Parent Reviews of Popular Baby Tracking Apps

Review of BabyConnect App

by Tony W.

Our doula, Rachelle Friesen, told my wife and me about an app called BabyConnect. It’s avialble on iTunes for about $5 and is well worth the money. Instead of navigating a clunky paper sheet to log all the feedings and diaper changes, BabyConnect allows you to collect a host of information – including feeding times, food type, nursing, diaper changes, and much more – on your phone at the touch of a button. The app uses graphs and charts to break down the information into days and weeks, providing an easy-to-comprehend format that gives you great insight into your baby’s feedings and bathroom habits. 

To top it all off, the account allows multiple users and also allows users to log on through the web, making it easy for parents who care for heir babies at different time of the day to log all feedings and diaper changes and have them immediately accessible to either parent. I love this app. 

 

Review of Total Baby App

By Carilyn C.

I am a huge fan of the app Total Baby for keeping track of all your newborn’s feedings, diapers, sleep habits, and more. Especially with my twins, I needed something to help me quickly and easily remember all of our daily events. After asking around and doing some research, I decided on the Total Baby app and it was a total lifesaver for me. I mainly relied on the feedings and diaper tracking features while the girls were newborns and I found it very easy to add a feeding, keep track of how long it had been since a feeding, see how many wet vs. dirty diapers they were having daily, and with twins it was was very easy to switch back and forth to log each baby’s data.  I also love the height & weight tracking feature which I continue to use and update at each doctors appointment. The sleep feature was really helpful when the girls were ready for sleep training. I timed their naps and nighttime sleep for a few days and then I was able to quickly see patterns and establish a sleep schedule.

In addition to those I’ve already mentioned, there are other features that I didn’t personally use but that other’s may find helpful such as tracking baby’s baths, allergies, milestones, keeping a photo album, or even creating your own tracking event. Having used other methods with my older children, I found this app by far the easiest way to log important information. 

Spectra S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump

by Jessica Adams RN IBCLC

The Spectra S2 Plus is one of the newest breast pump options provided by HBHM Inc. for expecting moms with BCBS, TriCare or Tufts insurance. The aesthetically pleasing rounded curves, ergonomic carrying handle with built-in LED lights, and soft silicone touch button combine to make this pump gentle and quiet, as well as powerful. 

 The most innovative feature of the Spectra S2 Plus is the gentle flutter-like suckling designed to mimic a baby’s natural suckling motion at the breast. It is fast, efficient and comfortable on breasts and nipples. The suckling speed and suction are independently controlled. The let-down mode has one set speed of 70 cycles per minute, as well as 5 suckling suction strength options.

Once let-down is achieved, a quick push of a button switches to the milk expression mode, which has 5 speed settings  ranging from 38 to 54 cycles per minute, and a whopping 12 suckling suction strength settings. Yes, this is a powerful, albeit very quiet and adjustable machine. Each mom can decide which cycle speed and suckling strength works best for her body and unique pumping needs.

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The insurance provided Spectra S2 Electric Pump package contains the following:

·       Spectra S2 Plus Pump motor unit, color pink

·       Power cord/AC Adapter

·       Two collection kits, including both 24mm and 28mm sized breast shields, silicone duck bill connectors, wide mouth bottles, bottle locking rings, bottle discs, wide mouth nipples, bottle caps

·       Two backflow connectors

·       Two individual silicone tubings

·       Spectra S1 Plus/S2 Plus Electric Breast Pump Instruction Manual

·       Warranty information card

Advantages and features of the Spectra S2 Plus that we appreciate:

·       Really quiet

·       Automatic safety shut off after 30 minutes

·       Built-in  digital timer

·       Attach a 12-volt car charger or battery pack and make this pump portable

·       Spectra Baby USA customer service and warranty fulfillment receive an A+

·       2 year warranty on the pump motor unit and 90 day warranty on accessory parts

·       Dual voltage 100V-240V so you can take overseas to many countries and safely use an adapter without need for a voltage converter

·       If the Spectra S1 Plus battery operated pump is preferred, an exchange can be made for an additional fee

·       Breast shield sizes available in 20mm, 24mm, 28mm and 32mm

·       Massager inserts for breast shields allow for a more comfortable pumping experience and turn the 24mm breast shield into a 23mm and the 28mm breast shield into a 27mm

A few areas that require vigilance:

·       Initial set-up of power cord requires that 2 separate parts be correctly snapped flush together or power will not reach the motor unit

·       The silicone tubing, duckbill valve and silicone membrane portion of the backflow protector should not be sterilized at all, ever.  Sterilizing will result is distortion of these parts.   To wash the duckbill valve, use warm soapy water. 

·       Recommended method of sterilization for other accessories is to place them in a clean, heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over accessories. Submerge accessories and allow to remain submerged for 3-5 minutes maximum, remove, allow to air dry, and cover

·       Pump will automatically return to the last previously used setting. This might be stronger than what you want to start on, so pay attention before attaching pump parts. 

·       Spectra silicone tubing length is ~31.5 inches, shorter than other pump brands, keeping you close to the pump.

Newborn Jaundice – What I Wish I Knew About Phototherapy

By Carilyn Cannon, Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms and Mom of 4

Carilyn has been the Marketing Director at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms since 2012.  Although you probably haven’t met her in person, if you follow us on social media, you have been seeing her posts for years. Recently, Carilyn gave birth to fraternal twin girls. After her experience being readmitted to the hospital when one of her newborn daughters was jaundiced, she felt compelled to share her story with other moms and moms-to-be.

When I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child, I was thrilled. As an experienced mom with a 4 and 2 year old, I was feeling prepared for what to expect. Famous last words, right? That feeling went right out the window at my 12 week ultrasound when I got the shock of a lifetime – we were having twins! I was happy, and excited, and overwhelmed, and felt so many different emotions. I instantly felt like a first time mom all over again. This was a whole new ball game.

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Start to finish it was not an easy pregnancy. But I was incredibly lucky that the 3 of us were healthy and made it to 38 weeks before the girls arrived. Two minutes apart, weighing 7lbs 2oz and 6lbs 9oz, Kate and Keira were born and I was a mom of 4. Just like there is a learning curve when you become a mom, there is another learning curve when you become a twin mom. Some things came naturally, like scooping up 2 newborns to hold in my arms, while others, including breastfeeding twins, took more help and practice. My husband and I were getting the hang of things and were excited to bring our girls home and have our whole family together. We were told at discharge that one of our daughters, Kate,  had a  bilirubin level that was “borderline” but we were sent home with a pediatrician appointment scheduled for the next morning.

The next few days were incredibly tough.  Even with the amazing help and support from my husband, family, and friends, caring for newborn twins, a toddler, and a preschooler while recovering from a tough pregnancy and childbirth was a lot to handle. Getting out of the house to see the pediatrician filled me with anxiety because the girls were eating one after another (we couldn’t quite master breastfeeding at the same time). It was not easy to leave the house when there was always a hungry newborn to feed. And as every mom knows, getting diapers, hats, blankets, and everything packed to go out even for a short trip is quite a process. I was constantly worried about Kate’s jaundice, and for a couple of days her levels were not great but not in the danger zone.  However,  we had to keep getting blood drawn to keep a close eye on it. Four days after coming home, Kate’s bilirubin level spiked and we were readmitted at the hospital so Kate could have phototherapy.   

I was already nervous because I know that jaundice can be extremely dangerous, and felt so helpless as she lay in the incubator alone. I was terrified she would damage her eyes since she kept knocking off the little goggles. Her twin sister came with us to stay in the hospital, but it was heartbreaking to leave my older son and daughter when we had just got home a few days ago. They were worried for their new baby sister and missed their mom. Thankfully, after 24 hours Kate’s bili level was in a safe range and we were able to go home.

Fast forward about 6 months, and I was getting back to work after being on maternity leave. Kathy, the Founder & CEO of Healthy Babies, Happy Moms, and I were updating the company website and other marketing material when for the first time I saw a photo of the Infant Home Phototherapy service - my jaw hit the desk. This was not the scary, goggles, incubator, hospital image I have burned in my brain from my own experience with Kate. Instead I saw a tiny baby sleeping in a little bassinet wearing with what looks like a cute, cozy blanket/sleeper. Plus, the service comes with daily home nurse visits where they provide an assessment, weight check, and bilirubin blood draw that they report to your pediatrician. On top of all that, they can help with breastfeeding while they are there. WHAT? Why, why, why didn’t I do this?

Now I do have to mention that of course while learning how to breastfeed twins I was talking to Kathy frequently, so she knew of Kate’s jaundice and reminded me of the home phototherapy if we were to need it. But when I got that call from the doctor that Kate’s bilirubin had spiked and we needed to get to the hospital I was scared, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  I didn’t stop to consider other options. I wish I had. I wish I had seen the photo and remembered it. Having the level of care Healthy Babies, Happy Moms provides in the convenience of my home would have been so much easier for my entire family. Eliminating all of the trips to the pediatrician’s office for bilirubin checks and instead having a nurse come to us would have been amazing. So yes, I love working for this company and I truly believe in the work done by the amazing team of nurses. But I am sharing my story as a mom. A mom who would have greatly benefited from knowing more about Infant Home Phototherapy, and a mom who wants other moms to know that this incredible service is available.

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For more information on Healthy Babies, Happy Moms' Infant Home Phototherapy click here

Nurture the Nurturer(s)

by Elyse Wilkie

Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Pre & Postnatal Yoga Teacher, DONA Doula in training

The common expression, ‘It takes a village’ proves to be most accurate for parents who have just welcomed in the birth of a new babe. Whether you are having your first child or third, the first few weeks after a baby is born is often when parents most benefit from the help of their ‘village.’  A newborn thrives on unconditional love and endless affection. To best meet the infant’s needs, it is essential the parents maintain their sense of wellbeing through daily self-care practices.

As new parents, it is too easy to put the needs of the newborn before their own, a strategy which will quickly lead to the new parents becoming exhausted and overwhelmed.

By the family having a solid support team to turn to, day-to-day life can run more smoothly while overall daily happiness and the ability to stay present is greatly increased. For new parents, a freshly prepared nutritious meal and a few moments rest will leave parents feeling refreshed and ready to take on the gratifying moments and arising challenges of raising a newborn.

Ayurveda is a preventative holistic healthcare system that provides the wisdom and tools necessary to fully support a new family, as well as the individual.  There are endless and immense benefits to new parents whom feel nurtured and supported in the weeks after the birth of their babe. Mental clarity, increased stamina, the body’s ability to heal faster, decreased anxiety and depression, and the balancing of post birth hormones, and deep bonding with the new babe can all be easily achieved through the support of your tribe. It is vital for new parents to have ample rest and time to practice daily self-care in order to stay healthy and happy for their newborn. As an Ayurvedic Health counselor, student of the DONA doula training, and having earned both my prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher training, I am here to support the family unit in multifaceted ways.

The following services are offered in the convenience of your home to ensure that the experience is only helpful and restorative, never stressful. By eliminating the need to load all of the baby’s necessities into the car and trying to work around an infant’s sleeping schedule, I am able to assist your family in receiving moments of peace and restorative relaxation so you are able to appreciate the blessing of these fleeting, precious moments.

Family Home Care services include but are not limited to:

·       Seasonal Nutritious meals cooked in your home or delivered to you

·       Personalized yoga practice designed around the needs of the new parents

·       Ayurvedic Therapeutic Bodywork with Organic Oils and warm sea stones

·       Client Wellness Consultations to bring the body and mind back into balance

·       Instruction on the Methods and Benefits of Baby Bodywork

·       Family yoga practice

·       Guided Meditation and Pranayama (breath work) to simultaneously energize and ground you

·       New Parent free time- choose to rest or do as you please while I tend to the needs of the baby

If you currently have a newborn, have one on the way, or have experienced what it’s like to feel past the point of exhaustion, know that your ‘village’ is here to support you. 

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For further information on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, how wonderful the bodywork feels, or other information on postnatal yoga and guided meditation, please visit www.anahatahome.com    

Contact Elyse by phone: 401-2182480   or email:   elyse@anahatahome.com

 

Impact of a Father

I remarked to my husband a few weeks ago that I am seeing a definite shift in my older son's dependence on me to an imitation of him. Any overt attempt by me to be involved in their lives by way of assistance with anything, is met by a rather stern reminder that I am not necessarily needed right now. They are men after all, and they don't need their mommy. Even my 8 year old has fleeting moments of this attitude, which I am definitely not prepared for.

My husband responded by saying he doesn't see it. I know he is frequently hurt by them acting as if he isn't even there. He actually stated that he feels his absence would have more effect on them then his presence does. I was stunned and saddened by that comment and have been thinking about it ever since. What I came to realize is that his presence has an incredibly positive effect on them, one that we probably won't fully realize until they are husbands and raising children themselves. But his absence would have an incredibly negative effect on them, and I would see that immediately.

My husband is teaching my boys how to be men, and I can't do that. I can try, and do try, every day. I make them open doors, let me go first, and help with normal housework. They can cook, do laundry and clean a bathroom. I refuse to raise boys that sit on the couch and expect to be waited on. But for all my talk, it is my husband that they are watching and whose behavior they are copying, trying to figure out how to be a man. And here is what they see, when he thinks they aren't paying attention:

They see someone who makes sure they are fed every evening. We eat together as a family at least 5 times a week, and it is because of him. If it was up to me, dinner would be burnt or a bowl of cereal. I am not particularly proud of that. I am just not as hungry as they are and too easily distracted in my home office to pull off a good meal more than a few times a month, as much as I love to do it.

My boys see a man who is making a concerted effort to take good care of himself and be around for the long haul. They exercise regularly as a result. They eat good healthy food, drink water daily and have habits at a young age that I never had. But, they also appreciate a run to Hill Top Creamery and a great steak. He has taught them that balance.

My husband has a beautiful garden that has greatly benefited from our built in landscaping crew. My sons have seen the benefit of daily tending to something that you can be proud of. They have enjoyed and been amazed with the quality of vegetables that he has grown in our own backyard. They have developed definite opinions regarding the way their lawn should be cut and get as antsy as I do when it isn't done in a timely fashion by whoever's turn it is.

My boys can jump a dead car, and have installed a dishwasher and a toilet this year. I, of course, would call someone and pay them to do it. My husband gets on You Tube and figures out how to do it himself. Then he gets his boys to help him. As silly as it sounds, these are skills that are going to make some women very happy some day.

Most importantly, my boys are learning how to treat other people. I am constantly amazed at the glimpses of him that I see in all of them when they are speaking to others. They are learning how to treat women based on the way they see me treated. One of my favorite quotes is "The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother." He has truly given them that gift. In addition, they watch him with his own mother, and I am confident I will be well cared for when I need it. That is another gift he has given me.

They see a man who is here, every day. This is an accomplishment in an era when marriages end all the time. It wasn't always this way. For the first 15 years of our marriage, I was a single parent of 4 boys under 10. He traveled constantly and at times, I resented it. But now, I am so grateful. I was there at a time when I really needed to be. Now with the advent of the home office, he is here when it is most important for him to be. When he has to occasionally travel, I am amazed by my incompetence. I am all out of sorts without him around. How did I take care of 4 little boys all by myself? And from the minute my boys wake, they are asking "Where's Dad?" If he isn't sitting in his office when they come bounding down the stairs, they notice. They are immediately aware of his absence and I know they miss him, as I hear that question over and over again, all day. All that said, I think there is a piece of them that is secretly excited when they realize he is traveling. Because they know that odds are, we are ordering out that night! 

The Newborn Stage

We shared this in 2015 and it's still true! Happy Mother's Day Mamas!

I am going through the newborn stage all over again.  My baby sister, who is 9 years younger than I am, just had her third baby.  He has arrived 8 years since the last Fahey baby was born, so it’s all new to us.  Even for me, who deals with newborn issues all day, every day.  Somehow, it is much different when you have an emotional attachment to the family in the thick of it.  I have watched them manage through the endless sleepless nights, and both parents being sick for weeks, (I am not sure there much worse that being sick with kids to care for!) while this breastfeed baby bounced back from the same illness in two days.  I see the weekends packed with games, practices, birthday parties, and too many things left undone. Because of course, life goes on for the two older kids, and they are working hard to make sure that life isn’t disrupted.  And then there is that job, which really gets in the way, but someone has to make some money right? My husband and I marvel at them, because of course, we have been there before, but honestly can’t remember half of it or how we got through it!  I just know that we eventually did, and they will too. One of my favorite quotes from Kathleen Huggins, a RN who wrote the Nursing Mother’s Companion, is “that if you find it hard, it’s because it is hard.”  Really hard.

So, as Mother’s Day approaches, I am thinking of all you brand new mommies, and tipping my hat to you as you get through this wonderful and special, yet challenging time.  Here are a few pointers to hopefully help make it easier to manage!

First and foremost, please remember that this is just a phase and it won’t last forever. This chaos will end, and it really gets so much easier to deal with, on so many levels, right around 3 months. Your baby will never be this little again, so try to enjoy all the sweet moments that are there, when you are awake for them!  Also, please remember that you don’t have to do everything.  Men don’t get it, but nothing stresses a woman out more than a messy, dirty house and things undone.  But you have to let it go, and let others help you when they can.  Take the extra food and stick it in the freezer.  Let someone take your big kids for a few hours.  Have your mother in law give the baby a bottle so you can take a nap.  If someone wants to do your laundry or grocery shopping, let them.  You will have control over the situation again sometime in the near future, it just isn’t going to happen right now.

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Next, don’t make more work for yourself.  There a three key points to remember when living with a newborn.  The first is NEVER wake a sleeping baby.  If your baby is pooping and peeing, gaining and back to his birth weight, sleeping soundly many times a day, and generally happy, don’t bother him. Not to change a diaper, not to burp him.  If he is asleep and happy, he doesn’t need anything but sleep.  Let him get it, and take a nap while you are at it.

The second point is that if your baby is awake and not happy, please assume that he needs more to eat, and offer another feeding.  He won’t take it if he doesn’t want it.  Many families make the assumption that their baby can’t possibly be hungry, as they just fed them.  They spend all their energy trying to calm a fussy baby and get him to sleep, when if they would have just fed him again, he would be out cold in 15 minutes.  Sometimes, they just need the tank topped off.  Do it, and enjoy some peace and quiet!

Lastly, if the above doesn’t work, your baby is probably going through the daily fussy period which rears its ugly head around 3 weeks and is gone by 3 months.  At this time, motion and cuddling work wonders. Break out the swing, or vibrating chair. Go for a car or stroller ride.  Invest in a sling of some sort, so you can carry your baby, but still have your arms free so you can accomplish something.  His preference is always going to be to be with you, but if someone else wants to hold him, let them.  You could use the break!

I think the hardest part of being a new parent is not knowing what is normal and then feeling like it is never going to end.  But it does.  And people do it again.  Some of us are even so forgetful, that we do it 4 times!  Hang in there-it’s all worth it.  And give us call or head to a support group if you need a pep talk.  You aren’t the only one feeling the way you do.  And someday soon, you will be laughing about it all, and helping someone else through it.  That moment will arrive sooner than you think! 

Post Baby Fitness

Alisha El-Machiah
Method Fitness Personal Trainer

After giving birth many of you may be eager to jump into fitness and get back into shape, especially if you were active before giving birth. For some of you, the prospect of keeping up with a new baby will be the inspiration to begin a fitness program for the first time. Unfortunately, what many women do not realize is that their body is very different than it was 9 months ago. This can be frustrating and dangerous when making the decision to get back into exercise. Starting off with good information and guidance is very important.

Before starting any exercise program make sure you have the okay from your doctor. Depending on your current health and condition, your doctor may have you wait until your 6-week postpartum check-up. If you had a C-section it may be longer. Once you have the okay to start, take it slow. It is very common to have an achy body, poor posture, weakened pelvic floor muscles and fatigue. Some women also suffer from diastasis recti. This condition is the separation of your outer most abdominal muscles (aka “the 6-pack”) and needs to be handled with the correct training and care. While many think that exercises like crunches will help this condition and strengthen these muscles, they can actually further the damage and worsen the condition. Start with exercises that are low weight, low intensity and low impact—it’s best to let a qualified trainer teach you what to do as these movements are not as intuitive as typical ab exercises. Listen to your body and work within your capabilities.

During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin helps open your pelvic floor in preparation for giving birth. It also can loosen up tendons and ligaments making your joints feel wobbly and unstable. This hormone can stay in your body for months after pregnancy and puts you at a higher risk of injury.  If you feel like you may be pushing yourself too much, take a break. The road to being in the best shape of your life requires you to pace yourself, celebrate every small victory along the way, and forgive and forget your occasional shortcomings (we all have them!). And remember, you can do this--as fitness professionals we see people make remarkable changes every day.

Here at Method Fitness we want to help the patients at Healthy Babies, Happy Moms Inc.  get started the right way. So please join us for a free “New Moms Fitness Workshop” at our beautiful, private fitness studio, taught by master trainer Alisha El-Machiah. This workshop will take place on April 12th at 2 pm and will focus on correct and supportive abdominal and core work. Class size will be limited to 10 women but we will be offering future free workshops to help as many new moms as possible. Please reserve your space right away by emailing info.prov@methodfit.com.  Method Fitness is Rhode Island’s longest-running personal training studio, with the state’s top trainers, here to serve you. We’re located at 1 Richmond Square, Providence, RI 02906. Map and directions are at www.methodfit.com.  We hope to see you!

Fighting the Good Fight

I find myself increasingly sad over the current state of affairs in our county.  Fiscally, I am a Conservative.  Socially, I am a Liberal. I am aware that this makes no sense and have four teenage sons that like to remind me of that every chance they get.   I am a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act.  The Essential Health Benefits have made it possible for women to have insurance pay for our services and have provided an access to healthcare that I have been fighting for in Rhode Island for over a decade.  The possibility that this, maternity, and mental health care could be taken away is abhorrent to me. Public health in America, now a preventative health care system instead of a sick care system, is on the verge of being dismantled.

So every day, I am looking for little glimmers of progress, kindness and random people fighting the good fight.  And I do see it.  Everywhere I go, people are being kind, smiling, talking to each other, opening doors, being patient and respectful. I go out of my way to connect with people I come across. I am sure I don’t always do a stellar job, but when it isn’t reciprocated, I am crushed.  My husband, who travels all over the country and to Europe, sees the opposite.  People who are short tempered, rude, cold and impatient are the norm for him.   Europeans are amazed at what is happening in our country, trying not to laugh in his presence at the freak show they are witnessing abroad. Our home has become a refuge for some peace. That is, until we turn on the TV.

Here in our tiny state, I have met a local hero who gives me hope that good things are happening all over our country.  His name is Keith Cooper and he is the Executive Director of Beautiful Day, a non-profit located in Providence. Beautiful Day seeks to build on ramps to employment for recently arrived refugees. They own a social enterprise - an artisan granola company - and nourish the health of their community by providing first jobs and on the job training for highly vulnerable populations.  Beautiful Day produces delicious locally-made food products and are making plans for their own granola kitchen that can double as an incubator to help refugees start their own businesses.  Their ultimate goal is to develop a transferable model that could serve vulnerable populations facing daunting job-entry barriers. They seek to empower people, whose lives have been shattered, to move forward, one day at time.

Keith has reminded me what is great about our country. We help people in need.  We have a right to free speech and to advocate for those vulnerable populations who can’t advocate for themselves. He has inspired me to do what I can to make a difference. There are opportunities all around us and I am going to take advantage of them. I will support local refugees by buying Keith’s granola. I will finally start the non-profit I have always planned on, to provide lactation support for those who can’t afford it or whose insurance doesn’t cover it. It will be my back up plan if the Essential Health Benefits of ACA are repealed, so that access to this type of care is not interrupted.  And I will stay open to other ways to take part in the many things that make this country great, rather than focusing on the negative I am bombarded with daily. Will you join me?

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Breastfeeding Twins

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both mom and baby, and naturally the benefits double when nursing twins. As you know, breast milk is uniquely designed to meet the specific developmental needs of your baby, and the breastfeeding experience fosters a very special bond between the two of you. Nursing twins can be a challenge in the beginning, but it can also be a wonderful experience when moms are given the support and encouragement they need. Also, breastfeeding twins is more economical, more convenient, and less time-consuming than preparing bottles.
 
For moms of twins, it will be most important to establish an adequate milk supply early on and to maintain the supply to meet the growing demands of the babies. This can be facilitated by early and frequent breastfeedings – at least 8 times in 24 hours for each baby. As is the case with all newborn babies, do not let more than 3 hours go between the start of one feeding and the start of the next feeding. If the twins are born prematurely and have an immature suck, mom will need to pump frequently until they are able to nurse at the breast. This frequent stimulation is necessary to ensure that mothers will be able to produce enough milk.
 
There are a number of options for breastfeeding twins and it may take some experimenting to find what works best for you. The babies may breastfeed separately or simultaneously and this can be accomplished with various positions. When babies are fed separately, mom can breastfeed one infant and then the other, or one can be breastfed and the other bottle fed. You may have to wake the second baby to feed, but this will keep them on a consistent schedule. It will be important to nurse each of the babies on both breasts, especially in the early weeks, so that they are both evenly stimulated, particularly if one twin has a more vigorous suck than the other.
 
Some moms prefer to nurse their babies at the same time which saves time and ensures that both babies are eating on a similar schedule. Remember to alternate breasts with each baby for even stimulation and drainage. You should comfortably latch the less vigorous nurser first and then the other baby. In the beginning, you may need help getting comfortable with extra pillows, and of course good back support.  
 
There are 3 nursing positions you can try:

1- Both babies in the football hold or the double football: This position allows for better head control with smaller babies and moms can support their breasts better when latching and during the feeding. Mom also has good visualization of both babies in this position, and it is easier on a mom who has had a C-section.

2- Both babies in the cradle or cuddle hold with their legs crossed over or next to each other. This position may be more difficult in the beginning since mom can not support the babies’ heads as well.  However, as the babies gain more head and neck control, mom’s hands will be freer and she will have better eye contact with her babies in this position.

3- One baby in the cradle hold and one baby in the football hold.

As your babies mature and need less support, nursing will get easier and more comfortable. Hang in there!
 
Frequent feedings that drain the breasts will keep your supply up and will decrease the likelihood of developing sore nipples, plugged ducts, and breast infections. A breastfeeding log will help you to keep track of breastfeeding sessions in these first few hectic weeks. You can also keep track of the number of wet and soiled diapers in your log which is the best measure of breastfeeding success. You will also want to share this information with your Pediatrician and/or lactation professional.
 
I do not have personal experience nursing twins, but I have two very close friends (who happen to be twins themselves) who nursed their twin sons happily and successfully. They wanted to share some personal advice with you.

Dee – Mom of twin boys that nursed for 12 months:
 
“I remember going to La Leche League and buying a ‘twin pillow’ so I could nurse them both at the same time. It was the best investment because you are nursing so much. It gave me a little break in between. Nurse them on demand for the first couple of weeks to bring your milk supply in and remember, what seems like non-stop nursing will end. New moms have to hang in there for the first 4-6 weeks! Nursing gets so much easier after that (babies go longer and learn to nurse more efficiently so they are not on your breast as long), and it becomes so much more convenient than bottle feeding. Have someone leave snacks out for you to munch on during the day, such as graham crackers with peanut butter, because new moms forget to eat and drink…you’re so busy nursing, but you need the nutrition to build your milk supply! I had a doula for the first couple of months which helped me immensely, and she had twins so she knew what it was like.”
 
Deirdre – Mom of twin boys that nursed for 14 months:
 
“I agree with everything my twin sister said, but I would like to add a few things. In the first couple of weeks my nipples were a little sore when the babies first latched, but I hung in there and it passed and I’m so glad I did! I nursed each baby separately with soft music playing in the background. My husband would sometimes hold the second baby while I nursed the first one who was a more active, vigorous baby. In the middle of the night I would just roll over and nurse them. There was no need to get up and warm a bottle. It was so easy. Sometimes at night when the babies slept a little longer, I felt fuller, so I would pump a little milk off to keep my supply up and save it for when I had a chance to go out. I kept a breastfeeding ‘clip board’ to keep track of which baby was on which breast so I could alternate them. I sometimes wore two breast pads in my bra to help absorb leakage.  I would tell new moms to accept help from family and friends, eat well, and get rest when you can.  If I had an hour off, I wanted to be by myself, so I would take a bath with a glass of wine, or I would go out for an hour of shopping! Breastfeeding was the most rewarding experience of my life.  It is an incredible bond. Don’t quit!” 
 
The first year of life for parents of a new baby is an adjustment, and for the parents of twins it can be very hectic, and at times it may seem overwhelming. Accepting the help of family, friends, and professionals if needed, will be essential in the first several weeks to ensure adequate rest and nutrition for mom. It is also a wonderful idea to contact other moms who have nursed twins for their support and suggestions. We are happy to be offering our own support group for mom of multiples beginning on January 30th. Below is a list of some additional resources to turn to for support.
 
Resources for Breastfeeding Support with Twins:

INSPIRED TO THINK GLOBALLY – Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Every once in a while I come across a book that makes a real impression on me and I want to share it with all women I know. Two of my favorites that come to mind are Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder, and Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I consider both books must reads for everyone! The last book that had that effect on me was given to me by one of my sons. He was starting his freshman year of college and his required summer reading was Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. He read it and passed it along to me, knowing that its topic of women’s health would be of interest to me. I was immediately engrossed and couldn’t put it down until I finished.

The title is based on the Chinese Proverb that “Women hold up half the sky.” While at times a very sad book, I found the women in it absolutely amazing and inspirational.  I was struck by the dire straits that most women of the world live in. So much that we American women take for granted~ plumbing and sanitation, basic maternity care, the ability to earn a living~ is not an option for a vast majority of women in other countries. It was heartbreaking to read about Ethiopian women with incontinence caused by poor or lack of quality obstetrical care. Something that is easily fixed here in the United States can cause a woman to be homeless and shunned in Africa. Equally disturbing was the story of a young Cambodian girl sold into the sex slavery trade. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could exploit a child in that way, and yet it happens all the time. Both women survived their ordeals. One became a surgeon and the other supports her family with a retail business. Reading their stories made me think I could do anything I set my mind to!

I was equally amazed by the women who set out to solve all these problems. One African woman, Edna Adan, who was the victim of genital cutting, grew up to work for the World Health Organization and then started her own maternity hospital in Somaliland with her retirement savings. At the Addis Abada Fistula Hospital, a saintly gynecologist, Catherine Hamlin, solves the incontinence problems of inferior maternity care, allowing close to 90% of these women to return to fully functioning lives. Many other amazing people are hard at work in family planning, the education of young women, and microcredit. The authors show us that “the key to economicprogress lies in unleashing women’s potential. Throughout much of the word, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prosperedprecisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it is also the best strategy for fighting poverty.” (Kristof and WuDunn)

Amazingly, I know someone here in Rhode Island who is making a difference daily in the maternity care provided to women throughout the world. Meg Wirth, a Providence mother of two, set out to find a way to change the grim statistic that in the 21st century developing world, pregnancy remains a leading cause of deathamong women of childbearing age. She founded Maternova, the first global marketplace for ideas and technologies that save mothers and newborns during childbirth. Maternova’s mission is to become the online media hub connecting millions of people who work on maternal/newborn health around the world and accelerate progress. They make it easy for doctors, nurses and midwives to track innovation and to buy technologies and kits to use overseas. And they are successful! Their obstetrical kits are used all over the world and help to safely deliver babies while protecting the health of their mothers.

One of my friends was jokingly lamenting the other day that she had not accomplished much, as she had stayed home to raise her sons, rather than putting her Boston College Masters degree to good use. Her mother reminded her that when you educate a mother, you educate a whole family. What a profound statement! That sentiment is reiterated in Three Cups of Tea. I see that daily in my work. We are all doing what we can, when we can. When we are home with our children, I truly believe there is nothing more important. But someday, when that phase is over, who knows what other amazing things we will accomplish…..

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