The 6 Products I can’t Live Without #Twins

Here are the six products we absolutely can’t live without for our newborn twins:

Rock n’ Play

Before the twins arrived, I spent cIMG_1102ountless hours setting up and decorating the nursery.  I loved the look of my cribs and couldn’t wait for the babies to sleep in them.  I also purchased the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper so we could have the babies in our bedroom.  However, after a few weeks of spitting up every time they laid flat, we purchased the Rock n’ Play and boy was this the best decision we could’ve made.  The twins have been sleeping in them for the past 8 weeks.  We move them from the nursery to the bedroom and we even brought them to Aruba.  They are by far the best things for our babies to sleep in and I highly recommend them!

 

Table for TwoIMG_0280

A fellow twin mama told me about this one. My girls sit in the table for two most of the day.  It’s also great for bottle feeding them at the same time with only one person.  The patterns are super cute and although the price tag is a bit steep, it’s well worth it!

 

Snap n Go Double:

IMG_0108This is the #1 stroller for twin mamas. It’s inexpensive, light, easy to take in and out of the car and practical. It fits most car seats (just double check to make sure it works with yours).  Be aware that some of the older models don’t fit all of the car seats.  The stroller positions the twins front to back (as opposed to side-to-side). I bought a fancy stroller (the Bugaboo Donkey, which is side-to-side), which I haven’t used yet.  The only criticism of the Snap n Go is that the wheels aren’t made for navigating sand or snow. But, it’s perfect for almost everything else!

Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seats:

These car seats are great! Plus, almost every other mom (both singleton and doubles) have these seats. They are priced mid range ($199), are light weight and safe. The bases are super easy to install and the seats just click in and out.  In addition, you can use the seat without the base, say for example you are on vacation. They come in a variety of colors.

My Brest Friend Deluxe:

This is a must have for any nursing mother of multiples (and the single version for mothers of singletons). I’ve tried many other nursing pillows, including the Twin Z (more on this later) and this is the easiest to use. What I like about it is that it is easy to set up and position the babies. It can be used in bed, on a couch or on the ground. The only thing is that it is sometimes tricky in chairs, as there’s sometimes not enough space. No need for pillows underneath or beside, it works well on it’s own.  The problem with the Twin Z is that my babies were too small and I would need props to properly position the babies. It’s also big and cumbersome and it just didn’t work for us. Perhaps if you have larger breasts it may work better.

 

Boon Soak 3-Stage Bath Tub:

Let’s talk bath timeIMG_1223 (1)– the first two weeks we were nervous to bath our twins so we would do sponge baths on their changing table. Next we tried showering them; my husband would stand in the shower and I would hand him one baby at a time. It was a bit scary as the babies would be slippery (we would use a towel which helped).  We wanted a solution where we could bathe both babies at the same time and feel more safe. Plus, they loved the warm water so we wanted them to be able to enjoy it for longer. Introducing the Boon bath… our girls love it. It feels safe, it’s easy to fill and the girls sit and play at the same time.  I highly recommend getting two so that they can bathe at the same time.

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The honest truth about breastfeeding from a new twin mama

Here’s my top 10 advice to any new mamas out there who are getting frustrated with breastfeeding:

  1. I urge you to at least try and breast feed. If it doesn’t work, who cares!
  2. Even if one feeding per day is breast milk, that is good enough.
  3. If you haven’t yet BF in public, do it with another mom until you feel comfortable
  4. Invest in a cute BF cover.
  5. When pumping, don’t keep track of how much you pump. I would stare at the pump the entire time and be discouraged and upset when I only got 2 ounces. Once I stopped tracking it in my phone and staring down the whole time, my supply increased.
  6. Invest in a good pump – I rent the Medela Symphony hospital grade pump. It was free for 2 months through my insurance and now I pay $70 month (it’s worth it);
  7. As a follow up to #6, buy extra pump parts so you don’t have to wash them all the time;
  8. As a follow up to #7, put your pump parts in the fridge after you use them so you don’t need to wash them each time (I only wash mine 1x day, if that).
  9. Invest in a good BF pillow – I prefer the My Breast Friend Deluxe
  10. DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!

So you want to breastfeed your twins?  Let me start by saying that my twins are 11 weeks old and are now almost exclusively breastfed (outside of one bottle for their late night feeding). However, it was not easy to get to this point and I debated giving up many times.  BF works for some and not for others and the most important thing is that you do what’s best for you and ignore societal pressures and the stigma’s that come along with BF vs. Formula.

My twins were in the NICU for 5 days. Right after I gave birth, the nurses were urging me to pump every 3 hours and at least one time between 12AM-6AM.  As a FTM, I didn’t know what to expect; I grew frustrated the first few days that nothing was coming out of the pump. My girls were too fragile to BF as it would burn too many calories and the most important thing was that they gain (or at least maintain) weight.  The NICU started them on Enfamil for babies born prematurely. I continued to pump but got very little. Finally, on day 5, my milk came in.

Once the girls came home, we would spend about 1 session per day trying to BF. They had great latches but I would feed them one at a time and each feed would take over an hour and they would still be hungry after; we’d have to give them a bottle after they BF. I continued to pump every 3 hours but I never got enough to feed both of them.  I drank every concoction and ate lactation cookies to try and increase my supply – it wasn’t working. I began to get very frustrated and wondered why I should even bother with BF when formula/ bottle feeding is so much easier – it took only 15-20 minutes and my girls were much happier after, plus I would know how much they were getting.  Also, I spent so much time pumping and feeding that I felt like I didn’t really get to spend much time with the babies outside of this. I would often pass them off after I was done feeding so I could get other things done around the house.  My husband was much more into the BF than I was – it was really important to him that I stick with it. Sometimes when preparing the bottles, I would make bottles of formula and tell him it was BM just to satisfy him! 🙂

After the girls got stronger and put on more weight, the breast feeding got easier.  I preferred to feed them 1:1 as I felt a stronger bond with them individually, yet tandem feeding was far more efficient. I could only tandem when someone was next to me to help. I tried every pillow on the market — including the Twin Z and the My Breast Friend Twin Deluxe. My vote is for the latter – the Twin Z was not comfortable for me – my twins kept falling through the sides and I had to always use pillows for support. Once I got the Breast Friend at 8 weeks, my life changed! I could tandem feed them myself and it was comfortable and easy (as easy as tandem feedings twins can be).

My girls ate every 3 hours so that was 8 feeds per day.  Finally, by 9 weeks, 6 out of the 8 feeds were from my breast, while I used formula for the remaining 2. I actually prefer to give the twins formula for their feeding before bed because I find that it helps them sleep longer.  I was also surprise (and happy) that my twins didn’t get confused between the bottle and the breast – they would happily go from one to the other.

The first few weeks I was petrified to BF in public (mind you I always cover up using my trendy nursing scarf). However, my twin mama friend (not a FTM) told me that she would take me out and we could do it together and once you do it once, you feel more comfortable.  She was right — I love to BF when I’m out, especially at restaurants before or after the meal comes.

When I’m at home, I use the Breast Friend pillow either on my bed (with no pillow behind me), on the couch or on the ground – the ground is easier when you are alone because you can lay one baby down while setting up.  When I’m on the go, I’ve experimented with different ways to feed the babies without a pillow; if there is a chair with arms, I can do it, though it can be challenging.  Sometimes, when I’m out at a restaurant, I’ll feed one baby at a time, or, if I’m with friends and they are both hungry, I’ll BF one and hand a bottle to someone else to help.

The moral of the story is that you need to do what’s best for you. I went into this un-afraid to use formula. I went from formula feeding, to mixing BM with formula to almost exclusively giving the girls BF. I figured that although they are getting some formula, they are reeking the benefits of having some breast milk. I’m glad I didn’t give up on BF because it really did get easier over time.  I’m not sure how long I will BF for. I’ve set a goal of 6 months. If that extends to 9 months or 12 months that’s great.  We’ll take each week at a time and see what works best for our lifestyle!

Here’s my top 10 advice to any new mamas out there who are getting frustrated:

  1. I urge you to at least try and breast feed. If it doesn’t work, who cares!
  2. Even if one feeding per day is breast milk, that is good enough.
  3. If you haven’t yet BF in public, do it with another mom until you feel comfortable
  4. Invest in a cute BF cover.
  5. When pumping, don’t keep track of how much you pump. I would stare at the pump the entire time and be discouraged and upset when I only got 2 ounces. Once I stopped tracking it in my phone and staring down the whole time, my supply increased.
  6. Invest in a good pump – I rent the Medela Symphony hospital grade pump. It was free for 2 months through my insurance and now I pay $70 month (it’s worth it);
  7. As a follow up to #6, buy extra pump parts so you don’t have to wash them all the time;
  8. As a follow up to #7, put your pump parts in the fridge after you use them so you don’t need to wash them each time (I only wash mine 1x day, if that).
  9. Invest in a good BF pillow – I prefer the My Breast Friend Deluxe
  10. DO WHAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU!!!

The On-The-Go Everyday Essentials… What’s in the bag

My diaper bag is always fully stocked, so I’m able to get out of the house in a mere 5 minutes with my twins.  Here’s what’s in my bag (and my car):

FullSizeRender

Bag – I spent a lot of time researching diaper bags for multiples; do I need a double sized bag or is a “regular” size good enough?  I went with the Marc By Marc Jacobs Pretty Nylon Eliz-a-Baby Diaper Bag from Bloomingdales. It comes in Quartz and Black. Black is the most popular color but I went with the Quartz. I love it – it fits everything and is big enough for twins.

Diaper Holder/Changing: I love my Skip*Hop Pronto Changing Station. I store my diapers, wipes and ointments in it. I often take it out of my diaper bag and into my stroller. When I change the babies, I grab this instead of the whole bag. And, it comes in adorable patterns.

Swaddles: I always have at least 2 swaddle blankets at all times. I use them for everything – for nursing, covering the babies when out in public, warmth, sometimes even for spitting up. I love the aden + anais swaddles.  I also love the Chick Pea faux swaddles that I bring for warmth. They don’t work well with the carseats but if you take the kids out of the carseat, they are great to have along to keep them warm.

Nursing Cover: I am obsessed with my Hold Me Close infinity nursing scarf. I use it everyday and it’s both useful and cute!

Burp Cloths: I always have at least 4 burp cloths with me at all times as my girls love to spit up.  I especially love the ones from burpies.com that someone gave us as a gift – each one is customized.

Bibs: Because my kids spit up all the time, they wear bibs.  I like the ones from Carters as they are cheap and I need a lot of them!

Extra Outfits: Always bring extra clothes as you never know when your little ones will have a “blow out”.  My favorite outfits are the kickee pants – I love the soft material and the patterns are super cute.

Mobile Pump / Bra: I love to multi-task so I often pump while driving (I set it up before I begin and use a hand-free nursing bra so I am NEVER distracted while driving).  I keep my Lansinoh SignaturePro Double Electric Breast Pump in the car and make sure to bring the pump parts along with my Medela nursing bra.  The pump runs on both electricity and batteries so it’s great to use on the go.

Bottles/Formula: While I breastfeed my babies most of the time, they do get formula/bottles when it’s convenient for me.  I always have two empty Dr. Browns Natural Flow 4oz Newborn bottles with me as well as a can of formula. I use Enfamil EnfaCare for babies born prematurely (this is what they started us on the NICU and my girls like it so we stuck with it). In addition, I always have Enfamil Ready-to-Use 2oz bottles with a nipple, just in case I’m ever in a bind.

Cleaning: I use the Mustela facial Cleansing Cloths to clean my babies faces when on-the-go as well as the dapple naturally clean Pacifier wipes. I also always have extra ziploc bags on me at all times.

Do you have similar items in your diaper bag?

 

 

The most ridiculous things you’ll hear when out with twins 

Whether you are a fan of attention or not, when you bring twins out in public, YOU WILL GET ATTENTION.  At first it was fun to answer questions and see the look on peoples faces when you wheel your giant twin stroller through the supermarket.  But, after a few weeks it gets very very old.  Sometimes I just want to be rude and not have to stop every 10 feet to talk to people.  People say the same things and ask the same questions over and over again.  Here are the most common ones:

Questions:

  • Are those twins?
  • How old are they?
  • Are they the same sex? OMG, now you are done!
  • Are they natural?
  • Do twins run in the family?
  • Did you have IVF?
  • Were you surprised when you found out?

Statement/Assumptions:

  • Your hands must be full
  • I can’t believe you are out of the house
  • God bless you
  • Good luck (in a negative way)
  • I always wanted to have twins
  • My second cousins a twin

Here’s how I’d like to respond:

  • Are those twins? – obviously
  • How old are they? – 10 weeks
  • Are they one of each? OMG, now you are done! – actually they are two girls and I would like to have more children so that statement is just ignorant.
  • Are they natural? – as opposed to being aliens?
  • Do twins run in the family? – actually they do, but that’s none of your business.
  • Did you have IVF? First of all, no but again, none of your business.  My husband and I had sex and what do you know, we got pregnant with twins.
  • Were you surprised when you found out? Umm, obviously, who wouldn’t be?
  • Your hands must be full – yes they are, now please get out of my way.
  • I can’t believe you are out of the house – I do have a life and I’m not going to stay inside all day.
  • God bless you – thanks! Twins really are the best
  • Good luck (in a negative way) – thanks! I can’t imagine my life without my girls.
  • I always wanted to have twins – well that’s just wonderful.
  • My second cousins a twin – I really don’t care

What are the most ridiculous things you’ve heard? Did I miss any?

9 Weeks in… First Post

I’ve been thinking about blogging about being a FTM of twins… and it’s taken me over 9 weeks to finally find the time to sit down and write.  I’m currently sitting at a coffee shop in Boston, one twin on my boob, while the other is in my husband’s lap (while he is working across the table from me).IMG_1193 While pregnant, I thought for sure that after I deliver, I’d have tons of time between feedings to continue to work on my company, read books, binge watch netflix shows and so on.  The saying is true that my brain went out with my placenta — and this time x2!  Besides scrolling Facebook and Instagram, snapping photos and responding to texts, I’ve been completely unable (and unwilling) to read emails and even focus on a single episode of a show.  At almost 10 weeks post delivery, the fog is beginning to lift and I’m slowly getting the urge to get back to work and use my brain (at least for non-child related things).

My husband and I are spontaneous, on-the-go type people; we don’t like to stay in the same place too long nor conform to societal norms of how we are “supposed to” live life.  In fact, we’ve done just the opposite.  3 years ago I quite my job (my husband took a leave of absence) and we traveled the world for several months. No plan, just an around-the-world ticket. After that, I went full time to get my MBA at Babson College and my husband started his own company (which I later joined).  Every opportunity we have, we travel.  We’ve been all across the world (maybe twice) and have had incredible experiences.  It’s our mission as new parents to instill this in our daughters and to take advantage of every opportunity to get out and explore.

It’s all about baby steps – when the twins were 2 weeks old, we took them out for dinner. At 3 weeks, we went to the grocery store.  At 4 weeks we celebrated my 30th birthday (at a bar, with babies in tow), at 5 weeks I took the twins to the mall by myself (mall walking is key in the winter) and breastfed the babies in public.  And, at 8 weeks, we traveled to Aruba. Honestly, getting out and doing things, with the babies, has given me the confidence that I need to be the best mama that I can.  We take the girls everywhere!

In this blog, I’ll talk about the places we go, the equipment we use, tips we’ve learned as well as mistakes that we’ve made.  If the parents have an open mind and slowly work up to getting out and living the life they desire – anything is possible.