I meant to write this post at four months – I wanted to do it every two months. But it seems like the entire period between four and five months was either transitions or disaster or both. We went through the four-month sleep regression and a bout of hand, foot, and mouth disease; neither one was conducive to routine. There was a point at which our so-called ‘daily routine’ changed literally every day as we tried to work things out.
Now, at five months, we have finally settled back down into a new routine that seems to be working. I just went back and read my two months post and breathed a big sigh at how much easier things are.
The biggest change is that the twins now directly breastfeed for all but one feeding; this has nearly completely eliminated the pump from my life and given me a ton of freedom. We can go anywhere! And did, before the entire family succumbed to HFMD for two weeks. Now that we’re on a new schedule, I’m looking forward to getting out and about again. Without further adieu, here is how a day in my life currently goes.
6:30-7 AM: Wake up. There’s no strict wake-up time anymore; husband’s alarm clock goes off at 6:30, but we stay in bed until the twins wake up, which is usually shortly thereafter.
7 AM: By 7, everyone’s up and changed. I give the twins their bottles (by balancing them together between my leg and a spare king-sized pillow) and then pump while they play on the bed; husband showers and gets ready for work and heads out. They currently take 5.5 ounces of expressed milk in this morning bottle; we will probably bump it up to 6 ounces in a day or two, as they are finishing it quickly. They use level 3 nipples now, which has helped them to eat a little more efficiently. Z finishes her bottle in about 10 minutes or less; I burp her and let her play while D finishes the rest of his bottle, another five minutes. Then twenty minutes of pumping while the babies play with each other and their toys behind me on the bed.
8 AM: Naptime. The babies fall asleep on the bed by 8, sometimes a little earlier. They sleep for at least 45 minutes, sometimes closer to an hour. During this time, I clean up, take milk and empty bottles downstairs, start laundry, fold laundry, tidy the living room, etc. If they are still napping when I’m done with all that, I stay upstairs and either read or work on sorting clothes – current project is to get ready for a consignment sale in September.
9:30 AM: Once they’ve woken up from their nap, they get diaper changes and changed into daytime clothes – these days, in the heat of summer, generally just a onesie. Then we head downstairs and they play on the floor of the living room.
10 AM: First nursing. Each baby is assigned to one breast each day; the next day, they switch. Because of my nursing station setup on the couch, I change whoever is assigned to the right breast first and put them in a boppy to the right of my seat. Then I change the second baby and sit down with them, pull the nursing pillow over, and get everyone settled in. They nurse anywhere from ten to twenty minutes; D usually finishes first. I burp him, and let him sit on the pillow or in the boppy until Z is done. Then I burp her, and both go back onto the floor to play (we’ve spread a big fluffy blanket out on the floor; they also have an activity mat with hanging toys). They play either together or alone with toys; Z rolls all over the room while D stays in one place because he hasn’t figured out how to roll off of his stomach yet. This frequently means he is the victim of his sister, who will roll over, steal his toy, and roll away. I assume this will never end.
11:30 AM: I find something to eat for lunch. It is usually not particularly inspiring.
11:45 AM: Naptime! At some point between now and noon, the babies will simply put their heads down and fall asleep. It’s pretty magical. I don’t bother trying to move them to a bed for this nap; they just sleep on the floor for half an hour to 45 minutes.
1 PM: Feeding time. Same routine as before. So much faster than it used to be! Nursing is amazing. After they nurse, I try to remember to use lanolin cream; I got lazy and let them latch badly while we were all sick, and wound up with bloody nipples (gross). They’re healing, but I’m trying to make sure to take better care of myself. I’m more careful about latching when they nurse, and I do the aftercare.
2:30 PM: Naptime again. For this nap, I like to try to get them into the pack-and-play crib we keep behind the couch; if I catch them before they fall asleep, I move them in there. If not, sometimes I can extend nap time a bit by moving them into the PnP when they start to wake up a little bit. Again, they sleep for half an hour to 45 minutes. Then it’s back to playtime.
4 PM: Feeding.
4:30: Another nap, back on the floor.
6 PM: Dinner for the parents. We elected to try to have dinner early, so that later, when we’re transitioning the babies to solid foods, they will be able to eat with us.
7 PM: Last nurse of the day. After they nurse, their father takes them upstairs, puts them in their cribs, and reads them a story. Then he sits in the nursery with them until they fall asleep; if they cry, he allows them to try to self-soothe before picking them up. While he is doing bedtime, I clean up from dinner. He is back downstairs by 8:15 or so, and we watch TV or talk or ogle real estate listings until bedtime.
And that’s it. They sleep through from 8 PM to 7 AM unless something is wrong; sometimes they moan and cry in their sleep, but our policy is to wait at least five minutes before we go in to soothe them, and since we instituted it I haven’t had to go in there once. They just adjust themselves, get comfy again, and go back to sleep.
The caveat, of course, is that we have been on this new schedule for all of two days, so I’m crossing my fingers that it all works out.
On days when we go out, the schedule remains the same; it’s just that nursing happens in the car or in a nursing room at a store or the mall, and naps happen in the stroller or the car. (Nursing in the car is bizarre but easier than I expected; it also has the advantage of being air conditioned to my satisfaction, something the public nursing rooms never seem to be.)