Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rodeo Day 1 - A Day at the Park

Here in Tucson, we get the best holiday ever: Rodeo Days! That's right, we get two days off to enjoy
the rodeo! I don't think I actually know anyone who goes, but we'll take the days off! This Rodeo weekend
was packed for the Madsen boys. Thursday we went to the park, Friday we went to the zoo, Saturday we
went to dinner for Daddy's birthday and Sunday we had family friends visit. Phew!

My Sycamore mommy friends and I met at the park with all the kiddos on Thursday. We had a lovely picnic in the butterfly garden and then let the kids, as my grandma used to say, run the stink off of them on the playground. It was a beautiful day and they had a great time!

Morgan and Seth playing in the sand:

It's hard work ya know:

How cool is Morgan in her shades?

We tried to get all their heads together. The kiddos had other ideas:

Morgan's ride:

Hayden is much too busy to stay in one place:

Lucas loves to stand up. Look at all that red hair!:

Seth and the Kershner girls:

Kara and Morgan chat:

Georgia and her mommy with Lucas:

Vickie came along and helped out with the twins.
We encouraged her to bring her "baby," but Scott (who's a teenager) didn't want to come:

Staci and Hayden. So cute:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feeding Two Babies

When you have a baby, you quickly realize that the feeding and care of this baby is going to be a full time job. Well, when you have two babies, it pretty much consumes your life. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "How do you feed two babies? You're not nursing are you?" So, I thought I would blog about just that.

When Seth was born, I breast fed exclusively for 13 months. Dutifully, I nursed him every three hours (day and night) for the first several months. I went back to work when he was 12 weeks old and closed the door to my closet and pumped twice a day to keep up my supply. Formula was far and few between and I felt extremely guilty and cringed every time it came up. By the time the 13 months was up, I was proud of myself, but I was exhausted.

Well, when I found out that we were having twins, I immediately thought about nursing. I started to do the math. Newborns eat every 2 to 3 hours. At first, a feeding can take 45 minutes to one hour easily. At that rate, if I nursed them separately, I would be nursing quite literally 20 hours a day. Also, how in the world would I be able to keep up with nursing two babies and chasing a 3 year old. We made the command decision that I would nurse for a year, but supplementing would be a way of life and that Scott could take some middle of the night feedings this time.

When the boys were born by Cesarean at 36 weeks, and I suffered a major postpartum hemorrhage, I wasn't able to nurse right away. We sent the boys to the nursery where they were started on formula while I recovered. The next day, I started trying to nurse. The babies latched, but my milk hadn't come in, so I started pumping and feeding them the colostrum with a syringe. The lactation consultants (yes, two of them) came in and helped me tandem nurse by latching them both at the same time. One baby and one consultant on each breast.

When we got home from the hospital, I nursed one baby while someone else gave the other baby a bottle, then we switched at the next feeding. I had forgotten about how painful nursing is and how much it takes out of you. I tried tandem nursing at home, but couldn't get the hang of it.

I went to a breast feeding support group where the lactation consultant showed me how to use my huge twin nursing pillow by rolling up blankets to place underneath my wrists, hold the babies heads and then have a friend "roll" each breast into the mouth of a baby. All the other moms, discreetly nursing their one baby happily, watched with mouths agape as the consultant and my step-mom Bambi each helped me latch a baby. It worked for about 3 minutes before a baby popped off. They helped me position him just in time to see the other baby pop off. When we got home, Bambi and I tried again, but it just... wasn't... happening. For the next few months, I continued to nurse one baby at a time while someone else bottled the other baby.

Around 10 weeks, I decided to give it another shot. By this time the boys were getting good at nursing on their own and big enough that I wouldn't need to roll up blankets to support my wrists to hold their heads. It worked! We did it! At that point, everything changed. I was able to nurse two babies at once, by myself! I was so proud! Only problem was that, after months of nursing one baby at a time, my milk production wasn't high enough to nurse two babies exclusively. At that point, I was producing enough milk for 1 baby. So, I'd nurse, then supplement with formula.

Soon after, I returned to work and to my closet to pump twice a day. At first, I was pumping quite a bit of milk, but then the stress of working, and being a mom of 3 kids (3 and under), started having a toll on my milk supply. I would pump for 20 minutes and get maybe 3 ounces. The babies were each drinking up to 6 oz. at each feeding! I'm going on a trip, sans babies, to Chicago in April, so I decided to start weaning the boys.

So, now here we are at 6 months. I still tandem nurse first thing in the morning and last thing at night, but I don't think they get much out of it (maybe an ounce apiece). They are hungry, growing little boys! We give the boys 5 bottles a day at 6 oz. each bottle. As you can imagine, we go through a lot of formula and a lot of bottles each day.

I know I've done my best to nurse as long and as much as I can, but I can't help but feel guilty every time I mix a bottle. I would never EVER judge another mother for not breast feeding. I don't care if you have one baby or eight. But, for me, this decision to start weaning is really bothering me. For some reason, I am consumed with feeding these babies.

As new mothers we feel such pressure to nurse. I know it's best for them. I know plenty of mothers of multiples have done it successfully. But I also know that lots of moms (especially mothers of multiples) do formula. I was formula fed. Scott was formula fed. Most of my friends were formula fed. We turned out all right.
I gave it my best shot and should be proud of having nursed at all.

Oh well. 2 babies x 6 months = 1 year. Right?

Here are some pics of feeding two babies. I have photos of myself tandem nursing, but I'm not brave enough to post them.
Instead, I found this old photo (obviously not me) as an example:

Daddy getting ready to feed two babies at once:
Grandma Bambi with two Boppies:
G.G. takes a turn:
Bottle feeding with the EZ 2 Nurse Twins pillow:
All in a day's feeding:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Award

I was checking my favorite blogs, as I do several times a week, and was so honored
to see that my friend Anabelle (KeepingUp With the Pearsons) gave me an award!

So here are the rules with this award:

- Copy the image and display it on your blog.

- List 10 things that make you happy.

- Try to do at least one of them today.

- Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

Here are 10 things that make me happy:

1. The twins smiling, talking and giggling (twice the belly laughs)

2. Dance parties with Seth

3. Seeing Scott holding a baby (0r two)

4. Watching Scott play with Seth

5. Going out to eat

6. Pedicures

7. Camping/hiking/being outside

8. Traveling

9. Movie popcorn


Here are Ten blogs that make me happy:

Thanks Anabelle! What fun!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Day at the Zoo

So, my friends Lori, Georgia and Ami, whom all have wonderful, and regularly updated, blogs (which you can visit from my blog list on the sidebar), gently "reminded" me that I might want to update the blog.  I told them all that I am so far behind now that I wouldn't know where to start, to which they all three told me to start from now, so I'm going to start with our day at the zoo on Saturday.  I have a ton of other pics from Christmas and January and maybe I'll get them up and maybe I won't. At least I'm blogging again!

Saturday, we went to the Reid Park Zoo with our new membership, which was an awesome Christmas gift from Scott's parents (thanks Steve and Nancy!).  We met up with my Dad and Bambi, Gwen and Mike, and my step-brother-in-law Travis and his 3 kids: Drew, Abby and Sophia.  Step-sister Christa and Scott couldn't make it as they weren't feeling well.  

It was a beautiful day to be there and we took a picnic lunch and made an afternoon out of it. What fun!

Sophia and Seth, ready for adventures!

Grandma Bambi, Abby, Seth and Sophia check out the otters

This was the boys first time in this new Cadillac of a stroller. My brother Tim's co-worker, Brooke, who has twin girls, gave it to us.  Up to this point, we've been using the double snap-n-go with their car seats.  It was really fun to have them sitting up and looking out. Poor Ben couldn't see much though. I'll make sure he gets to ride in the front next time.

G.G. (Grandma Gwen) teaches the kids how to walk like a giraffe.


Grandma Bambi with the kiddos: Drew, Abby, Seth and Sophia

The Giraffes were "necking."  How sweet!
Being at the zoo can be very tiring. Here's Parker:

And here's Ben:

In a few weeks, my Mothers of Multiples group is going to the zoo again.  I can't wait to see all the babies together in one place. Hopefully it will be a beautiful day again!