Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are the twins alike or not?

2011-11-11

I've had countless number of people coo (we're talking about grown people here) at the sight of my twins, and I've also experienced many people tell me how cool it'd be to have twins. Regarding the latter, I'm thinking to myself, really?! Are you dreaming, perhaps in a different galaxy?

Try being pregnant with twins. You think being pregnant with one child is laborious; try multiples. Are you swooning at the mere idea or novelty of twins? Try taking care of them all day, every day. Or, try taking care of twins, in addition to being responsible for other children.

I do love my twins; make no mistake of that. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful the Lord blessed me with these twins (or my two older children, for that matter).

***

Christine and Christian joined us, outside the womb, in the the world, a short month and a half ago. Yet, they are showing such differences in personality. Christine came into the world quite; not a cry came out of her. I didn't know babies could come into the world without a cry. She is still the more peaceable, calmer child. Christian came into the world screaming his head off. He more easily startles and gets agitated. When he's not happy, he cries like the universe is ending. But look at the sleeping position they both are exhibiting in this photograph. That was not staged, folks. That was their doing. Happy twinning.

Towards successful breasfeeding

I've been breastfeeding exclusively the twins for over 6 weeks now, I breastfed my second oldest for 33 months (nearly 3 yrs), and I breastfed my oldest for 17 months.

I am not an expert, a healthcare professional, or a lactation consultant. I only have my experience from which to share.

From my little experience, as the milk truck I have been and am, breastfeeding is very doable but necessarily requires work. Like any decent and worthy job, successful breastfeeding requires dedication, no nonsense, time, and energy.

With twins, I've eaten amounts comparable to competitive athletes. Can't go long periods of time without eating or drinking. I'm talking about eating roughly five to six full size meals a day, with snacks in between. I've had to drink obscene amounts of water to keep up with breast milk production. My body lets me know in no uncertain terms when I haven't had enough water, including any of the following - dry lips, dry mouth, horrible headaches, Charlie Horses.

Pediatricians in the US encourage mothers to breastfeed for a year and sometimes claim that any benefits beyond a year are minimal. That's garbage. Pediatricians are trying to get mothers to last past 6 weeks, two months, three months, or half a year. The WHO (World Health Organization) encourages a minimum of two years of breastfeeding. I'm too tired and have too little time on my hands presently to accurately list many of the benefits to mother and child(ren), but there are quite a few. Do a little research or reading if you have the time. Perhaps I'll post about the benefits some time down the road, when my four children are no longer merely five years old and younger.

I'm setting my goal on breastfeeding my twins at least two years. Over and out.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Strapping twins to me

I registered for this Moby Wrap, even though I have a sling and two carriers. My thought and intent was to find a way to strap both twins to me simultaneously. From experience with my previous two children, I thought that, at times, carrying them would be their preferred comfort source.

2011-11-2

I was less confident in whether I would make sense of any instruction on how to use a long piece of cloth. I searched, searched, searched for videos of someone strapping twins into a Moby Wrap. No such luck. Instructions that come in manual form? Not so good with me. I'm more of a visual learner when it comes to these sorts of things.

What ended up helping most was a combination of two videos on Moby Wrap's website: the wrapping folded method and the newborn hug hold method. This was the result.

I was so excited about using the wrap, the day I got it via UPS I washed it and tried it.

2011-11-2

I've used it many times since then, sometimes with one child inside and sometimes with two children inside.

2011-11-3

Looks like a tight squeeze with two, right? Well, it was tight quarters within my body as well.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Breastfeeding digest

2011-10-25

So far, breastfeeding is going well. Colostrum had been in for awhile; it was ready to be consumed when the twins arrived in the world. My breast milk came in before I left the hospital. The transitional mixture of colostrum and breast milk came in within the first 48 hours of the babies' lives.

I started practicing tandem nursing while in the hospital, for the most part sitting up in the hospital bed. Tandem nursing with pillows and blankets for props, I must confess, was a bear; but I practiced mainly the football holds with the twins.

My plan after getting home was to tandem nurse during the day and nurse the twins one at a time overnight. At day two or three, my hemorrhoid pain came and came with a vengeance, to a point where I was in tears, whether standing, sitting, or laying down. Searing pain. Couldn't sit for a moment without wanting to die. During that time, I postponed sitting to tandem nurse. Took until the twins' third week of life for me to no longer be in indescribable hemorrhoid pain from delivering these babies vaginally and naturally into the world.

After the pain was tolerable, I resumed tandem nursing most of the day, which was good not only for saving time but for one of the twins as well. The girl twin was and still is a bit slower at vigorous sucking. By the end of her second week of life, she hadn't gained back her birth weight. Their pediatrician wasn't super concerned, especially since she became jaundiced after coming home. But, we needed to work some on her gaining weight.

Another positive aspect of tandem nursing? The more vigorous nurser makes the milk on the other breast come easily and readily.

These days, I'm eating like a football player and trying to drink loads of fluids. I'm worried about whether I'll be able to maintain my high food intake once my parents are gone, which is in less than a couple of days. Enter anxiety.

Up to this point, nursing is going well. Both babies (Christine and Christian) know how to latch and drink from the milk truck (that's me). Milk comes out of the twins both ways. When they spit up the milk, I remind them that was made using much effort on my part.