Observations – 3-6 months (including going back to work)

Since C&R are almost seven months old, I thought I’d post about the last three months.  They’ve been amazing, the best so far!  It’s hard to remember just three months ago we would get so excited when they held their heads up high during tummy time.  Now tummy time is ho hum since they’re rolling around like crazy, starting to sit unsupported, and even standing holding on to a table.  They laugh and giggle.  They’re really interactive and observant.  It’s all pretty awesome.  Oh, one of the best things is eating food.  We’re doing babyled weaning and it’s so much fun to watch, especially when you hand a baby a spoon and he puts it in his mouth himself and then looks at you for more.  What could be cuter?

Okay, here’s my stuff advice:

Things that have been awesome to have:

  • Video monitor (this one is great for twins because you can move it from side to side and zoom.  You can also add multiple cameras, which is cool if your babies spend a lot of time in multiple rooms.) – At first, I thought this was total mom overkill, but now that we have one, I wish we had it when we did sleep training.  It’s so nice to be able to look at the monitor and see why a baby is crying instead of deciding to let them cry or not based on a hunch.  Now, we can see if a leg is stuck or someone banged his head and attend to that right away or if someone is just rolling around and leave him alone.  We can also see adorable things happening like babies scooting around their cribs with their butts up in the air or eating their feet.  So cute!
  • Play mat with arches (This is actually good before 3m too) – C&R are so entertained by this, even now.  It’s definitely worth it and you can change up the toys to keep them interested.
  • Foam mat – You have to be careful that your babies don’t eat the small pieces, but we haven’t had a problem with this yet.  Our babies love feeling the different textures of the pieces and we have peace of mind when they fall on this instead of our hardwood floors.
  • Exersaucer, jumperoo – We would get nothing done without these.  I know people call these neglect-a-babies, but C&R LOVE them and I like having 10 minutes to eat food without jugging two babies!  I also think they might be good for developing leg strength.
  • Tables they can stand at with music and toys – We have this one.  We just started using this, but it’s a BIG hit.  It elicits quite a bit of happy squealing.  I think when C&R are able to pull themselves up, it’ll be an even bigger hit.

Things that are nice to have:

  • Angel Dear lovies – super soft, very cute, and not too big, so we let them sleep with them even though we’re not supposed to.  Baby C LOVES his.  Baby R really doesn’t care that much, so it’s baby dependent.  As far as lovies go, anything can be one and these are expensive, but great if your baby is into them.
  • Aden and Anais swaddles – People love these, but I didn’t understand why because they’re not good for swaddling.  Turns out they’re really handy and versatile.  They’re very lightweight (ours are made of bamboo), so we’ve used them to cover our carseats on walks, cover our babies’ legs when they’re exposed in the Ergo and it’s sunny, cover my boobs while nursing in public (no need for an expensive Hooter Hider), and even as an emergency blanket to sit on or change a diaper!

Things people told us we’d need, but we don’t:

  • Boppy pillow – People said this was a great prop for babies before they could sit up on their own, but we never use it.
  • Bumbo – We do use this sometimes, but it’s not really necessary.  There was probably about a 1 week sweet spot where C&R weren’t active enough to jump out of it and were strong enough to  sit up in it.  We ordered the recall harness and it’s a huge pain because the Bumbo is designed to be tight, so it’s hard to actually use the straps.  We don’t and I’m sure they’re not comfortable to sit on.  If we used the Bumbo more, I’d take the harness out.

Reflections on Going Back to Work

To sum up my first day back at work: I didn’t shed a single tear and I felt guilty about that and then I felt kind of mad that I felt guilty!  People kept asking me if I was okay and how was I doing.  I felt like I was supposed to be really torn up about not being at home, but my partner was, so I knew C&R were having fun and they were coming at lunchtime.  Also, I was stoked to be back at work and able to work.  For the four months I was home, I kept trying to get work done, but was constantly interrupted or so sleep deprived that nothing I did made sense.  It was nice to be able to schedule meetings and do work!

At first, I thought my milk production was going down, which freaked me out, but I eventually realized I was producing less each time I pumped because I was pumping more often.  I think since I read so much about supply going down when you return to work, I just assumed it was happening without really thinking, but it turns out I had plenty and even extra to donate.  I found this to be helpful in understanding how pumping works in order to “pump smart”.

It took a couple weeks to get used to the idea of pumping in my office.  I kept worrying that someone was going to walk in on me.  You feel really vulnerable when hooked up to a milking machine!  I got over it pretty quick and soon enough I was even making phone calls while pumping.  Travel is tough and requires a lot of advance planning.  Once, I pulled over in a Safeway parking lot, flashed some people while hooking myself up, and then pumped while driving.  A working mom’s gotta do what a working mom’s gotta do, right?!  I get why people wean before their babies are ready, but for now, I think it’s worth the trouble.

I started pumping into milk storage bags, but switched to bottles because I didn’t like how floppy the bags were.  It felt insecure even though I never had a problem with them and also found them wasteful.  Also, I find bottles easier to store, transport, and to transfer milk from to a drinking bottle.  Tip: if you keep your pump parts in the refrigerator, you don’t have to wash them every time you pump.  You can do this for up to 24 hours.

One thing that seemed to be a direct result of my going back to work was an increase in night feedings, though I also think it has at least a little to do with increased distractibility during day feedings.  Instead of one night feeding, we had two and sometimes three.  Now, we’re back down to one or two, but I think if I hadn’t gone back to work, C&R would be sleeping through the entire night.  I don’t actually mind it too much because I like having the opportunity to nurse them and snuggle, but one of these days, I would like to sleep for more than 5 hours in a row!

Now that C&R are in daycare and my partner is back at work, mornings can be hectic.  It’s helpful when everyone knows their role – Partner showers and gets dressed, then changes diapers and clothes.  I nurse and then get ready while Partner brings them downstairs and gets his work stuff ready.  Then I come down and load the car with things for daycare if I haven’t already done it the night before (It’s helpful to do as much as you can the night before so you can grab and go).  Then we load them into the car.  I drive to daycare and he gets on the bus to work.  It almost always takes more time to get out of the house than you think, but when you have a routine, it definitely helps.

The past three months have been really, really fun.  I can’t wait to reflect back on the next three!

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