Mommy Review Monday: Batiste Dry Shampoo, Dark & Deep Brown

It took me a long time to break down and try dry shampoo, mostly because I always assumed it only worked for blondes. As I was getting my hospital bag ready for delivering the twins, one of the things I kept seeing on many new moms lists was dry shampoo. So I figured it was worth checking out. And I found that they make it for us dark haired beauties too. Duh. Of course they do. So, I went to Amazon and read a few hundred reviews before I decided to try out Batiste Dry Shampoo in Dark & Deep Brown.  It actually says Divine Dark on the spray can.

Mommy Review Monday- Batiste Dry ShampooAfter I got used to it, I was hooked. Here’s why I agree that it is divine dark:

  • It freshens my unwashed hair up. Obviously. That’s the whole purpose, right???  Second (or third day) greasy hair, be gone!  Don’t judge me….
  • It’s easy.  I saw online that there are some powders out there that you sprinkle on, which seems like (a) a mess for someone clumsy like me (b) time consuming (c) did I say a mess???
  • It smells good but isn’t too strong.
  • It doesn’t show up once you brush it out.  See comment below.
  • It provides camo for my stray grays that I’ve got peaking through.  I’ve got at least one for each kids growing right now…. plus one for the cat, Garen, the kitchen remodel, the yard sale….need I go on???
  • It’s reasonably priced.  $23.05 for a three-pack.
  • It’s available on Amazon.  Available in 2 days, which is usually plenty fast.
  • It’s not a huge can.  When you travel as much as I do, you consider things like the size of your cosmetics and products.
  • It gives me a bit of extra body.  Disclaimer- some people may not like this because it does make your hair a bit stiffer and full.  I, on the other hand, can use all the help I can get with my super-thin hair.

Here’s what I’d love more:

  • I’d love it more if it didn’t show up at all when you sprayed it on your hair.  Yes, I’m lazy enough to say that I’d rather not to have to brush it out.  However, you do need to brush it or you’ll look like you walked into a cloud of baby powder.  Once you brush it out, it’s as good as new though.  It’s still faster than washing and drying my hair….
  • I wish it was readily available at more stores.  Even though it’s on Amazon, there are times that I get somewhere and I’ve forgotten to pack it.  Dun, dun, dun…. Most stores don’t carry it and I’m just stubborn enough not to try another brand so I just have to wash my hair.  First world problem, right?!?
  • It gets your hands (see photo below) and can get your clothes dirty if you’re not careful.  It will also wash out brown in the shower.  The first time that happened I had forgotten about it and thought to myself, “Man, how did I get that dirty???”  Then I remembered.  Duh….Mommy Review Monday- Batiste Dry Shampoo

There you have it.  Now any of you beautiful dark headed ladies can enjoy dry shampoo too if you haven’t already.  And if any of you have a brand you like more, please let me know!  I’d love to try it out compared to Batiste but I’m hesitant without a recommendation from a fellow dry shampooer….

Happy Mommy Review Monday!

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Twin Tips: What to Ask/Say to a Mother Expecting Twins

I’ve read lots of blogs and articles on what NOT to ask and/or say to a mom expecting twins but I’m pretty sure that people just ask or say whatever they can to keep conversation going. 

There’s a good chance that all people ever know to talk to them about is:

  • their cousin’s friend’s sister’s twins (or some similar situation)
  • whether twins run in the family 
  • my favorite inappropriate question- were you using fertility drugs?- or something similarly intrusive 
  • and my favorite offensive question, asked mostly by men trying to make a joke- are you sure there’s only two in there?

Obviously, this not an all-inclusive list of things twin mommies-to-be are asked but you get the idea. 

So here’s some ideas for the next time you talk to your future twin mommy:

  1. How are you feeling? (Do NOT say it in a sympathetic tone or make a face that makes them think they look miserable)
  2. How is (insert other child/children’s name(s) here)?
  3. Is (insert other child/children’s name(s) here) excited to be a big brother/sister?
  4. Do you have the nursery ready? (Unless you know that may be a sensitive topic)
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve bought for the babies so far?
  6. Can I get you something to drink?
  7. Can I get you a seat? Or offer a seat. 
  8. Tell her she looks nice. (Only if you can tell she feels like she looks nice. If unsure, just stay away from that.)
  9. Ask anything non-baby related, such as: work (unless it’s to ask if she’s going back to work after the baby), family, friends, the latest tv show or movie. 

    I’m just throwing some extra ideas out there for folks who know someone who is expecting two (or even more). 

    I know that before I got pregnant with two I probably asked my friends with twins a million questions that they’d been asked over and over again. Sorry for that, ladies!

    People are curious. It’s natural. And if you’re the one being asked, the feeling is a cross between annoying and hilarious because it’s so predictable. But now, my friends, you are prepared to ask the questions that everyone forgets to ask. Go forth and be supportive to the twin mommy-to-be in your life. 

    What other topics of discussion do you have?

    Find out more about how I survived my twin pregnancy: 8 Things that Helped Me Survive a Twin Pregnancy. 

    Twin Tips: How to Include Older Siblings

    Will and Anna were 7 and 4 respectively when we had Clara and Kate. I read quite a bit about preparing older kids for new siblings but there wasn’t much out there about preparing them for welcoming two (or more) to the family. 

    I should start off with the disclaimer that I am not a child psychologist, counselor, or even always the most attentive mother but we think that our older kids have handled this big adjustment very well. 

    Here are a few tips from our house to yours if you’ve got older siblings to prepare for twins:

    • Take special care in deciding when you will tell them about the babies. I’m not trying to be negative but we waited awhile to make sure everything was ok with both babies before telling Will and Anna. I couldn’t imagine having to tell them that something happened. I realize this is a very personal decision. 
    • Let your children’s teachers know early on so you can be involved and find ways to communicate easily. It got to the point that I couldn’t attend a lot of school activities because I already was missing so much work. Teachers can be a good support for your kids and make this transition easier.  
    • Try to be as involved as possible with them before the babies come. There’s a chance with twins that they’ll be premature and you won’t want to get them out in public much. This can be hard on your older kids. 
    • Involve them in the pregnancy as much as they want to be. Anna wanted to love on my tummy but Will was much more reserved. Each child is different and we respected that. 
    • Find a good support network early on in the pregnancy to start interacting with the kids and become more involved with the regular routine. They will be better prepared to step in and easily pick up where they need to when the babies arrive. 
    • Let them be involved in picking out a few things for the babies- whether it’s clothes, toys or stuff for the nursery. Including them in preparations will help them feel important. 
    • Try to keep the routine as normal as possible for them after the babies come home. I am a strong believer that kids thrive on routines. Our morning and night time routines stayed mostly the same, including dinner as a family so we could talk to everyone. It’s hard, so don’t put too much stress on yourself to make this happen every day. 
    • Once the babies arrive, make it a point to take time daily to do something with your older kids without a baby in your arms. This one was very hard for us but it was important. Most days it was just tucking them in, reading a book, or doing homework but they need to feel special too. 
    • Plan some time out for them to do something fun with you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate- going out to eat, to the movies, or the park will make them feel special. This will help you get out without babies too!
    • Our family and friends were great about making it a point to take the older kids to do fun things. This made things exciting for the kids. 
    • For some this may seem materialistic but we put together gifts bags from Clara and Kate to Will and Anna. Nothing too fancy- Will got a batman shirt and beanie and Anna’s was a sparkly outfit. Amongst all of the goodies that the twins got this was nice for them to get to open something. 
    • Take good care of yourself- both mom and dad. All of your kids need you. You need to eat and sleep as much as you can. If you’re struggling, get help, if possible – whether it is bringing in a babysitter to help around the house or going to see your doctor about possible postpartum depression. 
    • Have fun, make jokes and smile. This is a very small window of time. Check out my post on tips for what to do when feeling overwhelmed. These tips have helped me throughout the hard days with both my big and little kids. 

    It is so easy to get caught up in the constant needs of two newborns. No parent aims to intentionally ignore their older children but there may be times that the older kids feel this way. The above tips can hopefully help to limit the times that this happens. If you’re taking time to read these tips, chances are you are a great parent so relax, smile, and just make the most of every day with your little and big ones. 

    8 Things that Helped Me Survive a Twin Pregnancy 

    I survived a twin pregnancy. I should really say that I thrived since I was so very fortunate to not have any complications like so many mothers of multiples do. Even with no complications, carrying two full-term is hard – harder than my previous pregnancies by a long shot. 

    But there are ways to make it easier. Below are a few things that helped me get through it:

    1. Yeti mug. You have to drink a lot of water to keep those contractions away at the end. Every morning I would fill mine up with ice and water before going to work. The ice would last all day so I could always have cold water without too much of a hassle. 
    2. Ensure. I never thought I would say this…but I actually got tired of eating. At the end, the girls sucked every bit of energy I had and I was hungry but too tired to get enough food in. I’m not a medical professional but I really think that getting enough calories and nutrition helped my babies be as big as they were (7 lbs and 6 lbs 13 oz). I was hesitant to try Ensure but it actually tasted pretty good and was super easy. I bought it at Sam’s Club to save money.
    3. Recliner-glider. I got a big one for our living room in preparation to nurse the twins. Getting it early is good because you’ll likely need a place to prop your feet up and may even end up sleeping there. Plus, we are loving it to easily hold both girls now. 
    4. Pregnancy pillow. This is a personal preference but I don’t think I could’ve slept without my Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow.  It was worth every penny. With my other singleton pregnancies I used Leachco Back ‘N Belly Contoured Body Pillow but found that this was going to be waaaay too hot this round since it wrapped around my front and back.  
    5. Twin and extra long maternity clothes. Finding clothes that fit over my belly from the end of the second trimester on became a challenge. I worked until 35 weeks in a position that required me to wear professional attire 5 days a week. Professional maternity clothes is hard enough to find but it became even harder when you add an extra baby in there. I found twin maternity clothes by Dr. Luke during my third trimester after almost everything I had no longer fit. I wished I’d found it earlier. The shirts and dresses were cool, comfy, and plain so I could accessorize easily. I also found a few long enough shirts that worked from other stores but it was much harder and they weren’t as versatile. Even my husbands XL shirts were snug and too short for me. 
    6. Flats. And for me, in a wide size. To say my feet got huge would be the understatement of the year. You will want to find comfy flats that are easy to slide on and kick off. You are going to be carrying a lot extra weight. It’s ok to shop the aisle with the Easy Spirit shoes. I found a pair that fit and bought them in black and tan. Between flat shoes and a recliner, your feet will thank you at the end of the day. 
    7. Fan. I was hot at night even with the overhead fan and AC on. I slept with only a sheet. Having a fan on the nightstand blowing directly on me helped to get cool enough to sleep. This was helpful even after delivery, when my hormones were even more out of whack. 
    8. Support camisoles. I had terrible back pain….to the point that I almost went to physical therapy. I tried a couple of different support bands but they were big, bulky, showed through my clothes, dug into me, and always moved around. I finally found BellyBra Maternity Support Tank and wore them pretty much every day. I had two black and one white, which made it easier to always have one clean. If I had it to do over again I would’ve bought these and worn them from the start of second trimester on. 

    I didn’t list this, but a helpful, patient, supportive, and loving partner and family  is super helpful too. I know you can’t buy that on Amazon or Buy Buy Baby but I wanted to make sure to give credit where it’s due (especially Garen and my mom, in my case). 

    If you’re expecting multiples, I’m sure you’ll read plenty of other great lists like this but these things really made my twin pregnancy a lot easier. I guess most of these would make a regular pregnancy better too. I hope they can help any expecting Mamas (and their supporters) out. Hang in there mamas!

    Nursing Twins- Part 4: Pumping for Two

    I’ve almost made it 8 months nursing Clara and Kate. I also work a 40+ hour work week so there have been many hours sitting hooked up to a pump. 

      

    Here are my tips and experiences with pumping, which work whether you’re pumping for one or two babies
    :

    • Find out if you get a breastpump from your insurance and, if so, get it as soon as you can. They let me order it 2 months from my due date since I was having twins but usually allow for moms to order one month before. Don’t sweat it if you don’t remember to do this until after you come home though. One of my friends at work didn’t know about the free pump until 6 or more months into it and still qualified. 
    • Consider renting a hospital grade pump. I did this and it’s been great. It is more effective than the standard electric pump. I used my standard pump as my home and travel pump because I pump more during the week at work. Yes, it is a convenience to have two but it was worth it for me in time and milk production. You can likely rent this from your hospital or a medical supply. There are also online rental places. I just got mine from the hospital. They gave me a multi-month discount.
    • If you’re going back to work, start pumping and freezing that milk as soon as possible. I pumped after each nursing session for a couple of months. Because I pumped and stored so much milk the first two months, I had enough breastmilk stored so that the girls didn’t have to have formula until about 5 months when the stash ran out. It was hard though. And I had help. If I had been on my own there is NO way I would’ve been able to manage that much pumping. If I did it over again, I would probably only pump after the daytime feedings to give me more sleep. 
    • Freeze your milk in breastmilk storage bags NOT the storage bottles that come in your breastpump kit. You’ll likely end up with a lot of stored milk and having flat bags of frozen milk is a lot easier to store. Freezing and storing milk really is a post all of its own. Check out my post on breastmilk storage bags. 
    • Pumping into bottles and then pouring it into storage bags is easier than using bags that attach to the pump parts. You do have to wash the bottles but I keep them in my cooler bag so I don’t have to was them until night. They go in the dishwasher with everything else. 
    • Talk to your HR department or manager before you come back to work to find out about your pump room. You’ll want to know where it is and how to access it. 
    • My pump bag has everything I need in it, including my rented hospital grade pump. I use a large bag for this rather than the little pump bag that many pumps come in. I have a smaller tote that I bring bottles, breastpump accessories and cooler bag to and from work in daily (along with my lunch, snacks, and coffee). When I go to pump, I put my pump accessories, cooler bag, and laptop in my big pump bag before heading to the pumping room at work. 

      

    • Decide how you want to store your milk at work. For me, the easiet thing was to put it in my cooler bag that goes home with me every day. It saved me a trip to the break room to put it in the fridge and I didn’t have to worry about forgetting it there. 
    • I have never pumped enough when at work to meet the demands of my babies. I don’t worry about it too much since that doesn’t do anyone any good. You can mix formula with breastmilk. It’s not an either/or. With two, if you are supplementing, just make sure they both get equal amounts of your milk to spread the wealth. 
    • Set up a comfortable place to pump at home. For me, that meant pumping in my downstairs recliner. I had a side table that kept my pump and a glass of water to keep me hydrated. I kept myself entertained by checking Facebook and Pinterest and reading a few books. If only I had started blogging in those early days…
    • Being productive at work is very important to me so I don’t have to work when I get home. I took my laptop with me to the pump room to maximize my time. For some moms, this could affect your let-down so do what works for you. On days that this happened to me I opened my pictures and videos of my kiddos and it does help. 
    • If you travel a lot, get a car adapter to plug your pump into the car. This also was helpful when I was somewhere that didn’t have a good place for me to pump because I could go out to my car. 
    • Drink plenty of water and eat. I can absolutely tell the difference in my supply when I don’t. At first I drank Ensure because it was hard to find time to get as many calories as I needed to feed my babies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty tasty. There’s lots of recipes for “booby shakes” but I’ve never had time to make any of them. Maybe I should rephrase that. I’ve never taken the time. Either way, this might work for you but, if not, Ensure might’ve helpful. 

    Pumping is hard work. You should be proud of yourself even if you only make it a few weeks. With that said, you also shouldn’t feel guilty when you decide to stop. The best thing for your baby is a happy, healthy mommy. 

    For more on nursing twins check out my other posts:

    What tips and advice do you have for pumping moms (of one or two)? 

    Mommy Review Monday: Medela Vs. Bonafide Baby Breastmilk Storage Bags

    I’ve used both Medela and Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk storage bags for pumped milk. 

      
    Here what I think about both:

    What I like about Medela’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

    • They come with capability to attach to your Medela breastpump accessories 
    • They are nice and thick
    • They have a place to write the date easily
    • When filled, they sit up ok
    • They’re available almost everywhere, including Amazon, which is where I buy whatever I can get with free Prime Shipping. 

    What I don’t like about Medela’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

    • The holes that you use to attach them to the Medela breastpump accessories make it a pain to pour the milk out without making a mess
    • They don’t seal very easily- and breastfeeding mamas do cry over spilled milk. 
    • It is hard to tell exactly how much you pumped because of the way they are made. For example, I would pump what looked like 3 oz of milk and when I poured it into a bottle it would only be about 2.5 oz. This obviously could be user error too. 
    • It only holds 5 oz. There were times that I would make over 5 oz. per breast. 
    • They’re are more expensive. 50 bags are about $15. They’re even more expensive from a store, depending on whether you find a sale. 

    What I like about Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

    • They are nice and thick
    • They have a place to write the date easily. These even come with a non-toxic marker. 
    • When filled, they sit up very well
    • They’re available on Amazon Prime. 
    • They hold 6 oz. so there are times I can get away with just using one bag per session although having to use two bags is a good problem to have. 
    • They are a little more accurate when reading how much is in them. 
    • They come safety sealed. You just tear off the seal before you use them. 
    • They are very easy to seal and I’ve only had one leak ever due to me not sealing it well while in a hurry. 
    • They come in a box of 105. 
    • They only cost about $15.00 on Amazon. 

    What I don’t like about Bonafide Baby’s Breastmilk Storage Bags:

    • They don’t have a way to hook onto the pump. In all honesty, this isn’t an issue for me. I pump into bottles and then  pour into the milk into the bags. I think it’s easier that way. I just can’t think of another con about these bags. 

    You go through a lot of these bags when you’re pumping for two babies three times a day. Because of this you want to use bags that work for you. 

    After making it about 5 months of pumping with the twins, I happened upon the Bonafide Baby brand while shopping on Amazon for the best price for the others. I tried them out and won’t ever use the Medela ones again if I have a choice to use Bonafide Baby bags. You could always try them out. They’ve got a 100% guarantee satisfaction so there’s no risk besides your time. 

    What about you? What storage bags do you use?

    Nursing Twins- Part 3: Nursing Two Solo 

    Nursing twins for me by myself was a daunting thought. 

      
    I tandem nurse them because I didn’t want to deal with bottles and nursing. I’m an either/or kinda gal. I also didn’t want to spend all my time with a baby attached to me. I’m just not that mother and that’s ok. 

    But there came a day when I needed to nurse by myself and still wanted to tandem feed. What did I do? I googled how to do it. I found a great blog post and video by Joanna of the Nesting Story. She had some great tips on how it can work and even how to set up your nursery. 

    Here’s my process for solo tandem nursing:

    • Get your nursing pillow and put it by the couch/love seat or by the area on the floor where you’re going to nurse. My gliders don’t work for this. Unfortunately, I already had one I loved in the nursery. If I did it over again, I would consider a love seat if I planned to nurse both. The reason I say consider is because I love my glider and getting to rock babies and I wouldn’t have room for both in the nursery. See my posts on What to Buy for Twins- Part 1: furniture and Nursing Twins- Part -1: The Preparation for more info about this. 
    • Get a boppy or pillow to prop up each baby (if on the couch or love seat) or bouncer (if nursing on the floor) and place them within reach of where you’ll be sitting
    • Put babies in/on either the bouncer or boppy/pillow to prop with
    • Sit down with pillow strapped on (If on the floor, I suggest sitting somewhere where you can lean back)
    • Once positioned, turn and get one baby and position them. (I use the football hold, so this works fairly well for me)
    • Turn and get the other baby and position them. 
    • Reposition them, if necessary. 
    • When they are finished, you can burp one at a time and put them back in the boppy or bouncer. 

    This works very well for me. I’ve been doing it periodically since the girls were a couple months old and they are now about 7.5 months old. Once they become more mobile, I’m not sure how well it will work. Who knows what the future will hold. 

    I also want to note that I had the experience of nursing two babies before the twins, so I had an advantage. This takes some practice and patience. Please don’t put pressure on yourself if this doesn’t work for you. There are times that I’m in a position that it just doesn’t work for me. When this is the case, I either nurse them separately or do bottles. I really enjoy giving them their bottles. Their faces light up and they reach up adorably to help grab their bottles in the same way they reach for me when they nurse. 

    For more info about my experiences nursing twins, check out Nursing Twins- Part 1: The Preparation and Nursing Twins- Part 2: Surviving the Early Days.

    I’d love to hear how you handle nursing twins by yourself or tips on how to do it better!