It's amazing how much life has changed in just a few short weeks. Motherhood comes with a lot to learn, and the learning curve is STEEP! You think you're prepared, but having a baby is one of those things in life you can never truly prepare for until it happens.
I don't want to sound self-righteous and say that "having twins is twice as hard" because I don't know that. I've never had a singleton and honestly, my babies are pretty good, so I can't compare them to one colicky, demanding, or high-needs baby. I will say, though, that twins comes with their own unique challenges. So here is what I've learned in my first month with twins.
-You will need help. Not all the time, but definitely in the beginning when you're all learning, and occasionally there will be times when you just can't do it all by yourself. And on that note...
-Sometimes you just can't do it all by yourself AND THAT'S OKAY! Ask for help. If help isn't available right that second, it's okay if one or both babies has to cry for a minute while you do what you can. You don't have to be Supermom.
There are times that both babies are fussy, but I can't carry both so I put one in the swing and hope it calms them for a bit while I soothe the other, then I switch. At least once a day they will wake up at the same time and both will be screaming their heads off while I change them and get set up to feed them. There are also times that they will both be crying and I just have to let them because I have to pee or grab a Cliff Bar because I can't remember the last time I ate or peed!
-Breastfeeding sucks for the first two weeks and you will want to quit... but it is so rewarding if you stick it out. Get help from the nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital. Olivia had a shallow latch, a really strong suck, and a will of her own in the beginning. She wanted to latch herself and would pull away if I tried to make her take more nipple. The nurses helped me trick her into taking a whole mouthful but she would still sometimes latch badly and it hurt so bad! The second week (days 7-14) is the worst because your nipples are raw and tender. Harrison had a great latch with almost no help, but it was still painful some days. Those days I almost dreaded feeding Olivia because she had such an aggressive suck, it felt like she was going to suck my nipple off! All I can say is, it does get better! After those first two weeks my nipples toughened up, the babies got better at latching and sucking, and I actually started enjoying the bonding and sweet moments that breastfeeding brings.
-It is possible to exclusively breastfeed twins. I did question if I was making enough milk for them because I never got engorged. In fact, the only reason I knew when my milk came in was because the nurses were making me pump between feedings since the twins lost over 10% of their birth weight. It started coming in on day 4, but I could only pump less than an ounce using the hospital grade pump. The next day I could definitely tell I had milk, but it was not even close to the engorgement I had been expecting. At our follow up appointment with the pediatrician that day because of their weight loss, she told me it was because two babies nursing every two hours wasn't giving me a chance to get engorged.
I still questioned my supply sometimes, but at their two week follow up both babies had regained their birthweight. Harrison had gone from 5lbs1oz at birth, to 4'8 at discharge, to 5'11 at two weeks. Olivia went from 6'2, to 5'10, to 6'3. Both grew an inch. Today, at their one month checkup, Harrison is up to 7lbs8ozs and two inches longer, and Olivia is 7lbs10oz and an inch longer! In just one month, my little guy has completely caught up to his sister! It happened almost overnight, too. One day he fit in the premie clothes my mom had bought him, the next day they were too small. Literally.
-Make sure you have a pediatrician that you like, who supports your wishes, and that you're both on the same page. My last day in the hospital, the on-call pediatrician made me supplement two feedings before they let us go home. He said if I could pump enough breast milk, I wouldn't have to use formula, but my milk was just coming in that day and I wasn't getting close to enough to feed them both. I was pretty upset because I felt like I was being pressured into formula even though the twins didn't seem hungry or upset at my lack of milk, but I wanted what was best for them and we REALLY wanted to go home, so we gave them the formula. They discharged us with instructions to follow up with our pediatrician the next day. I was worried that she was going to encourage the supplementing as well and make us come in for frequent weight checks, but she told us that even though the babies lost more than they like to see, it was still normal, and since my milk had just come in, she wasn't worried and we would just check their weight again in two weeks and go from there. It was such a relief that she supported my breastfeeding and the break from medical personelle and appointments was just what we needed. She has continued to support and encourage us and our decisions and she has fully earned our complete trust in the care of our children. She cares about what's best for all of us instead of just jumping to medicines and interventions to make things "easy".
-Just because they're twins, doesn't mean they're clones. They are two completely different babies, with completely different personalities, needs, challenges, patterns, and development. Olivia could possibly be the world's easiest baby. She is very laid back, rarely cries, doesn't spit up, and sleeps between 4-6 hours at night. Harrison, on the other hand, is a bit more demanding. He doesn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, spits up quite a bit, has tummy/gas issues, HATES to be put down, and tends to just be fussy. Had I just had him, I would have thought "this is just how babies are", but since Olivia is so easy, it made me question what was wrong with Harrison. After questioning the pediatrician and listing his "ailments", she told me he is perfectly healthy and normal. Babies spit up. They have gas and it upsets them. They're fussy. She told me that Olivia is part of only 10% of babies that never spit up and that I need to stop comparing them because I'll make myself crazy.
-Google/forums/birth boards will make you crazy. Within the first week home I had convinced myself that Harrison was fussy because he was sensitive to the dairy in my diet, so I cut it out almost completely. Then I thought he had reflux. Then I read about "silent reflux" and saw Olivia did some of the things they describe so I thought she had it. Then I thought we all had thrush. Then back to the reflux. Turns out, I just have a forceful let-down and "over-supply" (it would be over supply to a woman with one baby but is needed to feed twins) and the babies just have a hard time keeping up with the milk flow. I have since gone back to my "no Google" rule.
-Try to get them on some sort of routine. You don't have to put them on a schedule... but have a "reset" routine to get them back in sync (if you want to tandem feed). The first two or so weeks I just fed on demand and went with what they wanted. Well, Harrison fed more often than Olivia and they quickly got on separate schedules. At first I was okay with it because it was easier to take and feed one baby than to set up my nursing pillow and position and latch both. Pretty soon, all I was doing was feeding babies.
Okay, that's enough for now. Here's some pictures of the twins!
Two days old-
Day we came home-
Home for the first time-
Olivia with Montana
Harrison sleeping on Daddy
Sleeping on the nursing pillow after eating
Sleeping on the bed in the morning after daddy went to work- (about 2weeks old)
Sleeping in the same pose! (Holtz was guarding them)
Holding hands for after-meal nap
Harrison @ 6 weeks (he loves checking out the hotties on Toddlers & Tiaras)
Olivia wearing her brother's clothes because she had a major diaper blowout and it was the first onesie I could find while Harrison screamed his head off
Harrison making crazy faces
Olivia at BabiesRUs
Posing for the camera at 7 weeks
Harrison talking to the dogs
Harrison smiling at my mom 4th of July @ 2 months
Olivia with her great-grandma
Intrigued by my mom's curtains
Harrison playing with mommy
Olivia being silly
Harrison cuddling with Daddy