Two Boys Laughing

growing happy twins

Wearing Two March 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — happilyhandsful @ 1:37 pm

Babywearing is essential to growing happy babies in general, and twin babies are no different.  The logistics of wearing two babies at once can feel daunting and tricky, but there are ways to babywear twins from infancy through toddlerhood.

When the boys were around 6 months old, I got a wrap carrier. Though it was a beautiful wrap, by that time, it wasn’t ideal for wearing both at the same time. It did work out well, however, for short walks or errands to wear one baby and hip carry the other baby.  The wrap may have worked well to wear both when the boys were newborns, but it still would’ve been pretty challenging for me.

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, early on in the boys’ lives, I discovered the Weego Twin Carrier.

This carrier is awesome, and makes getting out with two babies much more practical than when trying to wear two in dual slings or pouches or the often challenging to tie on wrap. It is easy, safe, and comfortable to wear.  The babies fit securely into little pouches where they are in a supportive seat.  They are not hanging like in the Bjorn-like other twin carrier I found.

 

 

 

 

 

Under that blanket I’m wearing in this photo are my boys at 4 months old.  They were asleep, warm and happy, while I attended my cousin’s wedding.

 

 

Finn woke up during the reception. He was a bit upset by the noise level.  It’s a good thing he was so close to me.  I can’t imagine how upset he might have been if he’d woken up in a stroller somewhere.

I wore my boys in the Weego Twin Carrier until they reached the maximum weight (around 15lbs each), and my body was telling me it was time to move one baby to a back carry.  The boys were about 7 months old when we made the next carrier transition.

(Weego Twin Carriers can be purchased at the website: http://www.weego.com/en/produkte/weego_twin.php).

 

Starting around 7.5-8 months old (15lbs each), I began wearing the boys in two Beco Butterfly 2 baby carriers, one front, one back.

These carriers are great for wearing older babies and young toddlers (they do come with infant inserts to wear younger babes, too). They are easy to put on, safe for the little ones, secure, and supportive.  They’re also really well-made and come in beautiful patterns.  I wore my boys as shown in the photo (alternating who was on front/back every time to keep things fresh and “fair”) until just last week when I transitioned to two Boba Toddler Carriers, which have longer torsos for longer/taller babes.  My boys are currently 15 m0nths old and 20 and 25lbs, and they still love being worn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wearing my twins these ways has worked so well for me and my boys!

The babes are able to remain close, sleep while we’re out, see what I see, and be carried, which they both really love. I am able to pop them on and off easily (much more easily than getting out a stroller, putting it together, getting the boys in and buckled up, etc), keep them close, which is important to me considering the attention they are often given, and feel balanced while wearing them.  My arms are free to shop, hold hands with Rowan or my husband, do chores or errands.  Plus, and this is essential, my back doesn’t get tired!

While I do use a stroller more and more often now that my boys enjoy getting out and running around, I highly recommend wearing twin babies as long as they are happy being worn.  I plan to continue wearing my babes until they tell me they’re “all done”.

 

Breastfeeding Twins- Positioning Two at Once December 16, 2010

Filed under: Attachment Style Parenting (AP),Breastfeeding Two,Uncategorized — happilyhandsful @ 9:14 am

Understanding that good positioning leads to proper latch, which leads to effective breastfeeding, usually making a happy mama and a happy baby, it was absolutely my goal to find the best position for breastfeeding my twin boys at one time.

As a voracious reader of Dr. Sears with my daughter, I revisited his website, askdrsears.com, while pregnant with my boys to re-explore proper positioning while breastfeeding.  What I found was that what helped me with positioning my singleton was of little help with twins.  The step-by-step photos of a mother helping her infant get a good latch while in a cradle position across her lap brought to mind two major dilemmas: 1. how would I hold two infants AND use both of my hands to present my breasts to them to get a proper latch? 2. how would I hold two babies in full cradle positions across my lap?

Thankfully, with more searching, I found some links that showed images of mamas breastfeeding twins:

http://www.breastfeeding.com/helpme/helpme_images_twins.html

This is the football hold, of which I wasn’t a big fan when my daughter was a young infant. It felt awkward to me. With twins, it actually worked out to be the best position in which to breast feed them from newborn until about 4 months or so when they begin to have more muscle control in their necks.

http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Breastfeed-Twins

These illustrations were helpful, a definite start to me feeling more ready for this breastfeeding adventure, knowing that there is more than one way to position babies and get a proper latch.

At 36 weeks pregnant, my boys were transverse and breech (as they’d been throughout most of my pregnancy), and I was experiencing early labor without progression. At that point, we (my husband, OB, doula, and I) opted for a c-section delivery at 38 weeks.  Now my concerns revolved around how to breastfeed two at once while lying prone for some time after my surgery/their delivery, a reality that many twin mamas find themselves dealing with. Here’s what I discovered:

By placing a bed pillow on  either side of my upper body and a baby on each pillow, facing me, then gently wrapping my arms around each baby and bringing them to my breasts, we achieved comfortable positioning and proper latch. Plus, I needed no assistance getting them into this position. Then, when one or both babies were finished nursing, I could lay him/them back on the pillow to sleep.  The three of us even slept like this at night while I recovered from my surgery.

In retrospect, I probably would have nursed my boys in the football holds to start even if I delivered vaginally as it really proved to be super comfortable, safe for the babies, and easy for me to do unassisted.

After the babies developed more upper body muscle control, we switched to a vertical cradle hold (it may be called another name by LLL and breastfeeding experts):

I also feel I should add here that a big rocker recliner like the one shown above is a HUGE must when breast-feeding or rocking two babies at once.  This chair cost very little (under $400) from JC Penny, and it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made.

I recommend a sturdy, big rocker recliner with low, wide arms that can act as arm rests as well as pillows for the babies’ heads. I think it is the best type of chair for breastfeeding twins. I especially recommend this instead of the twin nursing pillow as that does not adequately support the babies or feel very comfortable and stable in my opinion.

My boys are now 13 months old, and they still nurse and rock in the position above (as well as all sorts of fun configurations that they come up with on their own). It is the most comfortable for all of us, and it still allows for proper latch and most comfortable, effective breastfeeding.

 

Breast is best- even for twins! December 13, 2010

Filed under: Breastfeeding Two — happilyhandsful @ 8:03 am

In her book, Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins or More, Karen Gromada, lactation consultant and mom of twins, details how important breastfeeding twins is, giving information on positioning and more. When very pregnant with my boys, I read this book cover to cover and then thumbed through it at least a dozen times to stare hard at the photos of moms breastfeeding their infant twins, hoping to burn the images into my memory in preparation for when I would be in their position.

By that point in my life, I had been nursing  “on demand” my daughter for over 3 years, even throughout my pregnancy, (which was frowned upon by my OB, but very do-able and safe); and before I knew that I was going to have twins, I intended to tandem nurse Rowan and her baby sibling. So, the idea of breastfeeding two at a time was not so scary or unusual to me. I knew that if I nourished my body and got some amount of rest that my body would feed my babies well. I also knew that I could find support if I encountered any issues with latch or sore nipples. I generally felt like a confident, well-educated, joyfully breastfeeding mama. And yet, I stared at those photos again and again, wondering…

I think that despite helpful, pro-breastfeeding books like Ms. Gromada’s, confidence in  my breastfeeding skills, and being a lactivist, there is so much chatter in this American culture that breastfeeding is too hard for many, and that the difficulty increases tenfold with twins. Many sites on the Internet that discussed twins advise moms not to expect to breastfeed too long if they choose to breastfeed at all; and to, better yet, get the bottles ready to definitely pump and bottle feed or, easier yet, formula feed.  The message is clear: Breastfeeding twins is TOO HARD.

Well, I cannot even fathom NOT breastfeeding my boys. And while it can be challenging, it’s absolutely worth doing. Here’s why:

Breastfeeding is best for my twins because…

* they are getting the perfect first food, designed specifically for them. (Research supporting this is only getting stronger; but, advertising for formula is also getting smarter.  It really does a mama good to be well-informed).

* I can spend our time actually feeding them when they are hungry rather than getting their food ready for them. This is a time saver as well as a sanity saver; crying babies is heartbreaking, and two hungry, crying babies can be nerve-wracking. Getting the babies’ needs met quickly is a big bonus!

* I save a lot of money NOT buying formula and feeding supplies.

* I am able to feed them just about anywhere easily and quickly with a little help from a cover up (because breastfeeding two at a time increases exposure of mom, a “hooter hider” is a good investment).

* for us, “let down” is relatively fast, so they breastfeed for a relatively short amount of time. (My boys each have different sucks, so the let down is different for both; however, because they are breastfeeding simultaneously often, they tend to get milk within 2-3 minutes of starting to nurse).

* I can breastfeed them both at the same time.  This is a huge plus.  I would have a more challenging time nursing them together if I were bottle feeding, especially if I wanted to hold them in a semi-cradle position or close to my body as I do while breastfeeding. This is also another time saver and a bonding time.

* I can stay in bed!  Because we co-bed, when my boys wake to nurse, I don’t (usually) have to get up.

* they interact with each other while sharing Mom.  This is an undoubtedly vital and wonderful way to bond with both babes and for them to bond with one another.

* it just makes natural sense!! Why would I choose to feed my babies a factory-made food if I am able to feed them food made for them by my body? Why would I choose to soothe them artificially when I can soothe them with my body, using my breasts for the very reason that I have them.  Having two babies at one time DOES NOT make breastfeeding less important or less possible.


**For more reasons to breastfeed twins, check out Karen Gromada’s helpful website:

9826585http://www.karengromada.com/karengromada/faq.htm

 

Two Boys Laughing: Growing Happy twins November 30, 2010

Filed under: Overview: Getting Started — happilyhandsful @ 3:15 pm

Welcome!

Wearing my fraternal twin boys out shopping or to the park certainly does draw quite a bit of attention and interesting comments, some positive and some not; but mostly, people really just want to know:

How does she do that?”

Where did she get that carrier?”

Isn’t that hard?”

I really enjoy sharing my parenting experiences with others, especially other twin parents and parents-to-be. I think that growing twin babies and children is an awesome experiencefrom conception on, and I am truly blessed to be my twin boys’ mama.

Yet, I am not a “Super Mom.”

Raising twin babies isn’t easy. And to be honest, we certainly do have our challenges (and new one’s every day at that!). Parents of twins often struggle with breastfeeding, sleeping arrangments, getting out of the house, discipline, and even simply caring for two at one time. It can feel overwhelming at times.

BUT…(Take a breath)…caring for twins can be a wonderful journey for parents and their little ones.

Being a joyful parent of twins and raising happy twins begins with nurturing them the same ways that joyful parents of singletons do… like I have done with my first child as a baby, toddler and young child:

*wearing them often

*bedsharing and or co-sleeping

*breastfeeding on demand

*being with them throughout the first year of their lives

*parenting empathicallywith AP principles

*being selective about the products you purchase

Also vital to giving my twin boys a solid start was a healthy, natural pregnancy and an informed, gentle birth. Yes, both are possible.

My intention for creating Two Boys Laughing is that you gain some quality information as well as feelings of joy, confidence and excitment about raising twins to be healthy and happy. Yes, it is challenging. But the rewards are worth the work. Now…just be prepared to get jaw-dropping looks and interesting comments and questions as you proudly and joyfully nurture your babies.

 

Growing Happy Twins

Filed under: General — happilyhandsful @ 2:41 pm

My fraternal twin boys, Liam and Finnian,  just turned a year old, and I am amazed by how quickly the time went by. I have learned so much about these babies, now verging on toddlerhood, my 4.5 year old daughter, Rowan, my husband, myself, society, even, over these last 20 months- from pregnancy through now- that I feel obliged and excited to share.

Two Boys Laughing is absolutely a labor of love, but with an added sense of obligation to other moms, dads, and caregivers of twins, knowing that they could gain so much joy as parents of and partners with their little ones by focusing on keeping them happy, growing them with empathic parenting and AP principles.

I began working on Two Boys Laughing as a website a few months ago, but found myself frustrated by the website construction process, wishing that I could create something more immediate and fluid; so, I’m switching over to this blog. It will take me some time to transfer my carefully composed ideas from the website to this location, but I will feel less like the work has to be perfect and final, giving me the space to make my ideas available more rapidly.

I look forward to sharing and being shared with.