Mum of the Moment
In this section, the ContentedBaby.com team conduct interviews with mothers, to learn about their experiences and how Gina's routines have worked for them.
Clare Robinson (34) is a housewife from Surrey. She is married to Graham and the mother of twins Arthur and Electra (23 months).
How did you hear about Contented Baby?
A friend had had a baby a year before me and strongly recommended it. I liked the idea of a routine. I knew I was expecting twins and that I would need a good plan. I didn’t like the idea of two babies doing what they wanted, when they wanted!
What made you decide to follow the routines?
My friend seemed very in control and her baby had slept through since he was 10 weeks old. I was concerned that if the twins slept at different times I would never get a break or any time to rest myself. I wanted to breastfeed and knew it would be tiring and that rest was important. I was worried about how I was going to manage and so it was a relief to have the routines to follow.
What was the reaction from friends and family?
My husband felt the same as me. Whenever we came up against a problem he’d ask, “What does it say in the book?” My mother-in-law was also very pro as she had followed a routine with her own children.
Can you recall how you felt when you bought your new babies home?
Petrified! I had cooked a curry and was so proud that I’d managed to make a meal. But when we sat down at the table neither of us could eat a thing. We just sat there listening to the babies moving about upstairs in their cots. Then, when everything went quiet we raced upstairs as fast as we could.
How old were the babies when you began?
They were two weeks old.
How did following the routines go?
There were good days and bad days. I didn’t realise that it would take a while to get the routines properly established. I’d thought that the results would somehow be immediate. It was a shock anyway to find out how much hard work a new baby is – especially when there are two of them. I worried at times that I wasn’t doing it right in the early weeks. I think it takes time to build confidence when you are a new mum, regardless of whether you’re following a routine or not. My lowest point was when the babies were about three days old and I just breastfed them both, literally, all day long. They had wind and I made it worse and worse. In the end Graham was up all night with them both sleeping on his chest. That was the day I decided to make them wait between feeds as demand feeding was just not going to work for us.
The best moment came when we got our evenings back again at about 7 weeks. Another good moment was when I realised that my babies always went down to sleep at 7pm and that many of my friends with just one baby weren’t managing that.
What are the current sleeping/eating situations?
The twins get up at 7am and have some milk, followed by breakfast at about 8am. They eat lunch between 12pm and 12.40pm depending on what we’re doing that day. They always both sleep for about 1½ hours after lunch. Dinner is at 5pm and then milk before bed which is strictly 7pm.
Nine times out of ten this is how things are and it’s great because we’ve never pushed them up and down in the pram to settle or driven them round the block. We’ve never rocked them to sleep and they are both really happy in their cots in their own bedrooms. Arthur sometimes goes up to bed by himself now when you mention bedtime is soon. Some days things go slightly wrong but very seldom really - and I’m sure much less than for people not in a routine.
Have you followed advice from any of Gina’s other books?
Yes. We used From Contented Baby to Confident Child for advice on biting which Arthur was doing. All the advice on the Terrible Twos was also very useful. Twins can hit these problems earlier than singleton babies as issues like sharing are a continual challenge for them. Arthur and Electra started squabbling at about 18 months and I turned to Gina’s book for advice straight away. In general, if we ever have a bad couple of days I always go back to her books to see if I’m missing anything and just for advice.
Do you have any tips/advice for other mothers trying to follow CLB?
Don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t get it all perfect and to the minute, all the time. In the first few weeks keep focused on what you’re aiming at and accept it’s going to take patience.
What is the most unhelpful piece of advice anyone has given you?
This was from someone in the medical profession whose daughter had had twins. She advised me to do as her daughter had and move Graham into the spare room so the twins could sleep with me for the first year! I didn’t think Graham would really go for that.