Let's be real - is it possible to establish a real schedule when breastfeeding?

Beatrice - posted on 10/07/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Ok, I love breastfeeding my babies. I breastfed my 2.5 y.o. for over a year and am now breastfeeding (and pumping for) 2month old twins. But both times I am (and was) tormented by the (self-imposed?)expectation that I need to get my babies on a eating and sleeping schedule, especially since I have already returned to work. It doesn't help that all the information I can find on the topic seem to presume that my baby will take a bottle. For example - establishing an Eat - Wake - Sleep schedule. My babies fall right asleep on the boob and always have. Should I wake them up? Also, getting them to sleep is impossible by myself.



With my first daughter, I ultimately let her lead and everything worked out okay. However, to this day, we don't have a sleep routine or any kind of schedule and I can see how she fights going to sleep.



Now, I know that it is a bit early to start enforcing a sleep routine for these twins and expect them to adhere to a schedule, but I want to encourage it. I give them a bath around the same time each night, give them a massage (boy is particularly gassy - massage helps so much), dress them (dropped swaddling - they seem too big for the blanket), turn off the light and breastfeed. They fall asleep on the breast and I still can't put them down without them waking up and crying.



At night: This sleep routine seems to be nice, and they will sleep the longest after this, but then the rest of the night, my husband and I are juggling babies back and forth - he holds one on his chest while he sleeps and I lay down and feed the other while I sleep. On a good night, it seems like we switch babies every two hours.



During the day: They seem to have a period around 7:30 am after they feed where they are alert and I can put them in their bouncy chairs for maybe 15 minutes. After that, they want to feed and sleep all day and have short periods of happy alertness (not at the same time, of course). I basically sit on the couch breastfeeding and holding them all day.



If one falls asleep, should I put her down (even if she will instantly wake up and want to feed?)



I'm pretty much on my own when I'm with them - I don't have anyone to calm one down for me so I can deal with the other.



What are your thoughts?

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Celeste - posted on 10/07/2012

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When your babies fell asleep after feeding, would you put them down or hold them forever and ever amen?



I tried to put them down. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.



Do you think that putting them down will get them accustomed to sleeping without being held?



At this young? No, not at all. I believe this is a need right now..



Did you ever have to feed both at the same time at night?



Not til they were older. When they were smaller, I preferred to nurse them separately.



How did you work it?



As they got older, I could. I have large breasts so I was able to nurse them, lying down on my back.



As far as I can tell, if I feed them both at the same time, I have to climb out of bed and sit at my "nursing station".



Yeah, that was part of the reason why I didn't like tandem.

Celeste - posted on 10/07/2012

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I am a mom of twins and an older child. I can tell you this, feeding on demand doesn't necessarily mean that they will not have a routine. My daughter, breastfed, was sleeping through the night at 3 months. I didn't have her on a routine or a schedule.



I'm not a big fan of feeding schedules. Routine? Absolutely. Feeding schedules? No, especially for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. The "emptier" your breasts are, the faster milk production is. If you impose a parent schedule, this can interfere with milk production.



Plus, as babies get older, they will usually get themselves on a schedule.



I fed my twins on cue, but I'd try to nurse them at the same time. Sometimes it worked, sometime it didn't.. I was on my own with the boys when my husband was at work.



IMO, if it's working for you, keep on doing it. I'm a big fan of following instincts and not what some book says (ie. eat, wake sleep).



It's kind of hard when most of the moms in my mothers of multiples club are big into schedules, etc. But nursing on cue worked for us! I will say that I did have more of a schedule (again, not feeding) when they got older, like, naps, bedtime, etc.



I have no idea if that was helpful but those are my thoughts LOL

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Lori - posted on 10/07/2012

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I fed my LO on demand, not on schedule. I did that with each of my girls for the whole first year. Like Celeste said though, feeding on demand doesn't mean you can't establish some sort of routine. But let it be a flexible routine for both sleep and eating.



You can't spoil a baby this young by holding them too much. No matter what anyone else says. Have you tried any sort of sling or wrap to carry one or both babies hands free. I'm not sure which carriers work best for twins, but I know there are carriers out there that allow you to "wear" both your LO's at the same time.

Mary - posted on 10/07/2012

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I don't have experience with twins, but if you put a baby down who will instantly wake up to feed, you may just be teaching your baby to nurse through her whole nap, or to only take short naps (depending on which happens when you let her nurse again). I spent most of a year nursing through every nap.



Have you tried putting the baby in a swing instead of a bed? That was working for my baby, until I created the needing to nurse issue by trying to use a bed instead.

Beatrice - posted on 10/07/2012

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Thanks Celeste - It helps to hear that I don't have to have a schedule and I will survive.



When your babies fell asleep after feeding, would you put them down or hold them forever and ever amen? Do you think that putting them down will get them accustomed to sleeping without being held? Did you ever have to feed both at the same time at night? How did you work it? As far as I can tell, if I feed them both at the same time, I have to climb out of bed and sit at my "nursing station"...

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