Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!!!

What can I say about this year? It has been a blessed one. Three years ago today I was sad, 2 years ago today I was very sad,  last year during this time I was extremely depressed, and today I'm beyond happy.

Hard to believe that last year I was so buried in my sorrows. I was so upset that I had to do IVF, I was already on treatment at this time, and I really didn't want to do it. I questioned it a lot and almost didn't go through with IVF, mainly because I don't know what I would have done if it hadn't worked, I think I had already reached a point of depression that I couldn't deal with. And imagine if I didn't? Boy, am I ever glad I'm so stubborn! Tell me I can't do something and I'll try my darnest to get it done. It was my last try financially and luckily it worked out, let me tell you that was the best money I ever spent. (Apart from shoes)

I figured I'll end this year in pics. But before I do that I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy new year, God bless! And also I want to let you know that I'll (attempt to) make a new blog, which is supposed to start tomorrow so I'm running out of time, for Noah and Natalia. This one isn't going anywhere, the new blog is just for me to post a picture a day everyday of the kids in 2011. Let's see if I can make it happen...

Once again, Happy New Year =)


I sure don't miss these...
But I'll tell you even now the smell of alcohol makes me feel
like I'm about to inject myself, I don't like it.

Which is Natalia and which is Noah?
5 bucks to who can tell me accurately...


No words needed =)


Video link to the first time we saw/hear their heartbeats, clicky here

Twin A... Natalia

Twin B.... Noah 

9 weeks belly pic


Found out I had gestational diabetes.
Have a video of them at 11 weeks, you can see Natalia waving a hand and Noah moving his legs.
Clicky here.. if you want to... if not then move right along =)

Twin B... aka Noah

Twin A.. aka Natalia 


We found out their genders =)








We had our awesome baby shower 





At this point we couldn't get clear ultrasounds so its all about my belly


Day before they were born

7 hours before they were born,
I was trying to recreate first belly pic ever

And bare belly...
(never before seen pic) 

Right after birth with Daddy

On Jeff's Birthday


At exactly 1 month old

On my birthday


Their first Christmas

Their first snow

Today 12/31/10

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm abusing my Twins!!!

And by my Twins,
I don't mean mah babies.
I'm taking 'bout mah tatas.
Boy, am I abusing them!

I'm going to try to post as much as my memory allows me to in regards to breastfeeding/pumping. Well, in my case its mainly pumping. In the beginning I did tandem breastfeed them (both at the same time). It was easier than I thought it would be. But then I was lucky because neither gave me any issues latching on... until Noah went to NICU. After he got out, he wouldn't latch on and that kind of killed the breastfeeding buzz. Besides I have to give him bottle 6 times a day for him to get his medication. I did continue to breastfeed Natalia though... until she got so used to it that it was all she wanted ALL day long. This wouldn't have been a problem if I didn't have another baby to take care of so I had to stop and turn to exclusively pumping. I still attempted to continue doing it during the non-medicated feedings once in a while and I did get Noah to latch on but he did not stay on for more than ten minutes and Natalia immediately goes back to crying for my boobs ALL day long, so I think I'm done trying that.

Unfortunately, I do have to supplement with formula. I make almost enough milk for one baby but not both. My dreams of being an over supplier did not come true... though it probably would have if I knew certain things before I gave birth (yes, I will share). I was so confident that I would have no problem breastfeeding or have low milk supply issues that I did not read up on anything related to the subject beforehand. BIG MISTAKE. If I can help at least one person with this post then I would have made up for my stupidity. Well, I probably wouldn't really make up for it but I'm trying to brainwash my guilt away. I also wanted to do this post because surprisingly a lot of these tips you don't come across unless you are looking for the specific problem, which obviously at that point its a little late. Okay, ready? Lets do this...

Breastfeeding Twins:
This will be short because my time doing it was short. You are warned.
There are breastfeeding pillows specifically for twins, the most popular ones are "EZ 2 Nurse Twins Nursing Breastfeeding pillow" and "My Brest Friend Twins plus". I got a less expensive version from Amazon and I'm glad I did because it worked perfectly and well I'm not using it anymore. This being said you don't really need to buy one, you could just prop pillows on either side of you and you are good to go. It really isn't that much different. I'm not getting into details on the how-to because its long and its easier to see on a video so if you are interested just CLICK HERE and enjoy!

Pumping and bringing up supply
Now, this is where things get interesting. I can only share what was helpful to me but I'm sure there are a lot more tips out there that I just haven't read. It's not too easy to come across info on this, yes there is a lot out there, but you really have to dig to find. Mainly you have to know what you are looking for in order to find out about it, which isn't helpful if you've never done this before and don't know what to look for to begin with. The best website I found was, it has information about everything but like I said you have to dig for it... unless you have time to read the whole thing then you clearly don't have your baby yet =). I also found information on, (whom you can contact for support), and These are the most helpful tips I found: (Funny enough, I always did my research on my cell while pumping)

  1. First, you have to know this is a big commitment. It's not easy. It's tiring. It can be painful from the soreness. And it takes away from what little time you have for yourself. I definitely understand why so many women quit doing this. That being said, so far "quiting" is not in my vocabulary. I'm doing this and even when my supply was low I kept at it and increased it. I keep telling myself that I will not go down without a fight, so far it has worked.
  2. Supply and demand. The more you demand from your body the more it should produce. Not everyone will be able to increase supply or make any milk no matter what you do because of the way our bodies are. Luckily we live in times where formula is advanced and we can confidently feed our babies with it.
  3. Feed and pump a lot. If you are doing both, the best thing to do is to pump for 10 to 15 minutes after you breastfeed. You are telling your body to make more.
  4. Pump 6 to 12 times per day. Every 2 to 3 hours, especially in the first weeks. Basically, you are pumping as many times as your baby would have normally been at your breast. Again, this is telling your body to make more. I did not know this. I pumped twice a day in the beginning and my body just didn't know it had to make way more milk. I figured things out when they were already 4 weeks, better late than never. I will never get back those days so I will never know how much my body was actually capable of producing. Yes, you can increase it after but the first weeks are crucial.
  5. You should pump at least for 10 minutes. 15 minutes is better. But no more than 20 minutes. I sometimes do go over if milk is still coming out. I used to pump for 30 minutes in the beginning but for some reason its not good, I honestly forgot why.
  6. When your milk flow stops, continue for an extra 5 minutes to let your body know that you need more. (This contradicts the above tip if you've already pumped for 20 minutes, no? I found it so I'm sharing it)
  7. Drink lots of water, at least 64oz per day.
  8. Have a healthy balanced diet. Eat lots of protein. Be careful with too much veggies so you don't make yourself and baby gassy.
  9. Do not go on a diet, it will affect your supply. You are supposed to eat extra without worrying because the pumping will burn the calories away. I'm not sure about this, I don't eat extra but I'm not losing any weight, when I upped my intake of calories I gained weight and it did nothing to increase my supply. This is just my experience so don't go by it, I'm just sharing my bad luck =(
  10. Eat oatmeal. Not the instant ones. Most women have it for breakfast every morning, some have it twice a day. Also you can make oatmeal cookies and snack throughout out the day, yum!
  11. Drink beer. Seriously. You can drink with or without alcohol, the yeast or barley in it is a big booster, plus it relaxes you and helps that way too. You shouldn't go over 2 beers per day, don't worry it shouldn't affect your milk or the baby. I have not done this, I can't really believe the alcohol doesn't affect the baby and I'm not a big fan of beer.. now if it was wine... then maybe lol
  12. Ovaltine is also supposed to be good. I'm not sure if it really helps or not but I drink it every so often to "trick" my boobs and to satisfy a little sweet tooth.
  13. Massage your breast while pumping. You will get a lot more milk. I didn't know this. I, like many others, thought that the pump alone will do the job. Not true! Massage those bad girls! I've gotten double what I would normally get by only pumping. If I knew this in the beginning it most likely would have helped build up my supply more since I would have emptied my breast more.
  14. Put a warm towel/rag over your breast while pumping to help release more. I haven't done this, I really do not have an extra 2 minutes to get a warm towel, I'm not even kidding.
  15. Get a double electric pump. Faster and more effective. If not you can nurse baby on one boob and pump the other breast and switch sides for next feeding.
  16. I have the Medela Pump In Style Advance pump so I can only give you a review on this one. Its good, its one of the best ones to buy but there is definitely a big difference between this and the hospital grade pump. It seems to be the most  popular one,I like it and do recommend it..... but.....
  17. Did you know that you can actually get a prescription from your doctor for a hospital grade pump? As far as I read, most insurances should cover it or at least part of it. I would recommend you call your insurance up and find out if they do before you go spending money on either buying or renting a pump, they are very very pricey. (Now, this is one of those pieces of info that is hard to come across and is so helpful, I'm upset I didn't know it before)
  18. Even if you have your own pump, you can rent (or call in a prescription) for a hospital grade one to help bring up your supply. Use it for a week or so and it should bring and keep it up. I have not done this, if I try it, I will let you know.
  19. The pump setting does NOT have to be on the highest level. If you are in pain you wont relax enough to let down a lot of milk. Comfort is key.
  20. You can put Lansinoh on the nipples before pumping, its safe and helps avoid soreness.
  21. Or you can use olive oil on the nipples instead, works the same and its antibacterial.
  22. Rest up, the more rest you get the more milk you'll let down. Stress really affects it.
  23. When I'm done pumping, I wait 10 minutes and I pump again. I usually get about an ounce more.
  24. When you feel like your supply is weaning or if you are still working on increasing you can do "power pump", or do a Pump-a-thon (pump marathon, in case you didn't figure it out)
  25. Power pump is when you pump for 10 minutes on and off for an hour. Personally, I go for 1 1/2 hour because I find that I still have milk. And if I'm even more honest, I do 15 minutes off and on. I just can't stop if I see milk flowing.
  26. You can also power pump while watching TV by pumping during the show and take break during the commercials.
  27. Pump-a-thon is when you pump every 2 hours for 24 hours straight. Some women do it for a whole weekend.
  28. You can also pump 10 minutes per hour for 4 hours straight. Morning is best, this is when most women have the most milk.
  29. Get extra parts for the pump.
  30. Keep the parts clean! Wash them immediately after each pump so the milk doesn't get hard in it. Separate each part (very important) and wash in warm soapy water... or..
  31. You can keep the breast pump parts in the refrigerator in a Ziploc bag so you don't have to wash after each pump. I tried this and it works fine but I do have 3 different sets of parts so I wash after each pump. I just can't leave it in the refrigerator, it bothers me. But it works. And I'll probably do this when I go back to work.
  32. Also, keep pump clean. The top face of my Medela comes right off. Clean with baby wipe and make sure the whole face snaps back on. Sometimes, this part losens up, if you feel less suction, you have to snap it off and again make sure all four points are snapped in.
  33. Call manufacturer of pump if you think there is a problem. Mine was giving me issues I called and they helped troubleshoot it on a weekend when they were closed. The Medela assistant called me from her personal cell to help me out. Gotta love it.
  34. For storage, if you are lucky to be an over supplier and are able to freeze milk (I don't like you), you can use Glad (most recommended) freezer bags. The "special" bags that are sold for freezing breast milk are expensive and these do the job just the same. Just make sure you write when you pumped and how many ounces are inside.
  35. Don't microwave breast milk. Let it sit in warm water so you don't kill off the nutrients.
  36. Don't shake breast milk. I didn't know this. It also damages the nutrients, the milk is composed of live cells so you want to be careful with it. Just swirl gently when warming it.
  37. Invest in a hands free pumping bra/bustier. I just got mine a week 1/2 ago and I love it. I get to free up my time because I'm able to pump and feed the babies simultaneously. I got the "Simple Wishes Hands Free Bustier" but there are other brands. Most women go on the Internet while pumping to relax and help time fly.
  38. You can pump while driving. Many moms pump on their way and from work. They use the handsfree bustier and cover themselves up. I'm not sure how this will work nor am I sure I will try it but I am curious.
  39. If you are away from baby, look at their picture while pumping and/or a blanket with their scent. Apparently this helps, I can't say either way.
  40. For plugged ducts (I haven't had this) you can place raw grated potatoes on your breast covered with towel until it dries.
  41. Or you can take Lecithin to treat plugged ducts.
  42. There are teas and supplements to increase milk supply. Mother's milk tea is popular but I don't think it makes much difference unless you drink a LOT throughout your day and it doesn't taste good. Fenugreek and Motherlove More Milk Plus are supposed to be the best. I'm taking both and I've seen an increase of about 2 extra ounces per day. Most women take one or the other by itself and swear they get extra 5 ounces per session, some get even more (I don't like them).
  43. There are drugs also to increase milk supply. You can get Reglan to help but it has a side effect of depression, no thank you. Also there is a drug called Domperidone that from what I've read, works for every single woman that have tried it BUT its not sold in the US. Most get it from online pharmacies from Canada, no prescriptions needed. I can't take this because of my pituitary tumor but I would so have been taking it if I could.
  44. The amount you pump can vary throughout the day. Most get more milk in the mornings.
  45. The normal amount to pump is 1/2 to 2 ounces per session NOT per breast. According to most women think it should 4 to 8 ounces but even 4 ounces is a large amount and is considered an oversupply. Ummm, yeah I pump between 2 and 4 ounces per session and I think its not enough. I know its not enough. I need to make for 2 babies and I want to be able to freeze some but nope, not happening...... Yet. I'll keep trying.
  46. (update) After you finish pumping you can get some more milk by hand expressing. I've tried it but I don't get much, maybe I'm just not good at it yet, I can tell you that it definitely works when I'm full. Oh, and I would recommend expressing into the opening of the collecting bottle instead, less messy. Here is a video link that shows how to do it: Click me!
I think I'm done. I wish I knew someone who knew all these tips ahead of time but almost no one writes about it and quite frankly I'm mad at them, whoever "them" are. If you find a page that lists any 10 of these tips in one shot let me know so I can read it while I kill myself. I've researched many many many websites to get these tips so I hope you find it helpful that I'm sharing. If not, I'm mad at you too. By the way, there are more but I can't remember them all and I haven't read them all either but TRUST me this is a very good list.

I make a sad amount of 17 ounces per day so far. I've increased it from 12 ounces. How? Mainly by seriously abusing my tatas. Pumping some days up to 10 times have helped while making me very sore. The More Milk Plus and Fenugreek have given me about an extra 2 ounces... its not a lot but I'll take it. I've made a commitment and I'm sticking to it. They need the best I can offer (especially Noah) and I'll give it to them as long as I can. Since I bought the hands free pumping bustier I've saved a lot of time.

For "Powerofwater" I actually just read your comment when I came to write this post, I hope it helps, if not let me know and I'll email you if you have any questions and congrats on  your twins! Here is a pic of my station:

I sit in the middle of the boppies, I can change diaper, pump and feed at the same time. And watch listen to TV (this part is for my sanity). How on earth can I do it? Well, it takes a lot of practice but once you get used to it, its pretty easy. My biggest help is that I prop the bottles like this:

I use towels or blankets to keep the bottles up. Please do not flame me for doing this, I am sitting right in front of them and I'm able to burp one baby while the other one still feeds. It saves a lot of time. It may be selfish but imagine feeding one baby after the other when each feeding takes an hour and they eat every 3 hours and I have to pump, it will be an all day thing with absolutely no rest. For twins the most important advice I can give is to get them on the same schedule or you will never EVER have the time to even pee. Trust me I know, I tried it. Even with this, my time is very little but either its getting easier or I'm getting used to it, I don't know. All I know is that my babies are loved and are being taken cared of, they are happy and I'm happy. You can also just hold the bottles to both of them like Jeff does (this kills my back). The downside is that while he burps one baby the other one cries for more food but this is what works for him. Again in the end, they get fed, they are happy and he is happy... and I'm even happier because if that's going on, it means I'm sleeping!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hello out there....

I'm not sure where you guys are but I'm still here.. around... somewhere.. lost in cyberspace... surrounded   by diapers and  baby bottles and oh yes! my babies!

I'll tell you, if I don't get a chance to sleep much then you don't get a chance to read my updates. Or my lack of updates. Whichever really, its all the same difference. The babies are now 2 months & 1 week old, crazy right? They are so big and so tiny at the same time. And heavy. Natalia is almost 12lbs and Noah is almost 10lbs. When I hold Natalia I cannot believe that my belly was way heavier than her and it really was a miracle that I didn't explode, seriously, a miracle.

They are now a "big boy and a big girl", they are sleeping all alone in their nursery. No adult supervision, well not really, they do get constant visits from mommy to make sure they are all right  but technically they are on their own... with each other and the monitor.. but alone. There was no issues, in fact, I think they like it better since they seem to sleep slightly longer in between feedings. They are so independent, my kiddos. I know there is much more to say but my brain does not remember at this moment, maybe not ever, cause you know I'm a mommy of twins and I cannot function. Wish me luck when I start working again, that should be fun, I'll probably be fired within a week for not remembering my own name.... luckily I don't have to worry about that until next month but time is flying by so I am trying to get back some sanity.. with apparently no improvement whatsoever.

I've had things that I want to write about but only God knows what they were. The only thing I remember is that I want to write about breastfeeding/pumping, I want to share all the tips I've learned because surprisingly its hard to come across these things in one place. And why am I writing what I want to write about? to remember what I want to write about, that's why. Did I mention I cannot function or remember anything?

Anyway, here are some pics:

Here they are in their first big outing, we went to New Jersey
for Thanksgiving with Jeff's side of the family.
We had to stop in the middle of Manhattan to feed them, interesting times!


Thanksgiving outfits

At 6 weeks in their twin bassinet in our bedroom,  this was before
moving  them to their crib, no matter how far apart we place them, 
they always gravitate towards each other.

At 5 weeks

7 Weeks
My serious little thinker

Let me tell you a secret Noah:
"sometimes you are just too serious"

"Oh, Natty get over it!"

 My failed attempt at getting pics for our Christmas card,
it took 3 shooting days but I never got a
perfect one together =(

"Natalia, geroffff me!!"

8 weeks pics

I'm rocking the baby girl Einstein look!

"Noah is not here so I'll eat my own hand.."

9 Weeks

First time they are dressed in similar
outfits (except for the Santa ones)
Not sure this will happen often...

 I'm knocked out! And Noah is...

...happy cause he gets alone time with Mommy and Daddy!

 OK, I think I'm all caught up now! Hopefully I'll be able to post weekly pics from now on and not give you a lot in one post again, phewww.. I'm glad I'm done!