At the beginning of the week I had the babies’ appointment for their lip/tongue revision. It turned out both babies only needed their lip ties revised – not the tongues. Samuel had already had his tongue tie clipped in the pediatrician’s office and apparently he did a good enough job, and Mercy does not have a tongue tie after all. The procedure went much better this time than when I had Abel’s done. I think I will make a separate post specifically about the whole tongue/lip tie experience and what I’ve learned in the last few weeks. For now I’ll just say that Samuel has learned to nurse pretty well with the “new lip” but Mercy still seems very confused by it’s new mobility. Both are choking on my milk more than ever, but I’m not sure if that’s something to do with the lip tie procedure or more to do with my milk supply/let down. I suspect the latter, mostly because I remember the exact same thing happening with Abel around this time. Something changed around the 5/6wk mark (which, I’d add, was also when I had his lip/tongue revised) that suddenly made him start choking on the milk. I am less worried about it this time because I have the benefit of hindsight with Abel and remember that within a few weeks he had figured out how to control the flow of milk and no longer choked. So it’s a short term problem.
And even though I’d describe Mercy’s nursing style as “confused” at this point (pulling off a lot, crying before latching sometimes), something has changed for the positive because my nipples are finally healing over. I still have a little fissure on my right nipple that hurts, but things are better this week than last week overall. I’m feeling very positive about the future of our nursing relationship and the repair of my mangled nipples!
Perhaps the most exciting change that came as a result of the lip tie revisions is that I can now nurse pillow-free! Previously getting each baby latched was quite difficult and I needed both hands to do it. Now that Samuel is able to latch well pretty much on his own, I can assist Mercy in latching on in the cross cradle position and then just pull Sam up with one hand into football on the other breast and he can latch himself. If that sounds confusing to you, you’ll just have to accept it, because there is simply no way for me to take a photo of it that isn’t borderline pornographic. I still use my nursing pillow (My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe which I just linked to but wouldn’t actually recommend) because it allows me to nurse hands free, but it’s SO NICE to be able to nurse without a pillow when I’m not at home. Big progress!
Naps are still good. For the most part they are long and predictable. Today things were all out of sort for some reason, but the rest of the week was very on schedule – just how I like it! It’s rare that one twin won’t fall asleep for a nap, although this week more naps required a little crying at the beginning. It doesn’t seem to make a difference whether I shorten or extend the waketime before the nap, so I think it’s just babies being babies. Sometimes they just need to cry for a couple minutes before falling asleep. When it does happen that one baby simply won’t fall asleep for a nap, I usually nurse them and try to put them down again. This actually hasn’t ever worked, so after I decide they just aren’t going to sleep, I wear them in a baby wrap. Then I nurse them again with the twin that slept when the nap time is over. I just wrote that like I do it all the time but really it has only happened like 3 times in the last 6 weeks. Good nappers!
This aspect of their sleep is getting a little frustrating. According to Babywise, most babies following the daytime schedule we are will drop from 3 feedings to 2 (or merge them, as they call it) between 2 and 4 weeks old. Since my twins were about 2 weeks premature, that would be adjusted to 4 to 6 weeks. This week, they did have 2 nights with only 2 feedings, but then they went right back to waking 3 times. I suppose they are still in the range of normal here, but I’m anxious to see some progress and let’s be honest, I need more sleep. I also question myself every single night when I wake the sleeping baby up to feed together with the baby that woke. How long would that baby have slept if I’d let them? Am I interrupting their sleep cycles and actually causing MORE night wakings? I spend the entire time I’m nursing thinking about it and then when I’m done I can’t go back to sleep. Ugh. Anyway, to put things in perspective, they are generally waking around 11pm, 1:45am, and 4:30am, and they go back to sleep with little to no crying. I know, I know. It’s not THAT bad.
Our schedule is very similar to last week, except that the first night waking is slightly later. On the two nights where they only had 2 feeds, they woke up earlier in the morning (I think it was between 6-6:15am) so I just started the day then and let them nap a little longer in the morning to catch up to the schedule.
7:00am DWT, nurse
7:40am Nap 1
10:00am Wake, nurse
10:45am Nap 2
1:00pm Wake, nurse
1:45pm Nap 3
3:30pm Wake, nurse
4:15pm Nap 4
5:45pm Wake, nurse
7:00pm Nurse, then bedtime
MOTN wakings around 11:00pm, 1:45am, and 4:30am
Night Time Diaper Changes:
An update to what I wrote last week: one of my friends suggested double diapering at night so I wouldn’t have to deal with the trauma of diaper changes. DUH. Two nights in a row Mercy took a huge poop while I was nursing her and I did decide to change that because it smelled too strong for me to ignore, but otherwise two diapers is enough to mostly prevent urine leakage overnight. Problem solved!
The babies had their 1 month doctor’s appointment at the end of the week. Mercedes gained 33oz in the 24 days since her last weight check and Samuel gained 29oz. The doctor was impressed! Apparently it’s less common that I thought for women to be successful exclusively breastfeeding twins. I feel very blessed! The babies were surprisingly calm through the whole appointment, despite them being awake for much longer than usual.
The twins nap very well on the go, which is good because they are still taking 4 long naps a day and if I had to be home for all of them I think I’d go batty. In general I am a fan of “do as you mean to go on” with babies, which is why I put them in their cribs from the beginning for both naps and nights and don’t rock or nurse to sleep. But that has to be balanced with the need to leave the cave, so they typically take at least one nap a day in their car seats. This is new for me – neither Vera nor Abel would ever nap in the car seat. If I wanted them to nap I had to wear them in a wrap. But these babies are just so accommodating! We leave the house at the beginning of their nap time and they fall asleep in the car. I’ll use the snap and go stroller while we are out so they stay sleeping and then when we get home I pull in the garage and turn the car off, leaving all the car windows down and the garage door up. I prop the door from the garage to the kitchen open so I can hear them if they cry. And they stay asleep! It’s nuts. I usually have to go wake them up for their next feeding. This is a blessing, because I don’t think all babies would do that.
I gave Samuel his first haircut this week. Really it was just a trim in the back above the neck. I just couldn’t stand that baby mullet he was sporting! Much cleaner cut now.
I decided to join Weight Watchers at the end of the week. I have used Weight Watchers to lose weight many times before (including after my last two pregnancies) and so I planned to join later this summer, but then on Friday I got an email for 50% off a 3 month membership if I joined by Saturday, so I did. I know many people suggest waiting to actively lose weight until at least two months postpartum, but when I google it, there doesn’t actually seem to be a strong reason to wait. Milk supply is typically only diminished in cases of extreme calorie-deficits. Weight Watchers is a great option for breastfeeding moms because the plan focuses on eating the RIGHT foods, not necessarily eating LESS food. It also allows you to eat unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables, so I shouldn’t have to worry about going hungry and losing my milk – if I’m hungry, I’ll eat. Anyway, after I had Abel, I waited a few months to start the program, hoping the weight would just fall off from breastfeeding, but it never happened and when I finally joined I regretted not doing it sooner. So I decided this time around I’m taking the goat by the gonads and making it happen earlier. Hopefully by the end of the summer I can stop hiding under my fat clothes and maybe even have sex with the lights on.
I have had far more help offered and given to me this time around. I think people feel bad for me having twins with older kids so young! The effort to which women have gone to make this transition easy for me is quite overwhelming. For example, I have a friend (actually, the sister of a friend, which makes her even less obligated to help) who has been taking my two older children once a week for the entire day. She picks them up in the morning and drops them off after dinner – fed and in their pajamas! As if that’s not enough, she picks up a load of dirty laundry with the kids and delivers it back washed and folded. My sister has taken the big kids overnight on multiple occasions and my mom brings Vera to dance every Thursday so I don’t have to drag the younger 3 kids to the class. I know an older woman from bible study who has watched Vera and Abel the last two weeks on Friday mornings so I can take a nap (which I never fall asleep for but is still GLORIOUS) and another friend came over one evening just to give my kids a bath! A mother of one of my friends has stocked our freezer with frozen meals to defrost and use as needed, and moms from my MOPs group have provided enough meals that I haven’t had to cook one single dinner since I’ve had the twins. I know what you’re thinking: well NO WONDER the twin thing hasn’t seemed that difficult to her – SHE’S FARMED OUT ALL THE WORK!
When I think about how much effort everyone is putting in to make things easy for me, I can’t help but feel a little suspicious. My life right now is like one big time share sales pitch; It’s just too good to be true! What’s in it for these people helping me?
While I sit here waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’ll just say that I am EXTREMELY thankful for all of the different ways people have helped me make this adjustment from 2 to 4 kids. I hope there comes a day where I’m no longer elbow deep in newborn poop and toddler messes so I can pay it forward.