shrieks and the high pitch usually breaks through the dream barrier :)

These days D does Kendra's and I do Connor's feeds at night time. That's so that we know when the baby in question woke, how long they slept, etc.

Which tells you that we don't wake the other twin when the one wakes. It's just easier for us because we don't wake with the cries. In fact, D sets his alarm clock to wake him.

New rules prevail

This past Tuesday they were 7 weeks old and something suddenly clicked for me. I realised these two LITTLE people are seriously kicking our butts. No more!

So we're trying to get them back on a schedule. And I've hauled out The Notebook again to keep copious notes. I've also learned that K eats as if she's a 3.2 kg baby and C as if he's a 4.6 - 5kg baby!

My full-time nanny starts on Tuesday and works from 8am - 5pm Monday - Friday. So our first goal will be to get them back on a 3-hour feeding schedule, then 3 and a half hour, then 4 hourly schedule. Hopefully this will help to restore some order to our lives again.
I typed up a 10-page document (don't laugh) on the to do bottles, laundry, bathing, etc, etc. so we are both on the same page, so to speak! I also have a feeding schedule form to keep track of the times and amts of their feeds.
I also have a new night nanny on Mondays and Thursdays so I'm getting a bit of freedom again - on Thursday last week I actually went to a dance class at the gym. The teacher asked me if I'm pregnant (!) but that's another story.
Wish me luck. Tomorrow I'll be TOTALLY on my own with these two for the entire day - pray that they'll be good babies and sleep lots and wake up one at a time because I only have two hands!
How are you guys doing?


  1. Beautiful babies! I think mine is more like Connor. Barely makes a sound when crying and doesn't do it very often. Sleeps so hard that we have a hard time waking her to feed! We have babies!! YAY!!!!

  2. I love how we both have "good" and "troublesome" babies! The schedule is a life saver! Monday is my first day together, I'm sure we'll come out a bit more frazzled but fine.

    I started using a pillow to feed them at the same time. I have a kinda squishy pillow and plop them both on with their feet hanging down so they're at a slight angle. I hold the bottles with my thumb and forefinger and use the other fingers to steady their heads and hold them straight.

    For computer time I sit with my legs crossed criss cross applesauce (because I'm a 5 year old at heart) and place them one on each leg with their heads by my knees and their legs over lapping in my lap. Keeps them from wiggling and rolling! But if you're leaning down it kills your back :(

    We'll see how we come out! I think you're probably getting up soon-GOOD LUCK!

  3. Good luck with your day alone! The schedule was the best thing we ever did...I don't think we'd have survived without it. You'll figure out what works for you. (Also, my girls still eat basically every 3 hours during the day, even though they sleep 9-10 hours at night. So don't worry if they don't get the hang of 4 hours during the day...they will burn those calories faster during the day as they are awake more!)

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  6. Beautiful babies!!! We have lots of pics of Liam crying too. Tommy's the happy one. Yup, I used to have a notebook for feedings and diapers. The unfortunate thing is I think we guide them towards a schedule, but it doesn't really click with them until about 3 months. That's where we're at right now. They have a morning bottle, morning nap, lunch bottle, afternoon nap, dinner bottle, little nap, bathtime, bedtime bottle, bed for the night and then they both wake once in the middle of the night. I'm working on getting them to sleep through the night. They do have playtime before their morning nap and their afternoon nap and sometimes before bathtime when I'm making our dinner.

    I go back to work Sept 8th and I'm petrified that I'm going to be exhausted from them waking at night. DH helps, but he doesn't hear them crying as much as I do. Although there have been a few nights he heard them first and took care of them both and I got an awesome night's sleep!

    I can't believe anyone would ask if you were expecting! In your pregnant pic in the last post, you look so thin in the face you'd have to look down to see you were pregnant!

  7. Whew, I am tired just reading about the schedules (but also I am just tired!). I guess it is a sneak peek into our future! I am so glad you are getting some help!

    K and C are just precious!!

  8. It's a comfort reading this - I thought I had the schedule thing waxed, and I was really enjoying my 4 sometimes 5 hours btn feeds at night and now we've gone back to mostly 3 hours... and I'm back to feeling like I did in week 2 and 3 - UTTERLY BUGGERED. So tired in fact that I hardly talk to the little bub, but focus on processing him and catching some serious shut-eye. So pleased you're getting almost full-time help. When can I meet these lovely cherubs!?

  9. Anonymous12:26 pm

    Connor & Kendra have fulled out beautifully are are looking too cute for words. Hope the new fulltime nanny works out well, and you get to rest a bit!

    Love Caren

  10. Nat, in this post I said Connor will sometimes stretch to 4 hours, Kendra never. Then the night before last Kendra had 4 ½ hours from one feed to the next. Of course Connor woke so it was useless...

    I don’t talk to them in the middle of the night either except for “shhh and drink your bottle” LOL

    You can meet the lovely cherubs any day from Mon – Thurs between 8 and 5. I was actually thinking in the shower that we need to make a PLAN and then I downloaded emails and this was there LOL


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