Breastfeeding Twins? Yes! It Can Be Done

I have a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding—especially breastfeeding twins. It’s been nine years since I nursed an infant (or two), but I still remember all the emotion involved with it.

First—a disclaimer:

Breastfeeding can be hard, and it can be a difficult transition for moms. Please, please, please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to breastfeed your baby(ies) and/or if you choose not to. While it is a great and wonderful way to feed your baby (ies), it does not make one a superior mother or more holy than another.

This post is not to condemn or elevate anyone’s choice of how to feed her child(ren). It is simply meant to offer encouragement and some practical tips for expectant moms of multiples who may be wondering, “Is it even possible to breastfeed twins successfully?”

And now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, I continue.

4 Tips for Breastfeeding TWINS

With my first baby, learning to breastfeed was a bumpy start. Once we got the hang of it, we were fine. She nursed until she self-weaned around 8 months.

When I found out I was expecting twins, I researched all I could about breastfeeding them. I was determined to give it a good faith effort, but I had extremely low expectations. Let me repeat that: extremely. low. expectations. With a two-year-old still in diapers, I knew that breastfeeding two babies at the same time would certainly have its challenges.

Unbelievably, we made it until they, too, self-weaned around ten months.

Are you expecting twins? Do you wonder if you could successfully breastfeed them? From my experience, I offer four tips.

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

How We Found Out We Were Having Twins

My identical twin boys at age 3. Spencer is on the left, and Seth is on the right.

Many of you have heard my crazy story of finding out we were having twins. Yes—it was one of those revelatory moments that you see in movies. OK–it wasn’t quite the Cosby Show scenario where Sondra and Elvin don’t tell their families about the twins until AFTER they are born.

But still.

Finding out we were having twins is one of the most exciting—if not, the most exciting—things that’s happened to me. And definitely the most surprising. Seriously.

Our daughter, Susanna, was born in 2003. After about 15 months of trying to conceive, we succeeded. In hindsight, we believe the delay resulted from undiagnosed endometriosis.

So, when Susanna turned one, we started itching for another baby. My friend, Jennifer, calls that the bewitching age. You know, when the kids are cute and are sleeping great and well before the tantrums and potty training. It’s when you think, “Hey! This parenting thing? I got this! No problem. Let’s do it again!”

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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

The First Day of School=Relief

One doesn’t just wander into motherhood as one wanders into a Starbuck’s.

No, becoming a mother is more like the space shuttle re-entering Earth’s atmosphere after a voyage. It’s bold and loud and fast. It’s violent in many ways. It’s a bumpy ride, for sure. It’s a complete reorientation.
It’s life-changing. 
Today I took my five-year-old twins to their first day of kindergarten. I know. Moms in my shoes are sobbing, mourning the loss of their infants. Some are in deep reflection about the preschool years. 
Me? 
I’m just relieved. 
Sitting here now in the quiet of the house, the adrenaline, anxiety, and blood pressure levels are down. My body is slowly relaxing from the ends of my hair to the tips of my big toes. 
I’m so relieved. 
I’ll confess to you that time and again, I’ve prayed and wondered silently, Really, God? Why did you give me twins? You know I can’t do this job. You know me. You know them. What were you thinking putting the three of us together? Why would you challenge me in this way when I’m clearly not equipped to handle this?
Yet here as I approached this great milestone, God clearly spoke to me recently. As he ordained their teachers for this year, I thanked him. They received the exact teachers I would have picked. God sweetly used their class assignments to demonstrate his love and mercy to me!
God reminded me that, It’s not about you. It’s about them. I have plans for these two young men. You’re just a means to an end. Sure, I’ll grow you in the process, too. But you are way too focused on YOU.
I really needed that shift in perspective. My boys (and my girl) are God’s.
And it’s not about me.
 
Another reason to feel relieved.  

~~~

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I Guess I’m On a Break

So, it’s been another week without a blog post.

They are there. In my head. But not here.

I’m busy with birthdays and Easter and family dinners. I cleaned my house ALL DAY on Friday. It had been since Thanksgiving a few weeks that I had really cleaned. And my bathroom floor was actually clean for about 4 hours before one boy “missed” and peed on the floor.

That was a really satisfying, exciting four hours in my day. 

Once upon a time, I remember a friend saying that when her child turned five, a “breath of fresh air” blew through the house.

Yep. Waiting on that breeze to come on through. 

I really think parenting is getting harder. The boys have two modes: fighting or needing attention. No such thing as playing happily together or playing quietly independently. And I hear one million times a day, “MOM!!! Help me wipe my bottom. I want juice. I’m hungry.”

Plus, as they get older, they get bigger. There’s just more surface area. There’s more food to make and more dirty dishes to clean. There’s bigger clothes to wash, dry, and fold.

I guess I’m trying to say that even though I’ve cut out much of my “extra” stuff, I’m still busy. I suppose I couldn’t have picked a better time to cut back, with my bigger, demanding almost 5 year-olds.

I’m tired.

So, I guess I’m on a break. Not sure when you’ll hear from me again.

Maybe when that refreshing gust blows through my house.

I’m Supposed to Enjoy This?

When our twins were infants, we were in the pediatrician’s office (probably dealing with acid reflux and mind-numbing screaming for hours on end) for an appointment. He told us his youngest child had just begun kindergarten. His comment was something along the lines of, “Enjoy it. The time goes by so quickly.”

I remember thinking then, Enjoy? Enjoy what? Which part of my life should I enjoy? The screaming twins part or the destructive two-year-old part or the post-partum depression fog part?

Seriously, I haven’t “enjoyed” much of the last four years. Sure, once we got past the reflux and PPD and everyone was sleeping on a regular, predictable basis, we had moments of pleasantry. But for the most part, these years of having twin babies with a toddler have been a real blur, with survival as the primary objective.

One of the highlights of the last few years has been my Tuesday morning Bible study. Weekly, I’ve taken the children, left them with the childcare workers, and then enjoyed my Bible study.

I remember one week when the kids were about 4, 2, and 2, it was pouring rain. As we were leaving, I decided to leave the kids inside the church door while I went to pull the van to the curb. I felt that Susanna would do a good job of keeping things “under control,” while I was gone for all of 90 seconds.

I pulled up to the door to find three hysterical kids and a crowd of concerned Bible study ladies trying to console them. I felt like a big, fat, loser mom.

Then last year at the Christmas luncheon, it was—once again—raining. As we left, I was dreading the whole load-twins-in-the-car-with-stuff-in-your-hands-while-holding-an-umbrella routine.

A friend said, “Let them stand here with me under the awning while you get the van.”

Relieved, I said, “OK,” feeling fairly certain I’d return to find two wailing kids with a crowd of concerned Bible study ladies trying to console them.

I hate it when I’m right.

So, today, we arrived for the Christmas luncheon. It was pouring rain this morning, which brought the memories flooding (pun intended) back. Loading. Unloading. Umbrellas. Wet kids. Crying kids. Crowds of concerned Bible study ladies.

Taking a real risk, I pulled up to the awning at the front door.

“Boys, I want you to stay right inside the front door and wait on Mommy. I want you to sit on that bench right there and wait on Mommy and then we’ll go to your class. Do this for Mommy and show Mommy how big you are!”

“OK! OK! Mommy, we will. We can.” A chorus of affirmation came from the backseat.

I walked them to the front door and inside the small lobby area. I parked them on the bench.

“I’ll be right back. Stay right there. Show Mommy how big you are!”

“Alright, Mommy!”

I parked the van and trotted through the rain clutching my umbrella, hoping and praying I could avoid the panicked expressions, wailing sobs, and crowds of concerned Bible study ladies.

I pulled open the door to find my two smiling little boys seated on the bench, right where I’d left them. They were happy, content, and calm.

Best of all, I saw Bible study ladies in the hallway, but they were going about their business and not concerned about my kids one little bit.

I let out a sigh of relief.

I think I’m starting to enjoy life now.

Our First Birthday Party Where ONE of the Twins Was Invited

This school year we made the grand leap to separate the twins for the last year of preschool.

Had you asked me about doing that two years ago, I would have have never considered it. But that was when the boys liked each other.

Now, their personalities keep getting stronger and stronger, as they are forging their way into life. They fight all the time and are so competitive, I tire of refereeing everything from who gets to open the door first to who makes it to the table first. It’s apparent they are ready for this assertion of individuality. I’m really pleased, actually, because it forces me to emphasize their uniqueness.

So, we knew this day would come. Spencer was invited to a birthday party for a boy in his class. Seth was not invited. I wasn’t sure how it would go, but I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of it all. The boys said their goodbyes. There were no tantrums, tears, or even cross words. Spencer and I went to the party.

I wondered if he’d miss Seth at the party or ask for him. Nope. He was perfectly content, playing with his friends.

And Seth was fine, too. He was very matter-of-fact and seemed to understand completely that this party was for Spencer to attend.

No problem.

And we’re officially heading down that “my-babies-are-growing-up” path.