MicroblogMondays: More on Night Nanny

Without a doubt, despite the high cost, hiring our night nanny is the best investment ever.

Our night nanny is a sweet lady in her late 40s.  She is very pleasant and has a calming presence.  She arrives on time and sometimes leaves our house later than required if one of the babies is fussy (usually Okra, our baby boy).

She is reassuring.  She tells me that I am doing a great job as a mama.  She encourages me not to worry about the babies as things will sort themselves out.

Most importantly, I have learned quite a few things from her regarding feeding and sleeping that have helped regulate our babies’ schedule.  An approximate daily routine means sanity (most of the time) in this household.

Prior to the night nanny, I did not know that tandem feeding was possible with twins at this age.  During the day my mom and I would feed one baby at a time and at night, I would usually feed one baby at a time.  At the end of our night nanny’s first night, I woke up at 5 something in the morning to go check on her and the babies.  I was so in awe that she was feeding them both at the same time.  She sat cross-legged with one baby on her and the other baby on a Boppy pillow on the rug in the nursery.  When she burped one of them, she put the other one down on our Tw.in Z pillow.  I was so enlightened by this sight and knew that it was possible for me to try to tandem feed the babies especially in the middle of the night.  From that day on, I have been tandem feeding the babies in the middle of the night and a couple of time during the day.  I have my own set up and can even sometimes free up one hand to get a drink of water or hold my phone.

Our night nanny observed and suggested a few things after the first night.  Okra, our baby boy, was using Philip Aven.t bottles and was gassy and eating very slowly.  I thought that he hated the Dr. Bro.wn’s bottles that Bunny had been using.  But Dr. Bro.wn’s bottles have an extra part that is supposed to be good for reducing gas.  Night nanny tried the bottle on Okra that night and got him to eat quite a lot of formula.  So we switched him to that same bottle with Bunny.  When we did our night feedings, we would take the babies to the living room or dining room with lights on.  Our night nanny suggested doing everything in the nursery in the middle of the night with lights outside of the room.  It is enough to see what she is doing but the dimness is perfect for keeping the babies calm and drowsy so they would go right back to bed after they eat.  In terms of swaddling, we usually put Bunny in a sleep sack that didn’t have the swaddle because she hated to be swaddled.  Our night nanny observed how squirmy and unsettled she was that first night and swaddled her.  Bunny slept so much better that night.  Our night nanny also put socks on the babies.  With all these changes, the babies have been sleeping a lot better rather than waking up often.

As the babies are becoming a bit older, the nanny helped us put them on a similar feeding schedule.  We would feed them about every three hours, with night time feeding at 4 hours apart.  We try to feed them both at around the same time.  Since about 1.5 weeks ago, we have a more definite schedule.  When the babies wake up in the morning, my mom and I would feed them both at the same time.  We adjust the schedule for every 2.5 to 3 hours, and we often land them on a feeding at a time between 4pm and 4:15pm, so that they would eat again at around 7pm to 7:15pm.  Prior to the 7pm feeding, we would change them into their sleep gowns for easy diaper changing.  We would feed them a full feed (about 120ml) if they are willing.  After they finish their formula, we put them to bed.  When the night nanny comes at 10pm, or on nights that she is off, the babies have a dream feed at 10ish.  They usually have a stretch of three to four hours.  We feed them at around 2am, and then 5am.  In the future when the babies get to around 12 lbs, we can start to stretch the time between feedings in the middle of the night, trying to move the 2am time to 3am, 4am, 5am, so on and so forth.  The 10pm feeding time will be the last one to be eliminated so hopefully they will sleep through the night after the 7pm feed until the next morning.  Of course this will not happen instantly as the babies are not there yet.  Bunny has shown signs of being able to eat a full meal at 7pm and 10pm, and then waking up at around 3:30am for another feed.  Okra has had a bit of difficult time recently.  He was waking up every couple of hours crying and demanding food.  We suspect a growth spurt of some sort.  Hopefully this phase will pass soon.

One interesting thing is that the babies eat better and more when she feeds them, but they don’t eat as much when I feed them in the middle of the night.  I don’t know how she does it, but like I said, she has a calming presence.   The funny thing is, she feeds them at around 5am fulling anticipating them to continue to sleep until at least 7am so I could have some rest.  But it seems like we have an early riser in our midst.  Mr. Okra often starts screaming and crying after 6am.  A few mornings he woke up at exactly 6:39am yelling regardless of how much he had eaten at 5am.  I have to resign to the fact that this boy may just be an early bird no matter what we do.  It is fine on the nights our nanny comes, but it’s a bit tough to entertain him after waking up feeding them a few times a night.

I often text our night nanny during the day to ask questions about the amount of formula to feed and the feeding time in the middle of the night.  She often writes me back quickly and calls to chat about the plan.  I am so grateful that she is so responsive and good with communication.

Another bonus to have her around is that she does everything baby-related.  So she washes all the bottles and folds all the laundry.  She would even do laundry for us if I would let her.  I haven’t asked her to wash any baby clothes for us because the noise might wake everybody up.  She helped me sort out multiple bins and bags of hand-me-down baby clothes into sizes.  It was just so helpful to have that done so I didn’t have to find time during the day to work on that.

All in all, it has been such a blessing to have our night nanny.  Like I said before, I enjoy the babies so much more in the morning after having a really good night of sleep.  I look forward to the evenings when I hear the knock on the door at 10pm knowing that my babies are well taken care of and I can have the luxury to sleep through the night (well, at least until 6am when my baby boy opens his eyes for a brand new day to start).

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MicroblogMondays: Night Nanny = Sleep

I was going to write about how great our night nanny is but our babies have other ideas.  At the time I wanted to write a post, the babies were going through what newborns go through at sundown.  They weren’t eating much at meal time and they were wailing on and off for a couple of hours.  Dinner time was late and they would be up again soon.  Both babies have been having feeding issues. Okra has a really difficult time burping.  Every time he eats he cries because he can’t pass the gas.  Bunny used to be a champ at burping.  The past few days she has been having trouble as well, and sometimes she doesn’t finish the full feed.  Needless to say, this is exhausting and a big puzzle to solve.  Hoping trying new formula will help.  In the mean time, I am very thankful for our night nanny who has been giving us a full night sleep a few times a week.  It makes such a huge difference in my ability to enjoy the babies.  The morning after the night nanny is here, I would wake up refreshed and feel like I can deal with fussing, crying, and feeding issues all over again.  And even for those nights that I feed the babies myself, I feel better because I know that our night nanny will show up the next night helping out so we can put our ear plugs on and sleep.  We even attended church on Sunday because we had a full night sleep.  I have learned a great deal from our night nanny about taking care of babies and hopefully I will have more time to write about it in the future.