Multiples

erratic feeding schedule

Babies are 12 weeks old now. 

DH's mom has been staying with the babies this month.  Before I went back to work, I fed the babies on demand.  But I usually gave them large enough volumes that they would eat at 3-4 hour gaps.  Since DH's mom has been here there is an increased number of days where the babies are grazing.  One ounce, one ounce, two ounces each hour and it carries on for hours while DH and I are both at work.

Babies are still not STTN, which is not totally surprising since they were both 4 lb 10 oz when born.  I think DS is about 10 lbs now and DD about 9 lbs. 

I am thinking about getting Baby Wise.  I am not sure what else to do to try and get them off of this small volume, very often feeding.  I have considered it might be the 3 month growth spurt or it is my MIL trying to appease them with food.

They are sleeping for longer stretches late evening but nothing consistent and certainly nothing STTN worthy. 

Helpie!! 

Three losses in 2009; Boy/Girl twins born in 2010 image

Re: erratic feeding schedule

  • I'm by no means an expert on anything since these are my only children, but we were having some problems with sleep and used "The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight."  It has been working wonderfully.  It breaks the book into segments by age so that you can see what their sleep and eating should be.  It isn't made specifically for multiples, but it works.  We just go by their "adjusted" age and it has made our lives sooo much better.  They're finally on a system and are sleeping through the night. 

    Also, for an immediate fix, I'd start trying to hold them off for feedings, lengthening each time period until they can go back to 3 hours at a time. Best of luck!  I'm sure you're exhausted with all the feedings now.

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  • In my experience Grandmother's are guilty of feeding less and not getting them to finish the bottle.  I definitely don't force feed my babies but I do my best to keep them on a 3 hour schedule with 30 mintues on either side of that 3 hours.  I stick with them until they finish or leave less than an ounce of the bottle or I truly feel like they aren't hungry.  My DS can take up to 45 minutes to finish at 4oz. bottle.  Every time my Mom is over to help the babies mysteriously eat less and in turn are hungry shortly after. 

    My babies are 2 weeks younger than yours and they go about 4 hour stretches at night.  DD will sometimes go 5 hours over the past few days.   I have never read or used Babywise but try to keep them on a schedule in the daytime as much as possible.  I have read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child you may want to try that.

  • I read both Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and found the latter more helpful. I think the key is distinguishing hungry cries from other cries. Since it takes 2.5 hrs for the stomach to empty its contents, we tried not to feed the boys again if it had been much less than 2.5 hrs; that seemed to help encourage them to take full feeds rather than just "snacking" throughout the day. (Though of course if we could tell they were definitely hungry earlier than that we would go ahead and feed them.) We started following HSHHC at 7.5w and they started taking regular, consistent naps literally right away. It was wonderful. :) And b/c we were following EASY, that meant they were going at least 2.5-3 hrs between feedings because they would be napping by about the 1.5-hr mark and then sleep until it was time for the next feeding.

    Good luck! I know feeding and sleeping issues can be so tough those first few months!

    fraternal twin boys born january 2009
  • In my experience Grandmother's are guilty of feeding less and not getting them to finish the bottle.

    Agreed. I have to watch my mom like a hawk when she feeds my DSes. She'll let them get away with eating 1oz too. One time DS1 kept his mouth closed when she tried to give him the bottle and she interpreted that as him refusing the bottle b/c he was full. He'd eaten half an ounce. Indifferent I had to have a talk with her about what they really act like when they're full.

    Babywise makes a lot of sense to me. It's a flexible concept so you can take what you want and leave the rest. I like that it promotes getting a full feeding each time so you don't end up with snackers. If you can convince the grandparents to change how they feed them that would be great. They should change for your sake. Even if they dont' care about a book or a particular approach, the concept of feeding them until they're actually full is common sense.

  • I also find that grandparents think that any time the babies cry that they're hungry. It doesn't matter if it's been 1 hour since they've eaten. We've had to be really firm with our parents that we don't expect them to eat until X time, and to please help us get them on an X hour schedule. Right now they've been eating every 4 to 4 1/2 hours and sleeping about 8 hours. Last night they slept from 9:00 - 6:30! 9 1/2 hours! So today we're increasing the amount in their bottles a bit so that we can still feed about every 4 hours and not be stuck with a 10:30 feeding. 

    I think that one thing that helped us with the grandparents, especially my parents, is our NICU time. They were there when the girls were really struggling with finishing bottles but we were being told by the NICU nurses that they needed to eat X amount in X minutes, and were given tips on how to encourage them to keep eating. Now we don't force them to eat if they're obviously not hungry, but at least we all know how to encourage them to eat if they stall out after just a couple ounces. They are eating about 6 1/2 oz/bottle right now and rarely leave more than 1 oz, if that. 9 times out of 10 they finish the whole thing.

    I read HSHHC (the twin version) and while I don't necessarily "follow" it I do try to use some of the tips it provides, especially the "drowsy but awake" to put down. We put the girls to bed immediately after their last bottle, regardless of how awake/sleepy they are and they usually go right to sleep. I think it's important that if your MIL is the primary caretaker during the day that she reads whatever book you're going to follow to make sure she's on board and educated about everything.

  • I highly recommend Babywise. It's something that will help guide grandma through the days and get the babies STTN. We did it with DD and she STTN at 6 weeks. The twins STTN at 11 weeks. When I say STTN, I don't just mean that they are not getting a feeding at night - they are actually sleeping soundly all the way through the night!
  • I bet their grandmother is just appeasing them with food when they cry.  That's what Grammie's do :)  My mom is going to watch mine 1day/wk and I'm giving her strict instructions so she won't screw up our awesome schedule!  Also, I highly reccommend Babywise!!
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