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`Virgin` Gran (First post)

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Silversands Sun 17-Mar-13 16:20:33

Hi I am very much a newbie on this site and wondered if anyone could assist with some advice. For the past seven weeks I have been taking care of my newborn grandaughters as their mum was unfortunately extremely ill following a C Section and kept in hospital. They are now on four hourly 110ml feeds over the full 24 hours which has left me practically on my knees - how do I get them off night time feeds? I had three children of my own but it was sooooo long ago I imagined they were off at least the 2am feed bye four weeks, but perhaps I am mistaken. hmmm

Sbagran Sun 17-Mar-13 16:38:55

Welcome Silversands - what a wonderful Grandma you are to care for your little granddaughters. (Are they twins or triplets?) I really wish I had the answer
to your question but I too am sooooo old that I can't remember how old my three were when they each gave up the night feeds!
Are you on your own? If so, is there a relative or close friend who could perhaps 'stay over' with you, even on the occasional night and do the feeds, so that you can get a full night's sleep?
Seven weeks is perhaps a little early for solids and you need support while you are standing in, especially as you are no doubt concerned about your daughter as well.
All I can suggest is that you grab any shut-eye that you can while the babies are asleep - forget housework etc. Get a few early nights yourself if they are settled. If you can get someone to cover the odd night with you grab them, as just the odd good night will make all the difference to you.
I wish you all the luck in the world and hope that they will soon sleep through at least a decent number of hours, if not the full night.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter and I wish her a speedy recovery flowers flowers

Movedalot Sun 17-Mar-13 17:00:07

Hi and welcome Silver. I agree with Sba all the way.

Presumably they were small at birth as they are twins (?) and so are probably still far too small to go through the night. In my opinion you are doing very well to get them on four hourly feeds at this stage, well done.

I think the best thing you can do is ask the Health Visitor for advice, she is local and will know all the circumstances and whether it is possible to get some extra help.

I hope another GN will be able to tell you about organisations set up for parents of twins, I know they exist and that could be another source of help for you.

Please ask for help from anyone you can. What about the father? Can't he come and give you a hand, perhaps at the weekend?

I hope your daughter is soon well. flowers

Fondasharing Sun 17-Mar-13 17:28:06

My daughter had twins 10 years ago and they weighed 5lbs 10ozs and 5lbs 8 ozs each. My daughter signed up to and still belongs for invaluable advice on everything. Also applies for any multiple births.

On checking with her....she said that about 6 weeks old she did what she calls a "dream feed"....i.e. woke them up around p.m. and fed them ( even if they had been fed only 3 hours earlier) and if they woke in the night she only offered them boiled water. It from 6 weeks or so they went through from 11.00 until 6.00 p.m. and then at 11 weeks they dropped the dream feed and slept from 7.00 until 7.00 p.m. So, it is possible, but as everyone else may say, it may depend on how much they weighed when they were born and whether they are getting enough milk in the daytime.

The twins were on a strict feeding routine from the start...i.e. every 3/4 hours from the beginning! This was completely the opposite to her first born...she fed him on demand and took all the modern advice from the health visitor. With the twins, she just could not get on with the sleep deprivation and "on demand" routine (coping with twins and a toddler) so she did strict feeding routines with the girls and it worked for her and the twins much better.

Good Luck!!!!!

Mishap Sun 17-Mar-13 17:31:30

Heavens - you do have a job on there!

I htink they are really a bit young to hope for sleeping through the night, but I cannot imagine how you are coping - well done you!

Hope your DD will ne well enough soon to be taking over and giving you a well-earned break.

JessM Sun 17-Mar-13 18:21:34

Wow, you must be tired now. I hope your daughter is recovering now. Must have been a worry as well as a lot of work. Mumsnet - our sister site may be a source of information as well. Babies do vary so much - and twins can add an extra level of variability if they were low birthweight or if they are slow to gain weight in the first few weeks. You don't say how big they were, or how many weeks gestation when they were born.

Ana Sun 17-Mar-13 18:30:55

My daughter's twins were born at 31 weeks and each weighed less than 3lb! They seemed to be on feeds throughout the night for months (it probably was months!) and I'm afraid it took a long time before they slept through the night. But all babies are different, and you're doing a stirling job, Silversands.

I, too, am wondering whether there are any other family members who could help out, as it must be so, so tiring for you. Good luck! flowers

Elegran Sun 17-Mar-13 18:46:07

Fonda That was how I got my first two out of the 2 am feed. If they are "tanked up" last thing before their parents go to bed, often they are just thirsty when they wake in the night and only need a little drink of water then they go back to sleep. After a while, they don't seem to think it worth while to wake up just for water.

With the third, the nursery staff at the maternity hospital took the bottle-fed babies to the creche each night. They had left him to sleep as long as he wanted at night before feeding him, and by the time we went home after a week, the 2 am feed had merged with the 6 am one. So I got a full night's sleep from day one. I was very grateful.

Nelliemoser Sun 17-Mar-13 19:08:35

I think you need to get some help asap. I would really try to push it with your local Health visitor for contacts that could help. They really are too young to be sleeping through the night. The recommended age for solids is now six months.
What I do wonder with 3/4hr regime is what the heck do you do if the when baby cries and needs feeding more often. I could never have left them to cry at that age.

whenim64 Sun 17-Mar-13 19:08:52

Hi silversands I am mother of twin daughters, both of whom now have twins. The youngest twin girls were born at 30 weeks, weighing 2lbs and 2 lbs 10 ozs. They stayed in hospital till they reached 4lbs, by which time they had transferred to formula milk and were taking about 80 mls every 3 hours. Because they had been in the SCBU, the nurses had them on a structured feeding regime and they were fed at midnight, 3 am, then 6 am, which continued till they weighed about 7lbs and could go for longer. My daughter dropped the 3 am feed and they woke once in the night, between 4 and 5 am, by the time they were the corrected age of 2 months old (4.1/2 months after birth). Then, she started to give them their last feed at about 10 pm, and they would wake up once (she fed whoever woke first and then woke the other for a feed). Within a couple of weeks, they went through the night - it all happened gradually, aided by a dummy hastily stuffed back in if she thought they didn't need feeding for another hour.

It's hard work with twins because they disturb each other and you take longer o complete night feeds - my two were feeding every other hour or so, not together, which was tiring. If the babies are over 8 lbs, they could go from midnight to 6 am without too much trouble. It's knackering with one baby, let alone twins.

TAMBA (Twins And Multiple Brths Assocation) is helpful and you can network wth ther twin families for support and socialising. They welcome grandparents, too.

Deedaa Sun 17-Mar-13 21:04:52

Gosh silversands I'm full of admiration! What a responsibilty to take on. I do hope your daughter is getting on well, it must be a godsend for her that you were there to step in. I'm afraid I'm not much use to you re sleeping. My daughter's latest is nearly 3 months and still waking up every couple of hours so no help there. I would definitely keep on at the Health visitor. What would happen if you weren't there?
What a lovely close bond you'll have with the babies as they grow up though flowers

dustyangel Tue 19-Mar-13 15:29:26

Hello Silversands Have you got a Sure Start Centre near you? They support families with children under five and do a lot of the work that Health Visitors used to do. You can find out your nearest by asking your Health Visitor or even quicker Google them (Children's Centres).You can phone and get advice and they are very sympathetic and helpful.If there is one nearby you can drop in for a chat and a coffee with some lovely people. My daughter manages our local one!
PM me if I can help any more. I really admire what you are doing and hope your daughter is recovering well flowers

Silversands Wed 20-Mar-13 11:42:17

Hi Thank you for your most encouraging postings, I am now pleased to say my Daughter in law is at last out of hospital although feeling very weak after such a long time, and as you can imagine very emotional at having lost these precious weeks and weeks from her babies. Its been difficult period as my son HAD to spend long periods at his wife`s bedside she was so desperately ill, and he was in no fit state to take care of new babies, he had the additional pressure of his boss asking him when he would be back at work - so much for parternity leave! and my husband works as well so he reduced his working week for a couple of weeks, but as we live on the west and they live on the east coast he had to sleep at home when he was working. On top of all this my grandaughter aged 4 took the chicken pox and passed it onto the twins - despite the Nurse reassuring me such things just dont happen - so they were whisked off to see a paedatrician who has put them on anti-viral meds. (it certainly doesnt rain but it pours). As for relatives well lets just say they all work; have children or just plain didnt want to catch Chicken Pox! My Daughter in law wont, to my mind, be strong enough to do all these night time feeds for a few more weeks, even though she says she will. The babies were weighed this week and are 8.8oz and 9lbs so I must be doing something right! I intend trying to stop one of the night time feeds and give water instead. I have given up on the Nurse`s advice - I have absolutely no confidence in their ability to use commonsence they just go bye the rule book! The babies poos were khaki green I kept saying this doesnt look right, Ive never seen anything like this with my three, but I was assured oh thats just mucus from the birth - "What after 5 weeks?" I said, so I changed the make of baby powder and within a few days - hey presto a paler shade of yellow - sorted! and then the "Oh no they def wont catch chicken pox!" and they did ... I could go on and on.
I was also told they dont need water at this stage - but I tried a little this morning and they took it fine so I will try to replace a feed during the night.
Thanks for the support and your tip!

shysal Wed 20-Mar-13 11:51:42

What wonderful weights, you must be doing a grand job! Life has been far from straightforward for you, you should be proud of yourself. This will be long forgotten when you are having all the fun in future years. Take care! flowers

Gorki Wed 20-Mar-13 12:21:48

Just caught up with this thread and know exactly where you are coming from silversands as we looked after my daughter's twins for 13 months as she suffered from severe post natal depression and OCD which they are now saying is very common after childbirth. It is exhausting especially having to make up the feeds as well.You seem to have been given very good advice by other Gransnetters and my only extra thought is to have them in separate rooms if you can even if one has to make do with the bathroom .This was very much against professional advice which said they would be looking for each other (not as if they were even identical )It has done them no harm at all especially as the girl was a much better sleeper than the boy.I steered clear of health visitors as they only seemed to make us all more anxious especially my daughter. On one visit she told us the little girl was tongue-tied and was not hearing properly and the little boy had an extra crease on one side of his buttocks!

I was more fortunate than you in that my daughter and husband were able to visit and help in the afternoons but I never knew when they were coming;and they did stay with the little girl when she was hospitalised with bronchiolitis at 9 months.

This was all 5 years ago and I wonder if I would have the energy to do it now but it is surprising where we get the strength from when we need it.I do hope your situation improves soon and tell your daughter in law that this early separation will have no long-lasting effect.My daughter did not bond with the twins for ages but now she is the most fantastic Mum and they love her to bits.The little boy is autistic and she works tirelessly to ensure he gets the support he needs.

How did we feel when we handed them back? Sad but relieved as well.The good thing is that we have a very special bond with them and you will have too after all you have done for them in these first few months.Keep us up-to-date with how things are going.

harrigran Wed 20-Mar-13 12:40:36

Silversands I think at just under 9 pounds, babies are too small to expect them to go through the night without feeds. Bear in mind a baby's stomach is very small and can not hold a large volume.

Silversands Thu 21-Mar-13 12:40:05

Thank you Gran Gorki, that was most encouraging - my life back after the twins LOL. No need to worry Harrigran I wasn`t expecting miracles like a whole night without any feeds just the 2.30/3am feeds - oh to have five straight hours sleep that would indeed be a blessing to this exhausted Gran, but as you all say I will look back on this period and laugh (I hope!). Babies calling for lunch Bye ........

Gorki Thu 21-Mar-13 13:25:08

Oh SilversandsI feel so nostalgic just thinking of you doing the lunch time feeds.I hope they don't both want it at the same time.I was quite lucky as the girl weighed more and she used to sleep longer,I. often found they did not wake together but if they did,I remember giving one enough to satisfy them,feed the second one and then coming back to number 1.As I had newly retired and my husband was still working,I decided to contact lots of people I knew and invite them round for coffee so there was another pair of hands to nurse them or to help if there was an "emergency" or even just a phone call.Nobody expected me to be neat and tidy and the adult company was invaluable.As they were summer babies I was able to take them out for a walk sometimes. I suppose with time I am just remembering the good times but I do remember feeling very tired and willing them to sleep through the night and I do think summertime made things easier.

My daughter in law's baby is due in May and I must confess to hoping for twins again as watching them develop is such fun.There are twins in her family too as well as ours but it is to be just one which is probably for the best as she suffered from ME as a teenager and is not that robust.We are just hoping for a healthy little girl when she arrives.

Silversands Thu 21-Mar-13 20:31:26

Fingers crossed for you Gran Gorki that everything goes smoothly for your daughter in law. I too feed half a bottle and then put that baby in one of those little motion rocking type seats whilst I half feed the other and stick a dummy if if they cry and then do a nappy change on the first baby and finish the second half of that baby`s bottle then put baby one back onto the rocking seat and go back to the second baby etc etc. As long as someone doesnt come to the door or phones and I forget which is baby number one and which is baby number two! I now dress them each morning in completely different colours the lightst colour being fed first LOL my system and it seems to work for me as they are identical not even a little wrinkle of a difference up to now - I was suggesting a tatoo ..... no one thought it funny! LOL

Gorki Fri 22-Mar-13 11:38:22

I had a real chuckle at your policy for identifying your identicals Silversands;"lightest colour first" etc .My daughter's friend had identical boys. One was called Freddie so his top was always red (Red Fred)or green (Freddie the Frog ) so that we could identify him. How do parents and grandparents manage to identify identical twins in the early days before they develop their unique personality?