Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Bean Routine

Warning: This is a post about babies. Uh. Aren’t they all? But what I mean is it is a detailed post regarding the developments in our home since the bean arrival. Like, really detailed. It may bore knitters to death and go on and on, but I wanted to post this because I feel it might help someone out there.

Before I gave birth I had a lovely shower given by my sisters. I have a second cousin with fraternal twins and she gifted me with a book by Tracey Hogg, known as the Baby Whisperer. I was excited because we had used Cesar Milan’s Dog Whisperer for our beloved Meesh with really great results. She is a calm secure lovely GSD who seems to have curbed her wilder tendencies (though she loves to dig here which kills my mum as she plants and replants her beautiful flowers. (Look at that orange palette, when the tomatoes ripen it will be spectacular.)). Anyway, if the Dog Whisperer worked, well, the Baby Whisperer had to be just as good if not better.

So I read this book while waiting on the babies and found it helped me anticipate some of the needs of the Beans. I had so many questions and it did answer some, but mainly it gave me an idea, a rough outline as to how our lives would change. I mean, how are you supposed to prepare for multiples, or for that matter, your first one even? Sure, you know your baby will need love and comfort and dipes, but really, what after that? There are so many ways to parent and it is such a personal choice. I knew I wanted to find what would be best for the Beans and, in reading, found myself gravitating towards this woman’s writing voice. She speaks for the baby, helping parents understand that a lot of the ‘problems’ they experience are things they teach their babies.

For you readers out there that might be visiting from this site, or just interested in a rational approach to parenting I would highly recommend Tracey Hogg’s books. The only one I own is her latest publication (done before her death. That made me so sad as she was only 44 and you really feel like you get to know her by reading). She suggests starting her program from birth and we have followed this and I think it is what makes our lives both joyful and manageable since the bEans joined us.

So, here goes. She believes in ROUTINE not time SCHEDULES. Really important distinction, time schedules are rigid, routine is not.

She reinforces teaching a child INDEPENDENT SLEEP. This may not seem like a big deal because newbies sleep a lot, but it is key, especially with 2. Without this tenant Tim and I would be absolute wrecks.

She also gives guidelines to learn the TYPE of temperament your baby may be expressing and what a parent can do to foster and enjoy their child rather than fight it.

The crux of her method is the EASY plan..
E - Eat
A - Activity
S - Sleep
Y - You time (happens while baby sleeps). (and only when baby sleeps.)

What does that mean? Well, you establish the routine by following the above: your baby eats, then you play and perform bodily ministrations to the baby, then baby shows sleep signs so you prepare baby for sleep, help baby get to sleep, then frantically perform all things you need or want to do during baby sleep time. Yay.

It takes time to get this going, it takes work and some discipline on the part of the parent, but it works. It is never perfect and things happen to muck it all up, but here is the thing…it is predictable for baby and for mama and daddy. You know what to respond to, you know what your baby is crying about, you know how to problem solve, and this is a powerful key for parenting. If one does not know why your baby is crying, one can go a bit nutty, wouldn’t you say?

Now, I know I am only 6 weeks into this thing and it holds A LOT of surprises for us but we feel so good, and when I read some other mommy blogs I note that I do not think they feel that good. It could have to do with things other than baby and routine, but I am eternally grateful to my cousin for the book and I would love to share the knowledge I have gleaned with other families out there looking for something.

I have included the current routine that the Beans are following, which really just started to become solid and comfortable for them. They do get ‘off’ a bit or we play around with it when the day holds trips/appt/challenges but it remains in the same configuration so they always know what comes next, and babies like to know what comes next. It seems to make them feel secure and happy. Without further ado, I give you, The Bean Routine:

700 : E Wake and eat.
730/745: A Dipe change, spit bath, quiet play
800/815: S Down for morning nap
800/815: Mama pumps.
830/900: Y Mama time to shower/brekky/chores

1000: E Wake and eat
1045: A Dipe change, get dressed, fun play (cubes, colors, blinds, you know)
1115ish: S Down for nap.
1100ish: Mama pumps
1130: Mama naps (or tries to) or we go on walk in Stroller

1245/100: E Wake and eat
145: A Dipe (yep, every time), then a little talking time
200: S Nap (if they can) and Mama does a little blogging, etc.
200: Pump: For those of you wondering, I pump enough milk to feed them (for now) with just a bit of formula/supplement. They occ go on breast but b/c they
started on bottle they have little patience with the boob. I love it when they do go on, I feel less moo/cow and more nurturing mother. It works out well with my current pump schedule and if I have extra hands for a feed that I can put one on. I did try nursing both at the same time to keep their feeds together. Uh, no. Really difficult, really frustrating for them and myself. You do not have to be Super Mom all the time. I wanted to share this b/c I know I wondered if I could supply enough to feed them. It requires a really good dual pump, a lot of commitment and a regular pump schedule of every 2-3 hours to keep the milk flowing. And acknowledging your breasts will never be the same again. The reward is giving our babies all that they need, I am still in awe that my body is making milk. Milk! Weird, but cool. (Note: My husband and I were talking of this milk phenomenon and he mentioned it is great proof that we evolved from the animal kingdom, unless God just thought to add in the boob thing during the whole rib taking thing. Sorry, irreverent.) If there is a ‘nursing’ Mom out there with twins, I give you major kudos. It is hard enough as is to keep this up, I cannot imagine not having the luxury of filling a bottle and handing one to Tim, Opa or Oma.

345/400: E You guessed it, they eat quite frequently, these babies.
* Note: I usually do the morning feed with Oma, the second feed with Opa, the third and fourth alone, then Tim gets home for the next feed. It is tough to do feeds without extra hands due to the whole burp, spit up issues. And I know I get more help than most out there.
430 : A you know the drill. (Tim gets home around this time).
500: S Catnap 30-45 minutes to help get through bath time. At times we go to the park , sometimes Tim goes for a ride. etc.

6oo: E
630: Bath time! Yay! Such a great part of the day. We bathe them at least 5 times a week, occ we skip. We make dinner during this time. Talk about multi-tasking.
700: Nap (we eat dinner here)

800: E then back to bed.
1000/1100: Eat then back to bed.
These two feeds are ‘cluster’ and ‘dream’ feeds to help them get through the night. They do have a hard time keeping to these as they get really full, but we are working on it. The idea is to ‘tank them up’ so they sleep through the night. That is the idea anyway.

3 or 4 a.m. : Feed and change and back to bed until 6/7. And the night all depends. It depends on the day, on how much they took during the cluster and dream feed, on the stage of the moon, on whether Tim and I wake up… get it…

I usually do the 4 a.m. feed alone and let Tim sleep, then blog/read/knit from 5-6, walk Meesh 6-645, then get the 7 a.m. feed ready and…off we go into another day.

It isn’t always like this and it will likely stay this way until 16 weeks/4 months when she recommends a 4 hour plan. And I have always been a morning person, a really early morning person. Actually for awhile in my life I did not believe in sleep. Then I learned from Tim that sleep is good, now I am back to minimal sleep, but it is okay because I did this once in life. For now it is so nice to have some predictability. I know this was a really detailed and maybe overly informative post, but I would have loved to have read this while pregnant just to know what others do. I put it up for that reason. I hope it helps someone out there (and I hope it does not sound too crazy…I mean it is crazy, I will not lie, put ‘predictable’ crazy.)

And from everything I read, it changes after the first 6 months, not easier but different. We will just have to see when the time comes. Thanks for reading and hoping this helps others out there, especially any MOM's waiting on their little ones. Luck to you. Cheers.


skhpottery said...

THANK YOU. With 5 weeks to go I am soaking up this kind of information! So much more useful than, what to buy, what to wear, what to take to the hospital like you get from the magizines. So glad you have happy beans!

Rae said...

BEST BABY BOOK EVER! I can testify that it really works, too, especially with the sleeping. By six months my babies LOVED taking a nap and would get really excited when we got close to their crib. Everyone remarks on how easily my kids go to sleep, and it just comes from doing it the same way since birth, and making sleep time really special, cozy blankets etc. I think that book is the best. Glad you found it.

MyUtopia said...

AWE! Great baby pictures!