Happy 3 Months!

Griffin & Dakota are 3 months today! Their first two months sped by before I started this blog, so I wasn’t going to miss this milestone.  Overall, my babies are happy and content and doing well.  Here are some things they do and don’t like – many more likes than hates!

Happy 3 months!

Griffin Likes:

  • Smiling, at anyone and everything (best baby smiles EVER!);
  • Looking at himself in the mirror;
  • His hands (but hasn’t figured out about the thumb yet);
  • His bath;
  • Tummy time;
  • Mom’s Beco;
  • Going for walks with his dog.

Griffin Hates:

  • Sleeping during the day (might miss something!);
  • Laying still while eating (might miss something!);
  • Waiting to eat when his brother wakes up first;
  • When mommy leaves him in the bumbo too long.

Dakota Likes:

  • Cooing and ‘talking’, to anyone and everything;
  • Looking at his brother;
  • Stretching (best baby stretches EVER!);
  • His bath;
  • Dad’s Baby Buddha;
  • Sleeping;
  • His bumbo.

Dakota Hates:

  • Tummy time;
  • The Open Wide! game.

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Thrush Wars, in conclusion

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.

In Part 4, I talked about the return of symptoms and treatment with APNO. I also mentioned hoping to make an appointment with a Lactation Consultant (LC).

Week 13, con’t: Every day last week the pain while showering diminished. My left side became essentially pain free, though still pinkish.  My right side continued to hurt, especially when Dakota was feeding.  I talked to the Lactation Consultant my friend recommended and made an appointment for the following week. We weren’t sure if it was still thrush I as dealing with or if this was something new or an ongoing, unrelated problem.

Week 14 (real time!): I saw the LC yesterday.  She agreed we likely had been battling thrush, but that it looked like it was GONE! Griffin and I have no signs of thrush, and Dakota has a small blister on his lip and coating on his tongue that could be thrush.  Or, it could just be milk residue.  She suggested I watch Dakota’s mouth, and also keep an eye on Griffin and I because if Dakota still has thrush then it will likely come back for Griffin and I.  We agreed it’s time to start weaning of the GSE and that the babies no longer needed the probiotics.  Breastmilk should have enough good bacteria and there should be no longer be any need for the probiotic top-up.  We’ll see how this goes!

The pain on my right side is due to a combination of some blocked ducts and poor latching.  For the blocked ducts, she suggested pulling back the skin with a sterile needle when the block shows as a white spot on my nipple, and then squeezing out any solidified milk.  She also advised I should take 3600mg of Lecithin (3x 1200mg capsules) three times per day, which can help alleviate blockages.

The poor latching is going to take more work, especially for Dakota.  Because I have plenty of milk, they have still gained weight without problem.  However, they are hurting me!  Griffin’s mouth is almost wide enough, but Dakota’s is downright tiny when he feeds.  She taught me a game to play with them to help them learn to open wider.  During their quiet alert stage after eating, my husband or I are to look them in the eye and touch their chin, saying ‘Open Wide!’.  We should open our mouths wide and get them to copy us, using our finger to open their mouths up.  In addition, when feeding I should say ‘Open Wide!’ before latching and try to hold their chin down until they are fully latched.  It is hard work, and they both get frustrated and upset right now.  Hopefully it gets better and I can work on improving their latch, which should make feeds shorter and alleviate my pain!

This breastfeeding thing is a lot harder than ‘they’ make it out to be.  Have you had any problems you would like to share?

For now, the thrush war is over.  Me: 1, Thrush: 0.

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Friday Night Leftovers #2

Find out more about leftovers here!

  • I got an appointment to see a Lactation Consultant on Monday morning.  She’ll go over they boys’ latch, thrush, and any other issues she finds.  I can’t wait!
  • Boomer is a straggly, disheveled mess. I hope to find time this weekend to give him a proper bath and haircut.  Poor guy has been neglected of late!
  • I had my husband print a bunch of agility trial premiums out yesterday.  I’m going to start trialing with Boomer again soon!
  • My husband and I plan on braving the Cloverdale Swap Meet tomorrow morning, with both babies.  He’ll carry Dakota in his Baby Buddha, and I’ll have Griffin in my Beco.  We hope to pick up a nice umbrella stroller that we can use with a carrier instead of always lugging around the double stroller.
  • Griffin and Dakota are still growing like weeds – especially Dakota.  He has doubled his birthweight already! I was looking at pictures of Dakota as a newborn and the difference is really striking.
  • The boys got a bumbo each. Dakota absolutely loves his, he likes seeing the world and knowing what is going on.  Griffin’s head is a little less steady and he has a hard time sitting in it for too long. If he’s tired, his poor little head sinks down into his chest and he can’t lift it up.
  • The boys will be 3 months on Tuesday.  Like clockwork, they are getting tired earlier in the evening and sleeping longer stretches at night.  They are starting to develop their morning nap and often sleep 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the morning if I put them down between 9am and 10am.  Not today, though!
  • I realized today only 4 weeks until our Palm Springs family trip, and 6 weeks until I return to work.  Time is flying by so fast!

Dakota at about 10 days, with 5-month-old Sadie

Griffin at about 10 days

Dakota at 2 months 5 days

Griffin at 2 1/2 months

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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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