Monday, 26 January 2015

Baby products we love

by Bex

So, almost 3 months in, there are a few of the baby bits we bought which have really stood out as great buys now that we've used them so I thought I'd share them here.

We absolutely love the Nipper Clipper nail clippers invented by Tom from The Apprentice.  Cutting the babies' nails was something I was dreading as the thought of catching their skin made me shudder.  I planned to leave that job to Nik but after being scratched a bit too much on the boobs one day during feeding, I had to take the plunge myself (the babies never seem to scratch themselves, just me!).  Using the Nipper Clipper was so easy and took the fear away as it has a little window so you can actually see exactly where you are cutting.  Not only that but it has more of scissor action than clipping which means you can press the bottom edge against the skin under the nail and confidently press down knowing you're just going to get nail.

It also comes with a nail file but that seems like way too much of a faff when you have two babies so we haven't used it.

The huge changing mat I bought with deep curved sides has also been great.  Nik still loves it even after I told him it cost twice as much as the white John Lewis one (which is smaller and shallower).  It's so solid and deep that we feel quite confident the babies are well contained while we're changing them and hopefully this will continue to be the case when they're bigger and more squirmy.  

Our whole changing area in fact works really well for us.  Using the top of the Hemnes dresser is ideal for us as we're tall and it's the perfect height.  the top drawers are ideal for organising everything and we have one specifically for nappy changes.  We tend to just keep the vaseline, wipes and a pile of prepared (unfolded) nappies out on the top as this is where we do the night time changes so it makes it easier.  In one of the top drawers we have the other nappies, cotton wool (although we don't really use this now we're onto wipes) and nappy bags.  Incidentally, we really rate the Aldi 'Mamia' nappies.  We had free samples of Pampers and Adsa nappies and also bought Waitrose own brand once as we needed emergency supplies (Aldi is on Nik's way home from work but we ran out n a weekend) so we have compared a few.  The Aldi ones are our favourite, we were really disappointed with the waitrose ones.  The Mamia wipes are MUCH better than the huggies ones we tried too - the huggies ones tore way to easily!

We have a box of tissues on the window sill behind in case of peeing & pooping emergencies when nappies are off, which is also the reason we invested in some £6 Ikea bath mats to save the carpets in front of our changing stations after Mummy experienced a projectile poop from each baby within 24 hours!  (Daddy has now also had the pleasure.)  Being a rookie, I automatically jumped out of the way - silly as it would have been much easier to strip me and wash my clothes than to clean the yellow stains out of the carpet!!!  Anyway, the bath mats are genius as we've since had a couple of similar occurrences and have just popped the mat in the wash.

We had to add a lamp to the dresser too as this end of the room was quite dark at night.
This is just an old cheap one we had from Ikea.

You'll notice I said changing stations as we also have a similar set up downstairs in the playroom on an old table.  It saves us having to go upstairs to do changes during the day which with two babies is much easier as we can still see and talk/sing to the other baby in the living room if they are upset while one is being changed.  We had planned to get a pedal bin for nappies but have found that just piling up the overnight bags and then taking them straight down to the front door works best as we've positioned our wheelie bin right outside - not very aesthetic but it's practical and easy which is what you want with twins!  Smell hasn't been an issue luckily.

Our maxi cosi car seats with isofix bases are definitely one of the things worth spending on (although we were lucky to receive one base from my friend Vikki) as they make it so easy to get the twins in and out of the car.  Finding parking spaces with enough space on BOTH sides to get them out however can be tricky, especially at the hospital where we've had a couple of appointments for them - the spaces are very tight and there are no mum & baby spaces.  I once thought I would actually have to reverse out of the space, get the baby out and then park again but luckily the car next door left in time so I had room.

Our co-sleeper for twins is also another big purchase which was worth splashing out on (although we did save by getting it second hand), having the twins right there means it's much easier for me to settle them if they just get mildly upset in the night.  I don't have to get out of bed to reach either of them and the same goes for feeding, I can lift them both onto the bed and feed them both without having to get up.  And while we're on the subject, the twin feeding pillow has to be one of the best products we bought (again second hand) as I can feed the babies at the same time, saving me lots of extra sleep!  I've talked about this more in my breast feeding post.

The duck bath has made bath time so much easier.  We have Roz to thank for recommending this one!  The first bath time was not fun and we learned a lot about what not to do!  I also decided having the soft duck bath would make things much easier and more enjoyable.  It was a bargain at just £11.95 (we missed out when it was £8.99 in Argos) and has been fantastic, the twins love it!

Here they are enjoying it at 4 weeks old:

And Kal at 8 weeks and 10 weeks:

We were lucky to receive our Bugaboo Donkey as a gift from Nik's parents and we absolutely love it!  It's SO easy to manoeuvre, it's a dream to push around, easy to collapse and build once you know how and it looks great.  It does take up A LOT of space in the boot though and if we want to take the carrycots in the car, we have to remove the wheels on the base to fit it all in.  I do love being able to put the car seats on it, especially as they sit higher up and it saves space in the boot, so thanks for the advice on that everyone who recommended it.  We've found it deceptively narrow when out and about.  We often think we won't fit through a door, space or pathway but more often than not we do.  In fact, we've only had trouble with doors when the car seats are on as the handles make them stick out more at the sides.

 Sunny days and not so sunny days!

These dummy clips are also fab so we don't drop them on the floor when out & about!

Out for our New Year's Day walk :)

I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten so there will probably be more posts like this in the future!  ;)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Forever House - A's nursery

by Roz

So it's been forever since my last blog post, life has been hectic! I'm not going to list the reasons here but I've missed writing posts and wow am I in awe of Bex finding the time to blog with two babies!

I'm excited to finally post about a finished room in the house and it's my baby boy's room. I just love how his room has turned out. I previously wrote about my thoughts for his room here where I shared the wallpaper I was going to use and a few things I had my eye on. Of course I initially shared the nursery in the second floor house tour here (bedroom three) which shows the room as an empty shell.

It's funny but having spent so many days working in the room, sanding and filling the woodwork, the walls, mist coating and painting - including the cornice 4m up whilst pregnant with A! - the room was always empty and I guess felt quite small. With everything in it, I'm amazed at how big the room is!

 This picture is a little blurry but I wanted to include the big light

 Aaron wanted in on the photo shoot!

Love the reflection of the light in the window!

 I am so in love with the rainbow rug :)

I am so happy with the grey colour on the walls, it's a lovely deep shade that works so well with all the white wood work in the room and doesn't feel dark at all. We actually bought the paint for our hallway but B is having second thoughts about grey paint (much to my disappointment) and keeps wanting magnolia or cream shades. Someone tell me how to convince him other wise?? All the bedrooms have the same grey carpet that is in the nursery, it's a beautiful deep pile carpet that is so cosy underfoot but has the added bonus of being scrubbable and bleachable for any little accidents! I hoped it wouldn't be too much grey but I love it and of course the rainbow rug adds a massive splash of colour.

The room has a built in cupboard / shelving unit which is so handy. I've added a hanging rail in the bottom for clothes and changed the handles for stars :) It's just a lovely place to display some of the lovely gifts we were given when A was born.

Nearly everything in the picture above are presents from wonderful family and friends

Another item that I am so happy with is our Ikea spolling change table. Unfortunately Ikea don't make them anymore, it took me about three months of Gumtree and eBay searching to find one local, and then when I spoke to the seller it turned out she had two for sale so we bought them both for a total of £30. Until A was about 7 months old we changed him on top of the oak dresser in his room but now he is way to wriggly for that! The change table is made of fabric and the curve hugs him in place, it's genius. I first used it in a restaurant in Glasgow and am so happy we have them. A loves it too!

Lots of pockets to store nappies, wipes, creams etc!

A loves it, even if he is longer than it already!!

Similar to Bex, I ended up with a bit too much stuff for A's room, so the playroom is going to have rainbow bunting, prints and animal heads that were originally bought for the nursery. The playroom is still very much a dumping ground at the moment though so won't be on the blog for a while!

Similar to Bex's post I've included a few links to where some of the bits came from as so many people have asked from my instagram photos, especially the rainbow rug!

Rug - ebay rugssupermarket
Armchair with matching footstool (not shown) - eBay the sit and sleep shop
Cloud cushion - This Modern Life
Light - Maskros Ikea (the 80cmwide one!)
Coloured wooden letters - This Modern Life
George the Elephant Head - Emiline House
Animal Alphabet - Ketchup on Everything
Cable & Cotton lights - Achica
The cot is a Mama's & Papas Chamberlain cot bed in oak that I bought from another online seller for way less than M&P and the M&S oak dresser was bought second hand from the lovely Sarah

Roz xx

Friday, 23 January 2015

Breastfeeding twins - my experience so far

by Bex

Breastfeeding two babies has been difficult but oh so worth it.  I feel so proud to be able to say I have now exclusively breast fed the twins for 10 weeks and counting.

Skin to skin breastfeeding Priya on day one. 

I know that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to breastfeed and some simply choose not to.  I can also easily see why some people might have to or want to give up, it takes sheer determination to be able to continue in some cases and had we not been able to get Kal's tongue tie fixed so quickly, I'm pretty sure I couldn't have kept going!  After a few days I couldn't imagine feeding them for weeks never mind months!  I'd always hoped I'd be able to manage to breastfeed them for at least 6 months but I was trying to be realistic and not put too much pressure on myself if I found it too hard.  I felt so disappointed when I thought I might not manage but I knew Nik would support me whatever happened and it wasn't worth making myself upset and stressed if I couldn't do it.

I know people who haven't been as lucky as me and really wanted to breastfeed but couldn't for various reasons and despite some serious effort in some cases.  I was very lucky in that I had lots of support to help me keep going when I found it tough and we found a solution to my pain.  Not only had I prepared Nik by asking him to help me try to keep going as long as it wasn't making me and/or the babies stressed and miserable (basically by not making it easy for me to give up and encouraging me in what I was doing) but I also had some great help from the midwives and a very good 'Breast Friends' volunteer in hospital as well as from the midwives in the birthing centre we had a couple of nights in post-discharge before going home.  (I have to say one of the midwives squeezing my nipple trying to express colostrum on the first day to make sure the twins were getting enough was pretty horrendous but there was another midwife who was extremely helpful and she was much more effective and less painful at hand expressing for me while I learned what to do.)

Priya feeding less than 2 hours after she was born

Priya receiving some expressed colostrum on day 1

 Feeding Kal while Priya waits, then feeding Priya while I have dinner - day 1

Feeding Kal - day 1

On day 4 (Friday) when my milk started coming in and I had the hormonal surge people had warned me causes the (usually day 3) blues, I was really struggling.  It was very frustrating as I'd been told by more than one midwife that the twins' latch looked perfect after I was shown how to help them on day one.  Despite this, my nipples ended up cracked and bleeding after being mangled by Kal due to his tongue tie (which was only slight but made a huge difference to his ability to feed properly!) and I was dreading the next feeding time.  I knew I couldn't do it and I asked for help.  I received it.  Nik was supportive and helped me not to feel like a failure.  I called Roz in floods of tears and she told me how she'd had a similar crying fit during a hard time in the early days and she offered advice and empathy as well as giving me hope that it should get easier as it had for her.  And finally the midwife fetched the breastfeeding support volunteer and we came up with a plan.

As for the emotional side of things, I was a mess in the morning!  We were dealing with Kal at one point and waiting for some help from the midwife and Priya was crying.  When we picked her up she had an actual tear!  Her first tear and I felt SO guilty!  I burst into tears thinking she'd thought we'd abandoned her as she'd been crying (not just noisy cries it turned out but actual tears!!) for a couple of minutes before I could pick her up.  It was horrendous!  (Obviously there have been many more tears since and I just have to tell myself that there's only one of me and two of them so despite my best efforts, sometimes one will have to cry for longer than if there were just one of them but it doesn't help with the guilt and heart wrenching when I see those tears!)

Feeding Priya - 3 days old

I was so concerned about switching to a bottle (of either expressed milk or formula) on just day 4, well before breastfeeding was established but they reassured me that it is not as much of an issue as is made out and that it certainly wouldn't mean I couldn't get the babies back on the breast.  They brought me a breast pump and showed me how to use it.  Initially I continued feeding Priya and we gave Kal the expressed colostrum/milk but my nipples were still painful and bleeding so we decided I'd rest the boobs completely for a few days to allow healing and only feed the babies expressed milk from a syringe/bottle.  I felt better pretty quickly just knowing there was a plan and it wasn't necessarily the end of the breastfeeding.  I was discharged the next day (Saturday) and we went to Crowborough Birthing centre where they also fetched me a breast pump and did all the sterilising for us!

Feeding Priya - day 4

They also helped me to get Priya back on the breast two days later as I was scared by this point that it was still going to be painful but luckily it was fine and I could see how it could work.  If we'd gone home without stopping at the birthing centre for those two extra nights I'm not sure I would have managed to get back to breastfeeding so easily.  They also sorted me out an appointment asap to fix Kalyan's tongue tie on the Tuesday.  Luckily for me, we had no problems with his latch once that was sorted and after those few days of expressing while my nipples healed, I was able to start feeding both twins back on the boobs again.

Feeding Priya - day 4 - she just loves to wave her hands around!

I have still had some pain since then, either due to the excessive amount of time I have a tiny person suckling on each breast, particularly during growth spurts when they are just hungry All. The. Time, or as a result of someone chomping down a bit too hard in overexcitement to get fed!  It's never been bad enough that I've had to stop although I did rest a nipple for a day or so if one became too sore and just pumped that side instead.  Expressing has definitely been a life saver from this respect as well as helping my milk supply.  I am SO glad I bought a breast pump before the twins arrived as we were given a loan of one in the hospital but I was having to pump every time I fed Priya while Kal was exiled from the boob for making them bleed (poor thing, totally not his fault) and knowing I had my own ready at home made it much less stressful than if we had to go about finding one when we were discharged.

Kal having some expressed milk at home - day 8
He used to love holding his face!

Besides the initial issues with severe pain and just the general discomfort while the nipples get used to their function, the other thing which could have been difficult is just the time it takes to feed the babies.  Although I had managed to successfully tandem feed them a few times right from the beginning, it wasn't easy to get them latched on and Nik had to help each time as well as lots of bolstering with pillows.

Tandem feeding the twins on day 3, gosh they were so teenie!

It's only now they are a bit bigger and we're all more used to it that I am confident latching them with one hand and I'm able to use the bulky breastfeeding pillow (a bit too uncomfortable following my section and not really suitable for such teenie babies anyway) which has made life a whole lot easier and freed up a lot of time between feeds!  Given that it takes about an hour for a full feed (including nappy change so about 45 minutes really), if I wasn't able to tandem feed I would be left with very little time to sleep between night feeds and hardly any time to feed myself during the day!  Not only has it saved time but it also enables me to feed them hands free!  I often support them with my hands anyway as I love to stroke them behind their ears while they feed but it means I can use my phone or the remote control, take a drink or even eat over them if I need to (which I often do!) and of course, take photos of them!

The first time using the twin feeding pillow.

I bought the Harmony Duo twin feeding pillow and highly recommend it!  Now that I've healed following my section, it's very comfortable.  They're ridiculously expensive to buy (£85) what is essentially foam and a washable cover but we got ours second hand on ebay for just £25.

You can see how it supports them in just the right place.

It also works well as a rest for the twins once we've finished feeding.  Sometimes I just let them snooze there rather than disturb them, it also makes it easier for me to entertain both of them at once when they're awake as it's difficult to hold them both at once while also being able to see their faces.

Priya loves to stretch, regardless of where her brother's face is ;)

Although I have frequently fed the twins in public, I do feed them one at a time when out and about.  I obviously don't use the pillow in public as it's a) too bulky to take anywhere and b) I'm not THAT confident that I'd get both boobs out at once.  I am happy to say I am much less self conscious now than I thought I'd be and it was quite nerve wracking the first time (on day 8, after Kal had his tongue tie fixed we had a coffee in the WRVS cafe in the hospital and I fed him there) but I've never had any horrible stares or bad comments.  Of course I am prepared with my reaction if I ever do but I think it would have been hard initially to actually stand up for myself if I did encounter any negativity.  I'm hoping that such incidences that I have read about in the media are actually few and far between as it's certainly been my experience that I've had people come and tell me the twins are beautiful while I'm feeding one of them, without batting an eyelid about the fact I am breastfeeding, which is as it should be in my opinion.

So far I have also fed them in two local pubs and a cafe, Asda, Sainsbury's, Yo Sushi, an Italian restaurant, Costa and Ikea.  If I couldn't feed them in public I'd never be able to go anywhere for more than 30 minutes for fear of screaming babies.  I prefer feeding them at home because it's more comfortable on my sofa with the twin pillow but I love the freedom I have being able to just leave the house and not have to worry about when I need to get home or lugging bottles around with me and having to plan how much milk to take or where I might be able to heat it.  Being able to just sit down anywhere and feed my babies is just fab!

Out for dinner with Nik & his parents at the Crow & Gate - 16 days old

In Yo Sushi with Nik - 8 weeks old

In Otello with Nik, my parents and my brother - 
Although I've mostly been with people whom I know would back me up if I faced any negativity, I'm now confident enough to nurse in public on my own as I had to in Costa when Nik had gone for a Christmas present for someone while I rested and ate after we registered the twins' birth.  Priya decided she was hungry too!  My confidence is definitely helped by thinking of Anna saying she had a breastfeeding in public face, I can imagine her glare were anyone to dare challenge her.

Other than the freedom it gives us being able to get out and about with ease, I just love feeding the babies.  The noises they make, the satisfied faces when they're done, the way they gently grasp or hug my boob while they eat (and Priya's Jazz Hands below!), the way they sometimes hold hands while feeding together... it's just magical!  I didn't realise quite how many photos I had taken of them feeding but I'm glad I did, despite our difficulties, they are all happy memories for me.

Jazz Hands - day 4, during my blood transfusion

Priya on day 2 - SO teenie in comparison to the boob!!

Kalyan on day 2

Kalyan on day 2 again - skin to skin

I just love the eye contact although they still often close their eyes when feeding - 8 days old
Kalyan - 12 days old
Feeding the twins one at a time - 16 days old

Getting used to the feeding pillow with tired eyes - 5 weeks old, boob box in the background!
It gets awfully hot with both babies against me so I often just wear vests when feeding at home.

Holding hands for the first time - 5 weeks old
6 weeks old

Feeding on Christmas Day :)
6 weeks old

Holding hands on boxing day - 6 weeks old

I'm SO lucky!!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...