Friday, April 01, 2005

The C&D Twinalicious Baby FAQ


Profile Picture (4 months)

Here, in this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Sheet, are the answers to the questions people most often ask us. We hope this information helps you, or at least satisfies your curiosity!

Where did you get those baby carriers?

Well, the answer to that question depends on what we were wearing they day that you saw us. We have made our own, bought a few others, and are now selling EllaRoo wraps, slings, and mei tais because we like them so much.

How we made our own: Actually, we bought the fabric, and we had a neighbor hem it for us. The fabric is cotton gauze from JoAnn's Fabrics. We paid $1.88/yard and bought about six yards (to account for shrinking). Our neighbor then hemmed the fabric, turning it into a very useful SPOC (Simple Piece of Cloth). This SPOC can be used as a baby wrap to carry the baby at the front, hip, or on our backs. It also makes a good pillow, blankie, changing pad, and peekaboo curtain! An internet search yields many websites for directions to help you tie your wrap; my favorite is www.mamatoto.org. If you cannot sew and do not know someone who can hem the wrap for you, simply choose a fabric that has finished edges, or enjoy a premade wrap made with love.

Our favorite carriers:
Over time we have come to have preferences in how we wear the babies. Matt prefers a mei tai, and I prefer a wrap. We both prefer carriers produced for EllaRoo. We like them so much that we have decided to become EllaRoo distributors. EllaRoo carriers are incredibly strong, well-made, and breezier than any of our other carriers, keeping parents and baby cool in the Texas heat. Check out WearingBaby.Blogspot.com to learn more.

Benefits to Wearing Baby:
Dr. Sears and several other popular authors have written extensively about "wearing" your baby. If tying the wrap feels a little more intimidating to you, a Baby Bjorn is a good soft-structured carrier that will help you learn to be comfortable wearing your baby. The Baby Bjorn and other crotch-style carriers are not a good all-the-time carrier because the baby is not especially secured (making it hard to bend over!). It also allows some pressure on a baby's young spine that may be detrimental over long periods of time. A carrier that better supports the baby's back (like a wrap or sling) is preferable.

For more links about wearing your baby, visit Kellymom.

What do you do at night with two babies?
Sleep with them. They sleep longer, happier, and healthier, and so do we. And if they're hungry, I just roll myself over and feed them, and usually fall back to sleep in the process.

You mean they sleep in your bed?
Yes, they do. The crib seems like a lonely place at night, and our babies are so cuddly and cute; how could we NOT sleep with them? (And they don't shed like the cat did!) Co-sleeping is very safe, and convenient for all of us. Naps occur in the crib or a swing, place that are safer for our increasingly mobile babies during the busy daytime hours.

As they get bigger, you won't be able to make enough milk for them both!
Wanna bet? For more information on breastfeeding twins or more, talk to your local La Leche League. If you live in Houston, I strongly suggest visiting A Woman's Work (a store just for breastfeeding!). Hiring a good doula to help you with the birth and immediately after will help all three of you get started on the right foot, or, uh, boob. And feel free to e-mail the Pitter Patter; I have some additional resources for you if you need them.

You're one tough mama! When I have my baby I won't breastfeed because:
  • I probably won't make any milk when I have my baby. Not true! Undersupply is a very uncommon problem. Learn as much as you can about breastfeeding beforehand, and find good support from La Leche League or your doctor or midwife. If you like to read, check out Dr. Newman's book before you read the others--it's very informative. The Breastfeeding Fairy's website is a good, concise summary.
  • breastfeeding hurts. Only if you're doing it wrong. (Of course, like anything, there are exceptions to this rule, but pain is not a "normal" part of breastfeeding!)
  • I don't know how. Get support before, immediately after, and then a few days after you've begun to establish your relationship with your bab(ies). A qualified LLL Leader or Lactation Consultant can help you learn what to expect, ensure that the babies have an effective latch, and then later check up on you to make sure mom and babes are on the path to boob bliss. Be prepared to spend some time learning your natural rhythms. Some mothers and babies may need help perfecting their latch to keep breastfeeding efficient and comfortable. A knowledgeable person can watch you and make sure the two (or three, or four . . .) of you are on track. A scale is fun reassurance that your baby is growing and gaining weight; they can be rented for just a couple of dollars a day. We had a great deal of fun with our baby scale rented from A Woman's Work.
  • I have weird/small boobs/nipples. Share your concern with your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant. Chances are, everything will be just fine. Babies are born to be breastfed, right? If you have inverted nipples, you may be able to do some things during your pregnancy to correct the problem, or you may be able to use some tools to let the baby fix the problem for you! Sometimes, a few days of a good latch from a hungry baby will do the trick.
  • I'm on medication for a health problem. Many medications are safe for breastfeeding mothers. Dr. Sears has an excellent article about breastfeeding and medications that you may want to read before making up your mind.
  • breastfeeding will tie me to my baby. It is true that if you are breastfeeding, you will probably more often be responsible for feeding your baby until she is eating on her own. But think now: you love your baby, you'll not be far from her for very long, anyway! If you are working, or need some relief at nights, a breast pump will allow you to express milk to be fed to your baby by someone else--in the next few hours, days, or even months. Breast pumps range in price from a $20 to $300, and can even be rented. You might also find that once you get the hang of it, it's very easy to feed a baby when you are out and about--and there are no bottles to bring or formula to mix! A sling or wrap can make your job even easier and more discrete.
Why did you hire a doula? I'm not going to hire one because my husband is going to be there, and he's really great.
I'm sure he is. But consider finding labor support, anyway. An experienced doula will help you negotiate the red tape at the hospital, ensuring that your wishes are respected. Also, a doula knows how childbirth feels, because she has not only experienced, but seen it dozens of times before. She'll guide you through the birth process and explain what's happening. She might even give you a massage when you're tired and hurting. The result: an increased likelihood of a faster, safer birth.

How do you do it?
Help. Lots of it. Get some.

Where did you get that cool stroller?
It's made by Combi. It's available at Babies'R'Us and online.

Why do you have a little blue potty in the back of your Forester? Aren't your babies too young too be potty-trained?
Ever see those pictures of women holding naked babies in National Geographic? She's not covered in baby poo, and the nearest Pamper is hundreds of miles away. How do they do it? The babies learn to potty. Some days are better for us than others--you can imagine it's really hard to keep up with two babies--but we drive around with the potty because, well, you never know when somebody's gotta go. We wear diapers just in case, and probably will for several more months.

The little blue potty, by the way, is made by Baby Bjorn, and you can find it online for about $10. My favorite for the car, though, is called the Pottette; you can find it at Babies'R'Us. It is collapsible (fits in my backpack!) and comes with a disposable liner. The liners are also for sale at BRU.

Visit Diaper Free Baby for information, e-mail listserv opportunities, and local meeting info. Also read Diaper Free! or Infant Potty Training.

They aren't eating real food/cereal/BBQ, yet?!
Babies are born with tummies made for digesting milk; research has shown that not until they're 6 months (at least) are babies properly able to digest "real" or "solid" foods. If babies start solids too early, they are at increased risk of food allergies and other health problems. Because of a family history of food allergies, we are going to wait trying solids in earnest until we know the babies are ready. Every baby is different, of course. We also don't see the harm in giving a baby (once they are around 6 months) an occassional carrot, cucumber, sweet potato, or other low-allergenic food to feel, taste, and play with. The exposure to these foods would not be much different than their exposure to them in breast milk. If, in the worse case scenario, the baby does develop an allergy to one of those foods, a carrot, cucumber, or sweet potato allergy is easily avoidable! For more information on adding solids for allergic infants, check this scale.

Are those their diapers?
Yes! Cloth diapers have come a long way; the days of pins and plastic pants are so over.

Did you use IVF or fertility drugs?
No, we were just twice blessed! We wish you well if you are considering IVF or fertility treatments. Let us know if you have twins!

You had twins, so you had to have a c-section, right?
We had a c-section birth only because our babies were in the birth canal feet first. This is a rare and dangerous position for any baby, but especially twins, to be born. If you are pregnant with twins, your doctor has promised you a c-section, and you don't want one, consider changing doctors. Many twins have been healthfully delivered naturally.

Why did I not want a c-section until I knew it was medically necessary?
  • For many women, the incision site hurts. For weeks. And months.
  • C-section babies are often less alert than babies born naturally. This means that they are more prone to respiratory, feeding, and other problems.
  • I knew that the pain in my abdomen could damage our breastfeeding relationship, and it did. I could not get into position to properly feed the babies without a great deal of difficulty. I could not nurse on my side comfortably, so we all had to get out of bed for every night feeding. The pain also made me miss spending time with my babies, because it was very hard to hold them.
For those interested in having more children, it will be harder to give birth naturally in the future if you have a c-section. While it's true that many doctors will consider a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), many will not, so you may have to seek an OB (and hospital) willing to accept you as a patient.

Cesarean sections are not an easy way out, and they are not necessarily safer for mother or baby. Nor are they painless. My incision site hurt for months, and my back still aches from the spinal anesthesia. Natural labor pains, however, are usually over when the baby is born!

Were they born early?

Thankfully, they were very close to being full term. Our EDD (Estimated Date of Delivery) was February 14th, 2005; my water broke the morning of 23 January, 2005. I wish I had been able to carry them a little bit longer, but I guess they ran out of womb (get it? room/womb! Eh, heh.) and wanted to get out of there. We did not need to spend any time in the nursery or NICU, what a blessing! We just went straight home.

Many twin births are early, requiring hospitalization and interventions that can last well into the childhood years. This is hard on everyone.

How big were they when they were born?
Carmen, the first, was 18" and 6 pounds, 5 ounces. David was 18.75" and 5 pounds, 14 ounces. Yes, that is a good size, even for a singleton birth! Even though I felt a bit like Shamu in the 3rd trimester, the pregnancy was normal and healthy.

How did I get through the pregnancy?
I had:
If you are expecting twins, or know someone who is, make sure Mama gets lots of rest, and lots of nutrient-dense, delicious food. She--and the babies--will thank you! I have also made a FAQ for relatives of MOMs (mothers of multiples) that might help you discover other ways to help.

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