My boys are seven months old, but I wrote this post when they were six months as an update on our routine. Many things have changed since then, but it was similar to this post for several weeks.
For a while my mom’s opening line when she came in the door to help with the babies was, “Alright, what’s changed?” Newborns and infants develop so quickly that something is different every day. That is exaggerated with twins from what I’ve seen. One of the most satisfying challenges with twins is figuring out how to do things more efficiently, more easily, more affordably or in a new way that makes me feel like I have my act together. So, since my last post about feeding twins and our routine, many things about our feeding process have changed. Here I outline the biggest changes so that any multiples parents reading this before their kids are six months old may know what is coming.
Never mind. You’ll never know what’s coming. Perhaps you can get a general idea, though.
Now that our boys are actually sleeping through the night (by my definition, which is going 12 hours between two bottles), this is what a typical day looks like at home.
Please consider that our babies were full term with very few health issues, and follow your doctor’s advice before adopting anything about our wild little routine.
6:30 AM. Baby B wakes up jabbering. (Although he said “brother” when he was two months old, he hasn’t said any other words since. The occasional “ma-ma” sound comes out but not associated with anything.) I go into the nursery and try putting a pacifier into his mouth, but he doesn’t usually want it, likely because I started the following habit. To keep him from waking up his brother, I pick up Baby B and put him in bed between his dad and me. I grab a diaper and his pacifier on the way out of the nursery. Sometimes if I change him and put the pacifier in, he goes back to sleep beside me. Sometimes he doesn’t. Either way, this buys me a little bit of rest to prepare my mind for the day, and buys Baby A about half an hour of sleep.
7:30 AM. Usually by now everyone’s awake. My fabulous husband heats bottles and makes me coffee while I am in bed with both boys, keeping them happy until “breakfast” is ready.
8:00 AM. I put the Boppys on the play mat and the boys in the Boppys and the bottles in the boys’ mouths (and “The Green Grass Grows All Around All Around”). After the boys have drained the bottles, I set them up with the Boppys to burp. I am a terrible burper. I’d much rather set them up and let nature run its course. Meanwhile, if I have decided to be a really great mom that day, I read Jesus Calling and a Milosz poem to them. If I’ve decided to be a real mom that day, I sip my coffee in my PJs and sit on my butt.
8:30 AM. Apparently, eight-ounces of milk doesn’t cut it anymore because the boys still seem hungry. I pull frozen, pureed bananas out of the fridge (I’ll blog more about baby food some other time), heat it, add some oat cereal. Then it’s back to the play mat, but this time the boys are in Bumbos. They eat their “banana oatmeal” while I sing “Bananas in Pajamas.” They usually do this — eat their first meal in their PJs– so that, after they get messy, I can change them into clean day-clothes. This is also the time that, if it’s a good morning, they both poop. I tell them that they must poop at this time and that no more poops are allowed that day. They are usually compliant, which is very helpful when we have plans of leaving the house. (Blowouts without the conveniences of home are rather inconvenient.)
9:15 AM. For about 15 minutes, the boys have been fussing, but this should not be mistaken for time to sleep. Nay. Exhaustion means time to sleep. Mere exhaustion. Otherwise, time is wasted on actually getting the pitiful children to sleep. Eye rubbing, yawns, and legitimate cries are time for sleep. Not frustrated sounds. Five seconds after a diaper change and a pacifier, Baby A is in his crib, zonked. Baby B, on the other hand, talks and fusses, and I cave and rock him. They have swapped places on fighting sleep in the past month. I am confused by this, but it will likely happen again. I usually use this nap time to wash bottles and change out of my pajamas into what still could be considered pajamas. Today, I stay in my pajamas and blog instead.
10:00 AM. An ambulance goes by, and it better be on its way to a real emergency because its sirens woke both of my babies (through the sound machine; my country babies aren’t used to city sounds). 45 minutes was a decent nap though, and I buy time to find a better stopping place in my writing by putting them in the same crib with some toys. When they get bored with that, I set them on my bed and make the bed around them, change into day clothes, open blinds. Baby B finds this thrilling while Baby A screams in a way I can only interpret as a threat to call Social Services, so I move them to the living room to play with a tap light in the floor, their absolute favorite “toy.”
10:30 AM. I pour and heat bottles while the boys sit in their Bumbos at the front door and watch cars go by. Each bottle takes about 5 minutes to heat. While heating, I hear a toy drop. This is a travesty small-minded people such as myself simply cannot understand. I just pick up the toy and hand it back to the child with a look that says I’m trying to be empathetic but I’m not claiming I know your pain. By some miracle, the look creates peace between us, and everyone waits patiently for the 11am feeding.
11:00 AM. The boys have started to drink from sippy cups. By this I mean bottles with handles. Of the five daily milk feedings, the three in the middle are sippy cups. I pour 8 ounces for each feeding, for each boy; however, they only drink the entire 8 ounces the first and last feeding. The middle three are usually 6 ounces each. While I get the boys set up with sippy cups, I begin singing “It’s Itty-Bitty Sippy Time” to the tune of “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” which I made up ingeniously on the spot. For sippies, I have the same Boppy/Play Mat set up as I do with bottles. We use the Nuby sippy cup, the ones that supposedly have the only spill-proof nipples on the market. We tried these but the boys gave up because the milk didn’t come out fast enough. Conveniently the Dr. Brown’s widemouth nipples fit perfectly into these cups, so that is what we use. Still-proof is a great idea; we will get there eventually. For now, I sit with the boys and make sure that they don’t spray themselves in the face. Sometimes it helps to prop the sippy on the end with a folded cloth diaper. They have the coordination to hold it up, but not the endurance.
11:30 AM Diaper changes. Playtime. This is where things get kind of predictably repetitive yet so unpredictable.
For example, contrary to the aforementioned agreement, Baby B poops again mid-sippy-cup. It is discussed and forgiven.
To make sure he has finished his work, I wait a minute and check my Instagram. I’m immediately reminded why I don’t do this during the day. A friend posts her skin care regimen. I grab a nearby baby wipe and wash the sleep out of my eyes. It’s almost time for lunch. Oh yeah, that diaper. Appetite check? Still there. Hmm. Go mom.
After the diaper, I seek redemption for daytime social media through Timehop and find it. Three years ago, I prayed this for my future children.
Okay, so I am a good mom. This surprises me at times.
12:30 PM At the beginning of each week, I try to schedule some sort of “breather” each day. My mom comes over two or three afternoons a week, my mom-in-law helps out a few times a week, and I have a friend who stops by a few hours each week. I know some moms of multiples don’t get this, and so I make an effort to be especially grateful.
Today was an extra “breather” day, meaning I actually left the boys with those who came to help. I’m taking a Target and Starbucks time to buy formula, write this blog, and plan for my fall classes. Here’s the schedule for the boys until I get home at 4.
1:00 PM Nap. For babies. Sometimes for me if I’m lucky.
2:00PM Bottles. (We skip sippies if we have helpers.) Diapers. Playtime.
5:00PM. Solid foods again. Like in the morning, I reheat frozen, pureed food (fruit in the a.m. and veggies in the p.m.) and mix in cereal (oat in the a.m. and rice in the p.m.). I’ve just started giving solids before bottles. For a while, the boys would get frustrated with solids on a empty stomach. Spoons are slower than nipples, and they knew it. But now, they’ve figured out that they do get a bottle after solids and have become more compliant. Bath comes after solids and bottles because they get so messy. We have just begun to put them in the Bumbos in the big tub, but I think they’ll be ready to sit up in the tub without seats soon. All these things take about an hour and a half. Afterwards, they are usually exhausted but may not nap between this bottle and the next.
8:00PM. If the boys haven’t napped, I’m spent, but it usually means they’ll go to sleep more quickly. Typically, G. B. is home by the last bottle, and we feed them together. If they still seem alert, we let them play for half an hour after eating. If they seem very sleepy, we start the bedtime routine.
9:00PM. Both babies are asleep. Our sleep routine is diaper changes, lights out, sound machine on, nothing in crib, babies on back, pacifiers in mouths. Learning to let them to go to sleep on their own has been difficult, but now they talk and fuss for 5 to 10 minutes now and then go to sleep. After some Netflix with the hubs, so do I. All in a day’s work.