Trying Times of Twinfancy

Double Trouble?!?!

“Don’t Push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head” – GrandmasterFlash

Life with twinfants in the house is HARD. Most of the time I am so busy trying to maintain the peace, that I’m not aware that we’re raising twins. If I were, I think it would wear me out. We are so close to the edge at every minute that it doesn’t take much for our household to spiral out of control.

It is a delicate balance, one that I have best maintained with the help of a routine. If you’ve ever read my personal blog, playdatecrashers.com, you will quickly learn that Tracy Hogg is my baby guru. I owe all of my baby care survival skills to her.

Around my house we live and die by the routine. Our two year old son is a great sleeper, and I think it is due to us keeping a fairly predictable routine since he was a few months old. Thankfully he still enjoys sleeping in the confines of his crib. I am a little nervous about his inevitable transition to the big boy bed, and the new freedoms he will enjoy with it, but I am sure that when the time comes we will tackle it just like everything else, one step at a time.

With the twins it was a lot easier to establish a routine because they were born 8 weeks premature and spent the first two weeks of their lives in the NICU. Since they came home with a three hour routine, the main thing we had to do was help them learn how to sleep at night, which they do quite well. The first six months (since they were born), have been a lot more manageable that I imagined (not that we haven’t faced a few moments of hopeless chaos here and there).

We have recently entered into dangerous territory, which I will refer to as “the change”. It couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time. For those of you who have yet to experience the joys of “the change” it usually falls between 4-6 months and has something to do with baby’s growth spurts, teething, and new skills. Symptoms of the change are drooling, mood swings, sleep disruptions, and inconsolability. There is a much higher success rate to sail smoothly through this face with a singleton, but for Twinfants (especially if they tend to be synchronized) parents should hunker down and prepare for the worst.

Saturday, things finally came to a head when I had reached the third nap of the day and both babies wanted nothing to do with lying in their cribs and drifting peacefully off to sleep like they normally do. I feel like I should also mention the fact that my back-up had been MIA for the past 36 hours because of school and work responsibilities and was recovering from a church youth group over-nighter.

I remember sitting on the bed with one baby crying in the nursery and me holding the other, feeling like all of our hard work had been flushed down the drain and that we would have to start from the ground up to get back to where we were. My solution: escape the chaos and walk away.

I quit trying to stick to the routine for the day and we loaded everyone into the van and headed out on the town. It worked! Then, on Sunday I discovered that I had not been giving them enough Motrin, and once I gave the right dosage they took a peaceful three hour nap, which naturally moved them to the four hour routine I have been trying to transition to for weeks.

Twinfancy is hard. The best we can do is to try not to lose our heads when we realize that we are in over our heads. We may be close to the edge at every moment, but the solution can and will be found among the chaos.

 What strategies have you found helpful when you were in over your head with your multiples?

Jamie is the baby whispering mother to three lively boys, big brother age 2 and identical twins age 6 months. Check out Jamie’s blog and podcast, The Playdate Crashers

10 thoughts on “Trying Times of Twinfancy

  1. We have 5 week old twin boys and were blessed to be able to bring them home from the hospital with us. We have tried desperately from day one to keep them on the same sleeping/eating schedule. Our boys have been eating every 3 hours like clock work but recently one of them decided to eat a little more and go 4 hours between feedings consistently, which is amazing, the problem is his brother still eats every 3 hours which literally puts me feeding babies all day long. Did your twins ever do this? If so how did you manage it and get them back on schedule? I was also wondering if anyone had any good tips for dealing with a gassy/fussy baby? Our boys are formula fed and have days (maybe every 3rd day) when they are really gassy and fussy all day. I thought the fussiness may be from getting out of our routine for the past 3-4 days so we are staying home today and letting the boys rest. For the gas I have been using gas drops, but they only seem to help a little. I would love any advice from other moms! These are my first babies and sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, other times I know I have no idea what I am doing. :) Thank you!

  2. I agree 100% with having a solid routine with twins. It was difficult to synchronize our boys in those early months, but now at 18 months, having everyone nap at the same time is bliss. We will break routine once or twice a week for something special like a zoo trip and I try to get the boys to nap in their stroller or the car. It doesn’t always work, but as long as we keep a consistent routine most days, everyone is happy.

    (Sorry I have no advice for Whitney on the gas issue!)

  3. The drives!! Oh, I remember the drives. If it had been a particularly long day and the twins were fighting a nap, I would load everyone up in the car, hit the Starbucks drive through and we’d go on an exploration drive. We would look for animals, construction vehicles, listen to fun music! It always helped get over the hump and usually by the next day things would fall back into place.

  4. @Whitney, I would feed them both every three hours. Are they sleeping for longer stretches at night? If not, keeping them to no longer than 3 hours between feeds during the day until 4 months will help them get all the food they need to be able to make the longer stretch.

    At night, whenever one would wake up, I would feed the other baby too so that I didn’t have to get up again in another hour or so.

  5. Whitney, what kind of bottles are you using? I have the Dr. Browns bottles which have a resevoir that keeps them from swallowing air. It really has helped cut down on the gas, they didn’t need to be burped at all until they started taking more in.

    I have 10 week old girls. They went home with us despite being a month early. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having such a hard time with yours. My girls have been very easy thus far. There have been a few nights that they were unconsolable. My husband and I tried all we could to get them settled but in the end had to lay them down and let them cry it out. I am fortunate to have teenage stepchildren that help out when I need to take a nap or just take a few minutes to myself.

  6. Thank you all for your advice. The boys do sometimes go for longer stretches between feedings at night, although not consistently. We usually just let them sleep and wake up when they are hungry during the night, because they do go longer between feedings (maybe every 3 1/2-4 hours) they seem to both wake up at the same time, but during the day their schedules are different. I will just try feeding them both at the same time during the day. I just hate waking the sleeping one up to eat, but it may be necessary to keep my sanity! :) we also have been using the dr browns bottles, hopefully it is just immature digestive systems and they will grow out of it soon. Honestly they are both great babies, I just feel so bad for them when they are fussing over gas bubbles, they just look so uncomfortable. Thank you again for your advice! I really appreciate it!

  7. All of my babies have had “gassy” immature digestive systems for the first 2-3 months. It goes away, usually.

    Try as I might, and it was a daily goal, keeping my twinfants on the same schedule was very difficult. Their eating and sleeping just never seemed to coincide, so I rarely got down time when they were both sleeping. However, I did appreciate the fact that I was usually able to get one-0n-one time with them while their twin was sleeping. It wasn’t until about 7 months that I really got them on a consistent and same schedule. I did hard-core sleep training at 9 months, which made their schedules very predictable. I also remember many times when my toddler and twinfants were all discontent and so I’d pack them up and go to the store, library, or anywhere! Even though it was (and still is!) a lot to cart them around, it always makes everyone happier to get out and get a change of scenery.

  8. Regarding how I handle being in over my head, I take 5 minutes (or longer if need be), cry my eyes out and then move on. I remember one time when the twins were young (maybe 6-8 weeks old) where both of them and myself all laid on the living room floor and cried for 5 minutes. That was enough to get it out of my system and then I realized why the kids were crying and I was able to fix it. Sometimes you need that.

    @ Whitney, Very early on I had to switch my daughter to formula (digestion issues) while I kept my son on breastmilk. No one told me that typically formula fed babies eat every 4 hours and breastmilk babies eat every 3. I kept waking Elizabeth up to stay on the same schedule as David and she never wanted to eat. She would cry and take nearly an hour to eat. It was awful but I just didn’t know. The way me and my husband worked things was that I always fed David because of being breastfed and my husband always fed Elizabeth because she used a bottle. After several (painful) weeks I just said, let’s let each kid be on their own schedule, I got up with David and my husband got up with Elizabeth. For about a week I felt like I was constantly feeding them but that triggered them to start sleeping longer during the night. Oh the sleep at night was sooo worth the split schedule during the day. Lesson: do what works for you.

  9. I agree with Meredith, do what works for you. We didn’t set out to create a schedule, but we kind of fell into one after a while. After about 10-12 weeks, things started to feel settled and more manageable. I tried not to disrupt our days too much, but now and then we’d head out for the morning and deal with the consequences later.

    @Whitney, I had to burp our girls before feeding them because they were so gassy. That seemed to help get the gas out before we started feeding.

  10. Pingback: From the Archives: Prematurity and the NICU - How Do You Do It?

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