Friday, September 1, 2017

The Twins 4 Month Update



We celebrated having the twins in our lives for 4 months!! These two little hams are the light of my life. For real. It seems like somewhere after 15 weeks we just hit warp-speed. They are doing new things every day. They are both so happy and smiley. . . and the biggest thing is THEY FINALLY NOTICED EACH OTHER!




(sister walked in)





It seems like every time I write a blog post, things are going really well. And then the day after I hit "publish" it all starts crumbling around me. haha So I'm going to do my very best to go back and remember this entire last month- without my love-infatuated rose colored glasses.

Right on the Wonder Weeks App schedule (based on their actual birthday- not due date) my baby boys started Leap 4. This one is a doozy. {side note: if you have a baby and don't have the wonder weeks app download it right away} The babies brains make a huge leap and they change so much this month. They started to roll from back to belly and back again, they grab their toys, they follow me across the room with their eyes and in case you missed it above...the NOTICED each other. LOL

Before this leap, they were always together. They liked to snuggle but they only interacted with me or their daddy or sisters. Now they look at each other and smile and talk to each other. It is just as freaking adorable as it sounds. 



One of the funniest things happened the other night. I had just finished the boys bath and had to run downstairs to get their swaddle blankets. I put them in the crib together and when I came back upstairs Cullen was yelling in frustration. I took a peek and Cullen was trying to suck his thumb but every time he got his thumb in his mouth, Everett would swat his hand away. Then Cullen would yell and Everett would have the goofiest smile. And Repeat. These BOYS!!!



Related to that is both boys have started to suck their thumbs. I've never had a baby who sucked their thumb before. It's pretty nice because they can soothe themselves back to sleep or down for a nap a little easier. If they stick with it, I'm sure it will be a hard habit to break...can't just throw away their thumbs. But for now, I think it is adorable. 





Cullen is still the chiller easy-going one. If both babies are hungry and I can only feed one, he doesn't mind waiting. He will also unlatch himself when he is full and put himself to sleep on his own. 







Everett usually will nurse himself to sleep and even when he is fully asleep he won't let go. That probably explains the nearly 1 lb weight difference.

We have recently undergone the dreaded Four Month Sleep Regression! If you have kids then you know why it's in bold. Yuck. They were super cranky and had a really hard time sleeping for a while. They would only nap for about 10 mins (not even at the same time) during the day and were waking up 4-5x a night. I was so tired. I just kept telling myself that it was just a phase, I am in survival mode, the cleaning and laundry and cooking can wait. Our only goal was to survive. And guess what - we did! Praises!

They are back to taking slightly longer naps. Usually about an hour. They still won't nap in their room during the day and prefer to nap in the Rock n Play in the living room. Well actually they would prefer to nap on me but I have stuff to do. They have fallen into a predictable night routine where they cluster feed from 6-7pm and then sleep until 12:30am, wake up again to eat at 4:30am and then up for the day at 6:30am. 

I've been pretty worried about my milk supply lately. In the afternoons and evening it seems to tank. The boys are fussy and latching/unlatching and yelling in frustration. I do my best to drink tons of water and Lord knows I eat a ton. It makes me scared because they still won't take a bottle so even if I am told to supplement - I can't. I just need to trust my body to keep up but at this point it feels like a full time job. Exclusively breastfeeding twins is no joke. Of course feeding twins in any manner will be a challenge so don't think I'm complaining. Just saying that this is one area that twins are twice as much work. 

Lastly I will touch on my 4 month postpartum hormone crash. My hair is coming out in clumps. There is so much hair falling out that I always think it must be about to stop. .. but it doesn't. I now have about a 3/4' white line around my face where there used to be hair and now there is forehead. Wonderful. Another part of this hormone crash has been - well, my hormones. I started to feel depressed for the first time. It completely caught be off guard. It started with feeling like there was a lump in my throat. I always felt like I was on the verge of tears. I was also nauseous a lot. If I didn't know better I woulda thought I was pregnant. Anyway, it got worse and worse until I was sort of paralyzed by it. I couldn't really think of what I needed to do (make girls food, clean etc) and I couldn't even hold a conversation. I made no sense. It freaked me out. My brain was like scrambled eggs. So I decided to start taking my Placenta Pills again. Whoa! They worked within a few hours. The first day I took them I took two. I broke into a full body sweat about 2 hours after taking them and within 3 hours I felt like myself again. I've been taking at least one a day since then. I forgot to take them a few days ago and that afternoon I started crashing again. I am SO GLAD I have them. I don't know what I would do without them. If there was any doubt on the difference they made after I just gave birth- that doubt is gone now.

So that is the best I can do to recap the last month. I'm sure I have mentioned this every month but I don't think I will ever get used to the comments people make to me. Most of them are sympathetic in nature. They feel so sorry for me or want to help. The worst is when they act like having twins is the plague and that they would never want that to happen to themselves. I mean - part of me gets it. I stay awake at night sometimes and regret so many of the thoughts I had when I first found out about them. I was so scared. I didn't see it as a blessing, all I saw was WORK and HARD and NO SLEEP. So I know that's what these people see when they see me. But it is still a little hurtful when people talk about your children like they are some sort of disease. 

Yes, all my children have required me to become less selfish. They have required me to become a better version of myself. They have required my heart to double and quadruple in size. They have required me to love more and laugh more and dig deep when I feel like nothing is left. They have made my life better in every possible way. I could cry. They have been the biggest blessing and the greatest gifts (well except age 2). And PS my sanity is brought to you by Jesus Christ and the YMCA.

I could imagine my life without them. It would be more organized. My house would be cleaner. I would be about 20 lbs lighter and have a ton more hair. I could wear clothes that don't have an elastic waistband. haha But they are SO worth it. Worth every wrinkle, every gray hair, every tear, every sloppy kiss and goofy smile. So when someone tells me they could never "do that" and point to my little squad I wish they were given the opportunity to try and to succeed and to impress themselves by simply keeping everyone alive by the end of the day.



That's it for now - Everett is hungry (again)., Talk to you in a month!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Twins 3 Month Update



How has it been 3 months already? At the same time, I don't remember what it was like to wake up without these adorable faces smiling at me!


They are definitely getting big! I don't have exact weights because I returned the baby scale and we don't have a doctor appt until their 4 month check-up but they are filling out their 3-6 month clothes quite nicely. They are in size 2 diapers but can wear a 3 for overnight. We are about to have to transition out of the SwaddleMe's as well (sad face). They wake themselves up at night and bust their arms out.



Nightime is about the same. I do their bedtime routine at 6:00 pm. I bathe them together and sing to them while I put on their pj's. Then I swaddle them up and nurse them both until they let go. I've started to have to separate them for sleep in the middle of the night but I still put them down to bed together. They will usually sleep from 6:30 pm until 10-11 or even 2 am sometimes. After that, they are up to nurse every 2-3 hours until morning. I'm still doing well with the lack of sleep (surprisingly).



 One of my big fears when I learned I was having twins was them going through the hard stuff at the exact same time. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. When they hit a growth spurt, one baby will be fussy and wake up frequently for a couple days and then the other one will start. So I guess the length of fussiness is a bit longer but overall it's less stressful because I don't have 2 miserable babies at the same time.

Even in their hard times, they are still such easy-going and good-natured babies. I can be in a grumpy mood and changing their diaper and they just look up and give me the gummiest, happiest smile. Ahhhh I just melt every single time. They are the BEST!!!


Okay let's talk about their little personalities...


Cullen is still my little charmer. He is so stinkin' cute and sweet. He is super ticklish and tries to laugh when I tickle him. He absolutely loves when Isla or Avelyn come torture him. Even though it freaks me out, he loves to play with them. He is usually much more happy to hang out and look around, listen and watch. I can tell he can't wait until he can really get in the action though! Cullen is fun waiting to happen.


Everett is my little sweetheart. He has a little more reserved personality. He is still just as happy and easy going but he likes to cuddle and watch it all from the comfort of my arms. He doesn't like to be alone too long but will lay on my chest all day. He is so sweet and gives the dreamiest, meltiest smiles you've ever seen. 

I can't wait to see them interact more with each other. I think that will be coming in the next month or so.

It never ceases to amaze me how much people have to say about twins when we are out and about. You hear some pretty interesting things. For the most part, people feel bad for me and make the comment about my hands being so full. I'm sure I probably said the same thing before I had all these kids. But can I just say that these babies are the absolute BEST thing that has ever happened to me? They light. up. my. life. I couldn't imagine my life without them. We still haven't hit the wall or the "hard" that I keep expecting to. Maybe it will come and maybe it won't. But I really am the lucky one! 

I feel bad for not talking about my girls much. I guess it's so much easier to notice the changes in the babies from month to month more than my bigger girls. I will try to get a post about each of them out soon.








Saturday, July 15, 2017

Twin Newborn Survival Tips




Disclaimer: All of these tips are only based on my limited experience of FOUR newborns. There are hundreds of y'all that read these posts and its unrealistic to think that what has worked for my family will work for all of you so just take what you like and dump the rest. :)

Tip #1 - CUT DAIRY 

Way to start off with the hard stuff right?! Well all four of my babies couldn't handle my breastmilk when I was eating dairy. They usually didn't notice it until they were around 3 weeks old but then colic started or purple crying. For the twins, I cut dairy as soon as they were born and they are my first and only babies to not have colic or purple crying. It does take a while to get it out of your system to start as soon as you can. There is nothing worse that watching your newborn(s) writhe in pain and scream uncontrollably for hours!

Tip#2 - SWADDLE

I've swaddled all of my kids and it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. For my firstborn, I just used those Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. For Isla, I used the Miracle Swaddle (and loved it). For the twins I use velcro Swaddle Mes. I was given the velcro tip from another twin mom because you need to do anything and everything you can to save time with twins. I swaddle them for naps and bedtime and it really helps keep them calm.

Tip #3 - WHITE NOISE

I used to use an app on my phone (Sleepy Sounds) but I got frustrated when it would turn off if I got a phone call or wake the baby when it stopped so I bought the Homedics My Baby Sound Spa. We use the Ocean sound for my girls and the twins. I've gotten so used to it, that I can't sleep without hearing it through the baby monitor. The white noise helps newborns calm down and relax and helps my older girls sleep through noise (like thunder or 4th of July).

Tip #4 - Transferring a Sleeping Baby Without Waking Them

Okay, you've been nursing for 30 mins and your baby is sound asleep but every time you lay them down in the crib the wake right back up. What gives? Well I learned this trick that if you make sure their head touches the crib mattress before their neck or back or legs, they wills stay asleep. Newborns have a startle reflex that is easily activated with loud noise or touch and it is activated if their back hits the mattress first. Try this tip, it works!

Tip #5 - Bath/Bedtime Routine

This doesn't really have to start until around 6 weeks but there's no harm in starting sooner. Get a solid bedtime routine. Doing the same thing every night will tell their body that it's time for sleep and save you so much sanity later on. My bedtime routine starts right after dinner at 6pm. I take the babies upstairs, get them undressed and run a bath. I don't use soap at every bath because it can dry their skin out and it's really not necessary. I will put a little soap on their privates to get them clean but I save a whole-body-soapdown for only once or twice a week max. After bath I sing them a song (Twinkle Twinkle) while I get them in their jammies and swaddle them. I make sure the white noise machine is on (and fan for good measure) then I nurse them, burp them and put them to bed. Even if they aren't asleep I put them in their crib and they usually fall asleep pretty fast. Sometimes, one twin goes right to sleep but the other requires me to go back in and try some more soothing.

Tip #6 - ME TIME

We all need time to ourselves to relax and recharge. For us sailor's wives, that can be a challenge when our husbands are away. When Avelyn was about 7 months old, we started going to the YMCA and it has been such a lifesaver. I get to have some alone time to blast my music and not worry about crying babies for an hour a day. The kids get to have socialization with other kids and we always hit up the playground afterwards. Once my babies have had their shots, I am cleared to get to the gym again. I only grew to love exercise after having kids. For one ENDORPHINS make all the difference when kids are running you ragged all day and also you're going to need to be strong and healthy to care for them. They start running from you pretty fast and carrying a 27lb two year old throwing an epic tantrum along with your twins out of a store will require some muscle (or so I'm told). ;)

My trick for making this work is to time our arrival to right before they need to eat again. After I get the girls checked in, I take the boys and change their diaper, swaddle them and nurse them down for nap. I hand them off sound asleep. I try to always drop my kids off happy because they won't usually ever cry when being dropped off in the future. I want the Y to be a place we all look forward to going and it's a lot easier for me to disconnect when I know all my kids and babies are being taken care of and are having fun. (Side tip: Be nice to the childcare staff!! Those ladies are dealing with tons of kids all day long and deserve your respect and kindness. :)

Tip #7 - COFFEE

This is another one for you, not the babies. I set my coffee pot to make itself the night before. No matter how rough the night was, when I know I have a delicious pot of Ruta Maya Dark waiting for me, the day seems less daunting. Following my sister's advice, I've started to drink a cup of iced coffee (leftovers from the morning) at noon everyday and it has helped get me through the afternoon and evening fussiness.

Tip #8 - BABY HOLDERS EVERYWHERE

This one is a special shoutout for the twin moms. Get baby holding devices all over your house! I have a pack'n'play in my bedroom, a swing and rock n play in the living room, two bouncy chairs in the kitchen and so on. It's also necessary when you have a 2 year old who is bound and determine to hold and feed your babies every second you turn around. Invest in the babyholders!

Tip #9 - Diaper & Snack Stations Everywhere

Create diaper stations in all the main areas of your house. The only place I don't change diapers is ironically the changing table. I have a basket on my nightstand with diapers, wipes, booger-sucker, diaper rash cream (Purple Desitin FTW), a burp rag, snacks and a water bottle. I have the same in the living room and upstairs in the nursery.

Tip #10 - Baby Tracking App

This will help you the most in the first 6-8 weeks. I used Total Baby (it's great for twins). This app will track all your feedings (nursing minutes and which side you left off on, bottle feeding and ounces). It also tracks your babies sleep and growth. It even gives you their percentiles!

That's it. Those are my top 10 newborn survival tips. Is there something that worked for you that I didn't list? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!