Sunday, August 29, 2010


I've had posts rolling around in my head for days, but lately, I've just been feeling pretty 'meh' about writing anything. The fall semester has begun, and H has gone back to work full-time, and I am tired. (Everyone say it with me now...) It's just plain hard caring for two at the same time, and I'm starting to feel a little burnt out. I'm doing what I can to break up the monotony (boys: wake up, nurse, snooze, nurse, snooze, etc.), but I just can't get anything done.

Henr.y had a trip to the doctor this last week due to a morning of gagging epispodes after he vomited up mucous, over and over again. The triage nurse, when determining if we were worthy of an appointment, asked me how often they eat. And I said every two hours (but it's frequently much more often than that), and she snarkily informed me that it takes at least 2.5 hrs for their stomachs to empty, so no WONDER they "spit up" all the time. Um, it may take that long for their stomachs to empty, but they obviously don't know or don't care about that fact. I try to stretch them as long as possible, but when your kid is screaming in hunger, after a while, you should probably feed them. They don't have a watch. They don't know whether it's been 2, or 4, or 10 hours. They just know when they're hungry, and for these guys, it's anywhere from one hour to three hours after they last ate.

So feh. I'm not sure what to do about it (and I'm not necessarily asking for advice about it either, though if you've got something novel to add that doesn't involve telling me to let them scream until hoarse because "it hasn't been long enough!" or "babies just *have* to cry sometimes!", then feel free to share.). I know what makes sense for me as a parent, and that is to respond to their needs, but unfortunately, for me, right now this means that my needs are going largely unmet.

Except, of couse, on the night-sleep front. They are starting to go for slightly longer stretches at night. We've started a routine of sorts in the evenings, and we try to get them into bed, asleep, between 7:00 and 8:00. And this is great because it affords us a little time to get some things done or to have a half-hour to ourselves. They generally wake up again between 11 and 12, and again around 3 or 4 and again around 6 or 7. So, we get a few long-ish stretches of sleep most nights (which is better than the sometimes once-an-hour nonsense they get stuck on... luckily that's not too often that this happens) but it's certainly not the same as sleeping through the night. I'm headed onto a year since I last had a good night's sleep with any regularity, and I'm starting to feel downright stupid.

Anyhow, I don't mean to say that WAH, WAH, WAH, MY LIFE SUCKS, etc., just to say that I'm tired and I feel like complaining which is why I haven't posted much in the last week.

Because life doesn't suck. The boys spent a good five minutes this morning staring at each other, trading smiles and coos back and forth. It was ridiculously cute. They are getting slightly easier, bit by bit. It's still incredibly hard, but they're starting to cry a little less, or to at least cry with more focus. I got a 3 minute shower the other day by putting them in bouncy chairs and popping my head out from behind the curtain ever ten seconds to say something silly to the boys
(they find the word 'poop!' to be hilarious. I guess the affection for potty humor starts early...). It's weird what amounts to a notable achievement these days.

So, yes. The boys are adorable and amazing as always. I am fine, if a bit tired/grouchy lately. And I think that brings us up to speed on the status quo.

And now, a request for advice: Anyone have any tips to share on dipping milk supply? As mentioned earlier, they pretty much eat round the clock during the day. I've been trying to watch my hydration levels and to eat a little better and to pump as I have time, but by the end of the day, just when they're hungriest, I seem to have nothing left to give. Before bed, I nurse them, then I feed them a 4 oz bottle of formula, and they slurp it down and then ask for more. And I usually give them another ounce or two of formula and then breast feed them again after that. Anyway, I can't say for sure that my supply is going down, but the eating-all-day-never-satisfied thing and then gobbling down formula seems to indicate that they aren't getting enough to fill them up. They are still gaining weight, but I lack the mental acuity at this point to calculate whether it's the 1/2 to 1 oz a day they're supposed to be gaining-- point being, it's not dire, but I definitely want to keep breast feeding them as close to full-time as possible for as long as possible, and the lagging supply seems to be counter to that goal.

Yeah. And you? How was your week?

Oh, what? You aren't leaving without seeing pictures of the cuteness?

Well, okay:
Kate and Jack and Henry
The boys (and the deep, dark recesses of my cleavage... nice shot, honey)

Smooshy Cheeks
Henr.y Smooshy Cheeks

Jack At The Park
Jack is getting big!

Henry At The Park


amy said...

I totally get how you feel with the eating. WTF are you supposed to do, not feed them out of principle?! They're 2 months old, they don't get principle! Ridiculous. And anyway, I don't wait until my stomach is bone-dry (after a liquid diet, no less) to consider eating again. Feh. RE-jected.

Also: clear shower curtain worked wonders for me!

Glad you're getting a little sleep at least... said...

Bah to that nurse!

Lol, I'd forgotten the days of shower and poking my head out to entertain my daughter, awwwww :D

You're doing awesome & you're amazing. Don't forget that too

Loved the captions on the pictures :) And of course & Henry are adorable! I swear they look bigger every picture!! Did you get video of them cooing and smiling at each other??

ooky said...

Actually, that nurse is wrong. BM digests in 90 minutes. Trust your, and their, instincts!!

As for not enough milk, you may not actually have that problem - cluster feeding in the eve. is very common. I have thought that my baby was not getting anything from me in the evening before, but the she wet herself 9 times in 5 hours! You are never really empty, they can actually drink it as it's being made - and it's made most quickly when your breasts are emptiest. And the sucking sends a big signal to your body to make more tomorrow.

Which BTW, output is the best way to tell if they are getting enough - even better than weight gain as some BF babies do NOT gain 1/2-1 oz per day and are still very healthy. Growth charts were based on formula fed babies. Look for at least 6-8 wets per day, and you are doing fine.

Feeding formula can lead to a supply problem though, because you are essentially telling your body it doesn't need to make that food. Have you tried eating oatmeal, taking fenugreek, or any other ways to up supply?

Here are links to a great site that has saved me and given me SO much piece of mind about BF.

jenicini said...

Not that I have any personal experience breastfeeding...(sight) but, the lactation consultant at my hospital stopped by to see me since I have nothing better to do on bedrest. The book she gave me, "Breastfeeding Made Simple" says that milk supply is often lower in the evening than in the morning. It says that the more often your breasts are completely emptied, the more milk that will be produced. One way of increasing production is to pump in the morning (in all of your free time right?) in addition to breastfeeding. Fenugreek is an herb that you can take to increase milk supply but you have to check with your doc as it can interfere with certain medications. And as for what the nurse! Obviously she needs more training on being breastfeeding friendly as this book says to nurse when the kiddo gives you hunger or sucking cues...they do it for a reason! Anyway...not my own advice but since I just read about half of the book this morning. I hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

you're doing great :)

i'm definitely not the one to give advice about supply as i've been on drugs for the last 6 months. if you ever need someone to tell you that it's okay to supplement with formula while you build a supply or that it's okay to try drugs? then i'm your gal.

totally cute pictures. i can't even believe how big they're getting!!


VA Blondie said...

I would have to agree with the previous commenter. That nurse is wrong! Feed them when they are hungry. I do not think it is right to let a baby cry. Feeding on demand will help keep your supply up, anyway. You are doing a great job. Believe it or not, it does get better after three months. For your sake, I hope so! I am not sure about twins, but it should get better. My baby will go longer between feedings now that he is older. Hang in there!

tireegal68 said...

I think the advice of the pps is solid and I hope you figure out how to keep the babes fed and your milk supply full. Not having any experience in this area yet I'll leave it at that.
But I'm concerned you are doing so much by yourself. Is there any way to get sone daytime help? Either from friends or from someone you pay? I'm amazed you do all this and still manage to eat, drink and even take a shower. You're doing great but I think you need a predictable regular break before you wear yourself out. Sorry if I'm being redundant, or if you're thinking - duh, cant afford it - or got no-one to help.
Just wanted to say I hope you can get a little respite.
Oh and they are adorable!

Alexicographer said...

I'm no help on the other stuff, but I think it was at about this age that my DS would lie in a crib and watch a battery powered mobile that ran for 15 minutes, happily (provided obviously that I picked the right 15-minute interlude, blah, blah, blah). You can get a lot of showering done in 15 minutes (huzzah!), so it might be worth trying this if you haven't already.

Kait said...

You have every right to talk about your life on your blog and if that life is about how hard things are with twins then so be it. You don't need to apologize for that. as for milk supply, I followed the advice on kellymom and it was helpful. I have to say that I feel like milk supply is all over the place now. Sometimes it seems like not enough and sometimes IRS too much. I hope you start feeling like you have enough soon. Good luck.

SassyMama said...

Hang in there. These first several months are just really, really hard. But it WILL get better, I promise:).
You are doing great, just continue what you are doing.

Wish I had great advice on your milk supply... mine was never good from the beginning despite all the normal remedies. I hope you find a good solution soon.

Erin said...

Just wanted to chime in and say that the nurse is an idiot (although you already knew that). Breastmilk digests very quickly and babies know when they're hungry. I had similar issues with my MIL when P was born, as she didn't believe he could possibly be hungry only 90 minutes after last nursing--there was one time I almost had to physically pry him out of her arms to let me feed my crying child. I wonder if she knows that nurse ;-)

Your boys are simply beautiful. I think a lot of previous posters have mentioned tips for increasing breastmilk supply and they sounded like what I would tell someone also, so I won't add to those. Hopefully those longer stretches at night will continue because that little bit of extra sleep at a time makes a world of difference!

Tracy said...

Fenugreek (you'll smell like maple syrup, but it works, and I never minded the smell), oatmeal, and a dark beer or two at night. All helped me. :) Also, warm compresses. Not sure if that helps, but it sure did feel good.

Marie said...

I read a breast fed baby's stomach empties alot quicker since breast milk is used up better. I noticed that when I felt empty, Connor would nurse a ton more for about 24
hours and then I would have plenty of milk again. But I think the holding a baby off is crap.

If I could go back and change anything about those first few months, it would be how much I worried about my supply and bf. I was SO stressed about it and really? I could have chilled about alot more than I did. As long as they suck you will make milk. The more they suck, the more you make. Pretty cool.

Now I will cry cause we are done bf and even though I was ready to wean, I miss it so.

Anonymous said...

Yep, yep, yep. I agree with pretty much everything already said. FWIW, Benjamin is on the same schedule as J&H but he's 10-months old. He just needs to eat more frequently then Alex. And that includes during the night. If he takes 4-5oz at 2a, then he definitely was hungry (esp since during the day a good meal for him is 4oz).

I tried fenugreek. Didn't work for me but I wasn't as committed as you. So go you!

The boys should start to interact with toys more soon. So think about hanging toys from their bouncer or swing. That always bought me enough time for a shower or to get a snack. Prep what you can at night when H is home for the boys and for you. Sandwich pre-made, fruit washed, water bottles full.

They are getting big. They're really filling out those seats. So cute.

Star said...

Lots of good advice here. I always felt "empty" at the end of the day, but knowing that's normal helps. Also, you know how they say that babies have a growth spurt of a couple of days at 10 days, 6 weeks, 3 months, etc.? For me it was not on that kind of timetable ... it was way more often that we had those nursing constantly days. And I decided that as long as he was gaining a reasonable amount of weight, I wasn't going to worry about having low supply. It's harder to nurse twins all day long of course ... but I will say that the "growth spurts" or whatever became less frequent after the three month mark. One other thing, when my older son was 10 weeks old we went on a trip and there were a couple of times when I had to be away from him for 3-4 hours at a time and I had my mom give him a little tiny bit of formula (like 2 oz) while I was gone ... and after only two or three times of doing that my supply had noticeably dropped and I had to work really hard to get it back once we got home ... so it is possible that supplementing could be causing a drop in supply if you really are having a drop. But, it's just as likely that given their age you are just regulating (kellymom talks about this) and feeling less full because your body is adjusting to nursing and starting to produce just enough for your babies and not overproducing anymore.

Anyway, you are doing great! The ironic thing about parenting is that it is hard and parts of it suck but then the joyful parts are the greatest joy that exists. I'm convinced that the one can't exist without the other.

Shinejil said...

The fart joke is the first human joke, I think. Poop is not far behind.

I used to put Bruiser in his bathtub (empty) on the bathroom floor, cozied up with a dry towel and some toys when I needed a shower/break. Now that he's moving, that's no longer an option.

Babies is crazy. They do all sorts of shit they're not "supposed" to do. Like eat and sleep at the same time. Or get hungry every 5 seconds.

When they're getting primed for a growth spurt, too, they'll eat all the time, regardless of what Nurse Smartypants says. And it will make your supply seem low: it's actually ratcheting up to meet increased demand.

Hopeful Mother said...

p.s. I have some dom.peri.done (brand name is Mot.ilium) that I got while traveling in the UK. It is supposed to help with BM production. Let me know if you'd like me to send it to you to try.