Baby Anthem

Wrote this while I was feeding the twins at 5am... Funny I found inspiration from sleep deprivation!

*I dedicate this to all the moms (and dads) out there who know exactly what I'm talking about!*

Hey you I want attention 
I demand of it right now 
You wanna hear me lose my shit?
'Cause I can show you how 

It's 2am, I'm hungry
Though I know that I just ate
To wait a few more minutes 
Isn't up for a debate 

I'll just get louder til you're up
And I won't quit, you'll see
You may be tired, sorry pal
Time means nothing to me

Want to have a restful night?
Yeah, you don't stand a chance
I've spit up in my crib 
And there's a present in my pants

I own you, mom, I'll get my way
I'll even make you sing 
Then I'll wait until my diaper is off
And pee on everything 

I'll flail my arms and kick my legs
No way I'm sitting still 
And once you get it on me
That new diaper I will fill

I'm changed, I'm fed and comfortable 
So now I'm wide awake
You'd better entertain me,
Did you think this would be cake?

I have to make it challenging
And keep you on your toes
I cried so hard, I'm all stuffed up,
Please suck snot out my nose 

I'll soon get tired and start to drift
So you don't have to beg
But before I do, I just have to
Spit up on your leg

I'll fall asleep eventually 
You'll tiptoe away and then 
The moment that you close your eyes
I'll start it all again!

Bottle Feeding Twins (and otherstuff too!)

I know I am new to this whole parenting thing, so I don't proclaim to be any kind of guru. When I was pregnant I researched the crap out of any tips and tricks I could find from other twin moms and have since implemented them with great success! So I wanted to share them, along with a few things we've figured out in the process, with other twin moms out there who are looking to simplify and make things a little less stressful. With me having had a breast reduction 15 years ago I am not able to breastfeed, so I can't really give any advice on that. However, for those who bottle feed I hope this helps make life a bit easier for you!

What I have found that helps the most with the process of feeding/changing the twins is to be ahead of the game. Setting things up before it's time for them to eat will save you a lot of stress in getting bottles ready when you have hungry, crying babies. Here are my suggestions of items you'll need to make hands-on/feeding time smooth sailing... (I'll also provide a link to where you can buy the items on Amazon if you want to purchase them, or at least see a picture of what each thing looks like).

BTW- Even though I am writing this about twins, you can absolutely use these same helpful hints with individual babies as well!

Tip #1

Dr. Browns Formula Pitcher:

We have two of these because while River is on the standard mix of Neosure, Riley has to have extra calories so it's a different amount of powder we have to use when mixing up a batch for her. If your twins need two separate types of formulas, having two is a lifesaver and you can use a Sharpie to write their names on them. This thing mixes formula in an instant and as formula lasts 24 hours, you can mix enough to last through the whole day and night. I make mine before bed at night so it is ready for the next day.

Tip #2

Have enough bottles on hand to get you through multiple feedings

We tried several different brands of bottles and found Dr. Browns Natural Flow worked the best, but go with whatever your babies like better. We currently have enough to get through 4 feedings but I just ordered an extra set so we can prep bottles for an entire 24 hours. And since we have a boy and a girl, I found Dr. Browns has special pink bottles so I got those for Riley. Because she loves pink! (shutup.) This makes it a lot easier on us since she has to have the extra calorie mix so it ensures we don't mix up the bottles. But if you have two of the same sex you can just get all the same bottles.

Each morning I fill up enough bottles for the day. That way when it comes time to feed, I just grab a bottle out of the fridge easy peasy.

These are the bottles we have been using:

Tip #3

Clean Easy

Rather than boiling a pot of water every time we need to sterilze bottles and pacifiers, I have been using these sterilization bags that go in the microwave. They are made by Medela and super easy to use!

Although in looking that up just now I see that Dr. Browns has them as well, so I may try them next time. 

These bags are fantastic. You fill with 2oz of water, toss in your WASHED bottles, nipples and pacifiers and pop in the micro for 1 1/2 minutes and it steam sterilizes everything lickety split! Just be careful not to burn your fingers getting the stuff out. There is a special slit in the side of the bag to pour the scalding hot water out of it before opening, but my half-asleep mommy brain keeps forgetting that and I've burned the shit out of my fingers multiple times!

I then put everything on a bottle drying rack (this is the one we have:

But I'm sure any kind will work. We have it on the counter next to the sink. I am probably going to get another one since I am getting more bottles. 

I usually sterilize once a day before I make all my bottles for the day, but sometimes I do a few as I go. Whatever works best for you!

Tip #4

Keep a mini fridge and bottle warmers in your bedroom

While the twins do have a nursery, we are keeping one of their cribs in our room for the next few months. Just while they are still little and new. We just feel more comfortable with them being close to us for now. We have them in the same crib, but they are swaddled and separated as not to risk them rolling over and cutting off one another's airflow. 

Now this tip is one I learned from reading advice from other twin moms. We just happened to already have a mini fridge from my teaching days, so we moved it from the garage to the bedroom. We also put TWO bottle warmers on top of the fridge. This way, middle of the night feedings aren't a nightmare. I just pop out of bed, grab two bottles out of the fridge and pop them in the warmers. It only takes a couple minutes to warm up, so I use that time to change their diapers and by the time I am done so are the bottles! It's super convenient, especially when you are groggy in the middle of the night. But we also keep that stuff in there for the daytime feedings as well. Saves room in the regular fridge anyway!

I will say it was a lot easier when my hubby took time off the first week and a half. We would get up together and each take a baby to change and feed. Now that I am doing it on my own at night, it is an even bigger help to have everything right there where I need it.

Once I change each baby, I bring them one at a time to the couch and lay them swaddled, each in a crevace between the cushions so they can't roll anywhere. I grab the bottles and go sit between them in the couch so that they are on either side of my thighs, slightly angled toward me. I tuck bibs around them and feed them simultaneously, but burp them individually as they show signs of needing it. I'll admit, it's a lot easier having someone feed one baby while you feed the other, but life doesn't always work out that way so we have to improvise! It took a few times of trial and error to figure out the best way to feed them at the same time and this way worked the best. I could potentially feed them one at a time, but I barely get any sleep as it is! 

What it looks like:

Somehow I did it this way one time, but I don't know if I could do it again... it just happened to be the way the babies were situated:

Mind you, this is with preemie/newborn babies. As they get bigger this may or may not work, but I haven't gotten there yet! For now, this is going well.

Here is the brand of warmers we use (and they work great!)

This is our setup:

Tip #5

Keep your bibs/burp cloths (and anything else you need) in a basket wherever you do your feedings

This one is pretty self explanitory. Too many times I would grab the bottles, the babies and get all situated and realize I forgot a bib and have to shift the twins and get back up to go get some. If you have everything there you won't be running all over the house for this and that, especially in the middle of the night, it will all just be there where you need it! I actually have started changing the twins right there on the couch during the night. This way I am not picking one up, going to the nursery to change them, bringing them to the couch then repeating with the second one. I bring them both out to the couch, have diapers and wipes in a basket along with the bibs right there, change them one after the other then feed them. The more I do it, the quicker I am getting! I've even figured out with River always flipping his lid when he gets his diaper changed, I keep a pacifier out by the couch and pop it in his mouth when I change him and it helps IMMENSELY with keeping him from freaking out like he usually does. 

Of course, you may have other items you use or things that work better for you... this is just what has been working for me and my twins, feel free to tweak these ideas to suit your needs!

Tip #6 

Diaper caddy is your friend

Having a diaper caddy on the dresser or changing table is uber convenient. The one I have has a wipe warmer (which I know some moms say that isn't necessary, but I find the babies are a lot less fussy with diaper changes with warm wipes over cold ones!) It has a spot to put diapers (I put River's on one side and Riley's on the other- because they have designs on theirs *we buy non toxic ones from Honest Co.* - but if you are using the same kind for both (or one) baby, you can fill both sides with the same. And I put their diaper rash cream, ointment and lotion in the side pockets. And I keep extra packages of diapers and wipes in the bottom drawer of the dresser that the caddy is on so if I run out I can quickly grab and restock.

This one might be a no-brainer for some of you, but as a first time mom, I wouldn't have realized how handy it was unless I tried it myself! 

This is the brand kind use:

Here is our set up:

And we also have an Arm & Hammer diaper pail next to the dresser. I haven't tried other brands (like the Diaper Genie) but I really like this one. I never smell a thing!

Well, so far those are the best tips and tricks I can give you based on my experience. Everyone likes to do things their own way and I know just because it works for me doesn't mean it will work for everyone. But I wanted to share for those new moms out there looking to make things a little easier and less stressful while getting the hang of this whole parenting thing. Hope this helps!!!

Best of luck with you and your little ones!!! 

The End of the Beginning

Well, the baby vacation has come to an end and G has to go back to work tomorrow. I'm really bummed. This has seriously been the best week of our lives! Everyone told us how the first few months were going to be hell, but honestly with us tag-teaming everything it hasn't been bad at all. Getting up in the middle of the night isn't so bad with your bestie by your side. Some nights are harder than others depending on the timing of their feeds. For example, if we feed them at midnight they wake up again at 3:30/4 and then again around 7:30/8 and then we sleep until they wake up again. Nights like those are good. But if they feed at say 10:30ish they are up again between 1:30-2:30 and then again at 5:30 or 6....  it just makes for a much more tiring night. Sometimes they sleep four straight hours but other times it's only three. That makes it tougher, too. But all in all it's really not all that terrible. However, the best part has been doing all this with my husband. We both hop out of bed at the same time when we hear the "baby alarm" (River) go off and if one of us is a bit more groggy than the other, we pick up the slack and get things started. We each take a baby, change their diaper and feed them side by side. Sometimes we are fighting to stay awake and periodically nod off, other times we chat, and sometimes we watch a recorded sitcom to keep us alert. Take that and divide it into every few hours 24/7 and that sums up the past 12 days. You'd think that would be exhausting and monotonous, but I tell you what... it has been wonderful. As tired as we get sometimes, we never once argued or complained. If anything it brought us even closer together. We actually did a lot of laughing. Whether it was from the startling barnyard-like sounds the twins make, or hearing the dreaded squirt sound after just putting a new diaper on one of them, or just us getting the giggles from being deliriously tired we had such a good time every day, all day. So now that it's time for G to return to work, I am feeling a bit sad. Of course I am still super happy to have the babies home and ready to take charge and be the best mommy I can be, but I know it's going to be a lot harder without my partner in crime helping me out. Sure he will help when he comes home in the evenings or before he leaves for work in the morning, but it's not the same as kicking it together in our pajamas all day, binge watching our favorite shows or sneaking off for a quick bedroom romp while the babies are asleep. And I know nights are going to be the hardest part getting up by myself. He wants to help, but I won't let him. He needs to be fresh and "on" for work, as he's the bread winner of the family. My mom is coming to help for two weeks and then my mother-in-law is flying down for three weeks, so I will have plenty of help. It's not quite the same, but I am definitely grateful for it. But I knew G's time off would fly and life goes on, so while I am feeling punky about it I'm ready to put on my full-time mom hat and take on the world, two little babies at a time!

Tummy Tub

While I was pregnant, I had searched far and wide for the best tub for the twins. As I am not one to just purchase something common or popular (so pretty much anything Fisher Price! LOL) and I seek out what is best for myself or my family after doing as much research as possible.The best thing I had found was something called a "Tummy Tub" and it is what we ultimately went with. It is very popular in Europe, Australia and Japan (and other countries as well). The tub is designed to submerge the baby's whole body up to the neck, which creates an environment akin to being in the womb. That makes SO much more sense than having their little shivering bodies exposed like most tubs are designed. 
I read countless reviews and even looked up home videos from people who used the product and was delighted with what I found. People raved about the tub and the videos spoke for themselves. Each one I saw the babies were crying up to the point of going in the tub and then they would immediately stop and relax. It was amazing! 

So we went with this tub and after using it for the first time the other night, I couldn't be happier with the decision. River, who we all know is Mr. CrankyPants with ANYTHING you do to him, was crying as per usual as we undressed him and got him ready for his bath. But the moment we got him in the tub he was in a trance! He was calm and practically asleep the whole time he was in the tub! Of course the second he was taken out of the tub he went back to crying, but that was to be expected. 

The tub is simple to use, but I was glad I looked up videos before using it. When the babies are able to hold up their heads it will definitely be easier, but for newborns you have to hold their heads which can be done by gently placing your fingers under their chin. My husband and I do it together, he holds their heads and I wash them. It has really made bath time a great thing for both the twins!

Here are a few pics of River during his bath and I will post a link to the video we took. Our best friend was over when we gave Riv's bath and video'd it for us (which we realized later in watching it that he added his own witty commentary so it's actually quite entertaining!)

Here is the site for more info on the Tummy Tub:

And here is where we purchased it from:

Journey Through the NICU

 I put together a video montage of the twins' journey through the NICU. It's a compilation of pictures and videos documenting the twins incredible transformation in the 52 days they were in the hospital until we were able to bring them home on Christmas Day. :-) It is a pretty accurate representation of what it was like for my husband and I (and for River & Riley) during those emotional two months.