What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

What I Learned from Breastfeeding Twins for Two Years

Breastfeeding twins has been major accomplishment. I have reached my goal of nursing twins for two full years. This is what helped me get there.

The odds are stacked against many moms when they start their journey of breastfeeding twins, but after recently reaching the 2-year mark of nursing my twins, I’ve learned a few things that might make your breastfeeding journey a little easier.

These are the key tips that have been essential in my success in breastfeeding twins for over 2 years now.

A couple quick disclaimers though. I am not a lactation consultant, midwife, doctor, or have any professional credentials. I am just a mom who has breastfed a singleton and breastfed twins for a combined 6 years now.

I also have included affiliate links to products and services I love, which means if you use my link and make a purchase I get a small commission at not extra cost to you.

I was a veteran breastfeeder

I need to get this one out of the way right off the bat. When I got pregnant with my twins, I was actually still nursing my daughter who was 2 at the time.

So not only did I have experience breastfeeding, but I had already successfully breastfed one child to natural term.

She finally weaned somewhere in the first trimester, though at that point we were down to only nursing 2-3 times per day. I was able to wean her fairly easily just by redirecting her to snacks, cow’s milk, and her favorite yogurt.

During those 2 years of breastfeeding, I learned most of the lessons that I’ll share here, and then those lessons were reiterated and strengthened during my journey with breastfeeding twins.

Though there were some new tricks I picked up, and tips that are a little unique for twins that I’ll share too.

Do your research

Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. I don’t think I have ever met a mom who didn’t have at least one stumbling block when it came to breastfeeding whether that was sore nipples, latch issues, biting, low supply, tongue/lip ties, or even pressure from family to quit.

While I’m sure formula moms face many challenges as well, breastfeeding presents its own set of challenges. Even if you and baby establish your breastfeeding relationship smoothly, chances are that you will need some sort of knowledge before giving birth so you are prepared.

There are a few resources that I LOVE and recommend wholeheartedly for learning more about breastfeeding.

Books on Breastfeeding:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book is from La Leche League (LLL), which is one of (if not THE) foremost organization supporting breastfeeding moms. It was created by breastfeeding moms who needed support, so banded together to create what they needed. 90% of what I learned about breastfeeding was from this book.

Mothering Multiples

La Leche League followed up the above with a book specifically designed to help mamas with multiples, as the title implies. This isn’t only about breastfeeding, but definitely goes over breastfeeding more than one baby.

Websites and Online Resources for Breastfeeding:

KellyMom

If I had to choose ONE single resource for moms to know about, it would be KellyMom. This website has an answer to just about any and every breastfeeding question you might have. Including, a section about breastfeeding twins or multiples.

La Leche League

The LLL website is a great resource for getting answers to your breastfeeding questions, but also a place to find local LLL groups so you can find in-person support from other breastfeeding moms.

LactMed

Have a cold and want to know if that decongestant is ok to take while breastfeeding? Head over to this website. This is a database of medications and their known or unknown interactions while breastfeeding. I always recommend checking this even if you have gotten a doctor’s advice because sometimes their info is out of date, while LactMeds should be the most recent info.

Online Courses for Breastfeeding:

Milkology: The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class

This is an online course that is super affordable (only $19!). It was created by a mom of 3, and Certified Lactation Educator, Stacey Stewart. She has helped thousands learn how to breastfeed, and this course is an amazing resource to have at your fingertips.

Milkology: The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class

Because tons of moms go back to work after giving birth but still want to breastfeed, Stacey also created a course on pumping milk.

La Leche League for Moms of Twins/Multiples Facebook Group

It takes a village, right? This is my favorite breastfeeding group. Tons of other moms to tap into when you need support.

To tandem or not to tandem?

I planned on tandem nursing my guys from the very start, and I was tandem feeding them within the first day of their birth.

However, if you are first-time mom or have never breastfed any babies ever before, you might want to consider nursing separately until you get the hang of it.

Even though I was a pro at breastfeeding when I had my boys I DID take some time to nurse them individually before switching to tandem so that I knew they were good to go and had no problems latching on.

As soon as babies are able and you feel comfortable, I do strongly suggest tandem feeding when possible. Not only does this save time for you, but it also helps get the babies on the same schedule.

I never push or force my kids onto a schedule. Instead, I follow their cues and allow them to get into their own routines. The only thing I did to really encourage my boys to be on the same schedule was also trying to tandem feed. If one showed signs of hunger, I offered to both. Within a few weeks, they were pretty synced up.

The one product I think is essential for tandem feeding is the Brest Friend Twins nursing pillow. Some moms love the Twin-Z, but I love the structure and support of the Brest Friend. (Plus it has a pocket to store your drinks, snacks, remote, phone, whatever you need for those long nursing sessions.)

Protip on using the Brest Friend, have extra pillows for propping. You CAN use this pillow on its own, but I found that what was most comfy for me was to sit on a couch with legs criss-cross applesauce, a pillow or two behind my back and one underneath the Brest Friend to raise the height up a little. Propped like that I could Netlflix and Chill while nursing comfortably all day.

Have a plan for night feedings

When they were newborns I would also wake both at the same time to feed, but as time went on I let them each wake as they wanted to feed.

To make things easier for me, I had a sidecar crib, which is a crib without the front section attached to the bed so you can have the best of both worlds, bedsharing and separate space for the babies and you. So when one would wake I would grab him, latch him on, and then do the same when the other woke.

If both woke at the same time I would sit up in bed and nurse them tandem.

Deciding on where baby sleeps can be a bit overwhelming for parents. I choose to bedshare and/or use a sidecar because it is the safest option for me and my family, and it also means I get more sleep!

Here are a few resources for you to decide what might work best for you:

Sweet Sleep from LLL

A guide on co-sleeping from Mattress Insider

AAP sleep guideslines

Safe Co-Sleeping with Multiples from the Badass Breastfeeder

How to breastfeed twins in public

Unless you plan to never leave your home, you will at some point have to decide how you’re going to feed your babies while away from home.

Tandem nursing can be a bit awkward when you are doing it at home, let alone in public.

Some moms are able to manage tandem feeding in public right from the beginning. Some cover, some use the two-shirt method, and some just let it all hang out. Whatever you’re comfortable with is what you should do.

For me though, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to get it right without a pillow or something to help me prop the babies up. So when they were tiny infants I usually brought a bottle of pumped milk with me and if both were hungry at the same time, one would get boob, and one would get a bottle of pumped milk.

Once my boys were bigger and had better control over their heads and bodies, I just tandem nursed them wherever we were using the two-shirt method.

The one way I was able to comfortable tandem feed when mine were newborns was while babywearing. I used a size 8 woven wrap in a front wrap cross carry to wear both of them and was able to nurse them easily that way.

Know where to get support

I’m going to be honest. In my experience, pediatricians have not been the most helpful when it comes to supporting me breastfeeding. Many times they were poorly informed about the basics of breastfeeding mechanics and were very quick to tell me to supplement with formula even though I had an overabundance of breastmilk.

This isn’t to say to never take your pediatrician’s advice or to just ignore them, but be clear on where you’re most likely to get the support you need.

Most times this will be with the help of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). There are a few different certifications that can fall under “lactation consultant” or some variant of that phrase, but an IBCLC is like the gold standard of certification.

So when my doctor recommended I supplement with my twins, which I didn’t personally feel was necessary, I wanted to also get the backing of an expert to ensure I was actually doing the right thing. That’s when I sought out the opinion of the IBCLC.

Doctors generally have little to no training on breastfeeding, while IBCLC’s are basically specialists in that area. For me, the IBCLC’s recommendations trumped the pediatricians.

Your opinion might be different. You might also have a much different situation than I did. Maybe if my twins were premature and had complications I’d lean more heavily on the pediatrician’s opinion, maybe not. But the point here is not to tell you who to listen to, rather use your own judgment and do your own research on where you think you can get the best answers for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding twins is exhausting but so rewarding. I am so happy to have been able to nurse my twins this long. Hopefully, these few tips can help you do the same if it’s your goal.

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Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack for Hospital Birth

Not sure what to pack for hospital birth? These are the absolute essentials to add to your hospital bag checklist!

We’re just sharing the absolute musts that moms say they are glad they added to their hospital bag checklist before the baby came.

Trying to think of what to pack for hospital birth can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time mom. So let’s ease that stress so you can relax while you wait for your little one’s arrival instead of getting hung up on the hospital bag checklist.

Over 20 moms gave us the inside scoop on what they thought were the most important things they packed in their hospital bag, and what they wish they would have added to their hospital bag checklist and missed. And of course, I add my own 2cents.

Use your own judgment too. This list is full of suggestions, but if you know you have worn a robe and absolutely hate them, then maybe skip it and get a comfy cardigan instead (that’s what I did). Plus, I’ve included some affiliate links, so if you purchase anything from this list I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Essential Hospital Bag Checklist:

  • Insurance info
  • Birth Plan (extra copies)
  • Essential Oils (there are awesome PMS blends that helped me with lower back discomfort during birth)
  • Comfy Outfits (Pregnancy yoga pants, soft t’s, and warm socks were my go-to)
  • Robe or Sweater (I loved having a big comfy cardigan.)
  • FridayMom Peri Bottle (So much nicer than the peri bottles they give you at the hospital)
  • Pads and/or Mom Diapers (The hospital will usually have some for you, but if you have a preferred brand or style, then bring them)
  • Breastpump (If you don’t have one, check out Aeroflow where they help you get one for free from your insurance.)
  • Haakaa (Catch all the liquid gold leaking out while you nurse on the other side)
  • Lanolin
  • Facewash, Body wash, Shampoo, Conditioner (and one mom also recommended a detangling spray because you’ll probably be too tired to get all the knots out. The hospital usually has this stuff there, but you might prefer your own.)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Lip gloss or chapstick
  • Water Bottle (The hospital will have cups, but I liked having my own water bottle that could hold much more water.)
  • Nursing bra/tank
  • Slippers
  • Hairbands, Headbands, and Bobby Pins
  • Hairbrush
  • Phone
  • Charger for Phone (One mama made the awesome tip to get on that is extralong so it can reach where you need it to!)
  • Favorite playlist (My hubby played a specific birth playlist for me and it definitely helped me out a ton!)
  • Noise-canceling headphones (So you can tune out all that’s going on and focus.)
  • Skincare and Makeup (I didn’t bring a lot, but I did like going through the routine of some basic skincare to feel more like a human again after that first postbirth shower)
  • Your own towels, pillow, and blanket (Some mamas just can’t get comfy with the ones at the hospital)
  • Snacks (Pro-mom tip so you have fuel for late-night nursing sessions)
  • Going home outfit for you (I usually pack my favorite pregnancy outfit that is comfy. You’ll still need to wear your pregnancy clothes for a while.)
  • Going home outfit for the baby/ies (I always chose a comfy sleeper.)
  • Extra newborn clothes for at hospital (Sleepers with zippers are my fav)

Did we miss anything? Share with us what was on your hospital bag checklist! Comment below with your best tips on what to pack in hospital bag.

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When Your Birth Plan Changes

When Your Birth Plan Changes

Birth is complicated, and it’s so common for your birth plan to changes. But the fact that curveballs are bound to come your way during birth is the biggest reason you NEED a birth plan.

When I was pregnant with my first, I had an extremely detailed birth plan, and that birth plan totally changed. Thrown out the window. But I don’t for one second regret creating it.

I cried during my childbirth, but not because of pain. No, I had been dealing with a lot of pain for about a week.  I was crying as I was getting an epidural. 

Ever since I saw Ricki Lake’s documentary, The Business of Being Born, I knew I wanted a natural childbirth. I was dead set against birthing in a hospital.

In fact, my number one choice was to birth at home, but if that didn’t work I would go to a birth center that was unattached from a hospital.

Well, needless to say, from the very beginning, it didn’t go quite as planned.

This is my birth story, and I’m going to tell you why I still think it’s important to have a birth plan, even if it doesn’t go as expected.

 

My Birth Plan

Let me start by telling you my preparations.

I chose my care provider carefully and settled on a local midwifery that had both a freestanding birth center and connections to a hospital so they could accompany me to the hospital if I would need to be transferred in case of an emergency. It seemed like the best of both natural and medical options to fall back on. 

I read some of the most influential natural birth books out there. I watched natural birth videos. I hired a doula. I took the Hypnobabies course to help with natural birth. I made a birth plan. I even set up a plan for having my placenta encapsulated.

There is no one else on the planet aside from maybe a doula or midwife who was as prepared as I was for my natural childbirth.

Maybe I would even be one of those lucky women who had an orgasmic birth!

But Birth Plans Change

The problem is… Birth is not math. There’s no magical equation to ensure that it works out perfectly every time. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that at least one thing will not go as planned.

That’s life.

Since birth is the process of bringing a human life into this world it only makes sense that you’re going to be thrown a curveball here and there.

I started having contractions early in the week of November 16.

At around 11 pm they would start and go all night but never get close together or rhythmic and would end when the sun came up. By Thursday I was pretty sure I was in active labor. So I went in to have my midwife check me, and I was 2-3 cm and 100% effaced.

Throughout that and the next night, the contractions would come and go, giving me no more than 15-30 minute stretches of sleep. Oh, and did I mention it was all back labor? Yeah.

My doula worked with me on various techniques to help get the baby into a better position to hopefully speed things up and get the pressure off my back. None of it worked.

Late Friday into early Saturday morning I again had the contractions get pretty close and consistent, 3-5 minutes apart for over an hour. So I called the doula and midwife and we headed to the birth center. 

I had progressed to 5-6 cm so we stayed, but guess what… By the time the sun came up, my labor had stopped again. 

At this point, I was exhausted from not sleeping all night. So my midwife gave me a sleep aid and sent me home to rest. The hope was my body just needed to recharge to take on the big task of pushing this kid out. So I was able to sleep most of the day, but again the contractions picked up over the night and ended in the morning.

It was now Sunday morning. We made a trip to the hospital just to get hooked up to some monitors and make sure the baby was doing well after all this stress, and yes she was doing great. Again I went home after some discussion about potentially breaking my water if things didn’t progress soon.

I got home. Showered and took another sleep aid, but less than an hour later I woke up to the most intense contractions yet.

My doula came over and we decided to head to the birth center. I had decided that either this was the real deal or I was going to go ahead with the midwife breaking my water because I was totally exhausted. 

Luckily we got there, and just when the midwife walked into the room to break my water, it broke on its own!

 

Managing Discomfort During a Long Labor

Let me pause right here to give a big shoutout to Hypnobabies, a program that teaches moms how to have a pain-free childbirth.

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a self-hypnosis/meditation technique that is used to have comfortable childbirth.

It wasn’t easy and I wasn’t comfortable for every minute of this birthing process because it was so start and stop, but without Hypnobabies, I would have been begging for an epidural on Day 1 instead of being able to naturally progress as far as I did.

Eventually, I did start making progress after my water broke, but once I got to 9cm it stopped again… I felt like I was so close and wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and head to the hospital yet. But after still a few more hours and no more progress, I agreed to go to the hospital for pitocin.

Now that I am a mom of three, I can look back on this first birth and think based on the many birth stories I have heard since, that if I would have held out just a little longer, maybe I would have starting progressing again on my own. But at the time I was a first-time mom and I was less sure of myself and my ability to natural birth a baby.

I think that’s why I chose to get an epidural and pitocin. It felt more certain than continuing to wait, and wait, and wait.

99% of birth is a mindgame. You can handle the discomfort, but the battle you’re really fighting is in your mind because it gets scary at times. That’s why even though my birth didn’t go exactly as I intended, I still totally support having a well though out birth plan because it helps you visualize what might happen so you are as prepared as possible.

It’s also why the Hypnobabies techniques were so helpful. When I was in the zone with them, I felt great physically, emotionally, and mentally.

Choosing a New Plan

Since I wasn’t getting my natural birth center birth and I was a bit afraid of how the pitocin would make me feel, I opted for an epidural.

We got to the hospital by 9pm on Sunday night and had the pitocin and epidural running by 10 pm. It still wasn’t until 5am that I was ready to push.

This kid apparently didn’t want to come out at all.

My uterus must be super cozy. My midwife and I actually discussed the possibility of going to a c-section if I wasn’t ready to push by around 5am, but luckily I was! 

The pushing was super hard work, but my daughter came into the world at 6:54 am Monday morning. 

Even though the baby and I came through this healthy and happy, it took me a while to really deal with the fact that my birth wasn’t the natural birth I had planned.

I did everything right! But my body and the baby just had other plans.

 

So, why do I still think it is so important to have a birth plan? 

I can now say that I am happy with the decisions I made during my birth because even though it wasn’t my ideal birth, I was well informed. I had thought through all the possibilities beforehand and knew what my options were. I wasn’t really thrown by the change of plans because I had planned for a change of plans as a possibility.

I also had a team and partner I trusted to help me make the decisions, and choosing that team was part of my initial planning when creating a birth plan.

Having a birth plan is so important for women to use as a way to think through all the things that could happen during birth and make a plan for them. The birth plan isn’t just about outlining your ideal birth.

It’s also about deciding when and how you will make hard decisions if they come up, and giving your care providers a clear sense of how you want them to interact with you.

Even if you are having a c-section or a hospital birth with a planned epidural, I still recommend this.

Also, it isn’t just about the birth itself, but the time directly after the birth. It sets up your expectations of how your baby will be handled, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone else deciding what happens to my baby directly after I just did all that work to bring her here (assuming no major emergency).

So I’m going to leave you with a quote because no matter whether you have a birth plan, don’t have a birth plan, had a picture-perfect birth, or it was a hot mess. This really sums up how I would love for all women to approach their birth.

“Women, don’t ever apologize for your behavior or choices during birth. When you OWN your experience and take pride in your journey, you help other women do the same thing. No matter how you did it, you just brought a human being into the world! The world should be kneeling at your feet.” -Lauralyn Curtis

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Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Supplies for Pumping at Work: What You *really* Need

Going back to work after maternity leave can be so hard, but having the right supplies for pumping at work can help smooth out the process a little.

Prepping with the best supplies for pumping at work before getting back into the swing of things in the working work will make it much more likely that your pumping/breastfeeding journey will continue without a hitch.

A Breast Pump

This is THE most important thing you need to pump at work unless you plan to hand express.

Hand expressing is totally doable (plus something you might need to do in a pinch) and some moms find they get better production via hand expression, but most moms prefer to use a pump because it’s just easier.

AND did you know that most health insurance plans will cover a breast pump? Yes! With both of my pregnancies, I went through Aeroflow to get my breast pump and it was so easy.

All you do is head over to this link and fill out a few bits of information. They will then let you know which pumps your insurance will cover, and get you all set up. It’s very minimal work on your end. They take care of it all, and get you started with the supplies for pumping at work you need the most.

Which pump is the best?

Moms might differ on this, but in my personal experience and from what I’ve seen other moms say, the Spectra S2 is the best option if it is available to you. Compared to other breast pumps I’ve used, I found that it best mimicked the actual feel of a nursing baby, and had the best milk output.

The Spectra S2 is also a hospital grade pump at a much lower cost than others. A hospital-grade means it is a closed system. In a closed system, the milk never goes into the machine, meaning it is actually considered safe for multiple moms to use the same machine as long as they use different or sterilized accessories.

I’ve also used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced (PISA), and the hospital-grade Medela Symphony. The PISA was fine. No complaints. The Symphony was excellent, but it is rather pricey and to be honest, I found the Spectra to get just as much milk out as the Symphony and at a much smaller price tag if you have to pay out of pocket.

All of the pumps discussed so far are electric pumps, meaning they plug into an outlet or a battery pack and electricity does the job for you. But a manual pump is also an option.

Manual pumps are super cheap, starting around $25 for most, and many moms actually get better output from a manual pump than an electric. But just like hand expression it can be a bit of a pain and lead to some pretty cramped hands, so it’s a personal call on what works best for you.

A Pumping Bag

This is not technically necessary for pumping at work, but it makes this so much easier.

You could always just throw everything into a regular bag, but if you can find a bag designed for pumping, it just simplifies everything.

I love this bag and wish it would have been around when I was pumping at work. It’s big enough to fit a Spectra S2 plus tons of accessories, a notebook or small computer, plus insulated pockets for pumped milk. It’s a pretty tricked-out pumping bag if I do say so myself.

But the biggest thing you need to keep in mind is having somewhere to store your pumped milk. The point of all these supplies for pumping at work is to ensure your liquid gold gets home to your little one. So be sure to pack some ice packs in a cooler bag if nothing else.

Milk Bags

You need somewhere to store your hard-earned milk! Milk bags are the go-to for most moms because of convenience.

Not only are milk bags easy to carry around, but they also are great for storing milk because they take up little room. You can also freeze your milk in breastmilk bags.

I love the Lansinoh brand bags (Target has a store brand that is similar) because they seem to be able to lay flat the best in the freezer. If you lay the bags flat in the freezer to freeze them you can stack them for easier storage.

If you’d like a more sustainable option, you can always just keep the milk in bottles that are reusable, or I also love storing my milk in mason jars (which also come with nipple attachments!)

Cleaning Supplies

If you have access to a microwave, an absolute necessity when it comes to supplies for pumping at work are the Medela steam bags.

All you have to do is throw your parts into one of the fancy little bags, add a little water and toss it in the microwave for the amount of time it says on the bag.

Et voila!

Your pump parts are sterilized. It is an AMAZING time and sanity-saving hack for pumping moms and I couldn’t live without this in my toolbox of supplies for pumping at work.

If you don’t have a microwave or a sink to wash the old fashioned way, I recommend these Medela cleaning wipes. They are awesome in a pinch.

 

Nipple Balm

This is your call, but I always liked having some sort of nipple balm, even if it was just coconut oil on hand.

Pumping shouldn’t hurt if you have the right setup, but sometimes just overuse of the nips with a teething or cranky baby can make your nipples a little sore. I love lanolin and also had a balm made from my placenta! (Yeah it sounds weird, but it was awesome!)

The right size flanges

What are flanges? They are the shield portion that cups your breast as you pump. Ensuring you have the right size is important for comfort AND milk production. If the size is wrong, it might not express as much milk as possible, causing your supply to dwindle.

Learn how to get the proper fit here.

I actually bought Pumpin’ Pals flanges (find the set for the Spectra on their website) because I heard other moms rave about them, and I now rave about them too. They are one of my favorite supplies for pumping at work that I recommend to moms because I definitely felt more comfortable with them and had more milk.

Pumping Bra

I actually never used a pumping bra as one of my necessary supplies for pumping at work, but I know a lot of moms swear by them.

Perhaps it’s because I just couldn’t find the right fit from the bras I did try, but it was just easier for me to wedge the breast shield between my bra and shirt, kind of like the two shirt method for breastfeeding.

If I were going to try another pumping bra, I’d like to give this on a go though.

Snacks and Water!

Breastfeeding and pumping can make you SO HUNGRY, and also zap some of your energy. Not to mention, it can be hard to stay hydrated while breastfeeding/pumping.

Be sure you always have a snack in your bag and a bottle of water.

While you’re sitting down to pump chug some water and have a bite to eat so you’re replenished and able to hop back into work a little more easily.

Pumping is like an entire job in itself mama, and hopefully, these supplies for pumping at work will make it just a little bit easier.

What are your favorite supplies for pumping at work? Let us know in the comments!

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all those tips for new moms on all the mom blogs, this is for you.

Here are 10 awesome blog posts from mom blogs I found to help you get started on your journey to becoming a new mama, with the best tips for new moms.

Learn the old wives’ tales for predicting if it’s a boy or girl

Even if you plan to keep your baby’s gender a surprise until birth, it’s fun to play with these old wives’ tales. I must admit, I’ve tried a few of them!

Read this post from Momma McGovern on 10 old wives’ tales for predicting gender.

Learn to relax

I used Hypnobabies to have a natural birth and can vouch first-hand for the power of relaxation during childbirth. It is so helpful in attaining whatever your birth goals are!

Bethany Dykman breaks down why you should learn how to relax while pregnant, one of the best tips for new moms, in this post on Strength Love Birth.

Prepare for witching hour

The witching hour. OMG. It’s so hard. But Laura Epstein from the Messy Bun Life shares some sanity-saving tips for new moms to survive the witching hour with a newborn.

Create a visual birth plan

If you want your birth team to have a super easy to reference document with your birth preferences clearly outlined, then consider a visual birth plan.

Check out one of the best posts from the mom blogs I’ve seen on creating a visual birth plan from Messy Buns and Mom Jeans.

Get registered

It’s only natural that on a list of mom blogs, we include this one right?

Amazon is our favorite place to get your baby registry started, and we talk all about why in this post. Plus, I walk you through a short video of how to navigate and add to your baby registry on Amazon.

(You can also head right over to Amazon to start your registry right now.)

Have a scheduled C-section?

Whether it’s your ideal birth or not, a C-section is a serious surgery, and it can be a bit intimidating, to say the least. But you can learn from mamas who have been there.

Read this post from Motherhood in May to prep. Learn the best ways to prepare for a scheduled C-section, what to expect during the procedure, and how to start healing afterward.

Start thinking about postpartum

If you’re like me, you didn’t really think much about postpartum until you were smack dab in the middle of it, which can be a super challenging time. Not a lot of people warn you about what to expect and how to cope.

Luckily, My Mom Crew was able to chat with an OB-GYN about warning signs when it comes to postpartum. In this post, they share what is totally normal during postpartum recovery and when to start to worry.

I love this one because a lot of mom blogs don’t have expert advice to lean on.

Sleep tips you don’t read on all mom blogs!

Babies don’t sleep.

Ok. They actually sleep a ton usually! It’s just not always at the times we want them to sleep, which leads to the mombie. You know, the overtired mom who barely functions because our brains have been hijacked by adorable tiny humans and sleep deprivation?

Check out this post from Mommy N’ More with some awesome and totally realistic tips on how to deal with newborn sleep.

Breastfeeding + Working

Breastfeeding is hard enough, but add working outside the home to the mix? That can get tough. I remember the days of sneaking out of meetings ASAP to relieve some pressure.

But with a plan and the right tools it is absolutely doable. After successfully pumping at work for over a year with my first, I can say I love these tips from This Mom Life, and think they are essential tips for new moms at work.

All the newborn tips

When you become a new mom and finally bring that baby home, you will start asking questions you never ever thought of before.

Hopefully, these awesome 21 newborn tips from Real Mom Recs will get you ahead of the game.

No matter how many mom blogs you read, you are never fully prepared to become a new mom. But hopefully, these tips from new moms in these awesome posts will help ease the transition just a little.

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My Twin Birth Story (Hospital Induction, No Epidural)

My Twin Birth Story (Hospital Induction, No Epidural)

My twin boys just turned 2 today, and it felt like the right time to share my twin birth story.

This is the twin birth story of Sebastian Charles and Maximus James.

When I found out I was pregnant in Early 2017, I was so excited to plan a totally natural water birth. My natural birth plans were thwarted with my first birth when it took forever and a day, ending me up with a hospital birth.

But at our 20-week ultrasound, that plan was AGAIN tossed out.

As soon as the ultrasound tech put the wand down on my belly, my husband made a comment that there was a lot of stuff in there! A few seconds later she clicked the button next to fetuses with the number 2 and said: “there’s two in there!”

I was simultaneously shocked and not surprised at all. Maybe a little voice spoke to me or maybe it was my mother’s intuition, but I knew there were two babies. I even told my mom to expect twins before the ultrasound. And I also wasn’t surprised when we found out both were boys. I knew they would be.

But even though in my heart I knew it, it’s a totally surreal experience to have those hunches confirmed. 

It did mean a change of birth plans though. The midwifery and OB/GYN I go to only does twin births in the hospital, and the actual birth takes place in an operating room. 

Not exactly the relaxed water birth I hoped for, but I was happy with the practice and didn’t want to change providers, so we agreed to hospital birth in the OR. Not my intended birth story, but c’est la vie, I was thrilled to be having TWO babies. 

This was my second birth using Hypnobabies (a form of hypnosis used for comfortable childbirth click here to learn more), and in my first, I had used the Hypnobabies techniques to stay pretty comfortable for most of my birthing time, which was very long as I had prodromal birthing time stretching out over a week.

I planned on a birth center water birth for that one too, but I did end up consenting to both an epidural and pitocin at the hospital in the end because I was exhausted. Luckily when it came time to push, that part went smoothly!

My recovery from that birth was easy and quick, but since that birth didn’t go as planned, I wanted to do everything I could to try to make my twin birth as close to natural as possible. 

Beyond research I’ve done that shows the risks involved with epidurals, I also know people who have had very bad experiences with them. So even though it worked totally fine for my first birth, I was hoping to avoid one for the twin birth.

I had an extensive list of birth preferences and newborn care preferences because I wanted to be as prepared as possible. I am a big advocate for having a thoroughly researched birth plan that you discuss with your birth team. There might always be a change of plans, but ideally a birth plan helps you think through those twists and turns too, so you can give birth as stress-free as possible.

With a few fairly minor changes, my doctor and midwives were on board with my plans. 

I simplified my birth preferences when discussing it with nurses at the hospital to just a few basic goals though:

  1. These babies come out of my vagina
  2. No epidural or other medication that isn’t necessary for medical reasons
  3. Delayed cord clamping
  4. Skin to skin and breastfeeding for the first hour (at least)

If I was able to accomplish these four things I would feel like it was an awesome birth. And guess what… I did them all!

The toughest decision I had to make during the pregnancy was whether or not to induce.

Some studies show an increased risk of stillbirth after 38 weeks with twins. The risk is not huge, but my doctor felt it was greater than risks of induction. My midwives were kind of on the fence but wouldn’t go against the doctor’s recommendation. 

I did eventually agree to induction, but pushed it to the end of the 38 weeks and scheduled it for October, Friday the 13th. (Lucky, right? lol.)

When that day actually came I was pretty surprised I was still pregnant! In the days leading up to it, I had tried tons of natural and at-home methods of inducing, even two rounds of castor oil. Plus I had been having early birthing signs for weeks! 

But my boys were way to cozy to come out. 

So at 9:52am on the 13th I was at the hospital with an IV of pitocin.

When I arrived I was at 2cm and 70-80% effaced. We didn’t do a foley bulb or any addition medication. Just the pitocin with fluids. Within a few hours I was on the maximum dose of pitocin. 

During this time I alternated between hypnobabies tracks (which are kind of like guided meditations) and napping. Over the course of that day and night I had a few times where I felt like I was heading into my active birthing time (in case your wondering… I like using “birthing time” because it’s in line with Hypnobabies teachings, which were sooo helpful for me), but each time it fizzled out. 

The good news was I was very comfortable this whole time. In fact the most uncomfortable part was my monitors on my belly kept falling off or stopped picking up two babies and would both pick up one. So every 20-30 minutes or whenever I moved the nurses would have to come adjust them, which took 10-20 minutes each time. 

But all of them were amazed at how calm and relaxed I was even with all the poking and proding plus pitocin.

At one point I had a doctor doing an ultrasound plus 4 nurses trying to get the monitors on my properly.  A lot of the time I would just tell them I was going to listen to my tracks and would be asleep, but do what they needed to do. So I didn’t even really notice them. 

The other difficult part of this for me was not being able to eat. The hospital policy was only clear liquids, and while I may have bent those rules a little, I didn’t want to overdo it. So I was really hungry half the time. 

Once we got to 6am Saturday morning (nearly 24 hours later), I asked if we could take a break from the pitocin so I could eat, take a shower and rest for an hour or so. The midwife was fine with that because as long as it wasn’t TOO long we could pick right back up with the pitocin.

I ordered a huge breakfast, had a shower, sent my mom and husband home to shower and rest for a little, and prepared myself to start again. 

My midwives were all great about basically leaving me alone and keeping cervical checks to a minimum. I think besides when I first got there I was only checked once more in that 24 hours. They were really following my lead on how I was feeling. 

I don’t remember exactly at what time they checked but at some point I was at 4cm. We agreed that once I got to 5-6cm we might break my water if I wasn’t more active by then. It was just kind of a waiting game at that point. 

But I never got past 4cm, and around 8-9pm on Saturday my midwife suggested we just go ahead and break the water. I agreed. I was ready to either stop for a while for another break, or move forward with a new plan, a new birth story again.

So I went with the new plan. 

Since she was breaking my water anyway, she also attached a monitor to Baby A’s scalp. I thought this would be so uncomfortable, but compared to the belly monitors falling off and having to be readjusted all the time, it was so much better!

It helped me have more freedom of movement.

I was able to really get on the birth ball and walk around to help encourage the baby to get into position. He had so far been floating around in the right area, but not fully engaging. I tried all I could to get him into position before that, even having my chiropractor come to the hospital to adjust me!

Once I did all we could think of to get baby into position, I decided to try to rest.

I’m not sure how long I was laying down, but around midnight or 1am, I started to feel some activity. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but this felt promising!

My mom and doula were with me, but my husband was at home. I had sent him back to get some rest because I didn’t know if anything was going to happen that night. By 2 am I was pretty sure it was the real thing, and I told my mom to call him back.

Things happened quickly then! 

It’s so crazy because I’ve read a lot of birth stories, and I have researched a lot about birth, but your rational mind at some point goes into the background.

I started doubting myself and was worried that I was wrong and this wasn’t the real thing. I ended up crying hard for about 15 minutes because I was so emotional, but just letting myself cry between the pressure waves felt good and let me release my fears. 

At this point, I thought I was in transformation and would soon be able to push because I wasn’t getting breaks between the waves. I had stopped listening to my Hypnobabies tracks (which isn’t recommended), but was using other self-hypnosis techniques to stay calm and relaxed.

Oddly, I also would sing the first line of the Beatles “Let it Be” in my head through every super intense wave. 

I wouldn’t say I felt comfortable during this period of time, but I was calm and felt pretty confident. I felt a lot of pressure and intensity in my back, just like I had with my daughter, who was posterior. 

There were times I didn’t know if I could really do it and wanted to ALL the drugs, but I love a good birth story and after reading sooo many, I knew that many times when you feel like you can’t go on is when you’re almost there.

I don’t know at what time exactly but at some point, my midwife said we should move to the OR, but my husband still wasn’t there yet!

He got there just as we were about to get wheeled back!  

Having to be on my back on an operating table was the worst part, and by the time we moved over there I had regressed by a cm. So I had to wait for a little to push, and then when I did start my midwife helped me by holding my cervix out of the way. 

At the beginning, I could tell I wasn’t really ready to push, but it gave me something to focus on, which helped. I asked my husband to play a playlist of my favorite songs in the OR while I pushed.

I pushed my babies out to the sounds of the Beatles, James Taylor, Van Morrison and others. 

After I was pushing for about 30 minutes I actually started feeling the urge to push and could feel that I was making progress. I don’t know exactly how much longer I had to push, but it was less than 30 minutes. 

At 4:29am Sebastian Charles (Bash) was born! He was covered in vernix, barely made a peep, but just looked at me intensely and started rooting to nurse almost immediately!

While I was focused on him, the nurse and midwife gently pressed on my belly and guided the next baby into position. I gently pushed at my own pace for a little bit until I felt like I wanted to push him out. 

With 2-3 big pushes Maximus James (Max) was born at 4:46am. 

Bash was 6lbs15oz and 19in. Max was 7lbs2oz and 19in.   

I had only a small 1cm tear that didn’t even need stitches. 

The most challenging part was birthing the placenta and then the midwife and nurse pressing on my belly after birth. The risk of hemorrhage is higher with twins so they were pretty aggressive with it. Not gonna lie… that sucked.

It wasn’t the birth story I planned on originally being able to tell, but for having a twin birth induced in a hospital I think it went as perfectly as it possibly could have and I am insanely proud of myself and my little boys. 

Postpartum was also an amazing time. I had tons of emotions for the first few days as expected, but it was a much smoother transition than it was with my daughter, even though I had two newborns at home!

Breastfeeding was pretty easy since I was experienced after nursing my daughter for 2.5 years, and I had a ton of support including my husband, mom, mother-in-law, and two postpartum doulas. I was about as spoiled as a new mom could be for the first few weeks.

I also really attribute being able to have a mostly natural twin hospital birth story to using Hypnobabies, and highly recommend them to all expecting moms. (Learn more about Hypnobabies here)

My twin birth story is something I always cherish and remember.

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