So in a nutshell since the last blog post, the boobs won over tube 😉
The breastfeeding was hell at first, I thought for sure I would either go insane or run away or switch to formula. But luckily my pig pigheadedness won out in the end & I persevered. That and a whole lot of chocolate. Chris just kept it coming, he didn’t even give me that ‘don’t you think you’ve had enough, the box is almost empty’ look. It has been so hard that I can’t believe the number of crazy women out there that breastfeed. Especially premature twins. It’s a total mission. So respect to you ladies. But yeah, we are saving some cash on the formula, and the cool thing is, boobs are more portable so there’s that. Not that I go anywhere much, but that will come.
This post has been delayed by the fact that I have had zero spare time for the past month. The girls are now just over 6 weeks old and growing fast. A few weeks back Chris went back to work, right around the time that the girls started to wake up and look around them with fascination. That’s great, they should learn and develop and grow. But this comes with the joys of little girls who get big staring eyes who are overtired because silly mommy has no clue what a tired baby looks like. The books say they shouldn’t be awake for more than an hour, but every time I manage to wait too long to settle them down for a nap, and end up with screaming girls who refuse to sleep! So mostly I ended up frantically calming them down, and have often snuggled them both to sleep (see pic below) and tried not to move a muscle for fear of waking them up and the crying to continue. A few times I was the one crying 😉
Then I reckoned, screw that. I decided to take them out for a walk in the stroller and cheat one nap a day that way. Of course that entails some serious planning. I put one baby in a baby bjorn, a backpack with nappy stuff on my back, and the other baby in the carry cot for the stroller. Then I mission down the 4 flights of stairs and sometimes transfer baby bjorn baby to the stroller, sometimes just keep wearing her. Then I walk down to Jægersborggade and get a latte from the coffee collective, a kanel snegl from Meyers bakery & hit the Assistens Kirkegård for a long walk. And pray they don’t wake up!
Sounds pretty good no? Ja well it’s the only time I get out of the flat into the (increasingly) fresh air, so I see it as a necessity. Nonetheless there are still 4 naps I still need to pull off at home with no kanel snegle in sight. I figured out that I would start chillaxing them with a bit of rocking & shushing around 45-50 minutes and put them into the stroller carry cot for naps. This makes sense because when they eventually go to daycare (vuggestue) they will sleep in a stroller outside in the cold, as per the Danish tradition. I can’t leave them outside in the stroller since I can’t carry them up & down the aforementioned and much bemoaned 4 flights of stairs in the carry cots, so it’s indoor naps for now.
Also, their awake time is apparently a little shorter than the books would have you believe. Which brings me to another digression: books mention all the cute & fun activities one can do with your new baby. When? After a clean nappy & a good feed my girls are usually pretty wasted. Sometimes we can squeeze in some tummy time & maybe some face cleaning. Usually when I go crazy with the high contrast pictures and toys they end up with the googly eyes and it takes an hour to get them to sleep!
They seem to sleep better in the carry cot than in the crib during the day, cos it has this handy hood making it nice & dark & cosy for them. So I managed to get them all their naps since yesterday using my new carry cotTM method (patent pending). In a new record, they managed a 2-hour nap once yesterday, which was so nice for me. I’m not used to having so much time to myself. I had my first hot cup of tea in ages. I tried to relax, but was basically just wondering when I would hear the first cry! I have no idea how to stretch them to 3 hours between feeding (usually its 2-2.5 hours during the day), since they don’t sleep long enough for that to happen……Also I hate and detest anyone who can get their 6-week-old baby to sleep by putting them down drowsy but awake. I have tried this only to get pained screaming from the girls, followed by me ending up rocking & shushing them to sleep anyway….I hope I can get this right when they are a little older, and capable of ‘self-soothing’, since I do want them to learn how to go to sleep on their own. Plus my arms were really tired after a week of rocking these suckers for several minutes several times a day. But for now it’s survival mode & I will do whatever it takes to save them from themselves!!
I have been intermittently (usually while breastfeeding in the evening when the girls enjoy an hour-long suck-fest each- “cluster feeding”; note that I may slightly be a human pacifier) reading some books on twins, babies, and sleep. It seems like all parents are gagging for some shut-eye. And I now I totally get that. Chris has been giving the girls a bottle of expressed breast milk at midnight, so usually I hit the sack around 8-ish, and he wakes me at 3-4 am for the next feed. Before we instituted that, at the strong suggestion of my dear friend (and personal hero& supermom Lindy), I was close to breaking point. Dealing with these critters all day after fragments of sleep was wearing me down.
Anyway, so it’s not too bad but I am keen on encouraging them to sleep well and without any parent crutches when they are 3-4 months old & have the neurological capacity for that stuff (i.e. supposedly they develop the ability to ‘self-soothe’). So to be prepared I’ve done some research. And it would seem that the sleep coaches out here are cashing in on sleep-deprived folks desperate for some predictability in their lives. I was all excited by the blurb of one book promising to get your twins on a schedule and give you more spare time and inner calm etc.
“Do you have baby vomit in your hair because you don’t have time to shower? (Sometimes!) Do you never know when your baby is going to be hungry or take a nap? (All the time & never without help, respectively!) Then we have the solution for you in our fancy Baby SchedulingTM program”. Awesome! Sign me up!!
Sadly when I read it I couldn’t figure out how in hell you pull that off with an actual live kick-ass baby. Or maybe my babies are particularly ass-kicking. They say you should first make them wait 3 hours between feedings. Ha, well you clearly haven’t met my ravenous girls. Their M.O. is to chow down heartily every 2-2,5 hours like it’s the first time they ever saw a boob. Then I wrangle them to nap for 45 mins (rarely 1,5-2 hours) and it’s dinner time again! They are 4,5kg now roughly, so I don’t know if that’s normal, or if they could go longer between meals but just love hanging out at the boob. The key issue I see is firstly that these baby whispering cowboys who manage to stretch their babies between meals are using pacifiers to subdue the babies, and if try anything like that my girls look at me weirdly, lick the pacifier, gag when I try to push it in, and then drop it out. On the occasion when they have sucked it for a while, it was only a few minutes and they never fell asleep with it. So yeah. Twins that won’t take a pacifier makes for a busy mom I guess. I would appreciate some opinions from the pros on this one – is it better that they never take one or should I keep trying??
Anyhoo, the scheduling crazy people say that you should feed them every 3 hours during the day, always put them down drowsy but awake (yeah right) and wake them up if they fall asleep while nursing. Oh and if they cry in the crib you are supposed to pick them up & put them down a lot but not rock them to sleep….OK so its complicated. So at this stage I’m just doing all the ‘wrong’ things, and hope to do the right things when they are a bit older and hopefully I’m better at this ‘mom’ gig.
So that’s my life. Breastfeeding is going a little easier, though it’s still challenging. The girls still occasionally choke and cough when the let-down is forceful (see resultant milk mustache in pic), especially first thing in the morning. Middle of the night (4am) feedings are tricky when they’re both crying & I’m so sleepy it’s hard to coordinate the tandem feed. But in general they are better at waiting their turn if tandem isn’t working out that day, and there is less burping & spitting up than before. I’m a little jealous of those formula feeding peeps that can wait 4 hours between feeds, but I know in my gut that there is no such thing as an easy answer when it comes to babies. So I am planning to keep the boobs on the table, so to speak (they may be so pendulous at this point as to hang under the table…) and hope that by the time the girls are 3 months it’ll be easy as pie.
The girls are also much more social these days. Both Olivia & Sophia are smiling cutely, and cooing away at me when they are (briefly) awake. I am so keen to see them developing, it’s really cute as they discover the world around them. These days I can see that they observe things for a long time & with greater interest than before. They are also valiantly trying to find their hands for a good old suck. They are also more opinionated. Gone are the days when they calmly let us dry them after a bath. Nope. They are really not keen on the bath to air transition, despite trying to make it as fast as possible and keep them warm. They get pretty worked up about it, protesting pretty much the whole time. So much for the calming bath before bed routine, but hopefully they’ll get used to it with time. And they kind of ‘talk’ to me also. Or maybe I’m just imagining it, I am deprived of social interaction during the week. But they make cute gurgly noises and smile and seem to express themselves quite well. It’s not surprising given what a talker mom is, I converse with them all day long, telling them weird things, like what I’m reading, or just generally asking them silly questions (“Should we go to the Maldives or Aspen for our vacation this year girls?” ha ha). We have fun together, and it’s exhausting.
But their smiles first thing in the morning are enough to make my day, and I love feeling their plump little cheeks against mine and their sweet milky breath as I pick them up and hold them close ♥ ♥