Saturday, August 17, 2013

Breastfeeding, Milk Supply, and Pumping Tips

  • Gatorade helps my supply a TON! I am busy running after toddler twins and rarely have the time to drink the amount I should be to be successfully breastfeeding a baby in the 76th percentile for weight. I drink 1-2 a day.

  • If you are pumping, these flanges are a MUST! This listing is for all the sizes, but if you know what size you would need you can order individually. They are slanted which makes pumping so much more enjoyable. I hated having to sit straight up before I purchased these. Also, having correctly fitting flanges will make a difference in the amount you are able to express.

  • Absolutely purchase a hands-free bra to use while pumping. No one has time/desire to sit there and hold the flanges!

  • Do not stress if the baby does not latch immediately. I wish someone had told me that before I had my baby. I was completely freaked out the first 24 hours when he had no interest in nursing. He wanted to sleep. Then a lactation consultant came to my room and told me this was perfectly normal. 

  • REQUEST A LACTATION CONSULTANT! It makes such a huge difference to have support! While you are in the hospital see if they have lactation consultants and request them to come daily.

  • The Medela shells are a GOD SEND! I wore these the first 6 weeks. My nipples never cracked, bled, hurt, etc. They keep anything from touching them during those weeks of toughening them up. I think they are one of the main reasons I was successful through the difficult first weeks.

  • Have a nursing position you love! I love to nurse cross-cradle with my boppy. He is 5 months old and I still use my boppy!

  • Side lying position was incredibly difficult for me when he was a newborn. I have a very large chest, and he was 8 lbs 7 oz at birth. It was still too far of a distance from his mouth to my nipple. After a couple months we were able to do this position at night, and we love it!

  • Buy Lansinoh Lanolin cream before going to the hospital! This cream goes on your nipples and helps keep them from drying/cracking/bleeding. I used it when I was pumping for my twins. With the Medela shells this time around, I did not need it.

  • I store my pumped milk in Lansinoh Milk Bags. I did not pump until he was 2 months old. I stored it in 3 ounce increments. I wish I had done 4 ounces. Freeze them laying flat, so they will take up less space. 

  • At 3 weeks old I decided to try a pacifier. I knew you were supposed to wait longer, but I felt like he was using me as a pacifier. He used a pacifier for less than 24 hours. All of a sudden it was taking me 30 minutes to get him latched where as before it was immediate. The only way I can explain it is it felt like he was sucking too soft. It was awful. I thought I had ruined my chances at breastfeeding. I cried and cried. The next day we were back to normal and he never had a pacifier again!

  • I did not introduce a bottle until he was 2.5 months old. I was worried about nipple confusion, especially after the pacifier incident. 

  • We had Dr. Brown's bottles from our twins, so I tried those first. He would suck them, but it took FOREVER for him to drink a bottle. Nearly 30 minutes for 3-4 ounces. So, I tried the NUK bottle since it more resembles a breast. He does much better with this bottle.

Potty Trained at almost 28 months !

Hunt has officially figured out when he needs to poop! He now goes poop in the potty as of last week. That was the last thing we were waiting for between the two boys. 

So, I am happy to write while my boys are awake they are always in underwear and fully potty trained. They have no accidents at home. They have had a few accidents at Aunt Lacey's. They tell us when they need to go. We ask sometimes, but since they are able to tell us we do not have to ask often. 

We will continue to put them in diapers at nap time and bed time. Some days they wake up completely dry, other days they do not. Once they are consistently dry a couple weeks we will move to big boy underwear at sleeping times. Until then, I am completely happy with our progress! I am hoping it will go as well with Luke later down the road since he will have older brothers to watch!

Start Date: Friday June 28th   (26 months old)
Completed: Saturday August 10th  (27.5 months old)

Luke {5 months}

How is Luke 5 months?! Where did that time go? I am shocked that he is almost half a year old. 

He has discovered his tongue this month. He smiles with it out of his mouth constantly.

He is very expressive! Almost always smiling!

He is still exclusively breastfed! I am so excited we made it 5 months! We still love the cross cradle and side lying nursing positions. I still use my boppy and love it! 

We did a couple spoonfuls of oatmeal cereal for 2 nights, but I decided to stop. He caught a cold from his brothers, so I wanted him to have strictly breast milk.

I have decided to start solids at 6 months  with homemade baby food. 

He sits unassisted for a couple minutes at a time. He has stopped sitting like a tripod and is able to sit straight up. He can hold toys while sitting up and chew on them. I know it will not be long and he will officially be sitting up! 

He watches his brothers constantly, and starting laughing at them this month! It makes it difficult when nursing because he wants to look at them rather than eat.

He shows more interest in the television than the twins ever did! He will watch it with the twins! 

We are still up 1 to 2 times a night. Typically one time! He had a runny nose for a week which made it hard for him to sleep! When I get up with him around 4 I put him in bed with me to feed him. We typically fall asleep together for a couple hours. 

I had been putting him to bed around 8 or 8:30. He started getting up around 1 and 4/5 ish. He had not been getting up at 1 in over a month. I bumped his bedtime to 7 because he seemed tired then. He sleeps MUCH better. He sleeps 9 hours typically. I wish he would stay up later so when I return to work I will have more time with him, but for right now it is what he wants. 

He was able to fall asleep unswaddled in his crib and sleep 2.5 hrs. He rolled over to his belly and slept most of the time on his belly. He still refuses to roll belly to back consistently! Has no desire to do it! I let him cry when he woke up, but felt awful since he could not roll himself back over. I had to swaddle him to sleep the rest of the night. So, we are making progress with no swaddle. He doesn't have to be swaddled in his rock and play. Only laying flat in his crib.

Luke absolutely loves to sleep in his rock and play. He naps in it every day. He was staying up 1.5 hours before needing a nap. We lay him in it with a thin blanket and white noise machine on. He doesn't fuss and goes right to sleep. In the past 2 weeks he has been needing to go to sleep after an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. I am thinking it must be a growth spurt.

He stayed with my mom for several days while I had a training. He did great with his bottles! I was so proud of him!

His hair stands straight up just like mine did as an infant, and his brother's did as infants too. I love it! His hair has dramatically lightened up since birth. It is white blonde like his brothers' now. 

I have a little over 100 ounces frozen in our deep freeze for him. 

Luke loves his jumperoo. He also enjoys sitting in his bumbo on his activity mat. He has started arching back in the bumbo, so not sure how much longer we will use it. He loves his swing, but I don't use it as often as I did with the twins. I put him on his rock and play in how room for naps since the twins are up playing, and that's when they really used theirs.

He is scooting around the room now! He likes to go backwards which is exactly what the twins did! He scoots himself as far as he can go under the couch and it brings me right back to when the twins would do the exact same thing. 

He rolls back to belly constantly, but will not roll belly to back often at all. He has done it a handful of times, but not consistently.

Luke takes 3-5 ounces out of a bottle typically. He tends to take less from Brandon for some reason. He always takes at least 4 ounces with my mom or his mom.

He is in size 3 Pampers Cruisers.

Luke wears size 6 months in outfits. He can wear some of his 3 to 6 months outfits, but has outgrown a few.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breastfeeding Journey

I always wanted to breastfeed. It never crossed my mind not to breastfeed. I grew up seeing photos of my mom breastfeeding us as newborns. 

When I was pregnant with the twins I had the goal to breastfeed. I knew it would be difficult, but I really wanted to succeed. They arrived at 35 weeks and struggled with the suck, swallow, breathe reflex. They could barely finish a bottle, much less nurse. I tried many times with a lactation consultant in the NICU, but the boys had no desire. So, I pumped for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks I stopped pumping because I was too overwhelmed with the lack of sleep. I was upset, but not devastated. We switched to Target Brand Up and Up formula. The boys were healthy, gained well, and I was a happier mommy with more sleep. 

When I was pregnant with Luke I had so many hopes for my final baby! I wanted a VBAC birth, I wanted to take a baby home from the hospital when I was discharged, and I wanted to successfully breastfeed. 

Every one of those hopes became my reality!! How blessed am I?! 

Luke was born and we did not get immediate skin to skin. We should have, but since I gave birth unexpectedly without a doctor in the room the nurses seem flustered. 

After 30 minutes, Luke was given to me and I tried to nurse him. He did not seem to want it. Once in my room I kept trying to nurse him, but he didn't latch. I requested a lactation consultant. I was FREAKING out. You always hear about the baby that latches immediately. This was not the case with Luke. I finally got him to latch and I thought he was doing it correctly. After 20 minutes he unlatched and I had a blood blister on the side of my nipple. I was so upset that he was latched wrong and I hadn't realized it. I kept trying throughout the night, but he did not seem interested. 

When he was nearly 24 hours old the lactation consultant came to my room. I was excited to learn from her. I told her he had not wanted to eat, and she explained to me that babies have to pick between eating and sleeping. After birth they are exhausted and choose sleep, so he was being completely normal. I am happy to know this, but thinking I would've liked to have known this several hours ago. I ask her to check his latch, and when she looks at my nipples she sees the blood blister and immediately says "oh, he has damaged your nipples." I was devastated by this single statement. She basically tells me I need to pump rather than nurse. I was shocked. I told her I was not planning on pumping and wanted to nurse. The flanges provided by the hospital do not even fit me, but I did not bring my Super Shields because I had not planned on pumping. She then tells me to hand express. By this point I am incredibly emotional. I start to cry and tell her thank you, but I am ready for her to leave. She asks what to do with the little bit of colostrum we had hand expressed on a spoon and I tell her throw it away. I was so defeated. 

She walked out and I asked Brandon to take Luke. I was crying and wanted to go in the bathroom to be alone. I came out and told Brandon through tears we would formula feed. He knows me so well. He knew this meant more to me than anything in the world at that moment. My loving husband then said the perfect thing, "you've never quit anything in your life, why would you start now?"

I love that man. I love him for knowing what to say. I love him for knowing I would regret it. I love him for his support.

I remembered I had a woman on my Facebook who grew up down the street from me. We had recently reconnected because she had twin boys younger than my twins. She is a Lactation Consultant. I had asked her a couple questions while I was preparing for breastfeeding while pregnant. I messaged her and told her what happened and how upset I was. She immediately gave me her number and we talked on the phone. She is a busy mother of 3, but she made me feel like I was a priority in that moment. I truly believe she was placed in my life to help me through this. Lorna gave me fantastic advice. She had me request a different lactation consultant and told me to continue to put him to the breast. I continued to text her questions throughout my hospital stay and the following weeks. I saw two other Lactation Consultants while in the hospital and liked them much more than my first one. They were very helpful with checking his latch and showing me nursing positions. Lorna was always supportive, helpful, and understanding. I do not believe Luke would be an exclusively breastfeed baby without her guidance. 

Two weeks after Luke's birth a childhood friend gave birth to twin girls. We had reconnected during our pregnancies! Amber had breastfeed her older son and was planning to breastfeed her twins. She has been a fantastic support system for me. If I am doubting myself I can alway go to her. She is my cheerleader! When I worry, she calms my fears! Amber is successfully nursing her twin girls and I am loving having someone to go through this journey with! She invited me to a breastfeeding support group when our babies were newborns and I absolutely loved it. I feel like it really gave me confidence by weighing him to see how much he was able to transfer. It is amazing how God places people in your life at just the right time. Reconnecting with Amber has been such a blessing!

We have successfully made 5 months of breastfeeding!! I have loved everything about breastfeeding. I love the bond. I love that my body is what has nourished him to the 76th percentile in weight. I love that I can soothe him by nursing. I love when he caresses my face or chest when we nurse at night especially. I love when he is really intent on nursing he holds his hands together. Breastfeeding is everything I thought it would be and more. Praying to make it a full year with my baby boy! 

Where has the time gone?! Time to begin getting my baby bullet and containers ready for homemade baby food! He will be 6 months before I know it !

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Drake and Hunter are 27 months !

Hunter now refers to his brother as Drake more often than Bubba. Drake had already been referring to him as Hunter for a couple months.

Drake will ask you "What are doing?" I love it!

Drake is potty trained!!! 

Hunter still struggles to go poop in the potty, but is completely pee potty trained. 

We do put them in diapers when they sleep, but everything I have seen says they cannot control that at this age. If they continue to be dry at nap time for a couple weeks we will drop the diapers for nap time. Same for bed time.

Hunter is becoming much more helpful! He normally does not like to go get things for Drake from across the house. He has offered to go get his blanket or a book several times.

They are absolutely in LOVE with their deer blankets. 

I still kiss any and all boo-boo's. Whether they hurt a toe, or fall on their booty, you can bet mommy is kissing it. 

They love to read books throughout the day and at bedtime. After we read it to them they tell us "I read you" So, they go through each page and read to us. They do a good job at telling us what they can figure out from the photos, and remembering what we just read to them.

They are starting to understand photos of them when they are young are "Drake and Hunter" They used to tell me every baby picture was Luke or Bowen. Now, if it is a picture of two babies they will say it is Drake and Hunter. 

Hunter loves the "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere" song. He will sing it and pick up the house with me.

They sing "You are my Sunshine" and it melts me every time. They enjoy me rocking them and singing this song. 

They now come out of their room when they wake up. Drake can open doors, but Hunter cannot. For the first few weeks after switching to toddler beds Drake would not open his bedroom door. He would wait for us to go in and get them. Now, when he wakes up he IMMEDIATELY wakes up his brother. Then asks him, "want door open?" It is as if he only wants to do it if he is doing it for Hunter. Of course, Hunter says yes. They come into my bedroom and say "Good Morning Mommy!" It is the best way to wake up for SURE! I am normally nursing Luke when they wake up, so I tell them to crawl up the end of the bed and lay with us. 

They love pallets.

They love to make trains and play with actual trains, especially my Hunter.

Hunter LOVES to wear the Cat in the Hat hat. 

Drake had a random biting stage. He bit Brandon once, and Hunter once. Hunter's bite was REALLY bad. I spanked Drake and pray he does not do it again.

They still adore their baby brother. They are great with him. They lay on the floor and play with him. Stand at his jumperoo. Take baths with him. Kiss him tons! I love watching their bond grow with him!

They have really loved their ABC wooden blocks this summer. They line them up like a train or stack them up. They also LOVE their Dr. Seuss stacking blocks! They do the same thing with them as they do their small wooden blocks.

They ask for pop-tarts often. They also love waffles, french toast sticks, oatmeal, and yogurt for breakfast.

They love macaroni and cheese!

They drink no juice because it messes with their stomach. So, they get water with Kool Aid sprayed in it.

They enjoy several shows! Super Why is the new one that they lately really like! 

Drake is my singer! He loves to sing along to songs on his shows! I often catch him doing it and I love listening to him!

Their imaginative play is AMAZING! They are constantly creating situations in their minds for play. They fake blow bubbles, fish, eat, etc. I love watching their minds grow!

I told them today I had a surprise present for them, it was a new Mickey Mouse shirt. They said "happy cake!" I guess they associate the word present with birthday! They called my birthday cake in July my "happy cake" 

They still love bath time! 

They learned more shapes and more colors this month. Heart, Star, Triangle, Red, Blue, Pink.

Their butts look absolutely adorable in big boy underwear!! 

My mom kept the boys for me for 3 days so I could attend a math training. They love having Nadi at the house. They even put her in Hunter's bed when I got home, covered her with the blanket, and Hunt told Drake to close the door. Apparently they thought they could smuggle Nadi and no one would notice! I am so glad they have such a strong bond with my mom. She gets on their level and plays the entire day. I love it.

They have gone to the lake a couple times with their Meme and Pawpaw this summer. They love it. When I say they love it, I mean they LOOOOOVVVEEE it. If they could move there, they would! They get to run around outside all day and ride in a golf cart. They get to go to the lake and play in the water. They set up a camo tent at the trailer, and they think that is super neat. They also get to go fishing! They both caught 3 fish this past weekend, August 3rd. It was their first fish to catch!!! They kissed their fish and had a blast. They love time with their Meme and Pawpaw. It is so amazing to see them all interact. The memories they are creating will last a lifetime.

I have been home with them nearly 5 months. I return to work in less than 2 weeks to begin my 5th year of teaching. I am excited to get back in the classroom because I am passionate about teaching, but I am so sad to leave my babies. I know they will love it at Sandy's again, but they are SUCH momma's boys. Drake always has been my momma's boy! Hunter always becomes more of one when I am on school breaks. So, this long of a break he is definitely much closer to me. I will miss the time with them, but cherish my time with them so much more. When I am working those evenings and weekends mean the world to me. It is my only time with my beautiful boys. Their little minds are growing and right now I am able to see it every moment of the day. I spend my whole day talking with them. They are my little best friends. I love playing with them. I love teaching them things. 

Potty Training Twins ...

We started potty training in July. I ordered Mickey Mouse stickers as rewards, and Mickey Mouse/Thomas the Train underwear. 

We had actual potty chair's set up in my bathroom since May. The boys would sit on them, but would never actually potty. They LOVED taking them apart because they have several pieces. 

So, I decided I to purchase a potty seat and see if that went better.

The first weekend I started it Drake did much better than Hunter. We put them both in underwear when they woke up and set a time to go every 15 minutes. Drake did well and would pee. Hunter did NOT want to get on the toilet at all. He would get so upset. I finally convinced him to get on the potty by reading Chuggington books while sitting there. We would sit there 15 minutes and Hunter still would not go. We would get down and he would pee within 10 minutes.

We continued all weekend with several accidents, but did not give up. We worked on it Friday-Sunday.

They did okay throughout the week, but not amazing. I took juice out of their diet completely. It was making their bowel movements loose which is a pain in underwear. They now only drink water, milk, or water with the Kool-Aid spray in it. 

We stopped because of the accidents for a week and we went out of town for 5 days. 

When we returned Drake started wanting to have his diaper changed immediately after he peed. I knew he needed to be in underwear. So, I put him in underwear, but not Hunter. Hunter was not interested. He started wanting underwear 3 days later. 

They did great for a solid week! No pee accidents, but would poop in their underwear. Drake was able to tell me he was starting to poop and we could make it to the bathroom. Hunter had no concept.

Then I had to attend a math training, and for 3 days they had several accidents while at home with my mom and in the evenings with me! I was discouraged, but kept putting them in underwear and asked my mom to just keep at it. After that they had ZERO pee accidents !!! They have done fantastic!! It took Drake a week and he has figured out when he needs to poop and uses the big boy potty now. Unfortunately, as of right now (2 weeks potty training) Hunter still poops in his underwear. We are working on him understanding when he needs to go and since he was a few weeks behind Drake initially I expected it to take a little longer!

We only wear diapers at nap time and bed time. Typically they wake up dry. Once they consistently wake up dry for a couple weeks we will consider underwear at times of sleep.