And when you add multiples to the equation, even if you think you can learn from your first (singleton) experience, the curve ball is thrown and you're almost starting again.
When Seren was born, we gave in to her every whim. We had what the health visitor called a "fussy baby", this meant changing from breast feeding to bottle (for both our sanities), soothing her to sleep, and generally doing everything we resolved not do "pre-baby".
I went back to work at six months, and I didn't mind Seren's sleeping routine was 10 till 10. We had a baby who slept through for twelve hours and I could spend lots of time with her when I finished work, Tony had some time to himself each morning.
When we found out we were pregant with twins this was the first thing to change. We managed to get Seren's bedtime to 8.30 by the time the boys came into the world.
With the boys it's been a whole different ball game. I don't like the word 'strict' but we have definitely adopted a routine, which we manage, on the whole, to stick to. And, life is so much better for it.
Within four weeks of the boys being born we used moses baskets for sleep in the day, downstairs, and they shared a cot at bedtime. At four weeks I started putting them in the cot at 7 every night. I tried not to take them downstairs till at least 9am so they got used to 'cot time'.
With bottle feeds we tried to be meticulous in feeding them at appropriate intervals and making sure they managed all their feed. This was slightly more difficult with Tom however, by 12 weeks we had it cracked and they began sleeping through for 12 hours at night.
My mum was shocked by this, disbelief I think that we were actually managing it, and how well the boys responded to it.
I read something in the first few weeks about babies needing an amount of milk over a 24 hour period, and if a baby could cope with this in daytime hours they were more likely to sleep through. We were also given guidance from the doctor about how much a baby should drink per lb of wieght.
This worked for us. It meant feeding the babies every three hours in the day but it meant a night's sleep- a compromise I was happy to make. As soon as I could I started to 'tandem feed' the boys. As they had bad wind this wasn't as soon as other twin mums had managed but if they didn't take all their feed they needed feeds more often and so patience had to prevail.
As I couldn't tandem feed at night I would also have to decide who was crying loudest and use a swing upstairs to soothe the other.
It is of course, even now, a distant memory. In more surreal moments I joke with the other half about baby number 4. He jokes about triplets!
As they've moved onto solids it's been more of a juggling act, finding the right routine so they're eating three meals but not filled up on milk. They're on four milk feeds a day and our challenge is trying to get them to drink all of their last bottle so they'll sleep through, but that they've had a meal at 'tea time' as well.
I'm sure we'll get to a routine with this as well. The boys, at ten months, still aren't supporting themselves that well, we still rely predominately on bouncers, with bumbos when possible. Hopefully as we move to high chairs, we'll move to a routine which works for the family.
Whether routines are right or wrong, we have two happy babies and that's what matters most to us!