Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baybay & Baybee: Week 7

7 Weeks old!

We have seen so many changes over the past few weeks. The girls have outgrown most newborn clothes and now fit pretty well in 3-6 month outfits. They are growing up so fast!

Ella is a champion sleeper, regularly taking a 3+ hour nap during the day. At night, she is almost always the second baby up. We often wonder how long she would sleep if we let her, instead of waking her to feed both girls at once. She loves to take long baths, and enjoys resting in our arms in the warm water while having her hair washed. She is content to sit in her rocky chair and chew on her shirt, or lay on a blanket for extended periods of time just watching us go about our day. Staring at lights and contemplating their luminosity is a favorite pastime. She's got a rockstar head of hair, which forms a mohawk all on its own. She has recently started melting our hearts with big smiles, especially when she is at the sink for a diaper change, or when she knows she is going to eat soon. Her eating style often resembles a cat who has just caught a mouse, clomping on and off the breast, licking and shaking her head back and forth, until she finally settles down to nurse. She usually has two burps after she eats. The first one is safe. The second one comes with spit-up 90% of the time. When she cries, she is LOUD.

Ella with her Papa.

Sleeping on her tummy.

Ella is getting better at sleeping without being swaddled. It's so cute when she spends a while calmly watching the world go by and then falls alseep.

Maya has taken to EC with great enthusiasm and skill. She usually wakes up when she needs to pee, squirms around, starts to fuss or cry, letting us know that she has to go. Yesterday, she went most of the day in the same dry diaper because we always made it to the sink on time! Since she was born, she has had a strong preference for being bounced on the ball, rather than being rocked to sleep, though she has recently started to appreciate the comfort of rocking. She has long light eyelashes and her eyes sparkle when she smiles. Faces are a great source of interest and looking at us is when she is the most smiley. Eating is one of her favorite pastimes, and when she eats, she doesn't mess around. She will latch on and stay put until she falls asleep. Though she is a very serious eater, she is not at all quiet about it. As she sucks, you might wonder who is playing with the squeaky toy in the room. Her burps resonate, and she could hold her own in a room full of teenage boys. In the rare instance that Ella is up first at night, Maya always schooches herself over to where Ella was in the co-sleeper, making whining sounds. We think she misses her little sister.

Such a strong girl!

Maya says, "Bath time makes me sleepy!"

A nap in the carseat.

All dressed up!

Both girls have just recently started to "hug" when they are picked up. They sort of cling on and lean into us. It's so adorable. They have also added many different coos and squeals to their sound repertoire. Tummy time is usually spent together on the bed and the girls are big fans of holding their heads up and trying mightily to flip onto their backs, which often results in flailing into each other. They can't quite make it all the way over on their own.

The girls are not quite ready to play with toys. They are more intersted in trying to find something to suck on. Like their sister's clothing.

Gazing out the window at the light.

On Sunday, we had a great day at Brett's parents house. The girls got to spend lots of time with their Grandma while Brett and I rested. They also got to meet their great grandparents for the first time.

Maya with her Great Grandpa Val.

A picture of us with Grandma Mary, holding her great grandaughter for the first time.

We also had a lovely visit from Aunt Anne this week. She came over for an afternoon and got to meet Maya and Ella.

Aunt Anne carries Ella in the same Snuggli that she took me for a walk in when I was a baby.

7 weeks old and already learning how to share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Baybay & Baybee: Week 6

Six weeks old!

This was a mixed week. We had a couple really good days, and a couple not so good days. Last Wednesday, all four of us were incredibly tired and Brett and I felt as if we were drowning. The amount of sleep we have been getting didn't feel sustainable and we had no energy to be nice. It wasn't a very fun day.

A very cranky Ella helps fold laundry.

Somehow we made it through Wednesday, and Thursday arrived. Kathy came to help out around the house and with the babies while Brett was headed to the house in Springfield to make some repairs. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to make the repairs at the house, due to some miscommunication, so he arrived home a little frustrated. At home, the girls hadn't napped much and even though Kathy was around to help, I still felt drained. I did get a little nap in just before Brett got home, which helped some.

Our new stroller! On his way home from Springfield, Brett picked up a double snap-n-go stroller that someone was selling on Craigslist. The car seats snap in and out of it, which will be useful for going places with both babies at once. The girls seemed to enjoy their first ride. They slept for most of it.

Thursday night, Maya and Ella didn't sleep as much as usual, and although there might not be any real explanation, we wonder if they were a bit chilly. It was a cold night for this time of year, with temperatures dropping into the 30ies. We had windows open when we went to bed (which we closed at some point in the night) because we didn't realize it was going to get so cold. When Friday morning came, I got up and got the twins to sleep in their car seats from 7-8:30 (while Brett slept in bed). Thankfully, they slept even more later in the morning while Brett went to train the person who is taking over his job at the school he used to work for. This gave me some time to rest, and Thursday ended up being a pretty good day.

Maya and Brett resting together.

We had a nice weekend with some relaxing home time and some fun outings. Saturday morning, after Selena very sweetly brought us raspberries and maple frosting donuts from the farmers market, I took a two-hour-long walk with the girls while Brett was in Springfield for the afternoon.

On Sunday, we started our morning out with a walk (as I write this, I'm realizing that we took a lot of walks this week!) twice around the block. Our motivation was to get some bread. Someone in our neighborhood recently started baking bread two times a week, and selling it from a little bread stand in his front yard. We got some delicious raisin, nut bread, did a little bit of work in the front garden, and took a nap before heading out again for the afternoon.

Nap time for Ella in the sun while we work in the garden.

Our afternoon was spent in Child's Park, where we attended a gathering of babies all born in the spring/summer of this year. There was a huge turn out from the group, with over 30 babies, including both of the other sets of twins! The babies brought their parents along and we got to catch up with folks we knew and meet a bunch of others! Some of the parents also brought clothing and toys that their kids had outgrown to give away. It was fun to get a couple of things for the girls. It was a little overwhelming with so many people and so many babies, but we had a lot of fun.

The twins all together!

Maya, Ella and Mama pose for a group picture.

The three Dads with their twin babies.

After our time in the park was over, we stopped by the Cup and Top Cafe to check out Jim's art opening for a few minutes before heading home.

Ella falls asleep in her friend Jim's arms.

I think that Monday was one of the best days we've had since the twins were born. The weather was beautiful. It was a perfectly cool, but sunny, Fall day, and we spent most of the morning and early afternoon walking to and from our appointments at NAP and the Midwifery Center. Both girls had their one month check up and I had my six week postpartum visit. The girls weighed 9 lbs 5 oz. each! This puts them in the 33rd percentile for weight. At my appointment, I was given a "perfectly healed" bill of health, which was exciting to hear. When we got home, I celebrated by taking a nap.

Our 3-mile round trip walk was so nice. Taking long walks with babies is one of the things that I always imagined I'd do a lot of when I became a Mama. It makes me feel so happy to finally be getting outside more. Brett carried Maya and I carried Ella. Both girls slept soundly the whole time.

A close up of Maya, snuggled up all cozy on Brett's chest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Swaddling 101, by Brett

When the twins were born, one of the most useful things we learned from the nurses during our stay in the hospital was how to swaddle a baby. Babies like to be swaddled, especially when taking naps, which they do frequently. We don't know what we would do without the swaddle. Babies have a startle reflex that lasts for their first few months. The swaddle keeps them from waking themselves up by mistake when they startle. Very useful.

When you start out, it may be hard to make the swaddle tight enough, or you may feel like you are crushing the baby. I struggled at first, but I had the advantage of twins: twice as much practice. I realized pretty quickly that a loose swaddle is one you will have to do over again, so I got good at swaddling tightly.

You will find your own techniques as you practice, but here are the basics to get you started.

Supplies:
1 large receiving blanket
1 baby
1 pair of quick, determined hands (besides the baby's!)

Step 1: Place baby (in this case Maya, wearing a stylish diaper) in the middle of blanket, with neck and shoulders just off the folded edge.

Step 2: Gently pin arms to sides. This step is pretty important, because if the baby is swaddled with bent elbows, they will escape pretty easily.

Step 3: Fold one side of blanket over baby, keeping arms pinned at or behind hips.

Step 4: Tuck blanket under baby's back and bottom. This is accomplished more easily if you roll the baby on side while you tuck.

Step 5: Fold bottom of blanket up. This part can be done somewhat loosely so that the legs can extend more fully.

Step 6: Fold last corner of blanket over baby.

Step 7: Tuck the last side of the blanket behind baby's back. Again, this is done more easily by turning baby onto side.

All done! One cute little baby burrito!

At this point, I pick the baby up and hold her vertically on my chest, which is comforting for both of us.

There you have it, Swaddling 101. Let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. Good luck, and may the folds be with you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Baybay & Baybee: Week 5

5 weeks old!

This week flew by, much like the last. It was a week without many visitors, but we did make several significant outings, so it felt pretty busy. On the 9th, we decided that since we had to do some work to our house in Springfield, we would make it a family outing. All four of us drove the half-hour to Springfield and we took the girls up into the 2nd floor apartment, where Brett cut further into the ceiling, looking for the source of a leak we were trying to diagnose. There were a few moments when it was stressful to have Maya and Ella along, but it was better than one of us staying home alone and the other going alone. We found the source of the leak and made it home without too much drama.

Maya watches her Dad work on the ceiling.

Our work outing was balanced by a relaxing visit to the Northampton area multiples group on Sunday. We met approximately ten other families with multiples at the Northampton Montessori School playground, which was fabulous other than a few pesky mosquitoes. A few minutes after we arrived, our friends Benita, Sam, Avery and Jonah showed up! We had fun sharing stories, milestones, and questions, both with them, as well as new folks we met. Lana, the woman who runs the laid-back group, does an amazing job, and Becky, who lent us the breastfeeding pillow we have been using, was also fun to chat with.

It was great to see Benita and Sam + babies!

Jonah, Ella, Avery and Maya have their first sleepy play date at the park.

We weren't through with our outings yet, though! On Monday, we made two more excursions. First, we tried out Tummy Time at Northampton's Forbes Library in the middle of the day. We saw our friend Amy there, with her baby Annika, as well as another mother we had met in a workshop back in the Spring. The babies were mostly older (3-5 months), but it was interesting to see different carriers people were using and hear different ideas and tidbits of information. For us, perhaps the most exciting thing was that Maya pooped in the sink at the library when Brett took her to change her diaper! (We plan to write a whole post on the Elimination Communication we've been playing with. Maybe this weekend.) This marked the first time we'd tried it outside our home, and it was nice to see it still worked.

Our first grocery shopping trip with the girls! Now, where do we put all the food? (We thought we were pretty smart and each pushed a cart.)

When we got back home, after trying unsuccessfully to find a book on EC (Diaper Free Baby) in any of the stores or libraries in town, we were exhausted, so we rested up for our evening trip to the Cooley Dickinson Center for Midwifery where we went to listen to Michele L'Esperance speak about sleep patterns. She is amazing. She speaks so well, makes her audience/group feel comfortable asking questions, and imparts loads of information from years of experience. This evening, she spoke about both sleep for babies and also sleep for parents of babies. We learned several things (including the likely cause for much of SIDS), and also felt that we are on the right track because lots of things we are doing are pretty close to what she was suggesting.

Our sleep record is up to 4 hours in a row! This happened once, from about 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Monday night. I hope it happens again sometime soon, because it was really nice. This week the girls seem to be less sleepy, or rather, less willing, to take naps in the day. This has been draining on us and we're not sure what to do to help them sleep for longer stretches in the day time. Reasoning with them hasn't seemed to work. It would probably be fine if they were up so long in the days if they were sleeping correspondingly long stretches in the nights.

So sweet and snuggly sleeping next to each other.

The girls are big enough now to fit into their squirmy-purple-octopus-onesies!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Baybay & Baybee: Week 4

Four weeks old!

7:00 A.M. The twins are sleeping again after their early morning breakfast. Well, not their early, early, morning breakfast, which was at 3 a.m.. I guess that feeding is more like a middle-of-the-night snack, that lasts an hour.

Last night was a good night. For the first time, they both slept for longer stretches! We got a good 3.5 hour nap in the first half of the night and then another 3 hour stretch after that! It felt good. Brett and I both agree that we should be sleeping again right now, but we're not.

Four weeks. It's been crazy so far, but not anywhere near as crazy as some people may imagine. Maya and Ella are wonderful babies. They pretty much eat, sleep and poop right now, usually in that order, then repeat. Every so often they will be awake for a short time and look around at the world. They really don't cry very often, except to let us know that they are awake from a nap, or that they are very wet, or that they really, really, don't want to be in their car seat a second longer.

This week was full of transitions, family and outings. Our friends Ben and Belinda moved out of our upstairs apartment over the weekend. We will miss them, but feel glad to have had them as neighbors for the past 3 years. After some cleaning and painting, two other friends, Evan and Merry, moved in. We are very excited to have them upstairs! Over the past few years we have had a somewhat regular weekly game night with Evan and Merry. Since the babies were born, that has been on hold. But, now that they will be living right upstairs, we hope that more chances for games will arise!

On Saturday, Mama, Papa and Amber arrived for a visit. Amber was only here for the weekend, but Mama and Papa were here for almost a week.

Amber holds a sleeping Maya. It was great to visit with Amber for a few days. She got a lot of good practice holding little babies again. We are so excited to meet our new niece later this year!

While Mama and Papa were here, we went out to eat twice. Both times, we took the babies, and both trips were a success. The girls slept almost the whole time! We visited one of our favorite restaurants, Paul & Elizabeth's, and then were introduced to a newer restaurant that immediately launched itself into favorite status as well: Karma.

Brett carries both at once. They are getting heavy!

A family shot.

Hugs and kisses from their grandparents.

Brett holds two sleepy swaddled babies. They have almost outgrown their newborn hospital blankets. At the end of the week, we started using SwaddleMe sleep sacks (thanks, Katie!).

Maya and Ella recently received their social security cards!

Ella's sleepy smile.

After-bath mohawk.