My IRL friend Sarah (who is welcome to come visit any time! although I doubt it will feel like "personal time away" lol) asked:
1) Did you get a twin breastfeeding pillow? What do they recommend - feeding them both at once, getting them on an immediate schedule? Can you do it on demand like a singleton or will you be feeding all day long? I didn't get a twin nursing pillow, although I've seen this one. From what I've heard, nursing both twins at the same time can be quite a challenge and isn't necessarily sustainable as they get bigger, so I'm hesitant to invest in more than my trusty old boppy pillow. (Edited: I just ordered the pillow on the advice of Carrie and MissMVK and mamas on the twin forum.) I've read different recommendations on feeding schedules (or lack thereof) with twins, and I'd love to hear from any twin nursing mamas out there on any of these issues (Kristi? Gena? Pufferfish? Jamie? Carrie? Bueller?). On demand is ideal for the kiddos, of course, and I'll do my best. But there comes a point where you can't function being awake 24 hours a day, and I'd rather not end up wandering the neighborhood in my robe in a daze, promising to take everyone to Heaven in my spaceship. I'm hoping at night to wake one baby to eat right after the other baby wakes to eat, in the hope that I could actually sleep for a full hour at a time. We'll see how that goes.
2) Will you put all three kids in matching outfits, just the twins, or forget it. Nothing like a couple in matching flannel (yikes!), why not the kids? As of now, I don't even think we have any outfits for them that are the same. Coordinating can be cute -- like the onesies that come on the same hanger at Carters. I think we'll just be lucky if they make it out of their jammies on any given day (diaper explosions notwithstanding, of course). In the long run, I'll let them decide if they want to match... but unless it's a holiday and I want them all in complementary colors, I can't see myself taking the initiative on that effort. Although this family looks pretty darn happy about it, and even the dog can participate...
3) Will your mama stay with you for awhile when the babies are born? Thank goodness, yes! She said she will stay with us until the end of April... I just pray we don't drive her crazy before then. We are relying on Bean for this, as it's his cuteness and complete attachment to his grandma that's clinching her stay for us now.
4) How is DH handling all this? Would he mind posting on your blog about his perspective of bedrest and the thought of having twins etc? His fears and thrills?
His perspective on bedrest: "It's stressful. There is constantly something that needs to be done. I feel like I am always behind. And I have been on edge every day for the past 7 1/2 weeks worrying that the babies could come any second. And I haven't been able to see Sunny very much, either, which is hard."
His fears about having the twins: "Making sure Bean gets taken care of and isn't overly stressed and neglected. And then in general, our ability to handle double, maybe even triple the effort of having an infant. And how I'll handle the sleepless nights given my previous... difficulties with that." (Me: So you aren't worried about your wife being overwhelmed, staying home with all three of them all day?) "Yes, very much so, I'm worried about that. But mostly I'm worried about the pooch. *laughs* But no honestly I do worry about her, too."
What he is most excited about: "I really look forward to the day when I come home from work and have three happy boys who are excited to see their dad. Wrestling with them, playing with them. And I think Sunny will be super cute surrounded by her men, being taken care of by her men, even when they are tiny men. That'll be hilarious, won't it? Three little dudes, strutting around saying 'Football, mom. Football!'"
On whether he'd write a blog entry: "ME?! Yeah... I don't think I'll get around to posting any time soon." *laughs*
5) Besides sugar and carbs, what would be the number one thing you would be so happy for after the babies are born? A haircut, someone to clean your house, a massage, a new razor? What I am looking forward to most (even more than the desserts!) is playing with Bean again. Even though I've been lucky enough to spend most of my bedrest at home so far, I still miss out on so much being stuck in my bedroom all day. He comes up to visit a lot and sits on my bed with me, but I have to remain laying down so I'm very limited. I can hardly believe the things he's been doing and saying lately, which I hear about from my Mom and DH, and I'm so excited to be a part of that again. Otherwise, yes, I am looking forward to getting a haircut, visiting the dentist, putting on make-up, styling my hair, wearing clothes that aren't men's XL t-shirts, and using a real razor instead of the electric one. (Although it is kinda fun sometimes, like shearing a sheep!) With my Mom living with us, our house has never been cleaner. But yes please to the massage, and a mani/pedi while we're at it.
E asked what troubles I had with breastfeeding Bean. When I was pregnant the first time, many of my friends told me how breastfeeding was more difficult than they expected. I appreciated the warning, so I made sure that I attended the BFing class at our birth center. I also read a bit about it, and naively thought that just knowing that BFing could be hard would somehow help me overcome the difficulties. HA!
We were off to a bad start immediately. I had a traumatic birth experience that ended in a C-section at 10:30 pm. I had a jaundiced, sleepy newborn and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to get him latched correctly. Meanwhile he cried and cried! The nurses tried to help, but they were not BFing experts by any means. The birth center did have two Lactation Consultants (LCs) on staff, but they had limited hours, and I was unlucky enough only to work with the mean, judge-y one while I was still in the hospital. She made me feel worse about myself! A couple of days later, in the dead of night when DH and I were completely overwhelmed, one of the nurses offered to help me use a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to feed Bean some formula, and I readily agreed. I wasn't happy about it, but we were relieved that Bean finally seemed satisfied.
We went home, and I was still optimistic that things would get better. But they didn't. The horrible latch problems endured, and I didn't realize my poor guy was getting NOTHING from the breast. We were giving him formula in between tries. I made a decision at that point that I was going to exclusively breastfeed this child, no matter what it took. I knew I could do it because I had nothing else to focus on but feeding one baby (honestly if the twins had come first, I doubt I would have overcome our problems) and my infertility is not hormone-related so there were no medical issues that would prevent success.
I made an appointment to meet with the other wonderful, supportive LC at the birth center and she helped get us on track. She said Bean had a weak suck, showed me what his latch should look like, and pointed out the signs that he was sucking and swallowing appropriately. We came up with a plan to increase my supply so I could gradually decrease the formula. (Because he hadn't been getting anything, my supply was ridiculously low at that point. No demand, no supply! Some people told me to completely ditch the formula immediately, but I wasn't comfortable doing that, and my LC didn't advise it because of my low supply and Bean's jaundice.) I loaded up on fenugreek, oatmeal, etc. I fed him on demand, as much as possible. Sometimes through an entire movie! And after he would get everything he could from me, I would pump each side for 20 minutes, even in the middle of the night. We rented a hospital grade pump to help with this, and it was worth it's weight in gold! We soon could use what I pumped to supplement our feedings, instead of formula.
I can't overstate how difficult it was for me to establish our nursing relationship. I was feeding him and pumping around the clock, I was exhausted! I cried about this a lot. During their visit, my parents were worried about me and struggled to understand why I wouldn't let allow them to give Bean a bottle so I could sleep through a feeding. But finally my efforts paid off -- my supply was established and I could return the pump.
My advice to anyone who plans to breastfeed is to have a support system in place for after the baby comes. It is very hard to prepare in advance for staring down at a screaming newborn who won't latch, or whatever problem you may have. Many women don't have any issues at all, nursing is easy as pie. (Mmmmmm... pie.) Hopefully you'll be one of those women! But for the rest of us, we need to know where to go for education and support. Find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who will come to your hospital or home. Bookmark http://www.kellymom.com/. Find a supportive breastfeeding forum. I can't tell you what it meant to me, having the encouragement of women who had been-there-done-that, telling me that I would get past this and it would get easier. They were so right!
In the beginning, I honestly really hated breastfeeding. Obviously it was hard for me, but I knew it was best for Bean, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. By three months, I thought it was a lot of work but not so horrible. By six months, it was a lot less work but I was still ambivalent. By twelve months, my final long-term goal, I absolutely loved it. He was so busy by then and nursing much less, but it was our special quiet mommy-son time. A connection he did not have with anyone else in the world. I decided to let him self-wean, which he did when I was about 2 months pregnant with the twins. He was 18 months old.