Kara: Breastfeeding Twins

Kara: Breastfeeding Twins

First -- and second -- time mom. Her twins were born seven weeks early and spent their first three weeks in the NICU. During that time Kara navigated, with the love and support of her husband, how to pump and bring milk to her babies in the hospital. Now home, she's still navigating breastfeeding two babies while trying to stay stress-free.

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A New Job Brings New Worries

As I sit here watching my daughter sleep so peacefully in her pack-and-play, I have such mixed feelings about this announcement. It’s with excitement and nervousness that I say I’m going back to work.

I recently accepted a position with a university here in the city, and while I know I will love going back to work, it will still be tough leaving my babies every day. I have been home with them since they were born.

There are many things I’ve been considering since I accepted the job; perhaps most worrisome is how I will continue breastfeeding. When I went in for my all-day interview, and I asked for some time at lunch in a private room, my future co-workers were more than accommodating. I knew that was a good sign.

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10:00am on Thursday August 9
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Two Babies One Parent

In the past few weeks, I have spent a lot of time being a single parent. My husband was traveling for work, with a schedule that was unknown until the night before, but he would be gone for days at a time.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve been in this situation. When the babies were just 2.5 months old, he was gone for a week, but this time was different in that he was away then home then away again. Just when we’d get used to a schedule, it would change again.

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9:00am on Thursday June 28
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Seven Month Milestones

Before I had children I’d laugh when people would say that kids grow up so fast. But now that I have two of my own, I understand completely what they meant.

It seems like just days ago my husband and I were making multiple trips a day to the NICU to visit our newborns. Now, I’m trying to corral them like kittens.

Just the other day I put my daughter on a blanket on the floor. I walked away for 30 seconds and when I came back she had rolled her way off the blanket and over to the dog’s bed.

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9:30am on Wednesday June 20
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The Most Amazing Husband

I have the most amazing husband. And yes, I realize that a lot of women think the same thing. About their own husbands. And perhaps mine. But I know I have the most amazing one out there.

Throughout my pregnancy, he was wonderful. Even when he had just sat down, he’d get me a glass of water or a scoop of ice cream. When I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a massive leg cramp he’d jump out of bed asking what he could do. And when my water broke seven weeks early, he stayed calm and drove us first to the doctor’s and then the hospital.

It was only after the babies were born that he admitted he was just as frightened as I was.

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9:30am on Wednesday June 13
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Six Months Down

I cannot believe that I have been the nearly sole provider of sustenance for two humans for six months! I never had a “plan” as to how long I would breastfeed, in fact, my outlook while pregnant was, if it works, great. At the six-month mark, I am so happy that I have been able to do this for my little ones.

That’s not to say it hasn’t been hard. I was exhausted and delirious in the first few months since I was up with them so frequently. My son, who took a bottle for the first four months has now decided he doesn’t like it anymore. My daughter doesn’t sleep through the night. But I know these things will get better.

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9:00am on Wednesday June 6
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Singing With My Babies

Having my babies smile and giggle are some of the happiest moments. So like most parents, I do whatever I can to get them to show me their gummy smiles over and over. Often this includes singing.

By no stretch am I a singer, but they don’t know that… yet. I am also not one for remembering song lyrics very well, just ask my husband. Instead, I make up songs. These are often silly songs about whatever we are doing – walking to the store, changing a diaper, listening to the dog bark. Whatever is going on.

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9:00am on Tuesday May 29
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Trying Not To Worry

Am I feeding them enough? Are they sleeping enough? Are they warm enough? Are they too warm? The worries I have as a mother are endless, but for the most part I have faith in what I am doing, and therefore don’t harp on things too much.

When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Caring for any baby is difficult, throwing in a second one at the same time is crazy. But my husband (and many, many friends and family members) assured me I would be able to do it. Sure, there are days I throw up my hands and wonder if they’ll ever stop crying or if they’re learning what they should. But those are the moments I take a deep breath and remind myself it’s a long journey not a short trip.

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1:05pm on Wednesday May 23
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Registry Gems

Walking into any baby store can be completely overwhelming. When it came time for me to make a registry, I had no idea what to put on it – or even how many of certain items to include. Instead of walking through stores aimlessly, I employed my best friend, who was also a new mom.

Together we walked through one of the big box stores with her son in a stroller and me with a scanner in hand. Together we made a full registry in virtually no time at all.

As you would expect with any registry there are some things on it we just never used (like the ump-teen pacifiers we got), but there are a few gems on there, too.

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9:02am on Tuesday May 15
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A Letter To My Babies

Dear Jackson and Campbell,

As I listen to you “talk” to one another as you go to bed, I can’t help but smile. You may never know just how much I love you.

Your Daddy and I waited a long time for you, and the wait has been more than worth it. You have enriched every part of our lives. You can flip a frown with your sly little smile and ease a difficult moment with a well-timed (although not always appropriate) belly laugh. And you make us proud – oh so proud – every day.

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9:01am on Tuesday May 8
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Making A List, Checking It Twice

Before I was even pregnant I was an organized person. Since having two babies, I have tried to step up my game. It’s the only way, I find, to stay ahead of these little cuties.

My husband will attest to the fact that there are lists everywhere these days. Before babies I wouldn’t necessarily write out a grocery list, but rather keep it in my head. Now, everything goes on the ongoing grocery list on the side of the refrigerator.

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12:47pm on Wednesday May 2
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Breastfeeding Tips

It’s hard to believe that my babies turned five months old this week. While it seems like a lifetime has passed, it also seems like just yesterday I was trying to figure out what to do with these little guys. (Who am I kidding, I often still am trying to figure that out!)

But thinking back to the first few days, and especially of breastfeeding then, I have such pride. I think the best thing I did then – and continue to do now – is ask for help. I called on nurses, lactation consultants, friends, and my mother for guidance and extra sets of hands.

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9:17pm on Monday April 23
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Snacking For Three

Before I was pregnant I tried to eat three meals a day with a few snacks when I was hungry. When I got pregnant that didn’t change much. I still made sure to have a healthy breakfast, a good lunch, and a hearty dinner. In between I would snack on carrot or celery sticks, pretzels with hummus, cheese and crackers, or yogurt. Since I was pregnant over the summer there were also several popsicles and bowls of ice cream consumed.

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9:01am on Tuesday April 17
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Bonding with the Twins

While I was pregnant, I always said that I would "like to" breastfeed. I had been breastfed, and I knew there were many benefits to doing it. But I knew it wasn't always possible, and therefore I didn't want to get my hopes up. I just tried to stay optimistic that it would work.

In getting ready for the babies, I made sure that I had a breastfeeding pillow for twins so that I could feed them at the same time. I also talked with a lot of other mothers about trials and tribulations of breastfeeding. When the babies arrived, I thought I was as ready as I could be. Thankfully, it worked and the babies started nursing within hours of their birth.

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9:00am on Tuesday April 10
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A Nursery We Can Enjoy Together

There are a lot of things that change quickly when your babies are born early. In my case, when my twins were born seven weeks early I hadn’t finished decorating the nursery yet. Thankfully we had the cribs put together, and the changing table and dresser were set up, but I didn’t have anything on the wall, curtains weren’t hung, and there wasn’t a rug. Equally thankfully, infants don’t notice those things.

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9:01am on Tuesday April 3
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Postpartum clothing

I’ve written before about how I wasn’t ready for my twins when they were born at 33 weeks. I hadn’t packed a hospital bag. We didn’t have our phone chargers or camera at the hospital. And I also didn’t have a nursing bra.

I had attempted to buy one a few weeks before their birth, but the woman in the store convinced me to wait until after they were born. I knew I should have listened to my inner monologue telling me, “No, buy one now! You’ll need it!”

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9:01am on Wednesday March 28
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Changing Diet for Irritability

Everyone knows while you’re pregnant there are certain foods you’re suppose to avoid: sushi, unpasteurized cheese, and deli meat are some. Once baby is born those foods, for the most part, are back on the menu. But there may be other foods you want to avoid.

While I haven’t had any problems with those mentioned, I have noticed that with my changing diet, there are times the babies are more irritable and gassy.

My mom was the first to notice and say something. She was visiting when I mentioned that the babies had been fussy and I couldn’t figure out why. She started asking about what I had eaten. Garlicky hummus, orange juice, and chili stuck out. Bingo.

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9:00am on Wednesday March 21
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Packing to Travel with Twins

A few weeks ago, while my husband was away for a week on business, I decided it would be fun to take a trip from Boston to Long Island to see my brother. I used to do this on a fairly regular basis without any consideration. Boy, have times changed!

With two infants in tow, the “quick trip” quickly started to look like I was packing for a week away. We were only going to be gone one night, but I wanted to be prepared for anything.

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10:22am on Wednesday March 14
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Weight Loss After Pregnancy

While pregnant I was careful to not take the old “eat for two (or three, in my case)” route, but as every pregnant woman does, I put on weight while growing my babies. After they were born I was hoping the weight I put on would just fall off. A girl can dream, right?

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9:00am on Tuesday March 6
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Feeding Routine

I think I can say now, at three months, that we have a bit of a feeding routine. This wasn’t always the case, and there were some rough patches, but these days we seem to be operating fairly well.

The most important part of the puzzle is having the support of my husband. When they first came home he was worried I wasn’t making enough milk for both babies, and he may have been right, as I was stressed, not eating well, and not drinking enough water. But then we got our game plan together, and since then we’ve been doing great.

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3:22pm on Tuesday February 28
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Early Breastfeeding

When I went into labor at 33 weeks, I was concerned because I knew premature babies don’t always have the capacity to suck, and therefore aren’t able to breastfeed.

But hours after I gave birth, I put both babies to my breasts in the NICU, and they both showed signs of trying to eat. It was an amazing feeling.

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11:14am on Wednesday February 22
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First Pediatric Visit

It was important to me when selecting a pediatrician that he not only care for my babies, but that he support me and my husband in the decisions we make.

We felt funny doing it, but we were encouraged to “interview” potential pediatricians. When we “interviewed” the doctor we ended up selecting, in addition to asking questions about appointment length, vaccinations and emergency care, we talked with him about breast feeding. He was wholly in support of it, talking a lot about the benefits of doing so. He did say that sometimes it doesn’t work, and with two it can be more difficult. But he said he would stand behind us in whatever decision we made.

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9:00am on Wednesday February 15
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Valentine's Day

Before my babies were born, I knew what love was. I had been married to my husband for eight years and we have a wonderful relationship. In addition, I have a tremendous family and great friends. Plus I have a black lab who loves me unconditionally.

But when my twins were born, I learned about a new kind of love. A love that a mother has with her children. A love that envelopes you and takes you to far off lands without leaving your living room. A love that melts all the worries and concerns away.

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7:19pm on Tuesday February 14
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Birth Story

November 17, 2011. A day that almost everyone will have forgotten is one I will never forget. It was on that day that my birth plan went out the window and two most beautiful babies entered my life.

My husband and I had been trying for more than three years to get pregnant and I had never felt the excitement of getting a positive pregnancy test.

Not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant with twins! We were thrilled.  There were many appointments that followed: midwife and OB. We did not find out the babies’ genders.

My belly was growing by leaps and bounds.

On November 17, 2011, at 33 weeks, my water broke.  I was so scared for my babies. Everything had been going accordingly and I had a birth plan set (natural, only drugs if I felt like I needed them, babies on my chest after birth, cords not cut immediately, breastfeeding within hours).  Things were suddenly out of my control.

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9:00am on Tuesday February 7
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