On the Nursing of Babes in Public

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imageWhen the twins were first born, I didn’t give much thought to the whole nursing in public thing. I did have to adjust quickly to feeding them in front of people as I went back to teaching three weeks postpartum (not out of preference) and at three weeks babies eat constantly. (Mine still seem to be doing that…but I digress). I used a cover while teaching and just sort of took it as it came. While aware of the #normalizebreastfeeding movement I didn’t give it much thought until later when I realized if I was to ever leave the house my exclusively breastfed babies were going to end up eating in front of a lot more people than just my students.

imageSo I invested in a second cover, this wonderful infinity scarf thing, and went on my merry way. It worked great, for a while, then my sweet nurslings started protesting the cover. They’d latch, get all comfy and the milk rolling, and then suddenly flail in panic like a crazed monkey with nine arms and there I was wet, vulnerable, exposed and squirting milk anywhere but my baby’s mouth while trying desperately to grab the cover that had somehow wrapped its way around my baby’s butt and my head. Not cool. I quickly realized it was time for Plan B. I tried the two shirt method. Instantly I had glorious results. While they would still pop off at the worst of times and I usually had a sliver of imageboob exposed (my daughter especially loves to hold the top shirt in the air and stare while she eats) I could quickly slide my top shirt down protecting my especially sensitive parts. Success.

While I did get a little psyched out reading the many horror stories shared on social media of nursing mamas getting shamed, having twins forced me to quickly change my mindset. Within a very short period of time, my boobs went from me perceiving them as a sacred and protected private part of my anatomy to a handy useful tool to be shoved in babies mouths at a moments notice no matter where I was or who was present. In short, I no longer gave a rats patoot.

imageYes I still use a cover when teaching and in situations where it’s not about me and might cause an issue (church, some weddings, etc) but now I nurse wherever, whenever, and I really do not care. Motherhood will force you to prioritize and let me tell you, my priority is my screaming baby not the general populace and their ever present opinion. And being a mommy, well it’s helped me take myself a LOT less seriously these days. I have fed these babies while walking through airports, festivals, in coffee shops, grocery shopping, on boats, in cars, while hiking, swimming and in pretty much every position and situation except standing on my head (which I have seen people do, but I am not that talented). imageThat much repetition of anything will get you over your nerves quickly. My boobs are for my babies, and my children matter more to me than anyone’s opinion.

And I’ve had a very positive experience for the most part. Just yesterday a woman approached me in Costco while I was feeding my daughter and told me I was a super hero. Of course I’ve received some negative looks and even some negative feedback from people I know, but for the most part it’s been smooth sailing. There will always be a naysayer, that’s life. No, I don’t go around flopping my boobs about freely and unrestrained, but once again, motherhood came through for me and shattered my previous idyllic and unrealistic mindset. The babies must eat, and short of me becoming a hermit, they’re going to eat in a vast majority of different places and in front of many different people.

imageAnd until we’re done nursing that means I’ll be feeding them in a zillion different situations. And really, what are we worried about? In a world of issues, how is nursing babies something that is worth picking on! If someone deems it worthy of their time to look down on me for nursing my baby I feel badly for them. Clearly they haven’t had a kiddo to rearrange their priorities enough. If my sitting on a park bench nursing my baby bothers you, go to the other side of the park. There are more benches. You can probably find someone else to stare at and condemn.

So go forth and feed those babies without fear, mamas. Your journey is about you and your baby, not anyone else. And really, if anyone is judging you for nourishing your child, clearly you’re not their problem.
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Moving, an odious task

imageI haven’t written a blog post in a loooooong time. Work has been insane, and we’ve decided to move. I really hate moving, and it turns out doing it with 8 month old twins sucks even more. The cats are having a blast, there are boxes everywhere, and spiders that rode in on the boxes. Totally through no fault of their own, the babies do not like to be ignored whilst insane packing goes on, making it a loud and admittedly chaotic process. I accidentally packed the underwear, and seriously how does one collect ten million random pieces of stuff that refuses to be categorized into anything?! (Hold on babies I’m coming back!!!!). We’re not “stuff” people either, and yet I’ll admit to finding a conveniently “pre-packed” box or two from the move last year. My husband is great at looking at a room and quickly conquering and dividing piles into snugly taped boxes, all while patiently calming his ever so slightly (ha) hysterical wife. (Ok five more seconds babies be right there) I’m good at things like clothes, sheets, towels, but the random stuff causes me to want to hide my head and scream silently into a pillow (BABIES MOMMYS COMING TO GET YOU I SWEAR). My sister who has been living with us has been bravely tackling the kitchen while I retreat overwhelmed to nurse the poor screeching babies (ah silence!). Thankfully, we make a good team.

We’ve decided to relocate to my parents house for a while, bless their sweet hearts. This is extremely exciting to me for many reasons, the most important one being I can work more normal hours, i.e., stop working 7 days a week and spend more time with my family/maybe see my husband once in a while. We joke that we’ve never actually just hung out since we met life has been so busy, but sadly there’s a good amount of truth to that statement.

On our (brief, two day!) honeymoon we sort of had to learn to make small talk. I had a moment of panic hoping we wouldn’t discover that neither of us found the other entertaining, thankfully that was a needless worry.

Americans, I truly believe we are the “busiest” culture, and I don’t think it’s a compliment. Being motivated and accomplishing goals is good, but so is just LIVING life sometimes.

So, for the next year, we are going to try this living thing before my husband matriculates for med school. I think we have some learning to do, it’s probably even going to stress us out at first, but good things are worth the process.

And, we’ll be a lively house of six cats, one dog, six adults, two 8 month old twins and a big tank of fish. Follow along with me as I guarantee this will be, at the very least, highly entertaining.

That is, if we survive the move. Stand by!

Let’s Run Errands, or Not

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As a mother of five month old twins I find getting out the door to do errands a sometimes mountain sized challenge. Let’s just say I order everything possible via the internet for a reason. Efficiency is key once at the store, baby nerves wear thin fast when being snatched in and out of car seats and dashed through stores. I am certain their nerves reflect mine as we weave our way through curious fellow shoppers and attempt to more or less politely fend off the never ending barrage of questions from persistent folks. I set out to do my errands the other day, whisked my children away from their toys with which they were playing peacefully and prepared to stuff everyone into car seats.

imageEfficiency being foremost in my mind, I made certain I was set up for success. The car was loaded with reusable bags, car seats loaded with baby toys, diaper bag packed and at the ready. I was clad appropriately in mom shorts and nursing scarf and already wearing my baby carrier to avoid parking lot delays. Babies were fed and diapered with stuffed toys in hand and I began my first attempt at loading us all into the car. This was cut abruptly short as my little boy valiantly filled his diaper. Back to the changing table we went for a fast change. Not to be outdone, my little girl promptly filled her diaper. imageChanges complete, the hungry fussing began and I realized it was either take the time for a quick feeding or listen to screams all the way to the store. Feedings done, one more diaper change, and we were finally in the car and on our way with my poor sister in tow. By this point, the wind was screeching and getting from car to store was a challenge in and of itself. I hastily tucked my wee ones into the carrier and stroller and imagedashed into the grocery store.

In my rush, I dropped my bank card into the unzipped carrier pocket after checking out and then promptly forgot about it. We dashed to our next location, with one frantic stop at a light to give my hysterical little boy our trusty singing giraffe. I leapt back in the car still sporting my baby carrier and realized to my horror I had never taken my bank card out of the still open, and now empty, carrier pocket. I jumped back out of the car and frantically scoured the ground for my card, it was nowhere to be seen.

Back in the car and on our way to our next destination, I began to furiously berate myself that my brand new (very recently replaced due to having lost it twice recently before) shiny card was no doubt in repose at the last parking lot we had just left. I shot off a terse text to my husband, ‘LOST BANK CARD’, and as by now the babies were crying and hungry we all sat in the parking lot while I fed them and alternated singing quietly to the babies and vehemently scourging myself. So much for buying baby toys! I cried hysterically. Now we had to trek ALL the way across town AGAIN! My groceries were going to spoil, not to mention my card was lying around in a parking lot. Back to the grocery store we raced, and miraculously, my card was still there. My sister graciously allowed me to drop her and the groceries at home, and the babies and I were at last able to get the coveted toys. Next time, I’m just ordering them from Amazon.image

Road Trippin’

img_2478Recently my husband and I set out on a little road trip with our then four month old twins. As sometimes even short drives to the store result in backseat wailing, we knew there would be some interesting moments en route to our destination. But, as we were going to visit dear family members, we deemed it absolutely worthwhile to embark on this adventure. Our plan was to leave early in the morning while our little ones were sleepy and make tracks before the wakefulness of the day set upon them. Best laid plans…lets just say getting out the door with twins never fails to offer new and surprising twists and inevitable delays.

But, finally we were on our way and headed mountain-ward, armed with a zillion rattles and a beautiful treat basket my sister had made us. An hour in, treat basket devoured, we had already made several emergent roadside stops in response to vehement shrieks of protest and it seemed our tiny defiant members had figured out if they wanted to eat it would delay their being replaced in the car seats. Wee ones fed, (again), diapered, and abundantly toy’ed, we set out to continue our slow journey towards our destination.image

Things were going pretty smoothly until we entered a long tunnel through a mountain. Now, you can’t pull over inside a tunnel, and you sure as anything cannot stop mid-traffic. It’s dark, loud, and completely without escape. Almost the moment we entered the tunnel, our tiny son abruptly burst into panicked screams. Not the ‘hey I’m kind of upset’ kind, the ‘OH MY GOSH IM GOING TO SCREAM UNTIL I CANT BREATHE’ kind. My husband valiantly tried singing, (his singing is the ONLY thing the babies respond to immediately, it’s amazing), we tried soothing, shhh’ing. The little guy was NOT having it and was escalating at a terrifyingly rapid pace. Over the seat I went, remarking to my husband that of course I’ve always dreamed of going through a mountain tunnel butt first so really this was great. He responded via song, and I began to stroke and soothe and attempt to calm my hysterical child. Thankfully his sister was peacefully looking on in wonder as we madly careened around tunnel corners, me soothing, baby shrieking, husband singing.

imageFinally the tunnel ended and we stopped roadside for the umpteenth time. We did eventually make it to our destination which was indeed beyond worth the trip, (stand by for my next post on that!). We only made one official pit stop/restroom break (when babies are sleeping you hold that pee). My husband had practically lost his voice from singing by the time we had arrived, and I had become a pro at front seat roadside diaper changes in my lap, not to mention we had both achieved a stellar tricep workout from reaching over our heads to jiggle baby seats while driving.image

It did make arriving at our destination that much sweeter, hugs and wine have never felt and tasted better, and it’s definitely been our biggest adventure yet as a family of four. What’s been your craziest experience to date traveling with little ones?

I Woke Up Like This?

imageMorning has been an adventure in my house this morning. I would love to paint you a blissful picture of me waking up, romantically tousled hair and smelling like the clean linen sheets I arose from. Perhaps I am peacefully having a lovely cup of steaming coffee, one baby nursing while the other plays. But realty is that my hair looks like a nest the birds abandoned, I have milk crusted in unmentionable places, and even my four month old son is afraid of my armpits. The coffee is cold, my daughter vomited on the bathroom floor, my son pooped in his bath, the cats are screaming because I forgot to buy their food yesterday and you don’t even want to know how long it is taking to make this post.

I will (hopefully) eventually shower soon, I’ll skip the mascara because who knows where that went, and I might even get to warm up that coffee.

A little chaotic? Sure, but that’s ok. I woke up like this.

Nap Strikes

imageI’m quite certain everyone with a child has experienced it, the infamous nap strike. Occasionally my little ones will resolve to avoid sleep at all costs. Eyes become bleary, voices raise, arms and legs flail and tempers stretch thin. Normally a walk in the stroller or carrier will resolve the nap strike, but yesterday they put up an exceptional fight. Five hours in, and my little girl was stubbornly still wide awake. Now, five hours is a VERY long time to be awake when you are about four months old. As seen in the set of her tiny furrowed brow, she wasn’t pleased with the way things were going at all.image

When my little ones go on a nap strike, they won’t eat, they won’t soothe, and they definitely won’t sleep. It’s not an ideal state for any of us. Yesterday I was especially motivated to get them to sleep as Auntie Hayley was coming into town and I was very hopeful she could see her darling niece and nephew in their normal, more pleasant state, not the whirling dervishes that were currently inhabiting my stroller.

Auntie Hayley arrived, adorable baby clothing goodies and protein snacks in hand, and while my son had thankfully dozed off, my daughter was still in adamant Sleep Refusal. Her joy at seeing Aunt Hayley overtook her bad mood, and while she still wouldn’t sleep, as long as she was being carried by her aunt she was happy.

imageWe took off for another walk to the store, and by the time we returned my poor little girl was at the end of her sleepless rope. I sent my husband a terse text, “SHE WONT SLEEP”. Valiant daddy that he is, he immediately left his studies and somehow got her to sleep in a matter of moments.

The rest of the afternoon went quite smoothly, playtime was had and my tiny son performed one more small attempt to continue the nap strike, complete with heart breaking lip quiver and tears, but succumbed once again to the soothing vibrations of the stroller. Aunt Hayley returned home to everyone’s disappointment, and bedtime was remarkably uneventful, to everyone’s relief.

Baby Acrobatics

Of all the wonderful aspects of parenting multitasking is an area in which you are guaranteed almost constant practice. One example would be taking a shower while home alone. (I highly recommend bouncy seats for this endeavor.) Before children, showers were not nearly so exciting. Now I simultaneously scrub, sing, (this is the way we shave our armpits, shave our armpits, shave our armpits) make crazy faces and reach out with a careful toe to bounce the seat when someone gets worried where mommy is, all while reassuring my wee ones ‘mommy is almost done! Just one more armpit!’.

My husband calls it Baby Acrobatics, as seen here in this pic of him bouncing one baby, holding the stroller with a foot and shielding the other baby from the sun for a diaper change.

We are getting quite accomplished with Baby Acrobatics. At bed time we are a well oiled machine, one changes a diaper while another fastens pajamas, trade babies! Now turn down the bed swaddle that baby hand over the other, turn on the mobile and turn off the light. All while carrying on a conversation that is frequently interrupted with my husband stopping to sing a soothing bit of a song when a tired baby starts to fuss. Meal preparations, eating, bedtime, phone calls, multitasking has become the norm at our house. Need me to make a phone call? No problem! Just let me bounce this baby/feed that cat/chop that carrot while I do.

Occasionally I will set the play gyms or bouncy seats in the kitchen instead of wearing the babies to avoid spattering one with hot oil or having them near while shredding cheese or other dangerous cooking tasks.


During these times I can find at least two pairs of eyes on me at all times due to the babies and whichever cats have joined us. Cooking becomes a speedy rotation of head pats, tummy tickles, repressing mobile buttons and shaking toys. ‘Oh, you sound busy’, says the person on the phone. ‘Shall we talk later?’ No not to worry, later I will be washing diapers, scrubbing heads, slathering lotion and singing lullabies.  Busy? Always. But I love it.

Personal space, or Baby Defense 101

imageIf you have a child, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Walking into a store with a baby is very much like dropping a magnet into a pool of metal shards. Suddenly, there are people in your face, in your baby’s face, and they seem to all have a story to tell. Some stories are sweet and short, some stories are, well, not so sweet and seem destined to last until the world ends. And the touching! Why do people think it’s ok to paw at my baby’s face, hands, and other parts?! I mean, yes I know my baby is cute and I’m sure you’re a real nice person, but no I’m not ok with you fondling my little one! They can’t exactly fend you off at this point, so I will.

I’ve already mastered the art of the nod/smile/walk quickly backwards while defending my babes with my arms/legs/shopping cart. And the questions! With twins, I’ve been asked everything from ‘are they identical’ (no…they’re boy and girl…) to ‘did you use fertility treatments’ to ‘you had twins, on purpose?!’. (Ummm….really?!). Yes, walk into a Whole Foods with a double stroller and everyone looks at you as if you’re single handedly ruining everyone’s carbon footprint. (Hey, I breastfeed AND cloth diaper, thank you very much).

I have decided that an important part of parenting is How to Defend your Baby in a Public Place. Just the other day, my mom and I were checking out of a Natural Grocers, each carrying a baby. The cashier asked with an expression of shock, ‘how close did you have them together?! How far apart are they?! How did you do that?!’ I stood in stunned silence, thankfully my mom had the presence of mind to reply in cool tones, ‘They’re two minutes apart, they’re TWINS’. I know my boy is a little bigger than my girl, but not that much bigger for goodness sake! Yes lady, I got pregnant while 2 months pregnant and gave birth twice in a span of weeks. While I was processing all this, another cashier approached, arms out, repeatedly asking to hold my girl. Are you serious?! Lady I don’t know you from Adam no you can’t hold my baby! We checked out and almost ran backwards out of that store.

I will admit before babies I wasn’t very good at confrontation. However, having little ones who depend entirely on me for protection has done wonderful things for my backbone. While you might get away with offending me and invading my personal space, invade my kids space and my claws come out. My baby can’t tell you that you’re making them uncomfortable, or that they feel violated. So, until they’re old enough to tell people themselves, (so maybe 25?) I will absolutely be telling people for them.

 

 

 

It’s a walk in the park! Or not

Yesterday, my sweet twins and I joined up with our dear friend, The Mama Pad and her darling Baby N for a walk in the park. We’ve had unseasonably beautiful weather, and I was eager to see Mama Pad and her son and get the twins and I out for some vitamin D. The babies were all decked out in their newly acquired scarves and we headed out the door.image image

 The drive to the park was uneventful, even peaceful, albeit we were running late as usual. Since both twins were sleeping I elected to take the double stroller and pack my TwinGo. Mama Pad was patiently awaiting our arrival, we grabbed coffee and headed to walk.

Now, pushing a double stroller isn’t the most graceful event, especially while trying to carry an overly full coffee. Less than a minute into our stroll I had somehow managed to spill coffee all the way up and down my left side, leading me to wonder why in the world I chose a white shirt. Uneasy sounds were starting to emit from the stroller and before I could stop thanks to a well placed kick our precious musical giraffe from Grammy had flown out of the stroller and I had run over its neck. I stopped in horror, that giraffe gets us through car rides, walks and baths. To my immense relief it was still blissfully singing Jesu Joy of Mans Desiring, I put it back in the stroller and we continued on. The sounds of displeasure from the stroller were increasing in volume and we determined a nursing stop was required.

We found a lovely bench by the lake to park our strollers, and I proceeded to try and feed my little ones. Having checked the weather before I left the house and seen a forecast of 70 degrees, I foolishly chose to not bring the babies jackets. It was windy, it was bright, my babies were not pleased. Thankfully, Mama Pad and Baby N are wonderfully calm, peaceful friends, and remained a source of serene support as I tried to bop, bounce and nurse my screechlings. Eventually everyone calmed down enough for us to resume our strolling, and we got a beautiful few minutes before I remarked on the peace and quiet, and of course my baby boy woke up then, cranky and hungry.

However, to my delight Mama Pad taught me the art of carrier feeding, and I managed to stroll along with my tiny son eating away hidden from the world. Thankfully he went to sleep after eating, as my little girl woke up in a state of great displeasure. Poor little thing, it hasn’t been her week. Diaper changes, attempted feeding, nothing was calming her down. We eventually made it back to the car, where patient Mama Pad held her own equally patient Baby N and my poor shrieking babe while I frantically threw everything into my car. Thank heavens my baby boy was still sleeping, I transferred him to his car seat and then attempted to sing and soothe my very wrought little daughter until she finally calmed down enough to eat. She kept falling asleep and I attempted to gingerly place her in her car seat, but she wasn’t having it. Every time her tiny bum touched the seat blood curdling screams would ensue and I would snatch her back out and start the soothing/feeding process again. I considered calling my husband and telling him we were going to live at the park now as I literally couldn’t get home, but she finally was able to stay asleep and we blasted home in a cloud of dust and Ode de la Baby Puke.

imageMy dear husband presented me with tea with an encouragement sticker when I returned home. I changed and fed the babies and determined to take another walk to do groceries with the hubs in the hope that the babies would finally sleep peacefully, which they did. We returned home with mama sunburned but everyone in a much better mood.

Next was bath time, something my daughter lives for and my son tolerates. I do love our latest bath toy, and we now no longer have tears (at least while in the tub).

Bath times always brings about a blissful nap, and I determined a little wine was required to go with our nachos. I felt it to be quite indicative of the day when I failed to get the wine into my mouth and it joined the coffee I had previously splashed most decorously on myself. Eventually dinner was done, my precious babies were wrapped and sleeping peacefully, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I was no longer covered in coffee, wine and baby spit and the only crying I would hear for the next few hours would be in my head.

Wear those babies! Or, how I ever get anything done

imageHaving twins presented me with an interesting daily challenge. Not only are there many times throughout the day they both need soothed at the same time, (and, while possible, holding both at the same time is difficult and somewhat exhausting), once in a while the laundry must be done and something for dinner besides peanut butter toast is lovely.

imageWhen they first arrived, I tried wearing them both in a Moby wrap. This would last a maximum of 3o minutes, as even from the beginning neither of my babies liked their heads being pinned down. I would have a brief, blissful shot at blasting around the house getting things done before the screams would begin, and I would have to frantically attempt to extricate all three of our sweaty bodies from the wrap as fast as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are many ways to wear babies and many different wraps, and I look forward to exploring those as the twins get older. But there are only so many ways to  carry bobble headed babies, and they didn’t like what I had tried thus far.

Needless to say, frustration ensued. I attempted bungling together a couple different carriers I had been given in a sort of homemade back front carry situation, but it always ended in me being smashed and my babies being uncomfortable. And uncomfortable babies cry, not good.

I determined if I was to successfully soothe both babies throughout the day, let alone ever get anything accomplished again, something must be done. We conducted careful research and determined the TwinGo carrier had to be our next acquisition. Several factors led to our decision, the TwinGo had amazing reviews, it had the promise of longevity of use as it would hold the babies until they were very likely too old to want to be carried, and it could be used as both a double carrier and as single carriers when we were both out with the babies. (Or, when Grammy was around and wanted to carry a wee one). I also loved that it was designed by a mother of twins. So, we bit the bullet and ordered one. Thanks to Amazon prime, our carrier arrived in the mail full of promise a mere couple of days later. (I know, I just really love Amazon).

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At first, the babies were not convinced. What was this thing and why was I stuffing them in it?! But after a few minutes of fussing they both fell fast asleep. And without fail, (short of being hungry or having a diaper situation) they will both sleep and hang out happily while I run errands, take out the trash, wash dishes, vacuum, etc. In great excitement I called to show my family on FaceTime. Game. Changer! Watch me work! Now when they’re fussy I can cuddle them both, all while making dinner or putting away the laundry.

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In short, I highly recommend the TwinGo. It is a lot like two Ergo carriers combined into one double carrier. Super comfy and supportive for parent and babies, breathable, and easy to use. (Even I can figure out how to attach it!). It’s also possible to carry kiddos of different sizes for those wanting to carry siblings. So far, our TwinGo has been vital to household chores, errands, general walks around the neighborhood, and my own sanity. Stand by, as I know I will have more adventures of twin carrying to share soon!