Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mothering Twins - {Part 2} - Nursing

As promised, I am posting about my experience with nursing twins. :)  I am 100% for nursing when it is at all possible and nursed my first born for a full year. But this post is not about the benefits of nursing - and there are MANY!! We felt that my nursing our children would be the best thing for them, and so I committed myself to doing it.  I must confess that while I am very glad and thankful I did, it was not easy or convenient!!  I do believe it is one of the most unselfish things a mother can do for her child. ♥

My experience with nursing my twins girlies was FAR from glamorous or exciting!! They were both healthy at birth, but both had an extremely weak suck.  And even though I managed fine with my son without the help of a lactation consultant, I did feel it was probably best to have a consult in the hospital after the girls were born. She convinced me that I needed to supplement with a nurser bottle of either formula or expressed milk because the girls were small and needed nourishment right away.  I followed her advice because I felt that was best for my babies, but it did not help my efforts in trying to nurse exclusively!! 

So to make a long story short, I ended up investing in a hands free pump to aid in my efforts.  It was almost impossible to nurse them both and manage to keep my 2 year old out of trouble.  I tried nursing them both at the same time to cut down on the total time involved, but was only successful a few times and mostly just found it to be frustrating! 

During the first few weeks, my routine was to feed them every three hours so.... I had to try to nurse one, then pass her off to finish with a bottle while I tried to nurse the other one and then pass her off for a bottle while I finished by pumping to make sure I could keep up my supply. URGH! :) Since I was feeding them every three hours and it took 1 1/2 hours to complete the feeding cycle, that didn't leave me much time for anything else!! And it was worse when I was by myself during the day with no one to help with the bottles. At this point, I was extremely discouraged with my efforts, but fortunately I've always been too stubborn to let myself quit anything. 

 So after much prayer and talking with my husband, we decided it would be best if I just pumped exclusively and fed the girls the expressed milk in bottles.  Yes, I did miss the bonding time that nursing allows, but, honestly, there wasn't much bonding going on in my previously frustrated state.  And with the arrangement, I could at least insure that the girlies got the best nutrition possible.  The Medela Freestyle pump was AWESOME and let me pump while I did other things - including keeping up with Titus!! It also has a rechargeable battery option that allowed me to pump on-the-go.  

My goal was to nurse (or pump rather) for 6 months and I DID IT!! :)  At the 6 month mark (which is really a year since we're talking double time here!), I decided it was best to begin formula in order to allow me to attend more church services and start back up with all my ministry responsibilities.

So that's my story! I know of others who have successfully nursed twins, but various circumstances in my situation made that almost impossible. Fortunately, pumping worked out and they still got all the benefits of having mommy's milk. :)   

Titus helping Mommy! :) {BTW, ♥ Snappies!!)

I got smart and let him feed one the bottle while I tried to nurse the other one! :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mothering Twins - {Part 1}

I LOVE having twins!!! And with that being said, I must confess that it keeps me crazy busy and addicted to coffee! :) It has been about a year and half since my husband and I found out we were expecting twin girls, and my life has never been the same. Throw a toddler into the mix (because my son was only 21 months old when the news came), and you've got the potential for major chaos!! I was about 5 months pregnant at the time and immediately began my never ending Google search for "managing twins, twin pregnancies, etc..." I have learned a lot from other mothers of multiples  - both those whom I call friends and those I've never met!  And well, now that my twin girlies are toddlers, I finally feel like I can post about about our lessons learned from their infant days.

I initially titled this series "Managing Twins", but almost immediately thought otherwise. Our journey has not been about "managing" and getting by, but rather embracing this as a wonderful opportunity that is not entrusted to just anyone! HOWEVER, the first 6 - 8 weeks were basically a nightmare - not to scare anyone who might be expecting twins because I survived, but it was definitely SURVIVAL MODE.

 Our family all lives at least 6 hours away, so they were only able to help as their travel schedules and other responsibilities allowed. And since I was put on bed rest at 36 weeks, I had to learn a LOT about letting some things go - you know, the stuff that doesn't really matter to anyone but you. And honestly, I really am mostly just thankful that I had a healthy pregnancy and my girls were born healthy at 38 weeks. Kourtney was 5 lbs. 13 oz. and Kaelyn was 5 lbs. 9 oz. - and YES, that's a lot of baby! So, now for some practical ideas and tips! And these are in no particular order and may actually appear random as I just write what comes to me next - don't have time to make this a big production!! lol!

#1 - DON'T STRESS and let others help!!
Now, some may not have issues in this area like I do, but I am the type who would clean my house spotless before the cleaning lady came.  I had to learn to let others help, even if my house wasn't what I considered "company ready".  And also, I should point out that I learned a LOT about how to help other people through all of this! If someone says to me (as well-meaning folks are so often apt to say), "Let me know if there is anything I can do" - Ummmm, yeah right! Like I'm really just gonna walk right back up to ya when I feel like I need something!! :)  There were a few precious people in our church who made it a point to say, "I want to help you! Tell me what I can do!" and then they waited for me to think of some area in which they could be a blessing. And another would frequently call and say, "I'm going to be out running errands today. Can I stop by your house and watch the kids so you can take a nap?" Umm, YES!!! Another lady asked for a list of things she could pick up for me while she did her own grocery shopping.

#2 - We implemented a very strict schedule.
  I followed advice found in the Babywise books and also in the book My First 300 Babies.  We kept the girls on the same schedule as each other. If one woke up to eat or be changed, we woke the other up as well.  Some may (and have) argued that it is best to listen for baby's cues for when to be fed, changed, etc... And while I agree somewhat, I more strongly believe that it is also important to make sure I am well taken care of, and keeping the girls on a strict schedule took away some of the craziness. Of course, we never let them go hungry and did demand feed for the first week, but we really tried to anticipate their next need rather than always feel like we were one step behind because they were crying for something. I won't delve into scheduling here, but I do plan to post our schedule soon as many of my friends (even those with singletons) have tried it and liked the results.

#3 - LESS is MORE!!
We decided ahead of time to buy double of only a few necessary things.  Because this was not my first pregnancy, I already had one of most things. And fortunately, I did have some experience with babies and knew what I really needed and what I didn't.  Here are the items we felt we needed two of:

• Carseat - obviously! I actually got a complete new travel system with a double stroller. I researched and found the Baby Trend Double Sit N Stand travel system would best meet our needs since we had a toddler (and a budget!) as well.

• Bassinets and Cribs - We wanted them to sleep separately from day one. And, by the way, have not regretted it! They are awesome sleepers! I borrowed the bassinets and found very similar cribs on Craigslist. As a side note here, I also got a changing table even though I did not need one for my first baby. I just felt it would help me stay more organized.

Bumbos - LOVE these!! I got the second one in EUC for less than $10! They take up so little space and are great even for feeding when solid foods are started.  I must say that I probably could have gotten by with one, but I was really glad that I had two!!

• Boppy Pillows - A MUST!!! I used these multiple times every day!!! Feeding, nursing, tummy time... you name it and the Boppy can help!! :) Again, I bought the second one used for less than $10 and just got a new cover for it (on clearance for $3!).

• Pack n Play - Well, I do NOT have two of these because we don't have room in our house and it is a rather pricey item. But for traveling purposes, it is almost a necessity. I am fortunate that my mother and MIL both have one that I can borrow when we are visiting them. If you stay in hotels, most of them have portable cribs available, but you will need to reserve TWO ahead of time! I have never let my girls sleep in the same bed just for safety reasons - especially when they were younger and the risk of suffocation is greater. But even now, they are both very active in their sleep, and I'm sure they would wake each other up if they had to share.

For everything else, we just used a rotation system.  When one was in the bouncer, the other was in the swing. And then we'd move on to the playpen or Around-We-Go, etc...  And since you can only bathe one infant at a time, we only had one infant tub.  However, as with many other things, we quickly ditched the infant tub (after about 8 weeks) so we COULD bathe them both at one time!! lol! I used hand towels on the bottom of the tub so they wouldn't slip and just laid them side by side. Of course, you will need to master picking them both up at the same time first! :0

Well, this is defnitely going to need to be a series as there is SOOO much to know and learn about having twins! :) Next post, I will discuss feeding - bottle vs. nursing.

My girlies at 6 weeks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

30 is the new 20!!

Yesterday was my 30th birthday, and my husband made sure it was a special one!! He proved that one doesn't have to spend a lot of money to make a person feel loved and appreciated! We are on a STRICT budget {even stricter than usual - HA!} in order to save and pay for some things, so neither of us has been spending any money lately.
But anyway, I had a wonderful birthday starting with.....BREAKFAST IN BED! Oh yeah! And he did it up right too - especially with the huge helping of tater tots and ketchup - my FAVORITE! :)

Tim helped Titus make me a card...♥

He then got the kiddos ready {while I took my leisurely time} so that we could do some shopping - with gift cards, of course!! :) I had been saving some gift cards that were given to me at various times for a fun occasion to go shopping on someone else's dime - the best kind of shopping!  When I got in the car {after he had already loaded everyone up}, he had picked some of our newly bloomed hydrangeas - GORGEOUS.  And I love that our bush has TWO different colors in the blooms!

We did our shopping in record time and got home in time to let the kids take a nap while we relaxed and did some catching up on one of our favorite tv shows.  Then we dropped the kiddos off at the sitter's house and went to Chili's for supper - with a giftcard! :)  Our pastor and his wife and one of my dear friends were waiting there as a surprise to me - FUN!  After, we went to the mall and walked around like two lovebirds without a care in the world {and splurged on a small, unneeded but fun gift for me!}.  Of course, the night would not have been complete without a stop at Starbucks!! {to use my giftcard!} YUM!!

Forgive me for not rotating this, but I'm feeling extremely lazy! :)
So, I'm officially another decade older and feeling great!! Life is good... I know who I am and what {and more importantly WHO} makes me happy! My health is great, I have the best husband in the universe, and my kiddos are the cutest and most adorable little stinkers you'll ever meet - God has been SO GOOD to me!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inspirational Printable - Free Download ♥

I saw this quote on the internet the other day, and LOVED it!! I have to remind myself of this EVERYDAY!! So, to help me remember that I'm really not Super Woman, I designed this cute little printable to frame.  Feel free to download one for yourself - just click the picture. :) It's designed to be printed as a 5x7, so I'm not sure what kind of quality you'll get if you try to go larger.

New Invitation Design

I designed this invitation and cupcake toppers for a friend and thought I'd share them here.  I'm adding a link to my PSE page, but first I have to blog it! :0

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Water Babies ♥

Wow! We had sooo much fun with the girls in the pool! Kaelyn especially LOVED the water and was absolutely fearless! Kourtney was fine until Titus and Kaelyn starting splashing her! :) And I think she was a little tired from not sleeping her whole nap time, so she went inside early.  But I really could not believe how well Kaelyn took to the water - she was crawling around and even standing up in the pool.  Oh, and the baby pool wasn't big enough for two! Though, I may need to let Kourtney have her own space tomorrow.  Anyhow, here are a few fun pictures and a video. :)


Kourtney did NOT like to be splashed!

Yup, she went under - once! She learned that lesson the hard way! 

Yay for Summer! ♥

I have always said that fall is my favorite season with spring being a close second. But now that I have children - especially a 3 yr old - I have fallen in love with summer! I love the more relaxed work schedule my husband has - he even has a day off every week! Which is huge since he gives his weekends to the ministries at our church year round.
Well, this week has been super HOT, so we cleaned up the kiddie pool and filled 'er up. Titus has gone swimming the past three days - he LOVES it! Now I just need to get out the smaller baby pool for the girls - can't wait to let them wear their adorable little swimsuits. I'm curious to see how they take to the water since Titus hated it his first two summers. So pics of them will follow, but for now I've got some super fun pics of Titus for you! :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

♥ Pinterest ♥

I am SOOO excited to have found a new way to organize my ideas and to find new ones! I have always been kind of an organizing freak, so this new site is just up my alley!  I have been seeing references to Pinterest here and there and just never really had the time to check it out...well, I finally did and I LOVE it.  It is an invitation only site for "pinning" things you love to "boards" to organize your ideas and share them with others. To get an invitation you simply need to request one on the site (which I did and it took a couple of days to hear back) or have a friend who is already a member send you an invitation.  I have sent a couple so far, so if you need one - let me know! :)

Until now, I have had folders on my computer for copying images of things that inspire me and things that I want to remember to make or try.  I have a folder for birthday parties, home decor, tutorials, etc... And while I do keep these on an external hard drive so my computer doesn't get sluggish (learned that the hard way!), it is so nice to have such a creative and fun way to organize.  And I love being able to follow all my favorite bloggers and designers!! Screenshot below is of Tom Kat Studio's Boards - love her style and taste!

So wanna join me on Pinterest??  I promise you will NEVER look back! :0

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