Thursday, November 30, 2006

Routine

Nico asked about whether my girls were on a routine yet, and while I wouldn't exactly say we are, but I wouldn't say we're not, either. They don't do the same thing at the same time every day, but I've started to be able to pick out some general patterns. This makes me happy, since I'm the routine-oriented type in general, but I also felt strongly about waiting for the girls to develop it themselves rather than imposing a Babywise-style schedule on them.

Since I love reading about other twin moms' routines (or lack thereof), and since my cold has evolved into the Evil Death Plague and I am too sick to do anything useful, I figured I'd post about it rather than just reply in comments. I hope this doesn't bore anyone to death, but I went through a phase where I really wanted to know what other moms' days looked like on an hour-by-hour breakdown, so that's what we'll do.

We usually wake up for the day between 8 and 9 am, a luxury we have because I'm now a SAHM/freelancer. I nurse both girls separately, which takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how hungry they are, how lazily they eat, and how much I play with them. After their breakfast, it's my turn, so I put them in their bouncy seats and let them look out the window while I eat, shower, and usually read email for a bit. Sometimes Katherine falls asleep in her bouncy seat, but Claire almost always stays awake, because she loves looking at things -- her mobile, the tree outside, the bookcase.

They are ready for their next feeding two hours after the first one, like clockwork, so we nurse again for another 30-60 minutes. After this, they are usually starting to think about naptime. If they're drowsy or asleep at the end of nursing/rocking, they get swaddled and put down in the co-sleeper. If they're somewhat awake, I rock them a little bit more, but after that I put them down even if they aren't entirely out, because I want them to sometimes fall asleep by themselves. This is one of those things I might not do if I only had one baby, but twins sometimes just have to be a little more independent, for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Of course, if they're wide awake and wanting to play, there's no sense in putting them down to lie awake in the crib, so we delay naptime until after the next feeding, in another two hours. Once they do go down, they are usually out for two hours or so, then wake up and eat again. On a good day, they both do this at the same time, but of course that's not always how it works, and there are plenty of days I juggle babies all afternoon.

After the Big Nap, the rest of the afternoon doesn't yet seem to have any consistency to it. They eat roughly every two hours and sleep some more, but it's in half-hour or hour naps, with no predictable time. When they're awake, sometimes they are content to be by themselves in the bouncy seat or pack-n-play if I have to get stuff done. More often, though, they want to be interacted with, especially after 4-5 pm when they tend to get fussy.

In the beginning, I was a little lost as to what to do with them when they were awake, but I'm starting to figure it out. Sometimes we read books, sing songs, or play with toys (they like rattles and mirrors right now, and will watch them intently). Sometimes we go for walks, or rock in the rocking chair, or just snuggle with Mama.

Just as often, though, I involve them in going about my own business, especially if only one twin is awake. I discovered that you don't have to focus on amusing the baby all the time for the baby to be amused. Sitting in the sling while Mama folds laundry is entertaining, as is being held while Mama surfs or reads or codes. Lately, I've been putting them on the bed with me and studying -- they like to watch the shiny pencil move, and listen to me grumble about compilers. They also enjoy watching me knit, probably because of the bright yarn and the shiny moving needles. I really like doing this kind of stuff, as it involves them in life without necessarily revolving around them all the time. In fact, Claire's "helping" me write this post right now, as she was fighting off the Big Nap.

Things start getting predictable again sometime after 6 PM. On a good day, Daddy is home to spend a little time with them, but the bedtime wind-down starts with the feeding after 6 PM (which, depending on the day, may happen anywhere from 6 to 7:30). I really encourage each of them to eat as much as possible -- talking to them to keep them awake, putting them back on the nipple even if they fall off, that sort of thing. After that, it's time for the Weapon of Bath Destruction! I bathe them every day, less because they need it than because it makes them sleepy. I think this is partly because of the Johnson's Bedtime Lotion I rub on them, which I put in the bathwater to warm up. After bath, it's into a clean sleeper, and then swaddled up and put to bed. I rock them and sing to them, but again, I don't always do it until they're asleep.

Once they're down for the night, they usually stay that way until early morning. Depending on bedtime, they will wake up between 4 and 6, most commonly around 5, for a feeding. (Actually, I think they wake up more often than that and put themselves back to sleep -- I sometimes hear little noises and wake to see them stick their hands in their mouth. I don't think it's coincidence that they started sleeping through about the same time they got good at finding their fingers.) I treat this feeding like a night feeding -- no diaper change unless it's desperate, no lights, no talking, straight back to bed afterwards -- and go back to sleep myself for a couple more hours. Our day then starts over when they wake up and start cooing and talking in their crib.

So, there you have it, a complete picture of my life with three-month-old twins. I hope this is helpful to other twin moms!

5 comments:

Nico said...

Thanks for sharing that with me! I think that maybe I need to start doing more of a bedtime routine with Ant at night, hopefully that will help.

Thanks too for the kellymom post on BF that you pointed me to - SO helpful!

Eva said...

Emma,

Thanks for sharing the information about your routine. Can I ask some follow up questions?

1. When you're alone with the girls, how do you keep one occupied while you're nursing the other?

2. When you say the next feeding is 2 hours later, do you mean 2 hours from the start of the previous one, or two hours after the finish?

3. How/where do you bath them? Is it in a kiddy tub, or in the big bathtub, and if the later, how does it work with them not falling over etc.?

4. How much do your girls weigh now? Because I'm wondering if mine are not yet sleeping as well because they're still too small (must find a reason other than that they're not going to be able to do it!)

I know I had other questions when I read this post yesterday, but I was holding someone and it was hard to type so now I forget. Oh well.

Thanks again for sharing.

Maggie said...

it sounds like you are busy busy! You're girls sound wonderful. Happy 3 month birthday!

Emma B. said...

Eva,

1. Bouncy seat, swing, pack n' play, or I just put her next to me on the bed. We actually spend a lot of time camped out in the bed -- it's the easiest place to wrangle two babies!

2. Two hours from the start (10 AM, if the previous feeding started at 8). That's their schedule, not mine -- I feed them when one expresses hunger, and it's just fallen into that pattern. I spend a very good chunk of each day actively nursing.

3. I have no less than four bathtubs that were handed down to me, and I don't use any of them. I washed then in the bathroom sink until they finally outgrew it, and switched to the kitchen sink last week.

4. Claire is about 10 lbs, and Katherine is closer to 11. The sleeping-through started right as they hit 10 lbs, and nursing also got a lot easier -- my cracked nipples finally healed. I've heard a lot of other moms say that sleep improves dramatically when they get above that 10-lb mark.

Eva said...

Thanks for all your answers -- very helpful! IT's good to know what others are doing. I got tandem going myself for the first time today on the couch -- very proud! Every 2 hours is a lot, but I guess they need that if they're sleeping through the night. J&S are less regular, but they probably average every 2 1/2 hours, but then wake up at night, too. Kitchen sink is good idea -- I worry that in the little plastic bathtub they're not warm enough because the water is so shallow.
J&S are so different in size -- J is almost 12 pounds, but S is not 9 yet. I'm hoping when she gets a bit bigger we'll have easier nights. I agree on nursing getting easier with J as he got bigger -- it was tough with him in the beginning. But I was lucky with S, I took her off the shield at around 8 pounds and she doesn't cause pain like he did when he was littler.

Sorry for another long comment. Thanks again for keeping us up to date on your girls, it's always appreciated. I wish I could see photos some day -- I bet they're adorable.