Category Archives: Twins

(belated) Happy 6 Months!

May 22nd - Canucks won that day, just to celebrate their 1/2 birthday!

I started writing this the third week of May – Griffin and Dakota were 6 months on May 22nd.  Things have been crazy in our world lately and I never finished the post!  But here goes…

On Sunday(actually several Sundays ago) it was six months since my beautiful little boys were born, and our favourite hockey team has sure been on a run since then!  With perfect timing, they have grown into their first Canucks t-shirts just when the Canucks are going to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in 17 years.  Coincidence?

Griffin and Dakota have spent the last month growing like crazy. Last month, Dakota had almost caught up to his big brother in size, but since starting solids Griffin has shot forward. He’s now almost 13 1/2 lbs to Dakota’s 12 1/2 lbs.  He loves to eat!

What else does Griffin love?

  • Rolling.  Onto his tummy, onto his back, onto his side and back again.  He is a rolling machine!
  • Shaking his head in a funny dance.  He does this whenever something is extra fun or tasty – eating butternut squash, playing with a new toy, or looking at his Boomer-dog.
  • Food!  So far he loves banana, rice cereal, oatmeal, avocados, sweet potatoes, peas, butternut squash, chicken, and prunes.  He’ll eat potatoes, apples, broccoli, and pears, but he’s not as excited! As long as mommy made it for him, that is.  The only jarred baby food he will eat is prunes, and even applesauce needs to be the ‘adult’ kind!
  • Bathtime.  He loves his bath so much he gets over excited, thrashes all about, and bangs his head!  More often than not, the bath ends in a few tears as he startles himself – but he recovers quickly once he realizes how much fun he is having.
  • Mommy.  Griffin’s smiles have been extra big for me lately – melts my heart and makes me miss him all that much more when I’m at work!

My little rolling machine!

But not everything is fun & roses.  There are some…

Things that Griffin hates:

  • Waiting to eat.  That boy does not have a patient bone in his body!
  • Sleeping unswaddled. Luckily, he hasn’t figured out how to roll over without his arms, yet.  When he does we’ll all be losing out on sleep as we try to transition to a sleep sack!
  • When his brother kicks him in the head.  Well, who wouldn’t? (Hate it, I mean, not kick him in the head :).)

Overall, Griffin’s a pretty happy guy.  He’s enjoying his swimming lessons, though I wouldn’t say he loves them yet (maybe next month?)

Dakota’s having a bit harder month. He hasn’t caught onto food like his brother, and as a result his temper’s short.  He still has his happy moments…

Things that Dakota Loves:

  • When mom comes home from work – he always has the biggest grin for me!
  • Jumping.  The Jolly Jumper’s gotten old.  But if someone jumps Dakota for him, he’s all giggles.
  • Being held.  Most of the time this is the only thing that makes him happy, but some of the time even that doesn’t work!
  • Cereal, apples, and bananas.  The only solid food he really likes right now!
  • Swimming.  While Griffin is indifferent, Dakota just loves being in the water.  He kicks his feet and tries to swim already!
  • Sleeping.  Dakota is a great sleeper – as long as he’s swaddled!
  • His feet.  As long as he’s touching his feet, I can usually get a grin out of my grumpier baby.

Happy Dakota with his feet!

As you’ve probably gathered, when he’s not swimming Dakota’s more into the hates this month…

Things that Dakota Hates:

  • Being on the ground alone;
  • Being on the ground with his brother, mom, or dad,
  • Being in his bumbo for too long;
  • Being in his high chair;
  • Having his bib put on;
  • Eating anything that is not sweet (we trick him by mixing applesauce or butternut squash into every bite!)
  • Waiting.  And since he’s a twin who wakes up second, he end up waiting an awful lot, poor guy!

And now hopefully I find time to post before they’re 7 months – which is only a couple of weeks away!

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Happy 4 months (& 3 weeks, oops!)

Well, Griffin and Dakota turned 4 months while we were away in Palm Springs so I couldn’t take a picture with their ‘grow monkey.  Instead, they are slippy slidey in the corner of my parents’ leather couch.

Griffin & Dakota - 4 months old in Palm Springs!

Griffin struggled with weight gain in month 4, and actually only gained 3oz in one two-week period.  We had to start waking him around 10pm for an extra feed in the hopes his gain would improve. Dakota developed a nice, sunny disposition and began smiling a lot.  He was catching up to his brother in weight, and it was certainly putting him in a good mood!

I should have taken some notes when they actually turned 4 months, but let’s see if I can remember some of their likes and dislikes:

Griffin Liked:

  • Spitting up (I swear he got an evil grin after a big one);
  • His playmat;
  • Rolling over (front to back);
  • Teasing his brother (he mastered the art of pulling his brother’s soother out of his mouth!);
  • His fuzzy dice;
  • His fist in his mouth;
  • His Grandma McDonald (my mom) and Great-Grandma Montes;
  • Mom’s Beco;
  • Flying on a plane;
  • Finding his voice so he can finally talk back to his brother.

Griffin Hated:

  • Sudden loud noises (sneezes, coughs, door closing… it would start a never-ending screaming session!);
  • Laying still while eating (hasn’t improved any since 3 months – in fact, it’s gotten worse);
  • Being in his carseat for too long;
  • Being held in a horizontal position – up, over the shoulder or facing out preferred, thank you very much!

Dakota Liked:

  • Cooing and ‘talking’, to anyone and everything (even more than at 3 months!);
  • Screeching (his new favourite sound);
  • Kicking – he did almost a march at every diaper change;
  • Dad’s Baby Buddha;
  • His playmat;
  • His his fuzzy dice;
  • His Grandma McDonald and Great-Grandma Montes.

Dakota Hated:

  • Tummy time (not much better at it than at 3 months – though he did finally roll over once!);
  • Long car rides (the drives from Palm Springs to San Diego and from Long Beach to Palm Springs were not fun);
  • And just like his brother, being held in a horizontal position – up, over the shoulder or facing out preferred, thank you very much!

Some pictures of the boys with their likes & dislikes:

Griffin teasing his brother

Dakota & his Fuzzy Dice

 

Griffin & his yummy fist!

Dakota (barely) tolerating tummy time

Griffin & Great-Grandma Montes

The boys with Grandma McDonald

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Thrush Wars, Part 4

In Part 1, I talked about the first 8 weeks breastfeeding my twins and the initial help I received from Lactation Consultants and a Breastfeeding Clinic.

In Part 2, I talked about our unsuccessful Gentian Violet + Probiotics treatment and the start of my online research on thrush.

In Part 3, I talked about GSE Treatment and a temporary relief in symptoms.

Week 11, con’t: My thrush symptoms came back, worse than ever, when I stopped the oral GSE drops.  I just couldn’t stand the awful taste anymore!  But I was desperate, and began taking the drops three times per day.  I also decided that the twins and I needed a better probiotic, one with several different kinds of bacterial cultures that would help us beat this yeast.  I went to the health food store and, upon recommendation of the clerk, picked up an adult blend probiotic for me and an infant blend in powder form for the boys.  Once per day, I took my probiotic and dipped my finger in the boys’ for them to suck off.  The week passed, and nothing changed other than the boys now had a rash on their eyebrows from the strawberry flavouring of their probiotics.

Week 12: By this point, I was desperate.  Nothing seemed to be helping.  A friend of mine with a breastfed seven-month-old called – she thought she might be developing thrush as well.  She wanted to know what I’d tried and what worked.  And, she had the actual All Purpose Nipple Ointment I mentioned in my previous post as her midwife had prescribed it when her daughter was born.

I decided that I needed to have this ointment, because nothing was working!! I braved a walk-in clinic on a Sunday, so that my husband could look after the boys.  I registered, and they told me a one-hour wait.  I went to Toys R Us, came back in an hour, and waited three more hours!!! I was severely engorged and in tears by the time I finally got to see the doctor.  I had printouts of the APNO prescription and Jack Newman’s instructions on the use of Fluconazole for resistant cases.  Since the wait is so long at clinics on the weekend, and I wasn’t willing to bring the boys with me to such a germ-infested area, I asked for the APNO and Fluconazole prescriptions.

The doctor I saw had never heard of Dr. Newman or his treatments.  She wrote out the prescription for the APNO, but wasn’t willing to follow his fluconazole instructions.  She wrote me a prescription for one week of fluconazole to use should the thrush continue to prove resistant, rather than the two weeks plus recommended by Dr. Newman.  Oh well, it was better than nothing!

By this time, it was already after 4pm on a Sunday and pharmacies were closing quickly.  I knew Safeway could make the APNO, because my friend filled her prescription there, and their pharmacy was open until 6pm.  I went straight there, only to find the doctor had made an error on the prescription.  She forgot to include the Miconazole powder – the antifungal and the primary thrush treatment! Luckily, the clinic was still open and the pharmacist was able to get through to the doctor to have it corrected.  By 6pm, I had my ointment.

Monday I started the ointment, and Tuesday I returned to the health food store to do something about those eyebrow rashes on my boys. They were getting all my money there, I ended up going home with an improved infant probiotic with no added flavours, a specialty adult probiotic designed specifically to combat yeast, and GSE caplets so that I no longer had to taste those horrible drops.  Dr. Newman feels the caplets work better, anyway.

By the end of the week, I was able to shower without pain and my nipples were no longer shiney.  After a couple of days with upset tummies for all three of us as the probiotics regulated our systems, we started to feel better than before the treatments started – I had my happy boys back!  Griffin’s tongue was starting to look better, but poor Dakota was having a harder time and the thrush seemed more resistant with him.

Week 13 (Present Time): The boys are now 12 1/2 weeks old and still battling thrush.  I continue to dose them with probiotics two feeds a day, and am also swabbing their mouths with the diluted GSE solution before every feed.  Dakota’s tongue is still not improving, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering him.  Griffin’s has stalled at an almost-gone point.

I’m taking my anti-yeast probiotics twice a day, and the GSE caplets three times a day (but not within an hour of the probiotics).  In addition, I use the diluted GSE solution and APNO on my nipples after every feed.  On Monday, a new pain started in my right nipple – I’m not sure if it’s the thrush or a milk blister.  I haven’t started the fluconozole because I’m not sure if what I’m dealing with now is thrush or not. I’m kind of in a holding pattern, and it’s very frustrating!

I’ve decided I need to see a lactation consultant (LC) to find out exactly where things stand.  My friend has connections to a Vancouver LC who follows Dr. Newman’s practices.  She doesn’t do house calls in the suburbs, but I’m willing to go to her!  I just need to get her phone number, and then I can get moving on fixing this!

Oh, and my friend did ask the LC about frozen milk with yeast.  She said not to throw it out, but to save any milk that could carry the yeast for last.  The yeast will become inactive when frozen, but not dead, and when thawed out the yeast would become active again.  However, this yeast is something that we all carry – thrush is just when it becomes overactive.  A healthy, older baby would be able to handle the yeast without causing the thrush to return.

To be continued… wish us luck!

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Twins are less colicky… or are they?

Yesterday, we had our multiples prenatal class reunion.  Three sets of fraternal twin boys and two sets of boy/girl twins came together to trade birth stories and experiences of the first few months.  At two and a half months, Griffin and Dakota were the youngest there.  All of the others were born three to five weeks earlier.

Four of the twin sets "interacting"

When trading stories, we realized that none of us had colicky/fussy babies or had to deal with PURPLE crying.  BC Women’s hospital is heavily involved in promoting awareness of this unexplained crying period in infants, and we were all sent home with pamphlets and DVD’s about the period when discharged from the hospital.  Since it was a BC Women’s prenatal class, we had also spent time discussing what to expect during this period and how to keep your sanity.  But, none of us needed it!

At the reunion, we wondered if twins were less prone to colic/fussiness/purple crying (or whatever you want to call it!).  Perhaps having a built-in best buddy helps them sleep better and keeps them happier.  For us to have ten content and happy good sleepers is just amazing!!

On the drive home, my husband and I were reflecting on this.  Our class was much bigger than five couples – there were four or five more couples that just hadn’t come to the reunion.  One was a high-risk identical twin pregnancy, and two others weren’t due until January and would still be in the throes of the super-hard first four to six weeks.  We figured that’s why they hadn’t come.

Then again, I commented, maybe it’s just that those of us with the good-natured babies made the trip out.  Those with the fussy babies were just too exhausted to get out of the house!

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Thrush Wars, Part 3

In Part 1, I talked about the first 8 weeks breastfeeding my twins and the initial help I received from Lactation Consultants and a Breastfeeding Clinic.

In Part 2, I talked about our unsuccessful Gentian Violet + Probiotics treatment and the start of my online research on thrush.

Week 9, con’t: Over the weekend, I continued my online research.  I concentrated on more reputable websites and tried to avoid discussion groups (other than my own birth club) and their horror stories!

Over and over again, I kept returning to Dr. Jack Newman’s Breastfeeding Help site, where I had found the Gentian Violet instructions. I talked to a friend of mine who is a labour & delivery nurse, and she confirmed his site as reputable and one she had referred to at work.

Dr. Newman’s article on Candida Protocol (the yeast that causes thrush) had a lot of useful information. He recommends a -tiered treatment:

  1. Treat with All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO): A compounded appointment made from an antibiotic (Mupirocin), a corticosteroid (Betamethasone), and an antifungal (Miconazole). Useful for many different breastfeeding problems that can cause sore nipples.
  2. If that doesn’t work, add Gentian Violet OR
  3. Use Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) topically on the nipples.
  4. If that doesn’t work, add GSE orally (capsules or tablets preferred) for the mother AND
  5. Probiotics for the mother and baby.

I was still trying to cut corners, though, and didn’t want to brave the clinic to get a prescription for APNO, so I sent my husband out to the healthfood store to pick up the GSE drops and I picked up some antifungal ointment (Canesten – Clotrimazole).

Week 10: treatments begin! After every feed I painted my nipples with a diluted solution of GSE (see Dr. Newman’s Candida article for dilution instructions), and I used the antifungal twice a day.  When not using the antifungal, I used olive oil so that my skin didn’t dry out.  I also started using the drops in my juice three times a day, in addition to the bioGaia probiotic drops.  In addition, I used the drops in the laundry and to sterilize soothers, bottles, and pump parts. By the end of the week, I was symptom free!

By symptom free, I mean not only did the stabbing, burning pain while feeding stop, but I could also shower pain-free and my nipples returned to their normal colour.  I hadn’t realized the sore nipples while showering and pink nipples were caused by thrush – I thought it was just a normal side effect of breastfeeding.  I had mentioned both of these symptoms to the breast feeding clinic and the public health lactation consultant, and neither had seemed concerned.  I had a freezer full of pumped milk – did this mean I needed to throw it all out??? About 50 ounces worth??!??! I was devastated, but decided to leave it in the freezer until I could find out more.

The boys still had thrush on their tongues, and their mouths were obviously irritated when feeding.  I decided to stop the oral GSE (it just tasted SO BAD!) and continue the topical GSE. Bad idea, because in

Week 11: PAIN! My symptoms came back.

To be continued…

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Thrush Wars, Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about the first 8 weeks breastfeeding my twins and the initial help I received from Lactation Consultants and a Breastfeeding Clinic.

Week 8, con’t: I read a lot on the various treatments for thrush, in both the baby and the breastfeeding mother.  I was looking for something I could do without a prescription, that would last me until my family doctor appointment the following week.  I sought feedback from other moms in my birth club, and decided to try a course of Gentian Violet. Since it stains everything it comes in contact with, I followed Dr. Jack Newman’s instructions on mess-free application of the die to my nipples and the boys’ mouths. Luckily, my boys aren’t too squirmy and only their lips and insides their mouths were stained!

Dakota with his purple mouth

Griffin too!

Week 9: I spoke briefly to my family doctor about the thrush and told her I was treating the three of us with a course of Gentian Violet. She agreed with the treatment and didn’t offer any other solutions.  By the end of the week, however, none of our symptoms had improved. In fact, my nipples felt worse and were becoming pink and shiny.  And the boys’ seemed to be bothered by the thrush – their mouths hurt when they were eating or sucking on their soothers.  The three of us were taking probiotics daily (bioGaia – a digestive probiotic). I added vinegar to our washes and started sterilizing soothers and bottles daily, but nothing seemed to be helping.

I became quite discouraged and was surfing the internet to try and find alternate solutions.  I read horror stories of breastfeeding moms and babes dealing with thrush for months, with pain and digestive issues throughout. The most commonly prescribed medication, nystatin, seemed to do little to help these moms other than make their babies sick.  My husband came home to find me in tears, convinced that the boys and I would never ever beat this thing.  I needed to find something better.

To be continued…

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Thrush Wars, Part 1

Whoever thought that something so natural, so instinctual, as breastfeeding could be so damn difficult?

Like many women, I was administered antibiotics during labour.  My Group B Strep results were not in my file, so I was given two rounds of intravenous antibiotics as a precaution.  To this day, I don’t know if I was GBS positive or not.

Week 1: After the boys were born, breastfeeding started slow.  I had plenty of milk, but I was pumping most of it and sending it to Dakota in the nursery.  Griffin got twenty minutes, alternating sides every three hours, and we were topping him off with donor milk.  Since Dakota was so small, my husband and I decided we wanted him to get most of my colostrum and then milk.  I did see an LC (Lactation Consultant) in the hospital, who helped me with my severe engorgement and worked on Griffin’s latch.

Weeks 2-4: Once we were all home, I slowly introduced the breast to Dakota as well, and I continued to pump and top them off with my milk (we didn’t need the donor milk anymore).  Dakota had a tiny mouth and had trouble latching, but he was learning. As he grew bigger, he got better.  Griffin was still losing weight, so even though he seemed to be getting plenty of milk I was worried. At two weeks, we visited the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic, where they gave me a few latching pointers and essentially told me to keep up with what I was doing. They checked my nipples and the boys’ mouths, and asked if I was feeling any pain or my letdown.  I couldn’t feel my letdown, but did sting a bit just after latching.  They weren’t concerned and sent me home, and told me not to come back.  Since I live in the suburbs, they felt any future issues could be seen by the public health lactation consultant in my region.

Week 5: When the boys were four weeks old, Griffin had finally regained his birth weight.  Our family doctor eliminated the bottle top-ups and I was finally able to regain some time in our daily routine!  In order to make sure the boys continued to do well, I made a house call appointment with the public health lactation consultant.  She came in, weighed the boys, and checked latching.  I mentioned that it still hurt when they initially latched, and that showering was painful.  She didn’t seem concerned.  The boys also had a light white film on their tongues, but she thought it was just milk residue and nothing to be concerned about.

Week 8: PAIN!!! While feeding Dakota on my right side, I as hit with the most excruciating pain.  It began in my nipple and radiated up under my arm towards my back.  I couldn’t help but cry out and tears came to my eyes.  I couldn’t find any nodes or hard spots on my breast, and didn’t think it was a blocked duct.  The white on the boys’ tongues had also thickened, and looked cottage cheese-y.  There was also a pale white film on their upper mouths.  I concluded we likely had thrush and turned on my computer.  Our next doctor’s appointment wasn’t for a week, and I couldn’t wait that long.  It was time to google!

To be continued…


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