Even before the boys were born, I already knew I was going to go back to work after my 1 year maternity leave was over. We talked about it as a family and financially we knew it was something that I needed to do. Aside from that, I knew that I needed that time for myself where I can be away from the boys for a short period of time - so I can recharge and evaluate myself as a mother and wife. I knew it would be a difficult adjustment, from being na full time stay-at-home mom to working part-time. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I never imagined I would feel this way. Today is my third day at work and by far the hardest (and to imagine there would be days that are harder scares me). And I think it is primarily because aside from the guilt of hearing your babies cry because they want you to hold them, but you can't because you have to get ready for work - I also have to deal with my own issues about feeling that I don't get the support that I think I need. And I'm saying it's my issue because other people's actions and words are beyond my control, and I can't pass them the burden of "making me feel better about myself" - somehow, I need to find that myself. I need to figure out on my own that despite being away from the boys, that does not make me a bad or inadequate mother. And I think, that is the most challenging part of this journey, to find that peace in myself, that I am doing the best that I can and I am enough. I am enough for my boys and my family, no matter what the circumstances or other people might make me feel.
I love exploring different snacks and teething biscuits with Z&L. I try different recipes I find online and see what works best for us - and of course, what the boys like. Just a side note though, I am not a baker (nor am I good at it.. LOL) so most of the recipes I try are simple and easy-to-do.
This recipe came from the Vanilla Biscotti recipe I found at the Homemade Baby Food Recipe website. This is the second time I am making this and I have done a bit of tweaking with the recipe - mainly I tried to reduce the amount of sugar and added a bit of apple sauce - which is why it is now called a Vanilla Apple Biscotti. It is also good to note that this is not only for babies, but adults LOVE it too! Whenever my parents come to visit, they usually eat this with a cup of hot coffee (and my mom keeps bugging me to make more. haha).
Before you start with this recipe - pull out your butter and leave it on the counter for a few hours - you need the butter to be room temperature for this recipe (it's something I always forget to do!!) - honestly, because I am not a baker, I don't really know how this affects the recipe.. - any bakers out there care to share the science behind this? :)
Also, the only thing I don't like about this recipe is the bottom part gets a bit harder (crustier) - so the boys have a hard time eating that part (they usually just spit it out)
Vanilla Apple Biscotti
1 1/2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Apple Sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
tiny pinch salt
1 1/4 cup flour (add a little bit more if dough is too wet)
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F, 180 deg C.
Cream butter then slowly add sugar.
Add egg. When egg is completely mixed in, add apple sauce.
Add the vanilla extract, flour, baking powder and salt and mix the dough well. It should be fairly sticky, but you should be able to gently mould it with your hands. If it’s too sticky, add a little bit more flour
Form the dough into a long “log” shape - this dough doesn't really rise or change shape, so form it in a shape that you want.
Bake for 20 mins on a greased baking sheet/cookie sheet.
Allow to cool, then carefully cut into 1/2 inches slices with a bread knife.
Place each slice, cut side down, on a baking/cookie sheet, then bake for another 5-10 minutes, turn it, then bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely – they get harder as they cool.
After the biscotti has cooled down, I usually store them in a nice mason jar :)
When the boys started eating solids and started asking (and by asking I really mean crying) for snacks when we are outside - usually when they are in their stroller. I decided to explore baby snacks. I didn't really know a whole lot about baby food / snack since I've always made / cooked the food that they eat at home.. but snacks made me nervous because I couldn't give them puree while we are outside and on the move, so ideally I wanted something they can hold themselves and of course not messy. Another reason why I wanted to give them "finger food" (since we did not go on the BLW route) is that I want them to start practicing their grasping and pinching skills.
I decided to try the Love Child Organics brand because the ingredients are natural and healthy (my standard of healthy is most likely different from yours, so read the ingredients list and see if you like what you see) and honestly the big factor is that it is made locally (local to me, we live in BC and Love Child Organics is made in Whistler). I try to support local, especially when it comes to food, so I was really happy with that. So far we've tried their purees and a couple of their snacks. I also love their cute packaging, it's available in our local grocery store and it's reasonably priced. The "age guide" on their package which tells you at what age you can start offering the snack to your babes is also very helpful especially to first time moms like me.
Here are our favourite snacks from Love Child Organics:
I know there are a million of blogs there that lists the "must haves" for moms - and there are a few for twin moms.. but after reading most of them, I still feel like there were stuff in the list that worked and didn't work for me, so here's my list.. hopefully some moms will find it useful!
These are the items that I felt like you need to purchase/prepare before you give birth (or shortly after).
Here's a little information about me and our living situation, which I think affects the things that you will or will not need.
1. Diapers - We live in the city, so we just purchased one newborn size box of diapers. We bought diapers as we need it, meaning, when we are almost out. Unless you live in remote areas where you have to travel far to get to a store, I think this is one advice I would give to parents - buy when you are almost out of diapers (not completely out of course!!) because you don't know how fast your baby/ies will grow and what brand you and your baby likes. We were lucky, our boys were not picky, so we were able to buy diapers based on what was cheaper. We also didn't have to buy a lot of newborn diapers because we met a former doula who had a lot of sample packs that she gladly gave to us (jackpot!!). We found that our boys outgrew the newborn size quite fast, and because we didn't "stock up" on diapers, we were able to switch sizes without having to deal with a lot of "leftover" diapers. Right now we are using the Kirkland (Costco) diaper brand and we are good with it.
There is also the option of cloth diaper - which admittedly I know nothing about. But I did briefly toy with the idea of using cloth diapers but after talking to a few moms and doing a little bit of research, the amount of choices and information overwhelmed me. But I think it's the same concept in the sense that don't buy a whole bunch of one brand of cloth diaper, try it out first, see what works for you and your baby.
2. Swaddle - after a few research and reading a few blogs, I decided to get the Aden + Anais Swaddle, it's a bit more expensive but it's SOOO soft and it's big enough that you have enough surface area to swaddle your baby completely. We received a different brand of cotton muslin swaddles, but they were not as soft. I also tried to get the "easy swaddle" types of swaddles, but we didn't really use it that much -- and it was more expensive (and less versatile). We stopped swaddling the boys at around 6-7 months (because they kept kicking their way out of their swaddles anyway) and even now we still use the their swaddles as a blanket during summer or cover for their stroller when they are taking a nap.
2. A Million Washcloths (used from birth) Ok, maybe not a million, but we definitely needed A LOT! Our boys were spit-up kings! The washcloth we got was from Asia, it was the terry cloth type of texture similar to this -- I loved this because 1. It was cheap and 2. It absorbs well. Problem with this is that it's a bit rough, so if you're particular about that or if your baby/ies are sensitive, then this might not be a good choice. We also got the softer wash cloths as a gift, they're from Babies R Us. They are definitely softer, but I find that they are not as absorbent.
3. Onesies / Clothes - because we had twins, the most common advice you'll get it to get a "premie" size clothes because most twins come out smaller and they usually come out earlier too. Our boys were born at 36 weeks and were 4&5lbs. We didn't buy premie-sized clothes before they were born, most of the stuff I bought were NB (newborn) size. I personally don't think you need to buy premie clothes before your babies are born, simply because you never know how big they are when they come out (and premie clothes are TINY!) -- But that's just me. We did however bought premie-sized clothes a week after they were born, but only because they were born in the winter and we found that because their clothes were a bit big, it would bunch up when we put them on their car seats. We did only buy 4 sets of premie clothes for them and they outgrew it in maybe 2 weeks - but that being said, babies are different, so ours outgrew their premie clothes in 2 weeks, but for some (especially those born earlier) it might be longer. Buy as you need them, get a few then if you feel like you need more, then buy more. Here in Vancouver, BC, the only place where I found premie clothes were at Carters. (PS: you can also find lots of good quality used premie clothes - I gave ours to another twin momma).
Under this category are also socks & mittens.
4. Bassinet - We didn't really buy this - it was given to us (I'm sure you can find cheap used ones too). But I used this A LOT. I would put the boys on the bassinet (yep, they fit one bassinet), before and after breastfeeding - we have laminate floors so I would just drag it closer to the couch so I can take them out and put them back while having a twin breastfeeding pillow around me. I found this more useful than our boppy pillow (which I never used).
Here I'd also talk about Bouncy Chairs & Swings only because for us, our bassinet replaced our bouncy chair in the sense that it was the place where we put our boys when we needed a free hand. We had two bouncy chair but only opened one to try it out - we used it for a bit but the boys were never really "into" it and it was too low for it to be a place where I can put the boys before and after breastfeeding. We never bothered buying a swing (even though most twin mom swears by it!!) simply because we didn't have room for it anymore (let alone two swings!!). We got by with just one bouncy chair (that we barely used) and no swing - I also used my wrap and carrier a lot when they just want to be held.
5. Burp cloths - The burp cloth we used are not the same ones as the one being sold here, it's similar to the receiving blanket that they use in the hospital, they are big and pretty absorbent. I can't really find the exact same one we have (again, got it from Asia), but I think it's similar to this . You need a big one so you can drape it on your shoulder when you burp your baby.
6. Nursing Bra - I only bought one nursing bra and used it when we went out (I mixed fed, so I didn't really breastfeed in public quite often). But at home I just wear my sports bra and it was more comfortable for me. And since I didn't go out that often in the first few months, I only really needed one nursing bra. I got my nursing bra from La Vie En Rose and was the only one that fit well - my size pre-pregnancy was 36A, so most of the nursing bras were just too big for me.
7. Bath Tub - Some people use their sink, but I used our tub right away - it was just a regular baby bath tub that was just given to us. And when the boys were smaller, I would just hold them with one hand and use the other hand to bathe them. Since this was just given to us, I didn't really have any choice. But if I had to buy one, I'd probably get the collapsible ones (so that it doesn't take much space), but I can't really say much about it since we don't own one.
8. Baby Nail Clipper - Newborn baby's nails are SHARP!! so you'll eventually have to clip them.. I wouldn't say you need to buy this before they are born, but maybe shortly after.
9. Breastfeeding Pillow - For me, the twin breastfeeding pillow worked well and for singleton moms, the regular breastfeeding pillow. I used this in the hospital too.
10. Bibs - I am very particular with bibs, I don't like the ones with rough velcro because they are scratchy. But the other less-scratchy type of velcro doesn't work well either because after a few wash it just doesn't stick well - which is why I prefer the snap on button type like this. Oh, and it has to be machine washable and I have to be able to pop it in the dryer - I think this is my rule for ALL baby stuff.
I think that's it! I'll update this if I remember anything else that I needed when the boys were first born (they're now 11 months so it's a bit harder to remember!)
I hope this helps! :)
I'm not an intense baby-wearing momma -- and by that I mean, I don't own a lot of baby carriers, I have two SSCs and I had two stretchy wraps. I did a lot of research though about baby-wearing and which carrier or wrap would best fit our family.
My first stretchy wrap was a Boba, I chose this one because of the reviews I read about (compared to Moby) and I think the fact that it wasn't as stretchy as Moby was what drew me to it. I bought mine months before I gave birth from a store in North Vancouver. I picked the colour black because I thought it would be a nice and basic colour regardless of what I wear and my husband can use it too.
What I love about Boba:
What I didn't like about Boba:
My next and probably my most favourite stretchy wrap is the Solly Baby Wrap. I've been eyeing this wrap even before we got our Boba, but I couldn't justify the cost.. it was a little bit more expensive than any other stretchy wraps. Plus I couldn't find a retailer (at that time) that sold this wrap locally, so I couldn't even see or feel it first before purchasing it (I'd have to order from the US). But my dad gave this to me as a Christmas gift so YAY!
What I love about Solly:
What I don't love about Solly:
So, I love the stretchy wrap because you can (usually) wear it as soon as your baby is born. Our boys were born 4 & 5 lbs and I think I started wearing them a few weeks after they were born. However, being a twin mom, it took too much time to put on the wrap and take it off while two babies are waiting (I'm sure it'll probably work ok if you have one baby) - which is why as soon as our babies could fit our SSC, I mostly used that with them. Another downside for me is that there is not much support, so if you're wearing your baby for a longer period of time (especially when they're a bit bigger & heavier), I found that it hurt my shoulder a bit. Another downside for me is that I have never been able to successfully transfer them out of the wrap while they are sleeping (they always wake up!!!), I think mostly because there's not an easy/fast way to take the wrap off (plus my babies are ninjas and can sense when you are putting them down!!). Another reason why I used my SSC more - one buckle and you can take them out
So, here are the SSCs we own:
Lillebaby - Lillebaby was our first SSC, I love it because I can wear our baby as early as 7 lbs. without an infant insert - not having to buy an infant insert mattered to be because carriers are already expensive, I did not want to have to buy an insert that I can only use for a few months. I also love the fact that there are 4 ways of wearing the baby (forward, front-facing, hip carry & back carry) and the lumbar support is GOLD! -- we have the older Complete Airflow, and as far as I know, the only major difference is that it the older model doesn't have pockets on the waist band.
What I love about our Lillebaby:
Tula - I chose Tula primarily because I LOVE the print!! But after trying it on, I realized what the big fuss was all about - it's a pretty carrier and it's also comfortable and pretty easy to use.
What I love about my Tula:
What I don't love about my Tula
I love both of our SSCs and they have been a lifesaver when we travelled to Asia (when the boys were 4 months old). We used our SSC on the plane too (we had them on during landing and take off) and it is the reason why our trip went pretty smoothly.
Because our needs change as they get bigger (and more mobile!!), I will be updating this every few weeks/months.
My Favourite Stuff:
NoseFrida (started using it around 4 months)
Not quite sure how early you can use it.. but our boys had their first "colds" when they were about 4 months - and this was a LIFE SAVER!! We had the regular nose suction that came with the grooming kit that we got for the boys when they were first born - DOES NOT WORK. I read about the NoseFrida, I was desperate, so I sent the hubby to go buy them ASAP!! And boy, was I glad we got it!! I know it looks gross and just weird to use - but trust me, it's totally worth it!! And no, you won't end up with your baby's snot inside your mouth (has not happened to me YET!!!). But kidding aside, since babies can't really blow their nose, they are so helpless when they have a ton of snot stuck in their nose :( So, this one really helps clear their nose up and helps them feel better. I have to let you know though that my boys DID NOT LIKE the process of me taking their snot out (eventually they learned to use their hands to grab the nosefrida away from me -- but you'll get creative just to get the job done!) But a stuffy, clogged nose makes up for a very cranky baby.. So, a little discomfort for a minute or two is totally worth it just so they can breathe better. I'd say get this even before your babes get sick, coz you'll never know when it could strike, and I wished we had this when the boys first got sick.
Zoli BOT Straw Sippy Cup (6 months)
To say that I am obsessed with sippy cups and straw sippy cups is an understatement (hopefully I can post another blog about my accumulation of sippy cups! lol). By far, this is my favourite sippy cup. I especially like it because it is a straw sippy cup (I researched about it and dentists recommend that babies transition to drinking using straw because it apparently prevents cavities). This is not a perfect Sippy Cup though, but this is the only one I've been using consistently. Also, I very rarely use this cup for milk, they usually only use this for drinking water during their meal time. Here are the pros and cons of this cup.
It is a straw sippy cup
It has the weighted ball so that they are able to drink the liquid regardless of how they hold the cup and how much liquid is still in the cup
It has a handle that the boys can grip and hold easily
Spills - I don't know what it is, but if the liquid is just a bit colder or warmer then it will start spurting the liquid every where
Cleaning is a bit of a pain not in terms of parts but just getting to the tiny straw piece
The weighted ball makes noise when you shake it -- this means that the boys pretty much thinks that this is a shaker or rattle, so they'll shake their sippy cup like there is no tomorrow! (which essentially means water everywhere!!)
But despite the CONS, I haven't found any sippy or straw sippy cup that the boys like - so I still LOVE this product and we use it every day!
Summer Infant Pop ‘n Play Portable Playard (6 months)
When the boys started rolling around and moving more - I knew we had to make a change soon. We had to change where we fed them, we used to feed them on the couch, which wasn't a problem before because they barely moved, but when they started rolling, it was just too risky, they could fall off the couch so easily. We also had to figure a way for them to safely have tummy time and play time - we at this point have not baby proofed at all and we used to have a play mat where they would just practice crawling or just playing on their belly or back - but when they started moving around more, it became too much to try to keep them away from wires and to keep them both on the mat (we had laminate floors). So I researched from baby gates to different kinds of playard and play pen. Most play pen were unfortunately too small, so that was out of the question. I explored baby gates, but because we didn't really have a designated space for the boys (they just "hang out" in the living area) and because we didn't have much space, I didn't feel like it was a good option for us at that time -- plus I didn't really want to give up our adult space completely. Which is why I was SO HAPPY when I found this playard - it was big enough for both of them (and me!) AND it is SO EASY to pack up at the end of the day when the boys are sleeping and we want our adult space back. However, the bottom part is thin and has no cushion, so when the boys were still learning how to crawl, they would bump their heads on our hard laminate floor - which is why I had to buy a mat - I decided to buy a gym mat (because I want to be able to pack it up quickly), but foam tiles can work too (I decided not to get the tiles because it was harder to put away - too many parts!!).
My boys are food-monsters and they HATE sitting in their stroller!! But when we go out and I'm alone with them, it's really tricky when they both start to cry and they both want to get off their stroller!! and usually the only thing that will "distract" them are.. SNACKS! so I've looked around at for finger food and snacks that they can eat (they're 9 months now) and I discovered Baby Mum Mums - It does the work, they can hold on to it and they are able to eat it by themselves while I push the stroller. However, I really want to give them a healthier option -- since I'm already making their food, I thought maybe it would be nice if I can make their snacks too (plus, it gets quite expensive since my boys can devour almost anything in a blink of an eye! -- I wish I was kidding)
so after researching, I found this recipe -- it was quite simple, and I had chopped Kale in the fridge, so I thought I'd give it a go!
The boys liked it, however I find that it was too soft and crumbly.. They got quite frustrated coz as soon as they grab it, it would fall apart, and they don't get to eat it -- my boys get Hangry - Angry when they are Hungry! LOL. So I tried to bake it longer to see if that would help.. but we'll have to wait to see if it worked, coz my guinea pigs are now sleeping!
I also hope to try adding apple sauce? maybe that'll help with the crumbly texture? not a baker, so I have no idea - but I did find recipes that uses apple sauce, it will give it a nice sweet flavour too!
Here's a video of Z eating it! :)
On November 28, 2014, our lives completely changed. This is the day we welcomed our Z & L to our lives. Zachary was born on 8:27 am and Lucas was born 8:29 am via C-section at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. To say that it has been a crazy journey since then is an understatement. It's been only 6 months since we welcomed the boys into our lives, but looking back at photos when they were first born, they've grown so much!
Being first time parents, we had to learn a lot of things..
1. Tandem Breastfeeding -- Twin breastfeeding pillow is a life saver!! But aside from the breastfeeding pillow, I needed around 3 more pillows to help prop the breastfeeding pillow up. I also needed rolled up receiving blankets which I used as a pillow for the boys. When you're tandem feeding, getting settled down and with everybody comfortable is hard work, so once you are in the right position and everybody is happy, you really don't want to move again unless you are done feeding the babies - which is why I recommend you have all the things you need within arms reach - e.g. cellphone, water, tv remote control, towels, etc.
2. Changing diaper - changing diapers is pretty easy, just make sure you cover the bum area and it is snug so pee (and poo) don't leak!
3. Swaddling - it took us a while to perfect the art of swaddling. But when you are swaddling every day and every night, you'll learn what works best for you and your baby! Youtube helped a lot!
4. Just getting to know your baby/ies - what they like, what they don't like, what wakes them up, what helps them sleep, etc. After about 2 weeks, we discovered the pacifier!!! It was a life saver because our boys sucked for comfort. But the journey of finding the perfect pacifier is another topic all to itself!
5. Bottles - this is only applicable if you don't EBF. And since we have mixed fed from the beginning, we used feeding bottles a lot as well. The search for the "perfect" feeding bottle is not only what suites your baby and what he likes to use, but is also what you as a parent want to use (since technically you & your baby are both using the bottle) and clean. I learned my lesson the hard way, when you read in blogs or articles or you get advice to not buy a whole lot of bottle of the same brand before you and your baby get to try it first -- LISTEN TO IT!! I made the mistake of buying a whole set of particular brand of feeding bottle -- don't get me wrong, I did my research, I read a LOT of articles and blogs and "must-have" lists of other moms, but you'll never know what your baby will like and I guess if you're a first time mom (like me!), you'll never know what you will like either. Oh, not only did I have to deal with what bottle suites our boys, but I also had to deal with a picky husband who found some bottles "harder" to feed the babies with. And on top of that we had gas-y babies too *sigh*. To make the long story short, DO NOT buy a whole set of feeding bottles until you are absolutely sure that it is what you and your baby likes.. despite all the "advice" you get online or in articles.. each baby has his or her own preference. So no, I do not have a product to recommend, but rather, I'd say just go out there, but one of each of a few kinds of bottles and see what you and your baby like the most.