Friday, May 18, 2012

My life with Twins

Our lives have drastically changed since we've had the babies. We were used to going out and doing things with our friends, being bored, laying around the house watching tv, TRYING to find things to do. Now we barely ever get to sit down and don't even remember the last time we were bored! But we wouldn't change a minute of it because this is what we've wanted for so long!

 I thought I would just jot down a few things about MY life with twins.
1. If I could do the nursery over, I would put them in separate rooms. I would do this only because it's hard to get them to both nap in their cribs when one hates naps. Chloe does so good with napping in her crib, she actually prefers it to anything else. But Connor will scream and scream until you pick him up and rock him or just hold him. I read and followed Babywise to get them on a feed/wake/sleep schedule and I'm proof that every baby is different and that it doesn't work for everyone. It worked perfectly for Chloe, she was very predictable and it was easy to read her tired cues. But it didn't work for Connor. I tried and tried to get him to nap on a schedule and then eventually just gave up on trying to get him to nap in his crib and just tried anything I could to get him to fall asleep so he wouldn't be overly tired for his next feeding. The point of all the naps was to get them rested up for their next feeding so they would be full and eat on the schedule rather than on demand and it eventually led to them sleeping through the night because they got enough calories during the day.
But after I got them sleeping through the night and I knew Connor was eating enough at each feeding, I relaxed on making him nap. I also don't make Chloe nap at certain times either. They eat, we play and when they start getting tired I either put her in her crib and rock him or put them in the swing or bouncer, or let them fall asleep on the floor where they are. I'm more relaxed about it. But all of that sleep training paid off when they started sleeping through the night at 10 weeks! We still have our moments (like last night when Chloe decided she needed to eat at 2:00 am), but it's pretty rare.

2. I kept them on the same schedule. I feed them together all the time. The only exception is like what happened last night. Chloe woke up but Connor didn't budge. I knew he would sleep through the night so I just fed her when she got up. It wasn't even a full feeding anyway, she just needed a snack for some reason. But other than those circumstances, if one is hungry...then I feed both. If not, I would be feeding all the time. But honestly, they don't really get the chance to be too hungry because they're on a pretty set feeding schedule. So they rely on those times instead of just eating on demand. I feel like guided feedings, like Babywise suggests, is a lot more realistic with twins because it gives you structure. They've always been on a set feeding schedule since they were in the nursery at the hospital, but I didn't figure the wake/sleep part out until they were 5 weeks old. I needed organization and structure and Babywise was the best thing I found.

3. Breastfeeding twins is exhausting and I can't believe I've even been able to do it for this long. We're slowly working towards switching to formula full time by supplementing a little bit more each week because I don't know how it's going to effect their tummies. They're pretty gassy babies. We're on Soy right now.
4. I learned that they're going to cry and it's ok. I only have so many hands and I can't change 2 diapers at once and I can't always console 2 babies at once. So one might be crying while I tend to the other. It's ok. I know that I'm doing the best I can and I think eventually they'll realize that I'm not just ignoring them. I try to give both of them as much individual attention as possible, but it was hard in the beginning, just because of their personalities. Connor wanted to be held all the time, still does, but Chloe hated to be held and cuddled. So it made it a little easier, I was just holding Connor all the time and Chloe would do her own thing in her crib or bouncer because that's what she was happiest doing. But I felt guilty that Chloe wasn't getting as much personal time with me as Connor was. Now things are starting to change and she wants to be held more. She wants me to walk around with her and hold her up like a big girl. I think Connor's going to start having a hard time with this because it's now effecting his time being held! But we have a lot of play time on the floor all together.

5. I learned that all babies are different and I have a perfect example of that with a side by side comparison. They are so different. Connor is more relaxed and Chloe is feisty. Connor can drink out of any bottle you put in front of him, warm or cold bottles. I still can't find a bottle that Chloe likes and she refuses to drink cold milk. Chloe likes to go to bed on her own, Connor prefers to be rocked. I thought I would be able to console them both the same way but I quickly learned who liked what and that I have to switch modes with each baby. I know when Chloe starts to fuss when she's tired, the best thing is to just leave her alone and she will stop crying in a few minutes at the most. But Connor will not console himself and he will cry until you pick him up and then he gives you a big grin (I'm such a sucker!!!). I can also already tell that they are each going to go at their own pace when it comes to milestones and development. Chloe's been holding her head up strong for a long time now and Connor is more relaxed and still has problems with it. But Connor is on the verge of rolling over and Chloe hasn't shown any signs yet. Connor is also reaching for toys and Chloe just watches them. BTW...Connor discovering his hands is so funny! He just realized last night that he can grab things and it's like he's amazed by his hands and what they can do. He just holds them out in front of him all the time.
6. I realized that I can't do it all. We now have someone come clean the house and mow the yard a couple times a month because we just can't keep up. I barely have time to do laundry and I don't cook at all. All of our free time is spent with the babies, and that's just what we wanted. We both work full time jobs and my time with them is way more important than trying to keep my house up, so my OCD housecleaning has relaxed a LOT!

7. There are several essential items twin mommy's need and these include boppies, bouncers, swings,  swaddles, and a Breast Friend pillow if you're breastfeeding. Boppies are perfect to prop one up while you're changing the other. They're also good for bottle feeding both at the same time. Bouncers are perfect for consoling both at the same time if you need to. We use the bouncers every day and change batteries constantly. We mainly use the bouncers in the morning after I feed...they go back to sleep until David loads them up to go to day care. They're used to this routine so we even keep it up on the weekends. We also use the bouncer at dinner time when we're trying to sit down at the table to eat. Chloe will usually fall asleep at this time and Connor is just content smiling and talking to us while he's sitting right next to the table. Swaddles helped the babies determine nap time from bedtime. I started it to get them to learn the difference between night and day in the beginning, but I'm still swaddling because it's like it's a cue for them to calm down and relax and go to sleep after their bath. We put one arm out now and most nights they wiggle and get the other arm out. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to swaddle.
The twin Breast Friend pillow is a necessity!  It allows you to feed them at the same time and frees up your hands to do things like catch up on emails and the DVR.  It also has a little pocket on it that I keep nail trimmers and files to do the babies' nails while they're eating.
That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure I'll add more the older they get.

On another note, GiGi came and stayed with us while David was out of town for work this week.
The babies loved it and I'm glad she was there to see some big changes this week.

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