Tuesday, August 10, 2010

4 Months-Part 2 (AKA the longest post ever)

THANK YOU all SO much for all your helpful suggestions to my questions about the 4 month wakeful period and swaddling. I love blogging for about 100 reasons, and one of the main ones is situations like that. I love hearing what worked for different people, and also hearing that I am not alone in dealing with certain situations. So thanks for sharing with me! =)

Wednesday the babies had their 4 month check up. Their doctor declared them healthy and happy. What more could two parents hope for??

Luke is weighing in at 12.6 pounds (7th percentile), length: 25 inches (47th) and head circumference of 17 inches (70th!)

Abbey is weighing in at 11.8 pounds (11th percentile), length: 24 inches (33rd), and head circumference 16.3 inches (61st!)

Looks like we may have some smart babies on our hands =)

It was surprising to find out Lucas weighs less than a pound more than his sister. He feels like he weighs 3 pounds more! He is not necessarily chubby, he just is solid. Abbey still seems so petite to me, I still call her Peanut =).

I just love their pediatrician. She is actually my primary care physician too. She is just a perfect balance of modern medicine and statistics, but also very encouraging of us to follow our instincts and not take those statistics too seriously. She encourages our goal of attachment style parenting, which we are so grateful for. She's big on holding your babies often, and meeting their needs pretty much unconditionally while they are young to promote security and confidence.

It was a very informative visit, and we got a lot of our questions answered. Before we had even started on my questions about sleep expectations at this stage, she brought up the subject of rice cereal. I came to the visit very interested in what she would have to say on the subject, as from everything I had read the American Academy of Pediatrics was recommending exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months, yet so many of you commented that your pediatrician's recommended earlier. I wondered if it was a weight thing, or an age thing, or what.

Turns out it's neither. At least according to our doctor. She said it's more of a developmental thing. As soon as baby is able to hold their head up while in a sitting position (supported sitting position), and able to tolerate a spoon being inserted in their mouth without instantly spitting it out, then they are considered "ready" to start cereal. When we got home from their appointment, I tried putting one of the spoons Grandma Donna bought us in their mouths, and both did look a little confused, but then sucked on it with interest. Success! Dr. M said to mix 1 tablespoon of cereal with 4-5 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. She did warn it could lead to constipation (which one of our babes struggles with once in awhile) so she said if that becomes a problem just mix in a little prune juice.

She said that by 4 months they should be able to go 6-8 hours at night without eating, and that if they were waking more often than that, and not able to settle back into sleep -even with our help-, then it sounded like they were indeed hungrier. She gave us a few tips to help this. One of them was to nurse them less during the day. This panicked me at first, since I have worked SO hard to build my milk supply to where it is, and because the school of thought I operated under to get to this point had been to nurse the babies often. Like, whenever-they-showed-any-interest, often. But she made a compelling argument... First, I would not be reducing the amount that they are eating, in fact I would be encouraging them to eat more milk at each feeding. Also, since I had been nursing them when they woke up each time and before they went down (for naps and bed), she pointed out that I could make them reliant upon eating to fall asleep. Second, more frequent day feedings can easily transfer over to more frequent night feedings. Makes sense. So while I am not on board with ever holding out on a hungry baby (nor was that at all what she was suggesting), I was willing to give this a try. Since the appointment I have only been nursing upon waking, and at their bed time, and it hasn't been a problem at all! In fact, I really see a difference in their overall efficiency of eating too. Win-win =)

SO....Friday night when I got home from work, we tried rice cereal for the first time. It was clear within the first few bites that Lucas was more than ready to try cereal. He was opening his mouth as soon as the spoon came near, closing his mouth around the spoon once inside his mouth, and swallowing the cereal. Our big boy =). Abbey was...less ready. She spit more out than she took in, but she seemed to get the general concept.

We put the babies down at 6:45pm that night, as they seemed very tired. That night Luke woke up around 11pm and started fussing. We waited 10 minutes, then David went in and gave him back his binky and handed him his lovie, and he went back to sleep! Abbey woke up around 1am, and since this had been more than 6 hours since she last ate (7 to be exact), I just waited a few minutes and listened to her fuss to see if she would settle back in. When the fussing turned into crying, I went in and got her and nursed her. She nursed really well, so she was indeed hungry. She went right back down after that. Luke didn't get up again until 3:10am!!! He fussed for a few minutes, and I went in and got him. He power nursed as well, then went right back down. They both slept until almost 6:30am! It was a good night =).

I woke up the next morning feeling sooooo rested. We had been having so many rough nights in a row, where I was averaging about 3.5 hours sleep. I just don't do well on that little sleep. It makes everything so much harder. I think my friend Stephanie put it best when she said "sleep deprivation makes everything feel so desperate. It is so hard to think clearly - and make rational decisions - when you are chronically exhausted."
It's so interesting what sleep deprivation does to a person. It makes me so dramatic (and those who raised me might right now be saying to themselves that I have always already had a flair for the dramatic). One night last week, when Dave and I were in the middle of a to-swaddle-or-not-to-swaddle discussion, I said the words "I just want to raise happy, secure kids..." and then I started laughing at myself when I realized how dramatic I was being and followed up that statement by saying "and I am sure when we start unswaddling them will make or break this goal". Seriously.

For the record they are both broken of the swaddle now. We had two rough nights as they didn't seem to know what to do with their arms, but we just kept going in there and handing them their little lovies to hold in their hands. I had kept them (the lovies) close to me most the day so they smelled like me, and also positioned them in between the babies and I while I nursed. Now they cuddle with them as they fall asleep...so cute =)

So...what else are the babies up to at 4 months old?

-Both are in size 2 diapers. They probably could still be in a size 1, but Grandma Linda bought us 500+ size 2 diapers (THANK YOU!!), so once we ran out of size 1's, we just moved on to the ones already stacked up in our utility room!

-Officially now in 3-6 months clothes

-Abbey has rolled from her stomach to her back, and Luke has done some side rolling, but has yet to fully roll over. Seems it's only a matter of time though...

-Currently going to bed about 6:30pm-6:45pm.

-Both giggle and smile so much! We have gotten a round of true chuckles out of Lucas a handful of times, which just melts us.

-Both babies seem to be tolerating about 2 hours of awake time before they need to go back down for a nap. Naps have been lasting anywhere from 40 minutes - 2 hours. (The 2 hours is rare.) Abbey seems to need longer naps than Lucas does. He can be wide awake and happy as a clam after only a 40 minute nap. We made a judgement call this last month and decided to quit trying to force them to be on the same schedule. It just wasn't working anymore. They are two separate babies, with two different needs. Just because they are twins, does not mean they are alike in all areas. Especially since they are fraternal twins, they are as different as any other two siblings. So we are trying our best to meet each of their needs individually. It's been inconvenient in some areas, such as often having days where one baby is always awake, but on that same line it's been nice to have alone time with each baby.

-We have finally retired the Twin Nursing Pillow. The babies are just too big for it. So now when I tandem nurse, I just arrange a bunch of throw pillows and a bed pillow...it's a bit of a circus, but it works!

-EVERYTHING goes in their mouths.

And to you, my sweet babies...

Lucas, you are just the sweetest, smiliest baby boy there ever was. You smile All. The. Time. You always meet our smiles and "hi's!" with a sweet grin and sometimes a partial giggle, and you always react so excited to see us...

You are becoming more ticklish, and you indulge your Daddy and I over and over again as we attempt to tickle you.

You are such a sensitive little guy. Loud noises -even one of Daddy's sneezes!- can catch you off guard and cause a look of concern to cross your face. And oh, if your little sister is upset, you are sure to be right behind her. You HATE it when she cries! As soon as you hear her cry, your bottom lip comes out and you look at us like your little heart is breaking.

You have incredible hearing. If I am nursing you in the living room, I can always tell when Daddy is about to come out, because you pull off and turn your head towards the hall way as soon as you hear the master bedroom door open...a sound I don't always hear!

You seem to be a morning baby, almost always ready to start your day between 5:30am-6:30am. This would bug me more (I am not a morning person) but you are SO HAPPY when we go in there to get you. You just smile wide and start kicking your legs with excitement and happiness to see us.

Your hair is getting much longer, and remains pretty dark. Your eyes are still blue, but have gotten lighter, they also seem to have a hint of green in them now.

You love to be on your tummy and play with your toys. Your head/neck control is excellent. You love the exersaucer, the play mat, your bouncy chair...you love it all. You really are such a happy little boy.

You still love your binky, and you have gotten much better about being able to keep it in on your own. Unless of course you want to smile, then you spit it out and showcase that adorable grin of yours =)

You love being sung to, and will often join in with some coos and howls of your own.

You had your first real fever this month =(. It stayed around 101 degrees for most the day, despite our staying on top of Tylenol doses. Like most things, you handled it like a champ though, and hardly seemed fussy.

You are becoming quite the charmer. You have charmed me from the beginning, and you have now gone to work on pretty much everyone else you meet. The ladies love you, Little Man. When we were at the wedding reception last weekend you spent most of the evening in a stranger's (to you, not a stranger to me) arms and you just stared up at her and smiled...and batted those incredibly long eyelashes of yours. We are in trouble!! =)

And little miss Abbey Mae...what a joyous little daughter you are! If there was ever a baby to prove Dr Harvey Karp's 4th trimester theory, it would be you, sweet girl. How you have grown up over the last month! Your first 3 months you seemed most content when swaddled and held, and you became overstimulated so easily. Now you love to be free of all constraints and kick your legs wildly and flail your arms in excitement. You can often be found bouncing up and down in the exersaucer with exclamations of joy coming from your sweet little lips. You get so crazy and wild in there your feet look like they are channeling a RiverDancer!

You love people and return smiles to anyone who sends one your way. You love to talk and have become quite the story teller...

You found your toes this month, and they are your new favorite thing. You've gotten them into your mouth a few times, and you seemed quite pleased with yourself at this new accomplishment.

You love to stand. Once you feel a solid surface beneath your feet, you lock your knees in place and could stand for days if we let you.

Your eyes are turning a different shade of blue, and are just beautiful. Your hair is slowly growing, and is totally blond now. We think you are getting a dimple on your left cheek!

You still need some time to yourself when you first wake up in the morning or from your naps. When we hear you are awake, we just go in to your room, position you towards your little Fisher Price Aquarium, pat you gently, and walk out. Soon after you can be heard cooing away and we know you are ready for us, and we are greeted with a huge smile when we come back to you. Oh sweet girl, you are your mother's daughter.

You love when I sing songs to you, especially ones with hand motions, such as "If you're happy and you know it" or "I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee", and you especially love my made-up song "You're my baby peanut" that I sing to you as I bounce you up and down.

You LOVE to be involved in any conversation your Daddy and I are having. In the mornings, I can hardly get you to nurse if we are talking because you pull off and stare at him while he talks, and then turn back to me as I talk. Your eyes are wide and intent as you attempt to take in what we are saying. Every once in awhile you chime in with your opinion as well =)

I love you, my darling babies. This last month has been my favorite by far. You two have just blossomed in personality, and I am loving getting to know you each even better. I am having so much fun with you! I couldn't have hand picked a more perfect son and daughter, and I thank God He picked me to be your Momma.


The Writer Chic said...

I know I'm not commenting much, but I'm here. Praying for and loving on your from TN.

PS. Your two are my favorite 4-month-olds EVER. ;)

Aunt Carol said...

Man, oh, man, what a wonderful blog. Am so glad sleep is back in your life, and all is going so well. Beautiful pictures of well-loved children.

Lianna Knight said...

All I can say is PRECIOUS!!!!

Lianna Knight said...

All I can say is PRECIOUS!!!!

Lauren said...


ashley said...

if rice cereal constipates them, see if barley cereal works better. We had to switch with our son because the Rice was just too hard on his stomach.

Vanessa's Dad said...

Amen... very sweet blog.

Sounds like life with the Twinadoes is both full/ overwhelming (naturally) and full/wonderful, which is what parenting is all about.


Mary said...

aww! sooo incredibly sweet!

One of these days I need to meet the cuties!

Cady said...

My little girl didn't like rice cereal. We tried it once and then went to the oatmeal, which she loves.

This is my first time visiting your blog, and I was shocked to see your niece's name. That's my name, too! I've never seen anyone with my name before :)

Amanda said...

Baby Abbey Again!!! Ohhhh Baby Luke!!! Mommy more Baby Abbey talking. Baby Abbey Again!

Cadence loves seeing her little cousins on the blog, over and over and over again. :)