While in the hospital, the baby nurses made sure that the babies ate every three hours. However, since we depended on someone else coming in, the schedule was pretty fluid, changing times every day.
When we first came home, that continued–every feeding every day was different. We were still figuring out how we wanted to do things. We both got up for every feeding, and set up a station in our bedroom for the overnight ones. (The babies were sleeping in our room in a co-sleeper, because we didn’t want to go back and forth all the way to their room if they needed anything.) It was exhausting, but we didn’t have the energy to figure out another way.
Starting in their second week, we finally got on a consistent three-hour schedule: 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 1.30am, 4am, 8am. You’ve probably read that one of the biggest rules is never wake a sleeping baby….that idea is not applicable to twins. We often have to wake them to feed them. And that’s okay.
We also figured out a way to stagger the schedule a bit to get us some sleep and a bit more sanity. We usually go to bed after the 130 feeding (which ends up being 230-3am) and then Andy gets up for the 4am feeding on his own. I keep sleeping and then I do the 8am feeding by myself: babies on separate boppies and I sit between them, hooked up to the pump.
(my view this morning)
Usually I can get everything done by 9am, and then I watch tv and/or take a nap for 1-2 hours. (Note that breakfast is not part of this plan. Sleep trumps food.) Andy then gets up for the 11am feeding and we do that one and the rest together. This way we each get about five hours of sleep in a row. It’s nowhere near enough, but it’s miles better than only two at a time.
During the regular feedings, we work together to get ready. One of us usually does diapers while the other gets bottles. (We use formula for the 130am and 4am feedings, so that we can keep a couple feedings ahead with pumped milk.) Each of us feeds one baby, and we like to switch off so we get time with both. I try to pump during the feedings–the baby I’m feeding sits in a boppy or on my lap. I’m usually able to burp the baby without disturbing the pump.
All of this has worked pretty well. But one major reason is that we have two adults doing these feedings–my husband has been on paid paternity leave. With the holidays and a few vacation days, he’ll have had seven weeks off to be with the babies. That’s pretty rare and it’s also pretty fantastic. As I said in an earlier post, it seems to me to be a necessity to have a second pair of hands with twins. I am so grateful that he works at such a great company that values families.
This week, after one extended late night feeding, it seemed like a good time to try going to feeding every four hours. We tried it for two days but it didn’t quite work. The babies suddenly woke up crying from naps because they were hungry–believe it or not, they’d never done that before. They were not happy. Though they were able to go four hours overnight no problem, and we figured that could be kept. So the third day we went to every three and a half hours, with a four-ish hour stretch overnight. It’s been three days and seems to be working. We’re trying to let them wake up on their own around 4 or 5am and 8 or 830am. Having that extra half hour between feedings feels like so much extra time! I feel like I can mentally relax a little more.
Soon I think we will be able to try stretching to four hours again. I am really excited about that–only six feedings a day! Three-plus hours in between–what luxury!