E&L: Eleven Months

E&L turned eleven months old on Friday. It’s so weird how time keeps passing and every month they’re another month older, isn’t it? Yeah. That. In less than a month, we’ll celebrate their first birthday. Somebody hold me!

They’ve grown so much, I’m constantly amazed. Last week, I swear L’s feet grew so much overnight that his little sneakers no longer fit him. How does that happen?!

Eleven Months Old!

This past month they celebrated their first Halloween, to everyone’s great delight. They also had their first trip to the neighborhood playground to play on the swings. As you can see here, they are the perfect age/size to share a swing, and they had a blast. The loved going down the slides (in our laps), too. I’m so thankful for slightly cooler weather, which means we’ll probably be spending plenty of time down at the playground in the coming weeks.

Eleven Months Old!

At eleven months, E:

  • has learned to clap and will do it pretty consistently whenever we do, and often on her own. She claps during meals a lot, possibly because she’s excited about food. I think we might be related.
  • stands up on her own whenever she wants, and can easily sit back down again without falling. She’s taken a step or two, but so far only when one of us is holding her hand.
  • “talks” (babbles) all the time. She has said “mama” and “dada” to/about us a couple of times, but I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. She’s getting close, though, I think. The best part is that she’s just always got stuff to say, so I hear her little voice all day long. It’s adorable.
  • is holding steady with just her two bottom teeth for now.

Eleven Months Old!

At eleven months, L:

  • finally got that new top tooth he’d been working on for what felt like months. It popped through a week or two ago. The drool is still coming, though, so either he’s just a drooly baby or the other top tooth is on its way (I can’t tell).
  • just learned to clap for the first time yesterday (so, technically after turning 11 months, but whatever). He was SO pleased with himself and wanted to clap along with the rest of us all night. Just darling.
  • has figured out how to climb up onto the futon in the nursery if he has something to boost up one leg with — such as a toy or his sister’s back. Danger Baby!
  • loves to laugh at his sister and imitate her. She was spitting her food out and blowing raspberries at dinner the other day and he was DYING laughing. Just cracking up. Then he started doing it, too, in between laughs. He just loves her.

We have so much fun with these two. It’s even better than I imagined, you know?

E&L: Ten Months

E and L are now well over ten months old (I’m a little behind in my updates). I can’t believe how soon they’ll be celebrating their first birthday — yikes! They occasionally seem to have grown overnight, and they’re now wearing the 12-18-month clothing I bought them for this fall and winter. Some of it’s a little big, still, but it basically fits. I can’t believe how big they are!

Eleanor & Linus

They had a less fun milestone recently: their first cold. It hit E a lot harder than L, and we were constantly having to help clear her nose with the Nosefrida (recommended!) so she could breathe while drinking her bottles. Poor Booboo. It’s cleared up well by now, but it was pretty gross at the time.

Their cold had the bad luck of striking while I was out of town for the weekend — my first ever trip away from the babies! That was its own kind of milestone, I suppose. It was odd to be away from them and I missed their baby snuggles, but it was a good thing for me to get time to go somewhere for myself — and of course CW handled everything just fine in my absence (although I wish he hadn’t had to deal with sick babies on top of it all).

Eleanor & Linus

At 10 months, E:

  • Can stand up and sit back down without support and practices this skill over and over again.
  • Still has only two teeth with no signs of any new ones coming. So. Should I order some baby dentures, or what? Heh.
  • Says “da” all the time, as well as the occasional “ba” and “ma.” But mostly “da.”
  • Loves to give hugs and, when we’re burping her after a bottle, pats us on the back to help us burp, too. Thanks, Jellybean!

Eleanor & Linus

At 10 months, L:

  • Cruises around on all the furniture and will walk around the room while pushing his activity table (as if it were a push toy, which it’s not designed to be, but Blueberry DNGAF).
  • Still has only two teeth and still drools all the livelong day, convincing me he’s about to cut some new ones, but has been doing this for over a month with no changes.
  • Is an extremely fast crawler and LOVES to play chase and hide.
  • Makes a whirring, trilling noise whenever he gets excited, especially when we come into the room first thing in the morning.

They honestly just continue to be such delightful babies. They sleep at night (mostly) and nap well (mostly); they love to eat; they play together all day and love to be with us; they charm old ladies at the store and love their babysitter. We just adore them.

E&L: Nine Months

My little Jellybean and Blueberry are nine months old as of Sunday. Nine months feels like an awful lot of time. They were only on the inside for eight months, after all, and that felt like forever.

Lawn Babies

They’re growing and changing and learning so much every day now — it seems like they’re different people every time I look around. Wasn’t I just carefully hovering around them as they tried to balance while sitting, for example? Now they’re standing up, so I’d better get to hovering in a slightly more elevated position.

Things are exciting. They’re going everywhere and getting into everything — with a distinct preference for things they shouldn’t be getting into. Cords and wires, tiny objects, and breakable things all seem to have some powerful magnetic force drawing the babies into their sphere. No, that phone charger is not a toy, young lady!

They’re eating all sorts of new foods, finger foods especially. The recent hits have been Cheerios and pineapples. They also seem to like plain tofu, sweet potatoes, applesauce, and bananas.

We also now have a part-time babysitter (two mornings per week, so far), which is kind of a huge milestone in that they’re being cared for by someone other than family for the first time. She’s great, by the way, and the babies love her, so we’re very happy to have her around.

Lawn Babies

They’re relating to each other more and more, and often spend their mornings and their post-nap times sitting together where their two cribs meet, chattering to each other and passing their binkies back and forth in their own little game. When they’re playing in their room, they’ll often follow each other around to see what the other one is doing, and, if it’s an exciting and/or destructive activity, they’re very quick to help each other out. Other times, they simply knock each other down, use each other to pull up to standing, crawl over each other, or grab each other’s faces. (Hashtag twinproblems.) They’re fantastic, truly.

Eleanor

At 9 months, E:

  • Weighs 18lb 5oz (52%), is 28.5in tall (81%), and has a head circumference of 18in (92%).
  • Can sit, crawl on all fours (no more inch worming), and easily pulls up to standing and sits back down.
  • Has more and more fabulous hair with volume for days. It’s strawberry blonde. Her little duckfeathers have come so far!
  • Still has blue eyes, in a deep, denim shade. They’re so beautiful.
  • Has two bottom teeth with no immediate signs of any new ones appearing yet.
  • Loves to talk and chat in her sweet little birdie voice and then suddenly blow spitty raspberries right in your face.
  • Hugs and kisses (or maybe just bites our faces?) and has tried to clap her hands a few times so far, but not reliably yet.

 

Linus

At 9 months, L:

  • Weighs 17lb 11oz (16%), is 28.25in tall (44%), and has a head circumference of 18in (70%). These are L’s best numbers yet!
  • Can sit, crawl on all fours (no more army crawling), and easily pulls up to standing and sits back down. We’ve also seen him “cruise” from one piece of furniture to another a couple of times, but not reliably yet.
  • Still can’t compete with his sister for hair, but his wispy red strands are getting a bit longer and thicker on top.
  • Still has blue eyes, but they’re a light, bright, gray-blue with dark rings around the outside of the iris. Amazing.
  • Has two bottom teeth and has been drooling like crazy for the past week or so. I can’t see any new teeth starting to come in yet, but they must surely be about to.
  • Loves to smile and laugh and giggle and thinks his parents and his sister are pretty hilarious.
  • Recently learned to splash water from the tub outward and thinks it is the MOST FUN EVER to get the person bathing him completely soaked. Buddy.

Needless to say, I think they are the best babies ever. When I think of all the things that had to come together for these two specific babies to exist in the world, I’m just astounded. And thankful.

E&L: Eight Months

E&L are eight months old! That seems so old! I can’t believe it. Two-thirds of a year. They’re so, so fun right now. They’re learning so much, crawling, sitting, eating solid foods, and so on. They’re generally happy, interactive, and loving. Just a joy to be around.

Eleanor & Linus

We went ahead and bought two new convertible car seats for them, even though they still currently fit in their bucket seats — we wanted to have car seats in each of our two vehicles, so we’ll have the new seats in one car and the old ones in the other car (until they grow out of them, when we’ll have to buy two more convertibles). We’re getting ready to have to lower their crib mattresses in preparation for them being able to pull up to standing, which E has recently started to try to do. So many changes are happening right now! The babies are adjusting with aplomb, but it all feels like quite a whirlwind to me, not least because I’ll soon be back at work full time.

At eight months, both babies consistently sleep through the night (from about 7:15 – 6:00 or 6:30). Often, they will wake up at 6 in the morning and then hang out in their cribs, head to head, talking and cooing at each other for a good half hour before starting to complain. They nap twice a day for a total of about 3-3.5 hours. We’re so grateful for their improved sleep and napping habits! They take 6-oz bottles 5x per day, plus a mini-bottle right before bed. They’re eating solid food at dinner time, including purees, cereal, yogurt melts, and some fresh fruit/vegetables from their mesh feeder thingies. They’re getting better and better at grasping the small, bite-sized bits, so we’ll probably be expanding their repertoire soon.

Eleanor
At 8 months, E:

  • Has two teeth, and seems utterly unfazed by them.
  • Can sit unassisted for long periods of time and can get up into a sitting position by herself.
  • Tips over and bonks her head/face when she’s sitting, but is starting to do this less and less as she perfects the ability to brace herself with her hands.
  • Crawls by inchworming her way forward, and is getting better and better at it.
  • Continues to be a ready smiler and laugher and a happily independent player.
  • Loves to practice making new sounds, cooing, babbling, and trilling.

Linus

At 8 months, L:

  • Has one tooth in and another (slowly) on its way. He seems more affected by teething in that he drools a lot more and seems fussier, poor guy.
  • Can sit unassisted for brief periods, as long as there is something interesting him. Otherwise, he still prefers to straighten his hips and shoot up to a standing position (with help, of course).
  • Crawls army style and is getting very fast at it! He’s so pleased with himself every time he crawls off into an unauthorized area — when we call out to him, he looks back grinning and laughing before proceeding forward anyway.
  • Is starting to make more sounds and babble to himself more, especially when he wakes up in the morning.
  • Spent 20 minutes laughing at me yesterday as I made funny faces and noises at him. Once he gets going, he’s unstoppable.

We have the best babies.

Sleep Training Twins Using the Ferber Method

Did you want to read a whole post about my babies’ sleep? I apparently can’t stop talking about it or thinking about it, so I figured I’d write down what our sleep training experience was like. This post is mostly going to deal with nighttime sleep, as naps are currently an entirely different beast.

If you found your way here googling something along the lines of “sleep training twins,” welcome, friend. I may not be able to help or advise you, but I can offer you a virtual hug in solidarity and I can tell you what things were like for us.

After napping in separate cribs, they're all 🎤 Reunited and it feels so good! 🎶Note: they do not share a crib. I just plop them in a crib together after they wake up — they’re always happy to be reunited!

Our twins, E and L, started out life as pretty good sleepers. Well, VERY good sleepers, actually. (But that would change. Dun dun DUNNNN.) By about 3 months old, they were sleeping through the night without a wakeup or feeding and we were loving it. Shortly before 4 months of age, though, it all went straight to Hell. I suppose it was mostly the four-month sleep regression, but around this time we also had to stop swaddling them because they were rolling over, and we moved them from bassinets in our room into cribs in their own room. It was a lot of change for them and it changed their nighttime sleep quite a bit.

The result was that babies were waking up VERY frequently throughout the night and started wanting a nighttime bottle again as well. E was the better sleeper — she rarely woke up except for the bottle. When she did randomly wake up otherwise, though, it was always a completely jarring, inexplicable 4AM wake-up with inconsolable crying for an hour or so. Awful. L, on the other hand, consistently struggled to sleep. He struggled HARD. He’d developed a sleep association with being held/patted and could only fall asleep like this. After we carefully transferred him to the crib, he’d wake up again crying in minutes — often before we even got back down the hall to our room. It turned out reflux was a factor, so we got him on Z@nt@c, which helped a bit, but he still would wake up every 30 minutes to 2 hours overnight and would require holding/patting to go back to sleep. Sometimes he’d need to be held for half an hour only to wake up again 20 minutes after we put him down. I can’t overemphasize how excruciating this was. A lot of nights, we wound up with one of us “sleeping” while holding L in our bed and the other one awake trying to console a screaming E in the nursery. My husband and I were exhausted.

It's an It's A Good Thing They're Cute kind of morning over here.

Ferber Method:

Even though I’d heard great things, I wasn’t sure if the Ferber method, which involves letting babies cry a bit, would work for us. I’d heard anecdotally from other parents who had babies who, instead of ever calming down when they started crying, would only cry harder and harder and harder and be impossible to console — “tension increasers.” I wondered if our L might be like this. He often got SO worked up crying and seemed to have a lot of stamina once he got going. I was prepared for the possibility that Ferber might not work out for him. My worry was unfounded, though. It turns out he will wind down, if we just let him.

This is just your disclaimer that some babies are not going to do well with this kind of plan. If you’re reading this wondering if it could work for you, you know your baby best! If you try it and he gets worked up and never winds down on his own, it might not be the plan for you.

So here’s what we did: my husband and I both read the relevant chapter in the Ferber book, the most important part being the exact method of sleep training. We wanted to make sure we both knew the method so we could be consistent in how we applied it. We also waited until the twins stopped wanting their nighttime bottle, which happened gradually around 5-6 months of age. (You can still do this method even if your babies eat at night, but I thought that — for us — it would be simpler to wait. I wanted to know that if they were crying, it was not out of hunger.)

🙌

Bedtime:

Basically, you start with your bedtime routine. For us: the babies have a bottle in the living room, then we go into the nursery, dim the lights, turn on white noise, put on pajamas/sleep sacks. Then we hold and cuddle the babies for a few minutes before kissing them goodnight and laying them down in their cribs, turning out the light, and leaving the room. We let them have their pacifiers in bed in case they want them, but we don’t put them into their mouths for them. (They have to do that themselves — we don’t want them relying on us to get up and replace the binkie.) It’s a pretty simple routine and therefore easy to be consistent.

Check-Ins:

At this point, they will start to cry! The basic idea is that you don’t just let the baby “cry it out” (a misnomer — that term applies to a different method, not Ferber). Instead, you check in with the baby every few minutes, making sure that he’s OK, offering comfort and consolation, but just not doing the sleep association you’re trying to break. In our case, we did not hold and pat the babies, because this was the association they had become dependent on. We needed them to learn that they could fall asleep without being in our arms and being patted.

So once the babies started to cry, we kept an eye on the time. Each of us was assigned to one baby for the night, so we could be consistent in who was doing the check-ins. The first night, you start by waiting three minutes, for example. When the time came, we went in, talked to and soothed the baby for a minute or so, then left the room again. If the baby was still crying, we started to time it again, this time for five minutes. If the baby is still crying after the five-minute check-in, you then wait ten minutes before checking in. Your goal is to have the baby eventually fall asleep when you’re out of the room. They eventually form a new sleep association: being in a crib in a dark, quiet room, without parents nearby. Then, the baby should learn to fall asleep this way consistently.

Twin Issues:

The obvious question with twins who sleep in the same room: won’t one baby’s crying wake the other baby? When L woke in the middle of the night before sleep training, we RACED into the room to get him and soothe him before he had a chance to wake his sister. How on earth would we manage to let him cry for 3, 5, or 10 minutes at a time without waking E?

Well, it turned out to be quite simple: they just…don’t bother each other. We didn’t need to do anything. When one baby cries, the other baby usually sleeps through it, or seems to be generally unfazed. I think sleep training them in the same room wound up being beneficial in this aspect, actually: they’re now accustomed to each other’s noises and can sleep through the commotion if their twin wakes up. So, twin parents, don’t let this worry you too much! Your twins might not mind at all!

Sweet Buddies

Here’s how it went:

Night 1: Check in at 3, 5, and then 10 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 3 minutes.

I was so nervous the first night! I had the book at hand in case I needed to re-read anything. I made a stiff drink, and went back through my friends’ encouraging words I had saved in Twitter for moral support.

E cried for less than three minutes and then fell asleep, therefore never needed a check-in. She woke twice in the middle of the night and needed a single check-in each time, then fell asleep before a second check-in was needed.

L cried pretty hard at first. He was still crying at the three-minute check-in, still crying at the five-minute check-in, and still at the 10 minute. But then, to my great relief, he started to wind down! Once he fell asleep, I was on edge waiting for him to wake up again after a few minutes, like he normally would. But he didn’t. It was amazing. He woke four times in the middle of the night. Twice he fell back asleep before we needed to check in; the other two times he needed a single check-in then fell asleep right afterward.

As a side note, even on the very first night, the Ferber method already involved SO MUCH LESS CRYING than our typical nights had. I think there’s a misconception that this method is cruel or causes the baby to cry alone in the crib all night. I was so pleased and relieved that they were already getting more sleep and crying less than they had been in the past 2 months. As my husband said that night, “they were ready — we were just fucking it up!” Our old method was not only not working, it was probably making things worse.

In an unexpected way, the whole process also was such a relief. I was so much less tense when I went into the room to check on the babies — I knew I didn’t have to stand there holding/swaying/patting the baby for minutes on end, then carefully transfer him to the crib without waking him, only to hear him crying again five minutes later. That burden, that pressure, that outright dread was gone. I didn’t realize how stressful it had been until the burden was lifted. All I had to do was check in! I could do that. I had gone into this expecting the first night to be so hard because of the crying. The crying for the first 30 minutes wasn’t great, to be sure, but this night was already so much easier, and involved so much less crying than we were used to. I couldn’t believe the difference.

Night 2: Check in at 5, 10, and then 12 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 5 minutes.

E fussed for less than 5 minutes and then fell asleep. She woke once in the middle of the night and needed 2 check-ins before falling back to sleep.

L also fussed for less than 5 minutes before falling asleep. He had one wake-up and needed one check-in.

I couldn’t get over how much better this was! Night two and the method was making a world of difference, not only for E, our easier sleeper, but also L, our struggling sleeper, had the same great results. Amazing.

Night 3: Check in at 10, 12, and then 15 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 10 minutes.

E did not fuss at all at bedtime. She woke twice in the night and very quickly put herself back to sleep. Zero check-ins needed.

L fussed for a few minutes at bedtime, then had three wake-ups during the night. He put himself back to sleep each time. No check-ins needed.

Night 4: Check in at 12, 15, and then 17 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 12 minutes.

E went to sleep in a few minutes and slept through with no audible wake-ups or check-ins.

L cried a bit on this night and needed the 12-minute check-in. After that, he went to sleep and slept through with no more audible wake-ups.

Night 5: Check in at 15, 17, and then 20 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 15 minutes.

E went to sleep right away and woke once during the night, but no check-ins were needed.

L went to sleep after 5 minutes and slept through, no audible wake-ups. No check-ins.

Night 6: Check in at 17, 20, and then 25 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 17 minutes.

E went to sleep right away but then woke up crying half an hour later. She went back to sleep easily, though. No check-ins needed.

L went to sleep easily and stirred audibly once during the night. No check-ins were needed.

Night 7: Check in at 20, 25, and then 30 minutes for every subsequent check in. If they wake in the middle of the night, start over at 20 minutes.

Both babies went to sleep without fussing and slept through with no audible wake-ups or check ins.

TL;DR: The Ferber method worked for us just like he says it will in the book. By the second and third night, the babies were sleeping 100x better than before. Even on night one, there was LESS crying and MORE sleeping for all four of us. We are so, so glad we tried this. It’s no exaggeration to say it changed our lives for the better.

E&L: Seven Months

The twins turned seven months old on the Fourth of July! We spent the day driving toward home at the end of our two-week summer road trip, and spent the night in a random hotel room in Tennessee. E&L were so, so great on this trip. I had been dreading it (crying in the car, disrupted schedules, no naps, and bad hotel sleep!), but the babies proved to be very adaptable. Sure, there were some car-seat meltdowns, but over all things were absolutely fine. Phew! So 6.5-7 months seems like a good time to road trip with your baby/-ies, judging by my very small sample size.

Eleanor & Linus

These two are growing so fast, it’s crazy! They started eating some solid foods in the last month and they seem to really enjoy it. We do some spoon-feeding and we also let them feed themselves somewhat. They love bananas and watermelon the most, and will also eat tons of different vegetable purées. They’re so mobile and so interactive and they just have such big personalities. They’re really a lot of fun right now and I’m trying to soak it up during these last few weeks of maternity leave. (I’m teaching one online class right now, so I’m technically working, but mostly still at home. I go back full time in August.)

Ella Gray

This photo is my little Jellybean to a T. Smiling, laughing, scrunching her nose, and just generally being a delight.

At seven months, she:

  • Has one new tooth on her bottom right-center. She barely made a fuss at all when teething, so I was shocked when I felt it in her mouth!
  • Can sit unassisted for longer and longer periods of time, especially if she can reach a few toys to play with.
  • Is a champion sleeper and napper — even while traveling, in the car, in the hotel, or in friends’/families’ houses. We are so grateful for this!

Lewie

And my little Blueberry. Such a sweet, happy guy — unless you take the spoon out of his mouth before he wants you to, then you’d better watch out. Heh.

At seven months, he:

  • Has started army crawling. I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it, but there he went, dragging himself along the floor for the toy he wanted. It’s awesome.
  • Has no interest in sitting and would rather stand. If I try to sit him down, he just straightens his hips and pushes with his feet until he is standing up. Then he happily bounces up and down and waves his arms, grinning.
  • Has improved so, so much with sleeping. He sleeps through the night with basically zero fussing at bedtime and falls asleep well at nap time. He still tries to take 30 minute naps on the regular, but we’re working on that.

Basically, these are the two best babies ever. Try to refute it; you cannot.

E&L: Six Months

These babies are six months old. Half a year. I can hardly believe it! The early weeks and months when the babies shared a bassinet in our bedroom are now so blurry. Good think I have approximately eleven billion photos on my phone to remind me.

DSC_0161

Six months is a really wonderful age so far, if you ask me. They’re active and happy and fun to be around.

In the past week or so, we’ve been sleep training them with the Ferber method (perhaps worth its own post), which has been so, so helpful for the whole family. They now sleep through the night without our having to go in to them. When they wake up, they might fuss for a couple of minutes, but then they just…go back to sleep. It’s amazing.

Now that they’re sleeping better, the babies are generally a delight. Nap time is still difficult on occasion, but they’re usually well rested and happy. They’re active and playful and starting to be more and more mobile. This morning, L scooted himself backwards under the couch in their room and then got stuck, which was fairly amusing for me, if not for him.

I’ve also officially weaned them, so they’re now on a 100% formula diet — at least until we start solid foods some time soon! their high chairs are ready and waiting. We’re seeing the pediatrician next week and we’ll probably wait on the solid foods until they can sit up unassisted, unless she tells us otherwise.

They’ve had their first overnight trip — we spent the weekend in Atlanta for a conference where my husband was presenting — and we all survived the car trip and the hotel sleep, if only barely.

DSC_0092

At 6 months, this little Jellybean:

  • rolls over in both directions, props herself up on her forearms, sleeps on her tummy, and can sit up for a few seconds if her hands are on the floor in front of her
  • has big emotions and gets so, so mad at whichever parent has spent the day at work, but over all has the sunniest disposition and is always ready with a smile
  • has more and more hair every day, growing in its own funny, erratic, duck-feather patterns

DSC_0152

At 6 months, this little Blueberry:

  • rolls over in both directions and travels all around the room by doing so, loves to practice standing more than sitting, and has just recently decided he likes sleeping on his tummy, too
  • loves to smile and laugh (but still not for the camera), especially when I talk to him in my funny voices or blow raspberries on his belly
  • loves to grab his own feet and remove his socks, especially the sock on his right foot (which he’s usually wearing in an effort to keep him from scratching his left leg with what I like to call his Razor Toe)

It’s crazy to think that at this point, they’re closer to being a year old than they are to being newborns. And yet, they still seem so completely brand new to me every day.

How to Feed Twins

In the Hospital: Tandem nurse, skin-to-skin, immediately after your C-section. Nurse all day and all night. Pump in between. Get a cracked nipple. Stay in the hospital for four days waiting for your milk to come in, but it won’t come before you leave. Tearfully ask for formula, which will never be offered without your request, so your babies can stop losing weight. First, you feel frustrated, inadequate, and worried. Then you just feel angry.

File May 26, 10 20 57 AM

At Home, the Early Days: Nurse one baby for 15 minutes, then bottle feed both babies a combination of pumped milk and formula, then pump for 20 minutes. Apply sheep grease to nipples. Wash nipple shields and pump parts. This routine takes about an hour. Repeat every two hours, alternating the baby who nurses. When you do this routine alone, it takes longer and the babies will scream inconsolably while you pump because you cannot pick them up. Your supply gradually increases for a while, but never on pace with their demand. Give up hope of getting rid of the formula supplement and decide to stop complaining about the cost.

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Exclusively Pumping: During and after a wickedly painful case of thrush (on both sides) at about 2 months, stop nursing at all and switch to pumping. Bottle feed both babies a combination of pumped milk and formula. Apply sheep grease to nipples, then pump for 20 minutes. Wash and dry nipples, hanging around topless and feeling incredibly uncomfortable. Wash and dry pump parts. Repeat every two hours. You’re insatiably hungry all the time and you think maybe if you can manage to eat enough you will be able to produce enough milk or at least to feel less tired, but neither of these turns out to be true.

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The Nursing Honeymoon: Desperate to comfort your inconsolably wailing baby when nothing else has worked, try to offer him the breast. He takes it and nurses better than ever before. Huh. Try this another day with the other baby with the same good results. Decide to try nursing again. Tandem nurse both babies for as long as they like or until they’ve emptied everything out, then follow with a bottle of a couple ounces of formula. Babies are nursing well, cooperating, holding hands with each other, and only occasionally clawing the shit out of your chest. Deal with your spouse’s surprise and confusion at your return to nursing by explaining that being sucked dry by two hungry wolverines is vastly preferable to being sucked dry by a plastic machine. You only pump once a day now, a massive improvement over your previous high of 8-10 pumping sessions per day.

Weaning: The babies are almost six months old. Return to work a few times a week. Drop a couple of daytime nursing sessions when you’re not home, and, after one disastrous attempt, opt not to bring the pump to work. On the days you’re home, decide to keep the dropped sessions dropped. You’re now still nursing the babies in bed first thing in the morning every day, which is your favorite session of all. It’s quiet and peaceful and you get to snuggle them one-on-one and they don’t need a formula supplement after, because your overnight milk production is enough. Nurse again in the late afternoon, with a small formula bottle afterwards. Decide to stop pumping at night. Drop the afternoon session some time soon, whenever it becomes inconvenient or the supply at that time is too low. Hope you’ll be able to keep the morning session going since it’s some of the most enjoyable time you spend with the babies, but you don’t know. First you feel relieved, free, and preemptively sad. Then you just feel confused.

Baby Sleep and Other Types of Work

In the interest of getting the baby sleep situation to improve even in the slightest, I am in the process of weaning the off their usual nighttime bottle. They had started sleeping all the way through (8p-6a) without a feeding at 3 months, then at 3.5 months they decided they wanted TWO nighttime bottles, then they went back down to just one, which is where they’ve been for the last month. A few times in the last couple of weeks, the babies have slept through the time when they’d normally eat*, thereby skipping the bottle. On the nights they do wake to eat, they’ve been getting progressively smaller servings. Tonight, if they wake to eat, they’ll only get 1.5 oz. Hopefully soon they won’t even see the point in asking. 

*This is not to say they’ve slept THROUGH, no. Not at all. A certain sweet, blue-eyed baby likes to wake every few minutes for a couple of hours at a time. As in, baby goes to sleep, parent leaves the room, three minutes later baby wakes up crying. Rinse and repeat for two hours. They both have taken to waking at 5, too. Phew. 

I’m officially back to work this week. I’m teaching an online class, so I can “work from home” all summer, if I choose. My husband also can work from home this summer, too, with the exception of certain meetings and other obligations. We’ve been splitting the week, though, to give each of us two weekdays at the office and three at home (we’re home together on Fridays). This seems like a nice amount of time at work for me right now. I get my tasks done, I can take my time eating lunch without anyone screaming at me or barfing on me (or, in fact, even TOUCHING me), and I can stop by the gym on the way home. 

Speaking of the gym: 


This sign is posted above the big public scale outside the student locker rooms at the campus rec center. I thought it was pretty great, so I took the picture and Instagrammed it before my workout. After my workout, I stepped onto the less public scale inside the faculty locker room, saw that I’d gained 3lbs in the last two weeks, and had a mini meltdown in the shower, during which I considered drowning my feelings in donuts. Sigh. Had I already forgotten Ryan Gosling’s wise words? 

The fact is, I have the type of physiology that hangs on to every spare calorie and ounce while breastfeeding. I’m told the weight will go away once I stop breastfeeding, but who can say. It’s just so frustrating! I work out. I’ve stopped with the crazy sweets. I’m eating a perfectly reasonable diet for my metabolism and situation. And yet, the fat pants I bought after the twins were born are starting to get tight. I may not be losing weight, but do I really have to be gaining?! THE GODDAMNED INJUSTICE OF IT ALL, MAN. 

OK, finally. You all know my husband is a lovely person and a very generous man, but I have to say he is stepping in it lately. It’s probably postpartum hormones on top of new-parent stress and exhaustion, but still. He said something the other day that sort of implied he thought I should be doing more yard work. YARD WORK. CAN YOU EVEN. And break one of my perfectly manicured nails?! I mean. 

E&L: Five Months

Five months seems like such a long time all of a sudden! Much longer than four months. I don’t know why. The past month has had a lot of ups and downs for us. Sleep has alternated between barely tolerable and completely unbearable, but I don’t want to get into that too much. The babies and I went out on our first outing just the three of us (to breastfeeding group); they got to meet their uncle/my brother for the first time; and they went to their first happy hour party at some friends’ house. Busy babies!

Sweet Buddies

I’ve been going through whatever happens to your hormones at 4+ months postpartum, which for me has included extra fatigue, headaches, hair loss, and extreme irritability. So that’s been fun. On the other hand, a few physical things are finally back to normal(ish) after pregnancy, which just goes to show that recovery takes much longer than six weeks. I’m also easing back into work by prepping my online course for the summer. I’ll largely be working from home over the summer, but a day at the office now and again is helping me feel a bit more normal.

But enough about that. Let’s look at some babies!

Eleanor

At five months, Jellybean:

  • Prefers to sleep on her stomach. Now that she’s an accomplished roller, she will get herself into position some time during the first part of the evening and she will stay like that for the rest of the night.
  • Has an amazing set of lungs and loves to use them! That’s not a euphemism for crying — she doesn’t cry a ton. She just loves to make noise at all times and has a powerful voice. I can’t wait to see what she does with it whenever she starts talking!
  • Is starting to really laugh sometimes, usually if I am doing my…my…fine. MY SILLY TALKING DOG VOICE. I swear, I never clowned so hard in my life until these two came along. I’ll basically do anything to hear that laugh.

Linus

At five months, Blueberry:

  • Prefers to sleep in bed with us. He’s been having a tough time with reflux (both spitting up and pain) and gas lately, and in spite of the Z@ntac, he still has a hard time sleeping due to waking up with the discomfort. The only way we can get some sleep a lot of nights is to let him sleep with us.
  • Loves his sister. Whenever he turns to the side and sees her there beside him, be breaks out into a gummy grin and reaches for her face (often poking her in the eye or something, but still, I beg you).
  • Still always wakes up happy — his typical morning smile has evolved into a happy dance with wiggling arms and legs. It is everything.