MicroblogMondays: Feeding, Sleep Deprivation, and Babywearing

The babes are already over three weeks old.  I still can hardly believe it that we brought home real babies that breathe and move around and are packing on the pounds.  Yesterday I weighed them on the scale that my friend Jane used for her cat, and they were 7.84 and 7.64 lbs.  They are definitely gaining weight.  Bunny is on a pretty regular schedule; she eats approximately every three hours and is usually pretty calm in between feedings.  She does clear her throat constantly still and sometimes spits out her milk if I lay her down too quickly.  But she usually eats quickly and becomes content quite fast.  I have to burp her for an extended amount of time but she doesn’t fuss.  Okra, on the other hand, changed from a mostly easygoing baby to Mr. Screamer this past week.  His number one problem is hunger.  He would be sleeping and all of a sudden would wake up screaming.  His screams are loud and dramatic.  We used to go heat up the refrigerated bottle that we pre-make with a Dr. Brown’s Pitcher and change the babies first before we feed them.  I soon found that it isn’t working for Okra.  The longer we wait, the angrier he gets, and the harder to feed him as he has a hard time regulating himself with sucking, breathing, and crying.  Two nights ago, I tried this: at Okra’s first sign of crying, I quickly jump up from bed, heat up the bottle, scoop him up, and feed him.  It works half of the time.  The other times he still screams in the middle of a feed mostly because of air bubbles and he needs to be burped.  He also eats slowly so it takes about 30 minutes to feed him at times.  Okra is more unpredictable in the amount and the timing of his feeds.  He sometimes eats the full meal of 90 to 100 ml.  He sometimes eats a little bit and falls asleep.  At times he still screams for more formula after being fed 90ml.  And he screams even more when I have to warm up the cold milk.  I sometimes just let him drink the cold milk.  He sometimes takes it, and sometimes not.  If he falls asleep after eating only a part of the bottle, he often wakes up screaming in 45 minutes or an hour wanting more.  In terms of schedule, he gets hungry after 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or 3 hours.  It’s really hard to gauge.  So what does all of this mean to my sanity?

I was doing really well the first two weeks of their lives because of all the help that I had.  Bob was home and my parents were around.  And then mom got sick, and Bob went back to work.  My dad helps a lot during the day so I can get some rest.  However, in the middle of the night, I try to let Bob sleep through the night so he has enough energy for work the next day.  I was doing well and going going going for four nights in a row doing all the feedings until 7am.  Then last Thursday night, Friday morning, my body totally shut down at 3am.  The babies woke up crying and I just needed to crash.  Bob woke up and let me sleep for a good stretch of four, five hours.  He was up from 3am until he had to leave for work, and my mom took over after that.  That was much needed.  Over the weekend, they let me sleep from 7am until 10:30 or 11am.  That totally saved my sanity.  Remember last week I told you all that I didn’t feel like I was surviving?  This week at times I did feel like I was surviving.  But, it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy my life right now.  I enjoy motherhood and these babies tremendously.  Bob asked me if at any time I didn’t enjoy the life that I have right now, and he wanted me to be honest.  Honestly, the one moment that I had the hardest time was that 3am when my body was screaming to me that this could not be sustained.  But overall, I really love being home with my monkeys.  They are such a joy to be with and I can’t imagine not having them around.

The topic of night doula came up over and over again.  The FB group of my local multiples group talks about night doulas all the time.  It feels like a dream that someone would come to your home in the evening, feed and take care of your baby, and let you sleep until the next morning. Well, this dream also comes with a hefty price tag.  I asked a few parents of twins that we know and they all had night doulas.  They all swore by them even though it was pricey.  They told me that the night doulas did much more than just taking care of the babies at night.  They put them on a schedule so that when you take over again, you will be able to follow the schedule.  But, it is still a very large investment and I don’t think we are at that point yet.  Maybe by the time we are at that point to spend the money, the babies will start to be on a similar schedule and we won’t need to spend that money anymore.

One thing that I really start to love is wearing my babies.  I have learned to use the Boba wrap and started to wear one baby at a time.  A few times last week I wore Bunny or Okra out and took a walk around the neighborhood.  I would really like to try to wear both of them at the same time but that will take some practice.  One thing I observe is that you will attract so much attention when you wear a newborn out.  When they are so tiny, people stop you and ask questions.

Top is Bunny.  Bottom is Okra.

Bob and I took the babies out to the mall for the first time yesterday.  We made a goal to get out as a family at least once this weekend and we did it! It took a long time to feed and change everyone, and put everyone in the car seat.  It felt like a lot of work but hey, we did it!  It felt like such an accomplishment.  The interesting part of it was that we walked through the mall with new eyes as parents of twins.  First of all, we parked on the 3rd level of the parking structure thinking that there was a ramp there, but nope, my memory was wrong.  We had to push the double frame stroller to another level.  For the first time, we had to find the elevator of the mall that we have frequented in the last many years.  It was located in the middle of the mall so the journey to the second floor took forever.  Bob who was pushing the stroller got stopped numerous times by curious bystanders who inquired about the twins.  He couldn’t go where I was going in H&M because of the size of the stroller.  The list goes on and on.  It was quite a brand new experience.

Sometimes I stare at my babies’ face and can’t believe that God entrusted these babies to us.  It just feels so surreal still.  When will it feel real?  I don’t know, but I am for sure soaking in my joy of being the mother to these precious babies even in my state of sleep deprivation.


11 thoughts on “MicroblogMondays: Feeding, Sleep Deprivation, and Babywearing

  1. The first six weeks with a newborn are really hard from what friends have told me, then it gradually starts to get easier and more manageable. And with twins it must be twice as hard in the beginning! It sounds like you are doing great though! I love the idea of baby wearing too.


  2. First time commenting, but I’m aware of your story and journey. First off congratulations on the arrival of your twins. After everything, it’s an amazing end to your journey to expand your family.

    Now on to night doulas. It’s been almost 4 years since we were in the same situation you are in now. Grey was working and I was home with the Beats and trying to survive the sleep deprivation. We didn’t hire help solely because we could not afford it. It was definitely tough. But one advantage we did have with being in NICU was the nurses put us all on a schedule. And we stuck to that schedule for the first 5 months (age adjusted 3 months) with very few deviations. That saved all of us.

    Night doulas are good for getting a schedule established if you don’t already have one. They also are wonderful for recognizing patterns and giving advice for how to best overcome them. They most certainly are expensive because of this, but depending on where you live they are a good option.

    The other option is to find a nursing student. The down side is they tend to come with less experience and they will come during the day vs the night. But they also can be great with identifying underlying patterns and offering support. Again, the downside is you have to take the lead, especially at night, but they are also a lot less expensive and they have the added benefit of having access to teaching staff who usually are amazing.

    Regardless, hang in there. I remember the first night the Beats slept all the way through (was Christmas eve). Was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got. It does get easier in many ways, I promise.


  3. Every mom needs some help in those first few weeks and months. Often it’s the father or other family member taking a shift –
    early night, or early morning, or taking babies out in the pram once they wake up for the day, and letting mom catch up on sleep. I hope you find a way to make things easier on yourself!


  4. Get a night nurse! We call them night nurses around here. We didn’t get anyone and I regret it. I thought with breastfeeding that it wouldn’t be very helpful but I’m sure it would’ve been. J had a hard time letting a stranger in the house while we sleep but he says now that he wishes we had looked into it too.
    Congrats on getting out of the house! When the weather warmed, we made weekend outings to the park just for fresh air and sunshine. My mood vastly improved those days. It’s hard but worth it to break that fog and monotony, which you sometimes don’t realize you’re in. You seem to be off to a great start. Stop trying to be Super Mom (she doesn’t exist anyway) and wake Bob up for a feeding now and then.


  5. Those first few weeks are very challenging 🙈. Please accept help from others if offered. I think if one had such a long infertility journey, you put additional stress on yourself to cope, never complain etc. I felt that I waited so long for my babies and can’t complain now about feeling tired, overwhelmed and stressed…..in the end I realized I have the same right as all other moms to feel all of the above. I think we underestimate the trauma we go through to become parents…..that’s probably why 80% of people battling with infertility have PND and even PTSD. You are doing an excellent job with these two miracles. Be kind to yourself and ask for help when needed. Those baby wraps are a godsend….


  6. Those baby wearing pictures are so precious! I’m so happy for you and your beautiful family. Just bc things get hard and exhausting doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful (I think you know this but sometimes in the moment it’s hard to give yourself a break).


  7. Infancy is hard- and it is even harder with twins so don’t be too hard on yourself! A neighbor once told me that with kids, everything is a phase- and it’s totally true! You just have to make it through the phase… 🙂


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