Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7 Months

I won't lie, the last month or so has been hard. I was discussing with Brad what made it so hard, aside from the obvious sleep deprivation. We decided it's because at some point you're expected to resume normal life. "Sorry, I can't do x, y, or z because of the babies" starts becoming a lame excuse. I assure you, though, for twin parents it really is true. Honestly, I would rather be able to show up for Church on occasion but I really can't most weeks. Lots of people can relate to the time it takes to raise one baby, but two at the same time isn't an economy of scale. I just can't get out the door in twice the amount of time it would for one baby. I find it takes at least three times as long because oh, I forgot a bottle! Someone pooped again! I need to brush my teeth but the other one just pooped! So folks, basically what I am saying is that it's hard right now.

 Anyway, on with my update! This one is probably going to be a long one and have lots of photos. Sorry about that.

If you're friends with me on Facebook you may know that I won a  free mini-session with Teal Tree Studios. Our first attempt was a total bust. Babies were sick with colds and just were not having it. We made up for it with some cute ones in the studio. If you're local, I have some discount cards I can give you. Let me tell you what, I was so happy with Tricia! She is really talented and super accommodating, especially since I wasn't even paying for our session. In short, I highly highly highly recommend her and can't say enough nice things about her. :) All of the pictures in this post are her photos.

Sleep: we're not getting a lot of that. Just is what it is. But the new development in the sleep department is that Amelia will put herself to sleep a lot of the time. Eleanor still is a long way from that, but we're all working on it.

Eating: Solids are going well! Amelia is getting better and better and Eleanor is a pro. We've tried all sorts of things squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, peaches, peas, green beans (that was not a hit), carrots, oatmeal, and probably others I'm forgetting. I just introduced sippy cups with water in them to start learning. They're still not quite sure what to do with the cups, but sometimes they surprise themselves and get water out. It usually gets spit right back out but maybe they'll drink it some day.

 Eleanor is the main stinker when it comes to sleep. She gave us about a week of good sleep but resumed her patterns of not wanting to be put down to go to sleep. I'm not certain what else to try that we haven't already and I'm pretty sure we're just going to have to wait it out. She's gotta sleep someday, right?

Eleanor is loving her solids. She picks up and eats puffs and eats pretty much anything I give her. Avocado was the big exception. She left it on her tongue and cried until I removed it from her mouth. Apparently she's just not going to like it. That's ok, I don't really like avocado either. Since we started solids, she's been refusing the formula when I offer it after nursing. This is a good thing because it means she's filling up and getting enough calories from nursing and eating solids, which is what I hoped would happen. She still gets a bottle in the middle of the night because she usually wakes up immediately after I've pumped (have I shared that on here? I wake up at 11:30 or 12 to pump for Amelia. It's the only time I have a chance to get more than an ounce or two) and it's just easier to give her a bottle then. Her latest stats are 25 inches long and 14lbs 9ozs.

She's not crawling yet, but she does manage to scoot a little bit when properly motivated to reach out for a toy. She just rolls everywhere though. She might not need to learn to crawl because she can just roll! She's laughing more and more. Apparently we just weren't amusing enough before. She's overall a very happy baby and is always making smiley faces and making noises. My favorite is when she smiles while sticking her tongue out-- it's so cute!

Amelia is much closer to crawling. She does what I call the "zombie throw". She will be reaching for a toy and will launch herself forward by pushing off her feet. She'll figure out crawling soon and then I'll be in big trouble. She's also laughing so much at everything. If you start laughing she will usually join you. She's also making a lot of screeching noises and blows raspberries all of the time. Her latest stats are 24 inches long and 13lbs 10ozs.

A couple of weeks ago both girls caught a cold but Amelia developed a wheeze. After going to ER and basically being told it was no big deal (most unhelpful thing ever), my pediatrician gave us a nebulizer and after a breathing treatments she was much better. It was not fun dealing with sick babies but going almost 7 months without catching something else is such a blessing. I'm not eager to do that again though.

She's been putting herself to sleep for naps the past couple of days. I get the room all ready by turning on the noise machine, pulling the curtains, getting her in her sleep sack and then I give her the bottle. After she finishes it when she's drowsy but still awake I put her in her crib and she takes her lovey and drifts off to sleep. She stays sleeping for at least an hour and a half too. It's great. It'll be even greater when Eleanor decides to join her. 

Overall, I'm really loving this age. They're run to be around most of the time and even in the sleep deprivation we survive. Someone asked me how I do it the other day and honestly, I don't know. I just do. I don't have any other option really. Even though I'm exhausted and even though I wish sometimes there were multiples of me or that I could hire a mother's helper... I get through it and remember that often the good moments are much more often than the bad moments. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

6 Months!

Six months feels like a giant milestone to me. Over the last couple of weeks they've exploded in their development. I started giving them some oatmeal (has not gone over well, but we've only tried twice). We moved the crib out of our room and have begun putting them each in their own crib for sleeping (They started rolling into each other and waking one another up). Just so many things happened over the last several weeks that made me pause and think "Gosh! They're changing so fast!" I've definitely had to remember to stop and appreciate the cute things they do because they're moving on to bigger and better things so fast (and I mean that in a good way!).

Both girls are rolling proficiently in both directions. They're talking more and making more noises. They're rolling to get places and to reach toys. They LOVE to just be laid down on their quilt and having free reign to roll and explore all the toys.

A Word About Sleep Training: Admittedly, the babies are not sleeping as well as I would hope, but it seems to be their pattern when they're growing. With every growth spurt and jump in development they regress in their sleeping, partly because they need to eat more, but partly just because they need help learning to go to sleep. We've started implementing some of the No Cry Sleep Solution, but truth be told the strategies in the book aren't anything I wasn't already doing. It is not an overnight fix to our sleep problems, but I think as they grow and get bigger the night waking will end. Many people have suggested that we just let them cry it out because it worked for them. For us, though, crying it out means one twin is waking the other. Then we have two tired and screaming babies. Not fun. Eleanor especially gets VERY worked up when she's upset and all that does is promote stress in her and is not restful. The No Cry Sleep Solution book is big on creating positive sleep associations, unlike cry it out which promotes the association of "I go to sleep by getting very upset". I, personally, feel that the method is not for us. It does work for others and I'm not saying it's a terrible method of sleep training-- it's just not for us and doesn't fit into my philosophy of parenting. And that's ok. What I've learned about any "method" of parenting is simply that you have to do what fits your personality and style of parenting. For me, that's rocking my babies to sleep still. They're still little. :)

Miss Eleanor Jane took a little longer to master rolling from belly to back, but she has gotten quite proficient. Sometimes she still gets stuck on her tummy, but not usually. She loves to roll to reach and grab toys-- even if Amelia is playing with it! Folks, it starts young.

Sophie the Giraffe is one of Eleanor's favorite toys. She isn't teething quite yet, but she is in the stage where everything goes in her mouth. Sophie seems to be what she grabs first and sticks with the longest. She also likes to play with anything she can shake and make noise with. And her feet. She loves to take her socks off and eat them, or in the absence of socks she eats her whole foot.

Ellie Jane (I'm starting to see her as an Ellie. Before now, I just couldn't call her Ellie. It didn't seem to fit but now she's growing into it!) is 12lbs 9ozs and successfully doubled her birth weight by the 6 month mark. yay! She primarily nurses but gets a couple of small supplemental bottles a day. I'll talk more about feeding when we get to Amelia. Eleanor HATES oatmeal. We tried for her first taste on Saturday morning. Sunday morning at the mere sight of the spoon she started crying. Poor girl. I've traumatized her. ;) We'll keep trying until they learn what to do with it. I'm introducing avocado next weekend.

We finally got Eleanor to laugh! It took a lot of work but she finally chuckled. It wasn't ever something I was concerned about but became a challenge that needed to be accomplished, haha. She finally chuckled at her daddy being silly.

Amelia Claire's big update is probably about how we feed her. Nursing increasingly became a big battle ending in tears for us both, even with the supplemental nursing system. When I accidentally dropped the SNS and shattered the bottle, I decided that I wasn't going to fight her any more. I know all the lactivists say babies don't self wean before a year old...blah blah blah. But you know what? I tried to keep going and it just was not the nurturing relationship breastfeeding is supposed to be. It was a battle. I felt like I was wrestling my baby and she wasn't eating enough to grow. I know my supply issues stem from a shallow latch from her that we could never get corrected and I know I fell into some booby traps in the beginning. But I did everything I could to try to salvage the breastfeeding relationship and we just couldn't. I've rented a hospital grade pump and am able to pump about half of her feedings and the other half is formula. I was very upset about this at first and had some big feelings about continuing to nurse Eleanor and not Amelia, but ultimately this is best for her growth and my sanity. 5.5 months is a pretty good run all things considered.
Miss Amelia is 11lbs 6ozs and has been gaining like a champ since we started bottle feeding her. She also doubled her birth weight, but it was technically a few days after the 6 month mark. But it's close enough I say she doubled. ;) Unfortunately, since we began full time bottles she also spits up a lot and has some significant reflux showing up. We're taking her to a GI specialist in April and in the mean time having an Upper GI test done tomorrow. No one thinks there's anything concerning going on, but just wanting to make sure we've ruled out all possibilities. The spitting up has gotten better over the last few days, so I think we're moving past that soon. Please. Baby puke is gross, haha.
Amelia figured out how to roll both directions first and figured out she can roll to get to places first. She likes to wave all sorts of toys around and is also in the stage of eating everything. She likes Sophie, but her FAVORITE things to play with are cloth wipes and burp cloths. I don't know why. But she loves them.

Amelia has also started napping pretty well. She rarely wakes up and needs to be rocked back to sleep and will sometimes sleep for two hours. I do wake her up after it's been 3 hours since she's eaten but I think soon I can start letting her just sleep. She rarely goes over that three hour mark, so it's not really an issue. I'm so happy that she's started napping. Night sleep, though, is another story. She wakes up every three to four hours, but that's probably due to her 6 month growth spurt.

I feel like this update was so long! So much has happened in the last month. If you want to see more pics of the girls, I share a lot of them on instagram. Follow me: zilydal.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

5 Months

I'm a couple of days late, but thats ok. :) The girls are five months old now.  Part of me is acutely aware of how long 5 months has felt, but another part of me can't believe we're almost to six months. The girls have grown so much in the last couple of weeks. Sometimes they start doing things just overnight. It's pretty amazing watching them develop and learn new things.

Both girls are gaining at a pretty good pace. Eleanor is just over 11lbs and Amelia is just under 10lbs. I've found that their size is always a topic of conversation. The first thing people always say about Amelia is how small she is. I try hard not to be upset by it but sometimes it hurts knowing everything we've gone through. I've got a semi-complicated feeding system down. Basically, I tandem nurse them in the middle of the night. During the day, I either tandem feed with a supplemental nursing system full of formula (so they're nursing and getting formula at the same time), or I bottle feed Amelia and nurse Eleanor. With the help of a lactation consultant we've determined I have low supply probably due to Amelia's shallow latch and poor milk transfer. We've tried adjusting her latch but she just won't do it. In order for her to grow she has to be heavily supplemented. I've been able to pump enough that she gets two bottles of expressed milk a day as her supplements, but usually she gets a bottle full of formula too. It's weird nursing Eleanor by herself and not nursing Amelia by herself (though some days I do and give Eleanor a bottle) but I've left the guilt over that behind. It isn't that Amelia isn't nursing at all-- she is. The bottom line is that I have enough milk for about 1.5 babies, so they're each getting about 60% of their needs from breastmilk and 40% from formula. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

Sleep is also improving! They will usually do a good long stretch from about 8 or 8:30 to 2 or 3am. Then after 3 they'll be up again around 6-- sometimes for the day. It still isn't perfect, but I'm a heck of a lot more rested than I was a month ago. Naps are still a total crap shoot and usually they don't stay down for long and want to be held to sleep.

Eleanor has rolled from back to tummy exactly once... Well it was more like 3/4's of the way over. She's completely content to just lay on her back and watch things. She's grabbing for things a lot-- picking up toys to put in her mouth, hitting the dangling toys on the activity mat, and pulling my hair! She's also discovered her hands and plays with them a lot (like in the above picture). In the last few days she's also started grabbing her feet, which is really cute to watch.

Eleanor still hasn't laughed, but she responds to funny things by smiling a lot and making noises in response to you. She'll laugh some day. She still hates tummy time, but can roll from belly to back sometimes. She lifts her head during tummy time and looks around a bit too. She talks a lot in the form of coos and just recently started the shrieking. She much prefers little coos to loud shrieks.

Probably my favorite thing that she does is when she gets excited when she knows I'm coming over to pick her up. She starts kicking her feet and flailing her arms with a huge smile on her face. I love it when she does that.

Amelia was less cooperative on picture day, so sorry for lack of Amelia pics. She didn't make too many vocalizations until all of a sudden she was shrieking, cooing, making raspberry type sounds...she just makes all kinds of noises now! She also laughs when you tickle her and sometimes for no reason at all. She likes to grab for toys too as well as plays with her hands. She often just sits and stares at her hands as she moves them all around. Amelia has rolled all the way from tummy to back a few times (and she rolled first!). She also pushes herself up on her arms when she's on her tummy and is very good at rolling to her back from that position.

 Amelia's smile lights up her whole face, so I spend a lot of my time trying to make her smile. She gets excited too, albeit a little less animated than Eleanor. If I had to guess Amelia is going to be our introvert. She doesn't like to be held by strangers but Eleanor will go to just about anyone (though, in full disclosure, we haven't really surrendered them to many people. I'm way over protective and I don't like handing fussy babies to people).

Overall, they're doing great. I can't believe we're almost to 6 months old. That feels like a big milestone!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

4 Months

Once again we are at another month! We've finally settled into a routine for the most part. Naps are still a total crapshoot and are quite the effort on my part. Usually it goes something like this: Swaddle both girls and rock them to sleep. Eleanor does this fake cry to keep herself from falling asleep which also keeps Amelia awake. Bounce around with both girls because Eleanor doesn't want me to sit. Get Eleanor to be quiet and sleepy, sit down because my back can't handle it any more, Eleanor starts up again, stand up and bounce. Repeat this process at least two more times. Get both girls asleep and continue rocking them until it's safe to move them (usually like 15 minutes). Put girls in their crib. 10 minutes go by and Amelia wakes up. Rock her back to sleep and return her to crib. Almost immediately Eleanor wakes up. Put her back to sleep. Amelia wakes up again. Put her back to sleep (at this point at least an hour has gone by and it's time to feed them again), put her back in crib. Run to bathroom, get a snack ready to eat, fill up water bottle. Both girls are awake, time to feed them again. A good nap day means someone slept for 30 minutes straight. They are sleeping longer stretches at night which is awesome, but also makes me nervous because of the weight gain stuff. I stopped setting my alarm at night because they weren't getting enough sleep and that wasn't good either. They usually do wake me up every three hours but sometimes they go five between feeds. 

Amelia is up to 8lbs 5.5ozs. Her rate of gain is still on the slow side, so we are aggressively supplementing now with more formula. It's a huge bummer to me, but it's what I have to do to get her to grow. I have started the domperidone for my milk supply, and while I have noticed a significant increase, I'm not sure it will ever be enough to get off supplements, which is also a major bummer and I'm still sorting out my feelings on it.  Right now the plan is to keep on keeping on until they can have solids, which will help us use less formula. 

Other than some of these feeding issues Amelia is right on track. She started laughing, she holds toys, is sometimes rolling from front to back, stands when supported, sits when supported, follows toys with her eyes, is starting to reach for things. She's doing really well. 

She is also the one who naps less and doesn't like to be put down. It's a challenge and makes it so I rarely get much accomplished during the day, but that's ok. 

Amelia's personality is also starting to show. She checks things out thoroughly before interacting with things. She is purposeful in her noise making-- she usually has a reason! She likes being read to and looking at the pages in books, Eleanor is less patient during story time.

Eleanor was not wanting to have her picture taken! Hence why Brad's hands are in this picture. Eleanor likes to sit and look around. She's also exploring verbal sounds a lot, including cooing when she should be going to sleep! 
She's gaining well enough and is up to 9lbs 7.5lbs. She's pretty much moved up to all the one size diapers, which we are having so much fun with! 
She's definitely less content to just lay there, unlike her sister who likes to take it all in. Eleanor likes to have lots of contact and interaction. She has rolled with assistance from tummy to back, she hasn't laughed yet but will soon! 
She's also getting very grabby with her hands. She's always grabbing her clothes, my clothes, my hair... Her little hands like to be busy! 

As for me... I'm doing ok. I'm sleeping more so that's always good. I am very disappointed in how breastfeeding is turning out so I'm working through that. But overall I'm ok. Being home with my girls is hard at times but it is awesome too. I'm looking forward to the day when I can workout, get out of the house for longer than 40 minutes between feeds, and not have to worry about weight gain for the girls. At the same time I'm also trying to treasure these moments and not wish away where we are right now. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three Months

The girls are three months old! They're still keeping me on my toes, that's for sure. Here's the over all three month update:
  • We're working on taking naps during the day. They pretty much refuse to sleep for any length of time and take like ten minute micro naps after they eat... that just wasn't cutting it. By the time evening rolled around we had some very cranky, over tired, grumpy babies. I tried letting them sleep in the swing, in the carrier, in sleep sacks in their bed...nothing worked. Today I got desperate and swaddled them like we do at night. So far so good. 
  • They're still small, but are slowly growing into three month clothes. They're definitely too long for most newborn clothes these days and are solidly in most 3 month pants thanks to the cloth diapers.
  • We LOVE our cloth diapers. Love love love them. 
  • Santa is bringing the girls a few toys, a couple books, some cloth diapers, and an outfit each. He followed the "Something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read" protocol. 
  • They both HATE tummy time.
  • They're still eating every two hours during they day and for 45 minutes at a time. They're going pretty consistently 3-4 hours at night between feeds. I still feel like I can't go do much because of their eating schedule but, hey, this is what it's like right now. They were preemies and they're still so little so this eating pattern is not abnormal.
  • They're both being supplemented with 3ozs of formula per day and gaining enough weight daily that I think the Ped will be pleased. I was sick last week and that caused a dip in my milk supply so they didn't gain a TON of weight last week, but since my supply has perked back up a little and we've added an extra supplement they're gaining about an ounce a day which is exactly where they need to be.
  • I had mastitis a week ago and it damaged my supply (like it often does :(), so this is a big bummer. I have one last resort that I'm going to try. It's a drug called domperidone. It is not available in the US except from a compounding pharmacy, but world wide (including Canada and England) this drug is often prescribed for women who wish to breastfeed and suffer from low supply. The hope is that this drug will increase my supply enough that I can exclusively breastfeed and still see the girls gaining weight. This drug has been used for a couple of decades and the FDA has a small beef with it that no one really understands. I've done a lot of research about it and all of the biggest names in breastfeeding medicine and lactation science all agree this drug is the safest and best option for low milk supply. I just find myself in a situation that I do not make enough milk for both girls-- probably due to early on supplementation and PCOS. Either way... I'm really hoping this drug works. It may also speed up their eating time because they won't have to wait so long for enough milk. We shall see. If it does not turn out to be the miracle drug it seems to be, then I will likely begin switching to formula and breastfeed as much as possible until my supply dwindles. 

As for Eleanor, she's doing great! In the last week or so she's started cooing more and more. She plays a little game with Brad where she'll make a noise, he'll coo back, she'll answer him and on and on it goes for about ten minutes before she loses interest. She doesn't play it as much with me, but is definitely interested in playing the game with daddy. I think we have a daddy's girl. 

As of this morning Eleanor weighed 8 lbs 4.5ozs. I have no idea how long she is, but she is pretty long! She's almost too long for some of her 3 month pants. She's much much less fussy lately and has many happy periods through out the day, especially on days she takes a darn nap!

Other points of interest:

  • While she may hate tummy time, she does lift her head off the floor, swims around and gets her hips rocking (rolling may not be that far off!). 
  • We had to buy a baby brush for Eleanor's hair. She has almost none on the top of her head, but she totally has a ton in the back. I call it baby mullet.
  • She seems to be intentionally kicking toys hanging from the activity mat. Reaching is not far off!
  • She likes the swing most of the time, but lately has been much cuddlier and wanting to be held. Especially by daddy-- who doesn't seem to mind at all!

As for Amelia, she doesn't coo as much but she is making more and more vocalizations. She smiles in response to someone but may or may not be looking at you when she smiles. She will nap more easily than Eleanor, but tends to want to take her snoozes in the Solly Baby Wrap.

As of this morning, Amelia weighs 7 lbs 4ozs. She's not quite as long as her sister, but I don't think either of them are going to be short. Of course both Brad and I are tall, so I won't be surprised at all if we have tall girls. She tends to be a bit fussier, but when she is happy she is 100% smiles for you.

Other points of interest:

  • She's rolled from her tummy to her back exactly one time and hasn't done it since. But she gets VERY close.
  • Amelia gets angry quickly. She goes from making a few little noises to full on angry yelling in about two seconds.
  • She has more sensitive skin so we have to use mostly natural fiber diapers on her. Thank goodness for blueberry simplex all cotton diapers! She can wear a synthetic diaper, but not synthetics all day. I try to alternate between cotton diapers and synthetic diapers. Minky diapers are a definite NO GO. 
  • Amelia LOVES the wrap. Like, a lot. Poor Eleanor hardly ever gets worn unless dad is home so we can both be wearing a baby.
So there you have it. 3 whole months. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

I want to talk about Mom Guilt.

Ok, so, this update isn't a style file or really a update on the girls. In the middle of all my 45minute nursing sessions, I've had time to reflect a little bit about mommy guilt. I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty/sad/depressed over things that are not within my realm of control. Of course it doesn't help that  before this week, the girls would pretty much be awake and crying with very little awake and happy time-- unless they were nursing of course. That was very trying and made me question everything. It got even worse when they would be fussy ALL DAY and then get even worse in the evening. Needless to say... I am so glad that this week they've been MUCH happier. It makes me be more confident as a mom that my babies are awake and happy. Oh, and that I was able to put Eleanor in the swing and Amelia in the bouncer and they STAYED NAPPING. That is a huge victory. Basically for the last 11 weeks I've had a baby on me at all times. That in and of itself is exhausting.

All of that fussy time made it impossible to do things like tummy time or other play time to work on some of their developmental skills. We had a pediatrician appointment yesterday for their "2 month" check up (never mind that it's actually closer to three months. Oops), and I had to fill out this HUGE questionnaire about how they're developing and I was very generous in my assessment of them and they still scored in the "grey area" in some areas. My babies don't really recognize me as their mom, Eleanor doesn't push her head up during tummy time, they only sometimes follow a toy with their eyes but will usually follow it with their heads, among other things. That's when mommy guilt kicked in. "I should have been doing x,y, and z differently because now my babies are BEHIND!" I spent some time sad about that but then realized a couple of things. 1.) They were premature. 2.) I was in survival mode. I can't do tummy time or help work on skills when we're still working on not crying if you're awake 3.) there is an obsession in the medical arena with making sure your babies develop at a certain rate, gain weight at a certain weight, etc. It's silly.

Also, at the appointment she freaked out about Amelia's weight gain and was "very concerned" about it-- but she was only looking at one piece of the puzzle. In six weeks she only put on 300ish grams which is not a lot, admittedly and definitely not following the WHO curve. BUT. I was aware of it. For two or so weeks I just let it go to see if she would start gaining, when she didn't I called in a lactation consultant to help and for a week tried a couple things to see if she would gain. When she didn't gain in that time I began supplementing her. For the first week of the supplement she put on four ozs in a week-- on target for the low end of normal. She did that for a while. Then this past week her gain kind of exploded and she put on four ozs in three or so days. The supplement is working and I'm comfortable at the rate she's gaining now. In fact-- in a month's time she's put on a pound. When I said that first, the doctor kind of brushed it off and continued to try to scare me into feeding her more formula. Here's the thing, I know why they freak out about this stuff. There are situations of neglect they have to keep track of, slow weight gain can be indicative of a medical problem, whatever. I am aware of the situation, though, and addressing it. She finally got talked down after I explained to her that in basically three weeks she put on 11ozs. In fact, from yesterday to this morning she put on 1.5ozs! Eleanor isn't quite where she wanted either, but I told her I just started supplementing her too and she's been doing fine ever since.

So back to this mommy guilt stuff. I felt guilty for having to give the girls a very small amount of formula-- they're each only getting 2ozs total per day. That's 1oz supplement after the last two feedings of the day before bed. Not a big deal at all. The guilt voice in my head, though, screamed that I SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED! IT HAS TO BE ALL OR NOTHING! Then I felt guilty for NOT supplementing sooner and possibly contributing to the developmental stuff. Then I felt guilty for this little diaper rash, or the fact that I only get a chance to bathe them once a week, or this or that.

When I got home I decided that it's all silly. The developmental stuff is just what it is. We need to expect that they'll be a little behind because they were essentially four weeks early-- there is a reason babies need that 40 weeks inside! They are beautiful and I can already tell they're very smart girls and  they will catch up. The doctor wasn't actually concerned about this at all. Didn't even bring it up, so why was I feeling guilty about it? The weight stuff is silly because babies grow at their own rate. The weight gain is only one piece of the puzzle-- they are growing just fine in length and all of that. They have plenty of pee and poop diapers so they're NOT malnourished or dehydrated.

Basically, I've decided a couple of things. First, in regard to the weight gain obsession. It isn't my fault at all and I just need to do what is best to make my babies grow. I have done what I feel is best every single step of the way and that's all I can do. I have made informed decisions based on (real) research about breastfeeding and weight gain so I have no problem doing what I'm doing and not increasing their supplemental formula just yet. Regardless of how the numbers look right this second, I am comfortable with where both of the girls are. I have not done anything wrong in trying to make exclusively breastfeeding work, nor am I doing anything wrong in feeding them formula. Even if I chose to fully formula feed, that is no reason to be guilty.

Second, mom guilt is going to be a constant until...well forever I would imagine. I can't let it run my life because it's not correct thinking. If I am doing my best and doing what is best for the babies I have no reason to be guilty for any reason. So, moving forward I am trying very hard to not allow faulty thinking in regard to my mothering to drive me to feel upset, depressed, sad, or to make uninformed decisions. It isn't easy, especially in the midst of sleep deprivation, but once I decided that mom guilt is stupid...life has seemed much brighter. Especially because these moments happen:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

8 Weeks

The girls are eight weeks! I can't hardly believe that it's been eight weeks.  We've had some ups and downs over the last four weeks.

  • In the last week or so they have been stretching to three hour eating intervals at night at least once, which means I get an extra hour of sleep! 
  • I've met with a very helpful lactation consultant 
  • We've fallen into a routine being on our own and for the most part we have had way more good days than bad. 
  • Being on my own hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. It is difficult at times, but it isn't nearly as terrible as I built it up to be in my mind. 
  • Nursing has been a struggle. Not as bad as some people have it, but it has been hard. Amelia is not gaining as fast as she should and Eleanor is on the lower end of normal for weight gain. I've had to start supplementing Amelia again and will evaluate Eleanor's need to be supplemented on Friday (I have my own scale now to check on such things). Emotionally breastfeeding has been HARD because I have felt like I have done everything I can to get Amelia to gain right and she hasn't. Is it my fault? Probably not. In fact, I'm 100% sure it isn't my fault; milk is there she just does not transfer it well due to a shallow latch. Perhaps supplementing will help her because she will grow more and hopefully have more energy for nursing. Eleanor's latch also is kind of shallow and makes it difficult to get milk-- that's why they're still nursing for 45 minutes at a time. We're working on it for sure. In this case, being born at 36 weeks may be affecting their nursing ability so it may take longer for them to "get it" and get more efficient. I'm also taking some supplements to help build my supply as well as (trying) to pump some. The pumping isn't going well just because during the day when they're nursing every two hours for 45minutes at a time...well ain't nobody got time for pumping after that! I know I could transition to bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding, but I firmly believe the issues we are facing are 100% fixable and this too shall pass. I'm definitely giving it more time before I make any decisions on whether to continue or not. With the right help, I think we will be able to overcome these obstacles and get their latches right so everyone is happier. 
  • Lack of sleep is catching up with us. Brad is getting sick with a cold and I'm just tired all of the time.
  • This one is kind of silly: Eleanor is between sizes. New Born size clothes, especially pants, are generally too small but three month sizes are way too big! 

Amelia weighs 6 pounds 4.5 ozs now. After my last post at the pediatrician's she had gained 6ozs in 7 days while we were supplementing her. So, with the doctor's blessing, I dropped the supplement. She's still a little peanut for sure, but she is filling out a bit. We're working on fattening her up some more too.

In the last week or so Amelia is making happy faces. I'm not sure I would call it a smile per se but it's definitely a happy expression on her face. She doesn't do it in response to much; usually when we're going to change her we'll just look down and she's making the happy face.

Amelia likes being in the swing for limited amounts of time and it definitely does not calm her if she's already worked up. She would much prefer to be worn against me in the wrap. 

Eleanor weighs 7lbs 3.5ozs now. She's gaining relatively well, though still on the lower end of normal. She is also the fussier baby most of the time, which is why we have mostly crying pictures of her. I think the two in this post are the only two from the shoot where she is not crying. The girl is serious about eating-- when she wants it she wants it NOW not five minutes from now to finish up taking pictures.

Eleanor likes the swing and will sit in there happily for a while. If she's already worked up, though, she won't be calmed by it. She's also liking the bouncy seat more and more. This is a huge relief for me because I have to eat and use the bathroom at some point during day!

Aside from the stresses of nursing, things are going really well! I'm enjoying getting to know the babies.