Breastfeeding Support: What is an IBCLC and How do I Find One?

I get messaged frequently with breastfeeding questions.  With the amount of research I did in the first year and the amount of questions I asked of Moms with much more experience than I, I have acquired a lot of knowledge about breastfeeding.  However, an experienced Mom does not replace the necessity and value of help from professionals.

Most Moms call or schedule an appointment with their pediatrician if they are having breastfeeding problems.  Or, at an appointment, the pediatrician will say, “your baby isn’t gaining enough weight,” and naturally Mom says, “what do I do to fix that?”

Unfortunately, pediatricians are not trained, educated, or specialized in breastfeeding as a part of their schooling to become a pediatrician.  Of course, there are exceptions to the rule…pediatricians who have gone above the “call of duty” and taken classes or become an LC or CLC.  But none of that compares to the extensive training and knowledge that an IBCLC has.  That is why whenever a Mom is having trouble, feeling like she’s not enough, or about to quit, I strongly urge them to see an IBCLC instead.

What is an IBCLC?

An IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  They are by far the true experts in breastfeeding.  There are currently 28, 105 IBCLC’s around the world, 15,144 of those in the United States alone.  “Certification is recognition that an individual has met eligibility requirements and has passed a rigorous exam that assesses knowledge in breastfeeding management.” (Source)  I have a friend who is at this moment a couple days away from her exam.  She has been studying regularly and taking practice exams for it for many months even though she has been involved in breastfeeding education for years.

What does an IBCLC do differently from a Pediatrician?

An IBCLC is trained to be able to accurately determine the source of your problems and struggles with breastfeeding your child.  There are some really cool things they know how to do that are all evidence based care.  They know how to determine exactly how much baby is getting in a feed, how to assess for suck strength and coordination, how to listen to hear how much milk is being transferred on sucks, how to assess for lip and tongue ties accurately (it’s much more than a glance in their mouth), how to troubleshoot babies who have a hard time latching, how to truly determine a low supply issue, how to help Moms keep their babies on breastmilk even if Mom truly does have a supply issue, and so much more.

It took a ton of demanding and a hospital transfer to get an IBCLC in the NICU with my babies and I.  The experience with the LC at the first hospital compared to the IBCLC in the second hospital was an immediate and obvious sign of the difference in education for me.  The LC at the hospital came into my room with no babies in it, asked me what problems I was having, and without accompanying me to the NICU to troubleshoot those problems handed me one (not two) breast shields and said, “here, use this.  But I wouldn’t get your hopes up.  They’re in the NICU and you probably won’t make it breastfeeding.”  And left.

When we transferred to a new hospital, I demanded to immediately see an IBCLC.  The IBCLC was basically waiting in the girls isolation room when we arrived.  Within 10 minutes she had me successfully tandem nursing BOTH babies.  Granted, we did end up using those shields because of flat/semi inverted nipples combined with lip/tongue ties…but they were latched…for the first time in their lives….with just 10 minutes of help from an IBCLC.

The next IBCLC I saw was actually a part of the WIC program.  Not every WIC program office has an IBCLC on staff.  But I specifically drove to that office to see her because I needed the expert guidance.  She assessed both girls for ties, watched me latch and feed the girls with the shield, watched me attempt to latch without the shield, helped me with positioning, encouraged me that I was doing a great job, wrote a recommendation that the girls be assessed for ties by a pediatric ENT, did weighted feeds to get an idea of how much the girls were taking in each feed, and gave me hope that one day it wouldn’t be so hard.

We saw her one additional time for another weighted feed (I believe after the ties were cut but I’m not positive…everything is so foggy back then) and to meet my husband and have him ask questions on how to support me with breastfeeding.  She also reassessed latch and positioning.

The only thing my pediatrician did for breastfeeding was argue with me that the girls didn’t have lip or tongue ties (they did), roll her eyes when I said I wanted to feed them both exclusively at the breast, and reprimand me for not knowing exactly how many nursing sessions they had or how many diapers they had (plenty and plenty).  The doctors at the NICU were the same and actually fed formula even though I specifically told them they weren’t allowed to because they believed formula was superior to breastmilk.

How do I find an IBCLC?

KellyMom does a great job at giving a wide variety of resources in this article.  My favorite is this search directory.  All you have to do is put in the state you’re in and it will pull up all of the IBCLC’s in the state!  This is a great tool if there are no IBCLC’s that work in your local WIC office or hospital.

 

At the end of the day, an IBCLC is a vital part of a healthy and successful nursing relationship.  Even at nearly two years postpartum, if I were to have a proper latch issue because of new teeth, injury, or something like that, I would absolutely seek out the help of an IBCLC first and foremost.

Have you ever worked with an IBCLC?  What was your experience?  Share with me in the comments!

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Guess What? A Healthy Baby Isn’t All That Matters!

Have you ever shared something about your birth that was less than perfect?  Maybe it was something disrespectful that was said, bodily autonomy that was taken, silence that was forced upon you, or any other number of things that go wrong in mainstreams births.  Then, after you’ve shared that bit of painful truth, the person you’re trusting responds with a well meaning, but entirely dismissive and damaging, statement…

“Well, a healthy baby is all that matters.”

As a twim Mom with bad birth trauma, I hear this statement almost every single time I share pieces of my birth story.  The only exception I have found are typically women within the out of hospital birthing community.  These women work tirelessly to improve birth for all women.  Because of this, they understand the depth and seriousness that is birth trauma.

Surprisingly, I’ve ever heard Moms say this to me when referencing their own upcoming births.  Even the Moms who are determined to have a different outcome than their previous traumatic birth end their discussions with something along the lines of, “Well…a healthy baby is all that matters so I just want to do what’s best for my baby.”  It’s as if this has been ingrained into her from all of the silencing she experienced after her first first.

There is something that you need to know.  First time expecting Moms need to know this. Seasoned Moms of many need to know this. New Moms in the trenches of postpartum PTSD and the fourth trimester need to know this.  Partners of Moms who still wake in a cold sweat from night terrors of that day need to know this.  Doulas, midwives, Obstetricians, nurses, lactation consultants, and any other person who interacts with a new or expectant Mom NEEDS to know this…

A healthy baby is NOT all that matters.

I will repeat that again.  A healthy baby, is not all that matters.

Of course, a healthy baby matters a lot.  It can be argued it is the most important thing.  But, it is not ALL that matters.  Mom absolutely positively matters.  She is extremely important.  Mom has just carried this baby for somewhere around 40 weeks (give or take a few) and throughout the entire pregnancy everyone encouraged her to take care of herself, sympathized with her pain/discomfort, supported her in her struggles, nourished and loved on and cared for her.

Then, as soon as she has the baby, all of a sudden all that matters is a healthy baby.  Moms feelings, experience, physical and emotional health, none of that seems to be on anyone’s radar anymore.  And, if it is, it’s not very high on the radar and is very uncomfortable so it is quickly dismissed or diminished.  Subjects are changed.  People “have to go”.  They don’t visit again.

“River nearly died at birth…Serenity nearly died the next day.”

I love this article by Improving Birth.  In it, they discuss why a healthy baby isn’t enough.  And they’re right.

 

The birth of my twin girls, River (Baby A) and Serenity (Baby B), was extremely traumatic for both my husband and I.  River nearly died at birth and took 7 minutes to resuscitate.  The next day, Serenity nearly died in my arms when she had a preemie apnea and went blue, limp, and unresponsive.

I had people telling me, “well a healthy baby is all that matters” before I had even met my sick, intubated River in the NICU.  People were telling me “well, a healthy baby is all that matters” when they took Serenity away and told me I couldn’t go with her.  That is not how you support a person who just experienced trauma.

“She brought me so much more than a bottle of soap.”

The most kind thing that was done for me while I was in the hospital was the day after they were born.  Since Serenity was in room with me the first day of her life, the NICU flat out refused to let me visit River since I would have had to bring Serenity with me.  They then banned her from the nursery because we chose to delay the newborn bath until we got home.  This meant that I was left with no way to visit River.  I was appalled at the suggestion to use Johnson and Johnson products on my newborn baby when I was finally bullied into bathing Serenity.

So, a fellow twin Mom left her home and her kids and brought me a bottle of baby wash by a brand I could trust.  She gave me a hug.  She chatted with me.  She told me I was doing a great job.  She encouraged me to keep pumping.  She didn’t look at me with pity, disgust, or sarcasm like the nurses did.  I will never ever be able to adequately thank her.  She brought me so much more than a bottle of soap.

When I was feeling desperate to talk to people about what happened to us, I found my words were too much, too strong, and too scary for anyone to listen to.  Most people interrupted me and casually changed the conversation or dismissed any further conversation with the terrible, “well the babies are fine that’s all that matters.”  I’ve even gotten the infamous, “aren’t you over that yet?” more than a few times considering my twins are almost two and my birth trauma is still very real and very fresh.

If you are a Mom reading this who just had a traumatic birth, I want you to know that you matter.  I want you to know that your experience matters.  Your feelings matter.  Your pain and sorrow matters.  Your scars matter.  Your feelings of isolation matter.  Your PTSD diagnosis is real and matters.  Your depression matters.  Your anxiety matters.  Your panic matters.  Your feelings of lack of bonding matters.  Your tears matter.  Your story matters.

If you are a Mom reading this who had a traumatic birth and is pregnant again, I want you to know that on top of all of the above that matters, THIS BIRTH MATTERS.  It is absolutely okay for you to want better.  For you to demand better.  For you to expect better.  For you to speak out for better.  It is absolutely okay for you to demand your provider is educated and practices evidence based medicine.  It is absolutely okay for you to not accept anything less than your ability to make informed choices (both informed consent AND informed refusal).  It is absolutely okay for you to change providers if they say bullshit things to you like “you’re not allowed to…”.

Most of all, whatever happens during your birth, you have the right to feel whatever you feel, whenever you feel it, however your feel it, for however long you feel it, after birth.

I support you.  There are others who support improving birth too.  Find them, stand by them, and take shelter and strength in their desire to empower and support you and your choices.

 

Because you matter, too.

 A Crunchy Medicine Cabinet: Our Top 10 Must Have’s

It’s cold and flu season….and all the other random and situation specific diseases like the lovely Norovirus that hit my friends in California and RSV for my preemie power Moms.  Our home specifically just got over Roseola and the flu and now one of us is fighting the stomach flu hoping it doesn’t spread to the rest of us!

While we were fighting Roseola and the flu..and now with the stomach flu, we have not used any mainstream medication.  Part of this is because I cannot use any decongestant when I’m nursing as they can impact supply.  Part of this is because mainstream medications are often something crunchy parents stay far away from.

However, that doesn’t mean we just suffer and don’t do anything.  There is plenty you can do to treat illnesses without popping over the counter or prescription medications.

Here are my top 10 things I utilize in my “medicine” cabinet.

Note:  I was not paid or compensated in any way nor am I affiliated with any of the companies in these recommendations.  I just really like their products.  I also suggest consulting a Naturopath, Chiropractor, or Acupuncturist before starting any medicinal regimen, crunchy or not.

10.  Lavender Essential Oil
There are a number of essential oils that we use for a variety of different reasons.  I won’t go into all of them yet until I do a series of posts I have planned on the overuse and abuse of essential oils and how they should be used safely.  Lavender is one of the very few oils that I would consider relatively safe in a wide range of uses though so it’s first on my count down.
Lavender essential oils can be used to treat pain of all kinds (bumps and bruises, headaches, teething pain, muscle aches, arthritis, etc), boost the immune system to treat a wide range of illnesses including cold and flu, safely helps even young children with congestion, and a wide range of skin issues such as sunburn, acne, insect stings and bites, eczema, and rashes.
Personally, we use lavender in our cool mist diffuser and topically at a dilution of 0.25% on our 20 month old twins, 3% on adults.  Topical application is only used sparingly (as should ALWAYS be done for littles) and for intense pain as a last attempt at natural relief before using Motrin or some other mainstream pain reliever.
We get all of our oils from Eden’s Garden and love them.  They are also available on Amazon and it depends on the day whether it is cheaper to buy through their website or through Amazon.
9.   Elderberry Syrup
Ideally, make this on your own.  Store bought syrup is full of additives that your immune system just doesn’t need.  Elderberry Syrup has been shown to be extremely effective in combating the flu…even more so than Tamiflu.  I really like this recipe on Wellness Mama but there are many you can find on Google.  It is best to take Elderberry Syrup everyday throughout the cold and flu season.  If you get sick, you can increase the dose to give your body a boost.
8.   A Whole Food Diet
As much as our budget, time, and energy constaints allow us, we strive to eat real whole food as much as we can.  Not everything we eat is organic as we do not have the privilege of a large food budget each month.  Not everything we eat is unprocessed as we do not have the privilege of ample time to prep, cook, and store completely unprocessed meals.  Not everything we eat is local and crunchy as we live in a 4-season part of the United States (it’s April 3rd and it was blizzard conditions today…).  But, we try to do the best that we can with what we have and that has to be enough.  Our bodies can process, absorb, and utilize nutrients best when they are minimally processed and altered.  Our bodies do best when our food comes from the farm instead of the factory.  Our bodies do best when food is our medicine.
7.   Cool Mist Humidifier
Let’s be real here.  Waking up with your nose full of dried hard boogers pretty much sucks.  Coughing, mouth breathing and having a dry tongue when you wake up, and being so congested you feel like your face is going to explode…that sucks too.  Though this won’t solve all your problems, a cool mist humidifier does the best job at putting moisture into the air that soothes and calms the respiratory tract to help you cough less, mouth breathe less, and wake up with less rocks in your nose.  This is especially helpful for littles.  I suggest cool mist over warm mist because warm air can increase inflammation and therefore increase coughing and congestion.
6.   Manuka Honey (preferably as minimally processed as you can find)
Manuka honey is INCREDIBLE.  I have personally used it for wound care, infection, sore throats, coughs, allergies, burns, and many other uses.  Honey is a FANTASTIC antibacterial agent capable of even treating antibiotic resistent strains of staph and also effective against group A Strep, to name a couple.  It’s just that simple.  Honey, especially manuka honey and local honey, should be in your cabinet AT ALL TIMES.
5.   Arnica
Arnica has an awesome anti inflammatory property to it.  It should only be used topically on closed skin.  Do not use it anywhere that has broken skin or near the eyes, mouth, nose, etc.  It does not heal physical injuries but its anti inflammatory properties works much like ibuprofen, which is also anti inflammatory.  Hyland’s makes a kid version in an application stick that I keep in the diaper bag and at home at all times.  We actually just used it today when River tried to run with a shirt that was hanging on the drying rack attached to the door and she slingshot backwards into a box.  Boob and her “boo boo stick” made it all better.  We have a gel for us adults.  NOTE:  Arnica is poisonous if ingested.  Keep far away from kids and DO NOT put it on open wounds, hands, or near the mouth, eyes, nose, etc.
4.   Supplements
I could do a whole article on supplements so I will just give you the list of what I like.  Royal Camu Camu powder for bio-available vitamin C is useful for the vitamin C protocol treatment of Pertussis (whooping cough).
Vitamin D3 is something that almost all people are deficient in nowadays because no one is outside enough.  It is vital to the immune system and is also extremely effective for treating the baby blues.
A small dose of zinc, NOT Zicam, is supportive of the immune system.
Probiotics are beneficial for nearly everyone’s gut health.  During illness, increasing the dosage can help your body be most effective at fighting illness.
D-mannose powder is a supplement for urinary tract health.  At theraputic doses, D-mannose , probiotics, and fluids can naturally treat and cure UTI’s even in children.
3.   Garlic
Garlic is probably my go-to when it comes to an illness.  I personally cured strep throat with a garlic, lemon, and manuka honey tea years ago.  It is an effective antioxident, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antiviral, and antimicrobial agent.  It’s how I started on my road to being crunchy, actually.  Garlic can be used to treat yeast infections, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, colds, respiratory virus’, bacterial infections, ear infections, wound care, and so many other options.  We use garlic oil drops when anyone has ear pain, swallow whole raw cloves of garlic, use heavy garlic in our cooking, and drink garlic tea when we are ill.  The effects are dramatic and awesome.  Chase away vampires and kill bacteria and virus’.  It’s a win win. 🙂
2.   Nose Frida
I have a hate love relationship with the Nose Frida.  My kids hate it.  They HATE IT. They start crying at the mention of it and cry harder when I have it in my hand. Generally, I don’t force my children to do things.  It’s kind of the opposite of gentle and attachment parenting.  But, when it comes to safety, health, and the ability to breathe, that takes priority to bodily autonomy.  It works significantly better than the bulb ever has.  Trust me, we have tried.  It gets out a massive amount of snot and they are generally completely clear after doing it.  It is relatively quick, very effective, and though it seems gross, the filter prevents any snot from ending up in your mouth 🙂
1.   Breastmilk
And…yes.  The number one, most important, most effective, most everything item in my medicine cabinet is breastmilk.  Breastmilk is an awesome diaper rash cream, treatment for dry skin and eczema, treatment for protecting cuts and wounds and speeding their healing, a mucous breaker upper (yep, that’s a word now) for use before nose frida, ear drops if you don’t have garlic oil or for alternating use with garlic oil, eye drops for conjunctivitis, immunity boost for adults to take shots of, skin conditioner in a bath, acne, bug stings, diarrhea fixer, sunburns and contact burns, fevers, common cold, and flu treatment.  The list is endless.  Breastmilk is more incredible than most people know.  More on that in another blog post because it deserves its own series.
So, there you have it.  My top 10 list in my crunchy medicine cabinet.  What is in your medicine cabinet that you consider crunchy?  What tips do you have to share for parents struggling with illness in their home right now?  I would love to hear your tips!

Where Have I Been? Fighting Molars, Roseola, and the Flu…

March 13, 2016

I have watched Rio way too many time in the past two weeks.  So, the only way I can think to describe the past two weeks is..”Cheese and sprinkles.”

My children are horrible terrible no good very bad teethers.  It is extremely painful for them.  They teethe extremely pain stakingly slowly, and they just don’t do well with it.  So, for more than a month now, we have been working on our bottom one year molars and a few other teeth.  It has been a nightly routine of diluted lavender, diffusing lavender, cold frozen treats, amber necklaces, teething toys, and far more often that I would like, Motrin just so they can sleep.

Add to that, two weeks ago, on a Sunday, Serenity broke out with a fever out of nowhere.  Now, this child has an immune system of steel.  She has never been sick besides one or two occasions of a stuffy nose.  River, on the other hand, gets sick much easier than Serenity.  So, I was really surprised and originally wrote it off as a teething fever.  But when it didn’t let up and was progressively higher each day, I started wondering if something else was going on.

“YES!  We have an answer to the mysterious fever!  YES!”

After 4 full days of a clingy, cluster nursing, feverish baby…my house was destroyed.  I hadn’t done dishes, swept, vacuumed, or even done much in the way of picking up toys because taking care of the feverish baby was taking up pretty much all my time.  Her fever broke overnight on that fourth day (Wednesday into Thursday) and the next morning she was covered in a classic Roseola rash.  YES!  We have an answer to the mysterious fever!  YES!  One common childhood illness checked off the list with beautiful lifelong natural immunity!

Time to tackle my house and get things back on track.  Instead, two days after Serenity was feeling better, on Sunday, my husband woke up feeling like death had slapped him in the face.  He had a massive migraine, intense congestion, ear and sinus pain and pressure, intense chills, severe body aches, and all around felt horrible.  He hobbled his way through work that week, taking one day off on Tuesday and being sent home early every other day.

Taking advantage of the healthy girls I got the house semi back on track but felt overwhelmed with Scott being down for the count.  He did his best to help out but really was pretty useless in the way of effective parenting and chores doing.

Then, on Thursday, River woke up with a fever.  Scott was feeling particularly crappy that day and came home from work and collapsed onto the giant bear.  He ended up with a severe migraine the entire day and his symptoms were at their peak.

I had reached my limit.  I was stretched too thin.  I was overwhelmed.  I needed reinforcements and I needed to get down and dirty with my preventative and home treatment measures we had been lax on all week.  I needed to tackle this so hopefully I didn’t get it too and if I did it wouldn’t be as bad as Scott got it.

So, here we are at Sunday.  Serenity and I woke up sick on Saturday.  My worst day so far was that first day.  It was bad enough I had to go upstairs and take a nap.  Alone.  I have to say that was probably the most glorious hour of my life.  Sleeping in a sprawled out position without baby heads and arms and legs and toes all over the place just isn’t part of my normal anymore.

“Her fever went as high as 104.3…we would have been in the ER on Friday if I was not nursing River.”

River’s worst day was Friday.  Her fever went as high at 104.3.  She refused all food and water.  Let me tell you right now, I was more thankful for nursing on Friday than I have ever been in my life.  To those who are considering weaning at a year, DON’T.  Not only are there a very long list of reasons why that’s not the best idea for your child but seriously, we would have been in the ER on Friday if I was not nursing River.  She couldn’t tolerate drinking or eating anything.  She nursed literally from the time she woke up until the time she went to bed that night.  With 103-104 fever, she would have been in serious trouble by mid-day.

Nursing prevented a hospital admission this week.

Now we are at Sunday.  The girls are still sporting low grade 100.5-101.6 fevers.  They are stuffy, have a gnarly, but productive, cough, and are still showing signs of ear pain.  Serenity took an awesome nap today for the first time in a week.  River struggled again with nap but she is a day behind Serenity.

We took a short walk outside to get some fresh air because it was SO beautiful out and the next three days are supposed to be crappy.  I am hoping to feel better enough tomorrow to do some cooking and cut some blankets, but we will see.

It wasn’t until today that we realized what ripped across our house was the flu.  River got a weird looking rash today but it’s definitely not a Roseola rash.  So, we are a bit stumped there.  But this is my first time ever getting the flu in my life that I know of.  It’s really not that bad.  It’s been a crappy week and there was definitely a worst day for everyone.  But this is not unmanageable or scary by any means.

 

March 31, 2016

Just now getting back to this blog, I feel the need to date it so show just how intense the month has been.  We were just starting to get back on our feet and we are now today smacked in the face with the stomach flu.  I can only hope the girls don’t catch this one because…..yeah.

There will be no pictures of fever nursing skin to skin babies in this blog as I originally intended.  There will be no pictures of my destroyed home or the Roseola rash progression shots.  I’ll do another blog on that one though, I promise.  This winter, while mild in temperature and snowfall totals, has been a roller coaster of sick and chaos for our family.  Holy cannoli Batman.

I am sincerely hoping that our spring proves much more functional, healthy, and productive than our winter.  I am, for the first time in over a month, at work and blogging/cutting blankets alone.

A huge thank you to my customers who have been patient with the setback, who have ridden the wave with us.

Now, off to prepare for our even next weekend.  I plan on posting a blog too about our crunchy medicine cabinet and how we kicked the fever and flu without mainstream medication. 🙂

If You Don’t Own This Sweatshirt and You Babywear, You Need To Buy It RIGHT NOW!

I am not one to buy clothes. Actually, I kind of hate buying clothes. For the girls, sure. They grow and change and need clothes. I have a particular love of buying them pajamas. Because. Well. PJ’s are awesome. Duh.

  

 Anyways, there’s been a ton of hype about this sweatshirt at Target that is perfect for babywearing in a back carry. I ignored. Then I looked but shrugged it off. Then I ooh’ed and ahh’ed but said not spending the money. 

  
Then my wonderful Serenity decided she’s terrified of the snow and can’t even stand on it but River wants to go out in it every single day. That’s a problem. My coats aren’t big enough to cover us both while babywearing and I can’t get a good seat in a huge get up. 

Now, I don’t know about you, and I never have ever claimed to be even remotely fashion savvy, but I have no idea why anyone that doesn’t babywear would see this and say, “wow this is awesome!” I most certainly wouldn’t want my back completely exposed if it’s cold enough to wear a sweatshirt but…..
This sweatshirt really is PERFECT for babywearing. Getting it on by myself was a little tricky. I had to convince Serenity to bring her head close enough to me that I could reach my hand behind her head and then slip the sweatshirt over. She wasn’t too impressed but thought it was rather awesome once it was on.

  

    
 During our walk she was comfortable and warm. Never felt sweaty or acted like she was too hot or cold. It was a balmy 40 degrees out so I thought it was just perfect. She reached her arms out and hugged me and blew kisses a bunch of times. She’s such an affectionate little human. I love it. 

River, of course, spent her time on the walk trying to go knock on every single neighbors door (which I did not let her do), jump in every puddle (which I did let her do), and stand in every sunbeam (😍)

  

I Had No Idea How Amazing “After Bedtime” Was…

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Here I am sitting on the couch, laptop on my lap, Martinelli’s Sparking Cider in a wine glass, chocolate cake partially eaten, and one of my Netflix shows on the TV.  My husband isn’t home.  Each Monday he goes to play on a Billiard’s team.

When the girls were younger, I dreaded Monday nights.  Often, I cried after he left because of the anxiety of the night ahead of me.  Bedtime alone was horrible.  Having two high needs twins meant being outnumbered for just about the entire day was enough to push me well past my breaking point.  Often, I ended up trapped on the couch or upstairs with screaming babies trying to get them to sleep.

After a year and a half of life though, we are finally starting to get the hang of things.  Their entire lives they never went to sleep for the night before 11pm.  It was horrible.  If they did go to sleep earlier it meant that I was trapped upstairs with them because they were impossible to transfer off the boob.

This was exhausting both mentally and physically.  Each Monday when he came home I was felt completely and totally broken.

But now, we have fallen into a pretty amazing routine.  We are awake between 7:30 and 8:30.  They nap from between 11:00am and 11:30am until 1:00pm to 2:00pm.  Then, they are typically asleep sometime in the 8:00pm hour.  Obviously, my daughters still nurse overnight.  So, after they nurse to sleep and I slip away (which is basically the equivalent of me being a ninja and I’ve gotten quite good at it) I am met with this new found freedom for 30-120 minutes before they wake to nurse again (which I can usually slip away again after nursing them back to sleep).  And those minutes are incredible.

I can sit without being asked to nurse or have my lap occupied by toddler butt’s.

I can eat whatever I want without having to share.

I can clean without being interrupted to save one twin from being beaten in the head with an object by the other twin.

I can sit in quiet.

I can discuss my day with my Husband (except on Mondays) without being interrupted all the time.

I can blog.

I can work on my word of 2016.

I can basically do whatever I wish.

It is a break which a Mom of high needs twins basically never gets.  Now, after a year and a half, I am getting that break typically twice a day almost everyday.  It is glorious.  And I am finding myself again in those precious minutes.