The Magic of Routine

‘Witchcraft’ one Mum whispered to me in the waiting room where we weigh the children

Why? Because I told her I had managed to get my twins to sleep through the night for weeks. Yes I have some mornings when they wake at 4am, or one of them wakes at 2am but it’s not everyday. The clocks going back has also changed their schedule so am fighting to get it back to normal. Only the other day I posted a video asking how get my children to sleep longer. Kind and honest friends said there’s no right or wrong way and that all children like to get up early. I’ve never been a morning person but 4am is still the night in my eyes!

I don’t know if this method will work for everyone. I don’t know if it’s because my girls are fond of sleeping but this is the story of what we did to achieve it. I’m sharing it because I wish I had known what others did before I implemented a routine, I think it would help to have some idea because I winged it and it took a while to establish what worked for us and that is the key, it’s about what works for you and your family.

Pretty much from when we got home from the hospital I have slept in the same room as the girls. When they initially came home they slept in with Hubby because I couldn’t move and then when I could they came to their bedroom. I sleep in their bedroom now but go to bed later than them.

From birth they were in Moses baskets up until they were nearly three months and then moved to cots. This is when I began the routine. Before then they slept a lot but from 3 months they began to be awake more and engage with me so decided to implement a routine.

The routine roughly goes at follows, and my children are 5 months, so check the formula amount if you intend to follow. Also after speaking to twin mums it seems babies weight contribute as if they are small they still need lots of feeds;

6:15am: Wake up, change nappies, talk, if one twin is awake keep upstairs, if both are awake go downstairs

6:30am: 1st Feed, Breast then bottle, 7oz

9:30am: 2nd Feed, Breast then bottle, 6oz

12:30m: 3rd Feed, Breast then bottle, 6oz

3:30pm: 4th Feed, Breast then bottle, 5oz

6pm/6:30pm: Time depends on whether or not it is a bath day. 5th Feed, Breast then bottle, 5oz

I found initially that they had particular stirring hours, 10pm, 2am, 5am but as they got used to it they didn’t stir as much.

My policy is if they open their eyes they get more food, if they don’t then I give them the dummy and they go back to sleep.

I tried ‘Dream Feeding’ for a while, which if you don’t know what this is, it’s when you feed the baby in the night when they’re not fully awake. I would feed them whenever they stirred but found this disturbed them more and would ruin the routine set in the day.

I still get up to check them, give them dummy’s, turn them when they’ve moved too much. But this is nothing like the old days of sleepless days and nights. But I think it’s the routine that they have come to crave now.

For example when I feed I know about an hour after it they will have a 40 minute nap, I think this is where the expression 40 winks comes from. At the 3:30pm feed, there is no nap until bed. I also have a routine if I’m at home with children. After nap time it’s mat time where we play with toys, do physio and play around until food. Then they sit their chairs to digest food where we read books, play with hand toys, play with musical electronic toys or a bit of TV if Mummy needs to clean, prepare food or make a cuppa.

If you’re still in the early days, 0-3 months, I feel for you because it’s not easy whether you have 1 baby, 2 or more (Geez, you poor bugger). What I can say is once you break the 3 month barrier it does get slightly easier. Someone once told me it gets slightly easier every 3 months and I’m inclined to believe them.

But what is important is to start as early as you can to teach your child the difference between day and night. I found this dramatically impacted them. As they were born in the summer, when I put them upstairs to bed, I would use a blackout to get them to realise it was evening at 6pm even though it was light outside. Going for a walk in the pram or sitting outside in the pram was good to help them recognize it was daytime and find even now if they go out in the day they sleep well.

There has been a slight regression in the last couple of weeks, the odd few nights where they have defied their routine but I had read somewhere that this was common so it wasn’t a surprise. It’s been hard though because it’s getting use to the random waking rather than the routine wake ups.

I don’t think I’m performing witchcraft, routines don’t form magically they take hard work to create and maintain. Like being a parent, it’s bloody hard work but if you get your routine the whole experience I think becomes much more enjoyable I think.

Love B

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