Friday, August 28, 2009

Cutie in her Peekaboo Beans

I've always loved Peekaboo Beans and now I have 3 kids to dress in it. Here is Juliette in her very cute, if slightly large, new romper.

Give me your best shot #2

Such a peaceful shot. Too bad the thumb sucking seems to be waking her up more often than keeping her calm and asleep. But that's a different post ;)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sleep training - an update

As usual, nothing goes smoothly without a bunch of changes to the plans to try to make things actually work for us. We had almost two weeks of improvement after I started the last plan, but then things went downhill. And really, I was nursing them to sleep if they'd let me and a lot of the time, they were letting me.

Then we had a couple of bad attempts, where it would have worked had they been on their own, but they weren't and they were waking each other up. SO FRUSTRATING!

We went and got the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy twins, but I have to admit I suck at reading these kinds of books. I try to skim it to find the info I need without reading the whole thing - I've never been good at reading the instructions for something ;)

The book seemed to go on and on about how the non sleeping twin likely wouldn't disturb the good sleeper. *holding hand up* What happens when neither one sleep dude??!

So, plan B is to go back to plan A but to do it one at a time. Last night Quinn fell asleep all on his own at bedtime, fussed for awhile but only about 1/2 an hour around 10:30, nursed back to sleep at 2:30am and then slept through to 6am. That was the best night we've had in weeks! We then brought Juliette into our room and she slept with us and woke at 10:30, 2, 4 and 6:30. A bit more than Quinn - but not bad! And Quinn is napping in his crib again now!

The challenge will be what we do once Quinn is trained and we want to work on Juliette. Do we take Quinn out of the room for that time? Will that muck up all the work we did? I have a hard time believe he'll be able to sleep through Juliette's crying - she's loud!

Now, I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong that my body hurts after sleeping in my bed most of the night instead of a chair. I'm obviously sleeping in a bad position and/or our mattress isn't great.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Give me your best shot #1

Big week around here - started using the exersaucer and jumperoo. They still are a bit perplexed by the idea but aren't unhappy and it's nice to have something to get them to do when they're awake other than the playmat.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sleep training has begun

The babies turned three months old this week and during one middle of the night waking that ended in a "no, we're both awake and we don't want to go to sleep again ha ha ha ha ha ha" at 3am I came downstairs and plopped each baby into a swing and googled "how to sleep train twins".

Because after complaining about feeling guilty about nursing and it hurting them, I wondered if I was doing the reverse thing I'd done with Kiernan. When Kiernan was 3 months old (ish) I had had enough of the constant night wakings and decided to sleep train, blaming myself for instilling and encouraging bad habits. It turned out the major problem was due to my milk and him getting all kinds of dairy and soy that was hurting his tummy, plus untreated reflux. This time, my instinct was to blame myself and my milk - but upon further thought I realized that they're just waking up and wanted to nurse and be held. They aren't screaming and wailing, they aren't acting like they're in pain, they aren't pulling on and off the breast.

So we're sleep training - in a semi serious kind of way. If they fall asleep nursing then I'm happy to let them do that. I'm not going to make sure they go down drowsy but awake. If, however, they don't fall asleep nursing, I'm putting them down drowsy and letting them cry for 5-10 minutes. Then I go in, calm them down, get them almost asleep again and put them down and let them cry 10-15 minutes. Generally they've fallen asleep by then. If they wake up from a nap too soon, I will let them cry for 5-10 minutes also (which they almost never do before falling asleep again). If they don't want to go back to sleep at night after being fed, they go into their crib wide awake with the same procedure for going in to them (I do still feed them in the night - I'm not trying to get them sleeping the whole night through or anything). But we're barely having to go in. They're falling asleep super quickly without that much of a fuss. I've slept more in my bed since we've started than I had in weeks - it's nice.

A lot of people have a really hard time with cry it out, and I totally understand. But it took us until Kiernan was 14 months old to do it and it was HARD. He kept standing up, and he was indignant. He knew enough to be pissed at us. But once it worked, it worked SO well. He went to bed so easily, slept better and it only continued to improve. Before that it was taking us hours to get him down at night - it was ridiculous.

This time, the babies are giving is so much faster and with less fuss. (The stuff I found indicated that you should just do the training at the same time and they learn to ignore each other's crying. Quinn definitely doesn't care if Juliette yells, but Juliette doesn't sleep through Quinn's quite as well even though she's the louder one) And from experience I really feel that babies who know how to fall asleep on their own are happier babies, so it's a favour not only to me but to them. Hopefully we keep heading in the right direction!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tweet tweet

I think that I have been caught in a fog for the last year. From almost the moment I got pregnant with twins until the veil has started to lift in the last few weeks I have felt slightly apathetic about a lot of things - including my blog, new media, well... almost everything. It sucked and I think might have been worse than I realized until I started to see myself come to life again.

I'm still not completely there - hell, I'm too tired to be. BUT, I feel better than I have in a long time, and inclined to do more and put more effort into things than I have in a long time. And it feels good.

I'm blogging more, I'm rediscovering twitter (follow me please! I need more people to talk to ;), I got my iphone and I'm getting more done around the house and contemplating having the energy to get out of the house to do things in real life soon too. MAGICAL!


Oh, and enter our Apples'n'Oranges contest too! Peekaboo Beans is my favourite stuff to put my kids in!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Breastfeeding and intolerances : when it doesn't always feel like breast is best

It was breastfeeding awareness week last week (I'm running a bit late on this post) and I read some great posts both on breastfeeding and also on bottle feeding and wanted to write about the unique challenges of my experiences.

My mother breastfed my sister and I longer than most. I was over two when I was weaned and my sister was just under two I believe. As a result, it was a natural assumption for me that I would nurse my children - it never occurred to me to do otherwise. That being said, I never had an aversion to the idea of using some formula, as long as it wasn't compromising nursing.

My first son was 10 days old when my mother suggested that perhaps a reason he was up all night every night screaming was a dairy intolerance. My father had been hospitalized as an infant for cow's milk protein intolerance so there was no harm in trying. I stopped eating cheese, stopped drinking milk, and there was an immediate improvement. Kiernan was obviously also milk protein intolerant. But as time went on, things got progressively worse and worse - by three months old he was up every half an hour all night long and Eric and I were on the verge of losing it. A few specialists later and we discovered that A) He was not only cow's milk protein intolerant but also soy protein intolerant and B) Cutting out milk and cheese wasn't enough, I needed to start reading the ingredients on everything I ate if I wanted to cut out what was hurting his tummy. I don't know if you realize how much food has either soy or milk protein in it, but let me tell you, it's a lot more than I knew before I started this process. C) He also suffered from acid reflux and started taking prevacid.

Kiernan started sleeping better after I cut these foods out, but it was never perfect. I often made mistakes, and sometimes he just seemed in distress when I was sure I hadn't eaten anything offending.

I knew that when I had any subsequent children I would cut out dairy and soy from the start to make sure that we reverse introduced any possible problematic foods. I stopped eating all dairy and soy about 5 weeks before the twins were born in order to make sure it was all out of my system.

I think part of my problem is that I have babies with sensitive tummies. All three of them have had reflux, all three of them wake up a lot more than most babies I know. And now, with twins, I have double the wakings and double the guilt. Every time they are overly gassy, or wake up more in the night I immediately wonder what I've eaten that has set it off.

These are the things that weigh on me:

* Am I doing them more harm than good. I was in a wedding on the weekend and so the babies had a LOT more formula than usual. They slept a lot better. Is it because I need to be cutting more out of my diet, or is it because I had a glass of wine both evenings? ;)
* I keep wondering if I should be cutting out more and if I can handle cutting out more. Plus, we never proved dairy and soy are actually an issue (although I believe they are). The thought of trying to figure it out makes me even more weary than I already am, I don't know if I can do it.
* I cannot seem to stay awake when I'm nursing in the night. As hard as I try, I fall asleep. I think this leads to innefficient feeds because the babies also fall asleep and I can't coax them to continue, and then they wake up again far sooner than they would have because they didn't have a full feed. Even when Eric sets his alarm to keep coming in and getting me waking me up, we don't have improvement, and the time we tried to have eric stay with me to keep me awake and efficient, it also woke the babies up completely and then they wouldn't go back down for a couple of hours. This means I almost never sleep in a bed but instead sitting up. I describe how I feel on most mornings as feeling like I have been kicked in the head repeatedly all night. It sucks.
* I just keep asking myself if they would be better off on formula. Part of me wouldn't want to do it because nursing is so much cheaper and, it seems to me, less of a hassle. Would they feel better? Or do they not even care that they wake up a lot. They DO seem less fussy than they were before they went on the nexium for their reflux.

And I haven't even touched on the fact that I'm almost exclusively nursing TWINS. With REFLUX. I'm really tired ;)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Not so perfect timing

This post is part of the Carnival of Maternity Leave over at Visit for more posts on maternity leave from August 3 - 15, 2009.

It was pretty much a year ago exactly that I left my job of five years. I left because I wasn't happy there anymore (REALLY not happy) and I left because I decided to pursue a different dream - expanding my online business and opening a retail location.

I got pregnant within a month of opening the store, and yes, that was planned. I believed that I could run a business with a newborn - after a bit of a break I could bring him/her with me to the store - after all, it was MY business and I had heard of many other moms doing it.

Than I found out it was twins and I knew I couldn't do it - bringing two babies everywhere I went and trying to work no longer sounded manageable. (For that, and several other reasons including my business partner also getting pregnant and the whole economy crashing things, we closed the retail location, which was a temporary one to begin with, and went back to the online model only for the time being.) That's when I realized I was in a bit of a pickle. I had just quit my permanent job that not only would have provided me the eligibility for maternity leave EI, but a 5 month top up.

Do you know what you get for maternity leave as a business owner? Even if the business has yet to become profitable? Nothing, nada, RIEN!

I then spent the next few months trying to earn enough insurable hours to make SOME EI (although I still haven't gotten through the hassle of seeing if I'm actually eligible and how little money they're going to give me because it's so complicated). Thank goodness my husband is making enough money to get us by at the moment. Thank goodness we have supportive families who would never let us get into a horrible situation and thank goodness we have savings and good credit.

But I really think it sucks. I worked MANY hours in the store (paying myself minimum wage) and I can't claim any of it towards the national maternity leave benefits. How is that fair?

I think we are very lucky to live in Canada where we have such great maternity/parental leave options. That being said, there are definitely some flaws when it comes to people who are self-employed, and also for the parents of multiples.