Allow Myself to Introduce … Myself

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Like many of you, I have developed an arsenal of responses to, “wow, you have your hands full!” and “do twins run in your family?”. I, too, was once guilty of saying such things, in my life pre-twins, (which seems so long ago). Now, I am guilty of noticing a twin mom across the supermarket, the parking lot or the playground and excitedly making my way over to her (as naturally as possible) and striking up a conversation. There’s a really special camaraderie amongst twin moms, isn’t there? We’ve been in trenches other mamas just don’t understand. (No, not even if your kids are 13 months apart and “pretty much twins.”)

So when I discovered this resource through another blogger twin mama friend (Hi Sarabeth!), I excitedly steeped a cup of tea, put the girls down for their nap, and settled in to sip chai and pour through these archives. I laughed, I nodded my head in agreement, and found some shared experiences summarized eloquently in words I hand’t thought to use myself.

A friend of mine from journalism school recently delivered twins, and we’ve been messaging back and forth. She said something that struck me: twin moms are really special people, a class unto our own. We are helpful, nurturing, laid-back, and understanding of exactly what to say or what gesture to offer another twin mom in a moment of need. We know. We get it.

In that spirit of celebration and of admiring what exactly sets us apart from other people’s parenting experiences, I was happy to join in the conversation. So, hi! I’m Sarah!

xmas2I have four young girls, two of whom are identical twins. They were born after some infertility and loss heartbreak, so they are know as our miracle babies. They were born early, but since our hospital didn’t have a NICU, we helped keep them warm, fed and happy as best we could, since they weren’t born with any difficulties other than being teensy (3 lb 12 oz and 4 lb 4 oz!). That’s pretty much what we’ve tried to keep up with: keeping them warm, fed and happy! Anything else is just icing on the cake, and way above my aspiration level, most days.

rain1We are currently working on toilet training, going to sleep at a reasonable hour in their shared bedroom, and staying at the side of the road when we go for walks in our neighbourhood. Baby steps!

 

Sarah is the mother to four girls, two of whom are identical twins Hailey and Robin. They were born in the Yukon in a very small hospital at 35 weeks, and though they were small, they were mighty. She now lives in Ontario, where her high school sweetheart husband works very hard, and she stays home with the girls, freelance reporting on the side. In her past life, she was a journalist who covered everything from fast-paced federal politics to cats stuck in trees. Her writing has appeared in local newspapers and magazines, and in national publications like the Globe and Mail and ParentsCanada Magazine. She is a yogi, a mediocre cook, an awesome Beyonce dance move imitator, and an avid blogger at Cure for Boredom.

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From the Archives: Infertility

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This week isn’t the first time we’ve touched on infertility on How Do You Do It? Check out these posts.

General Thoughts on Infertility

Personal Stories that Feature Infertility

  • 10 Week Newbie: felt increasingly marginalized as she was suck deeper and deeper into infertility treatments, but on finally achieving pregnancy with twins, the MoM community felt like home.
  • Recovering from Infertility: Even as the mother of 16-month-old twins,  feels the sting of infertility. This is her infertility tale. In Random Ramblings, she thinks about what it would take to grow her family further.
  • On the other hand, has put infertility behind her, she tells us in Am I a Fraud?
  • In Inseparable, Carissa tells the story of how her boy/girl twins joined her family through international adoption, following years of failed attempts to conceive.
  • Triplets: Angela’s Story:  conceived triplets after 3 years of infertility and two miscarriages, only to lose her son Carter as a newborn.
  • On the Clock: compares the cyclical natures of infertility, pregnancy and parenting infants.

Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Last Call for This Year’s Infertility Awareness Week Contributions

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We asked for stories of infertility to honour Infertility Awareness Week, and you guys have delivered! We’ve got a great week of beautiful, varied and sometimes difficult posts coming up.

The door’s still open, though, if you’ve been thinking about contributing. Just email us your contribution, whether it’s text or a link to a post you’d like re-published here.

You can see more details at our Infertility Awareness Week 2014 page.

Stories of infertility on How Do You Do It?

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1500: A Milestone

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One thousand five hundred.

This is the 1500th post here on How Do You Do It?. Did the MoM bloggers who came together 6 years ago imagine that we’d have 1500 posts here today? I don’t know. I know they couldn’t have possibly imagined that we’d have an active presence on Pinterest or a vibrant community on Facebook.

How Do You Do It? has just published its 1500th post.

I don’t think that the founding members of HDYDI imagined that this blog would continue after they all moved on to other things, but it has. I certainly expect it to do so once my time here has come to an end.

There have been a lot of inspiring and insightful writers here over the years, 71 by my count, not including guest posters.

What really makes HDYDI a community, though, is its readership. New mothers of multiples have stumbled across it in a quest for others who understand their exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy. Expectant mothers who’ve just discovered they’re having more than one baby have sought out HDYDI in an attempt to understand what they’re in for. Parents of older multiples have come by trying to figure out what to do about classroom placement. Thousands of those moms have become regular readers. Hundreds have commented, sharing their own wisdom, recommendations, and perspectives. And a few have become writers here, giving HDYDI an identity of its own as individual writers come and go.

I thought about sharing a list of our best posts here, but how do you choose a favourite child? Instead, here are some that happen to stand out to me today:

Here’s to you, the supportive, accepting and creative HDYDI community, and to 1500 more posts over the years to come.

What would you like to see covered on HDYDI?

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Readers of HDYDI, Meet Jamie

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Jamie is the second of our new Twitter MoMs. She has the most beautiful family!

How Do You Do It?'s Jamie and her family

My name is Jamie. I grew up in a small town in Indiana, went to Indiana University, then moved to Salt Lake City, UT where I lived for 10 years. We moved to Las Vegas this past June, when I got to experience what 120 degrees really feels like!

Prior to having my twins, I worked in the senior health care industry as a Sales Director for retirement/assisted living and Alzheimers/dementia care. I absolutely loved it, but I knew that I couldn’t give 100% to both my kids and my career, so I chose to be a SAHM for their early years. Hardest job ever, but the best decision I ever made. My husband is the Executive Director for a retirement/assisted living.

When I have time to do anything besides parenting or cleaning, I like to see movies with my husband, get my nails done, read, and spend time with friends and family.

My oldest daughter, Ava, is five years old. She’s a beautiful little Barbie princess who loves horses and Hello Kitty. Her favorite things are preschool, dance, and going to the park.

My fraternal twins are Kaia and Elyana, who are 3 years old. They love to dance and sing. Elyana makes me laugh hard at least twice a day, because she is so cute and funny. Kaia is my cuddle bug. And she is fearless.

How did you find How Do You Do It?

Sadia told me about it after we had both posted replies to help a MoM in need on the National Organization of Mothers of Multiples page.

Do you have a favorite post?

I love all the posts! I feel like I am always in need of advice!!

What made you interested in Twitter?

I have been trying to write a blog post for a few months now, and finding the time has been hard! I knew I would be much better at keeping up with writing posts that consist of 140 characters or less!

What’s your vision for HDYDI’s new presence on Twitter?

I would love to be able to promote the blog so that it can be a helpful resource for MoMs, as well as moms of singletons. Sharing advice and experiences with other moms is the closest thing to a Parenting Handbook you can get!

What’s the best thing about being a MoM?

I love watching their twin bond and the way they interact. They can be so much fun.

The most challenging?

The most challenging thing… There are so many, I don’t know if I can choose just one! It’s hard to find time to myself, and it’s hard to leave the house. Oh, and potty training is probably the hardest thing I have done as a mother, period! Currently, those are my biggest challenges. But I would say that those top spots change often!

What’s your favourite kids’ book?

We love Heaven is for Real for Little Ones and Love You Forever.

Your favourite non-kid book?

My favorite non-kid book is a tie between Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Where is the most interesting place you have ever been?

Paris, France!

What is the greatest lesson you have taught your children?

Manners. We are still working on most other things!

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

Patience is a virtue. And that I definitely don’t know everything.

Check HDYDI out on Twitter and see what Jamie has to share!

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Readers of HDYDI, Meet Victoria

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Two new moms have joined the How Do You Do It? team to breathe new life into our long-neglected Twitter account. Meet the first of them, Victoria, mom of the too-cute-for-words Kaylee and Preslee.
How Do You Do It?'s new Twitter Mom, Victoria

My name is Victoria. We are relocating back to Texas where I am from, at the end of 2013. Luckily, daycare in NY is outrageous in cost so we could justify me staying at home with my babies until we move. I have loved every second of it and soak up every opportunity to snuggle with them that I can. Prior to being a SAHM, I worked as a graphic designer, executive assistant and freelance illustrator. I love the outdoors, yoga, running, bike rides, traveling, coffee, chap stick and sunshine.

Preslee and Kaylee are my mono di girls born in April of 2013, so they are currently 7 months. They both laugh a lot and love to be held! Preslee wakes up smiling every morning and promptly starts her crawling practice and Kaylee will be the first to reward you with a strong belly laugh if you do something to make them chuckle. They seem to enjoy posing for pictures… Whenever I say “cheese” they flash their two pearly whites right away!

How did you find How Do You Do It?

I found HDYDI on Facebook when a friend of mine liked the page.

Do you have a favourite post?

It’s hard to choose just one. The ladies behind HDYDI are all inspiring in different ways.

What made you interested in Twitter?

I like the idea of concise conversation starters or statements. I like that it’s so easily thumbed through—perfect for people who want to stay connected and yet find themselves short on time! I look forward to the practice in being concise!

What’s your vision for HDYDI’s new presence on Twitter?

I hope that by being active on Twitter HDYDI can reach MoMs out there who are not currently on Facebook and may have not heard of us. From what I understand, Twitter is much more conversational than Facebook and Pinterest and so I hope that it gets people talking and sparks interest in all of the other platforms that HDYDI exists on.

What’s the best thing about being a MoM?

The best thing about being a mom of twins are all of the snuggles! I love that they want my attention and affection all the time.

The most challenging?

The most challenging aspect of being a Mom to twins this far has been the guilt I feel about not always having one on one time with each baby or constantly worrying that it’s not equal. I’m paranoid that one of my girls will grow up thinking she was least loved somehow!

What’s your favourite kids’ book?

Smitten by David Gordon

Your favourite non-kid book?

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Where is the most interesting place you have ever been?

Costa Rica!

What is the greatest lesson you have taught your children?

They are only seven months, but hopefully I have taught my girls to have fun! I act incredibly goofy around them and they appreciatively giggle.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?

I can’t always be in control. Wasn’t expecting to get pregnant right away, let alone with twins (but I love it)!  Wasn’t expecting a girl because my husband’s family pretty much only makes boys, but I got two! I try to follow schedules and predict naps and bottles, but sometimes it’s not that formulaic. They have taught me that you can’t always plan everything out to a T so things will go smoothly… and a lot of times if you just roll with things it’s so much better anyway… And I LOVE it!!

Check HDYDI out on Twitter and see what Victoria has to share!

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Seeking HDYDI’s Twitter MoM

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How Do You Do It?, the blog where mothers of multiples tell it like it is, is looking for another volunteer MoM to be the group's voice on Twitter.

Do you like what we do here at How Do You Do It?

Ever wish you could add your voice to that of The Moms, but think that blogging isn’t for you? Are you fluent in Twitter speak or interested in becoming a Twitter aficionado?

We’re looking for another member of the all-volunteer HDYDI team to be our voice on Twitter.

It will be up to you to create the role, whether you just want to share what we’re blogging and maintain Twitter relationships, create Twitter-specific content, or educate the rest of us on being a little less long-winded and Twitter-friendly. You will, of course, also be welcome to post to the blog and our other social media.

Feel free to pass this invitation along to friends who would be a good fit.

Please email us at moms@hdydi.com or leave us a comment if you’re a MoM or DoM who’s interested.

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Twinfant Tuesday: You Are Not Alone

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This is based on the first blog post I ever wrote, Me…Start a Blog? when my fraternal twins were 1-year-5-months old. Reading blogs like HDYDI and other MoT, MoM blogs gave me a sense of connectedness, of support and of resources that helped get me through the first-year-and-a-half of parenting our prematurely born twins, who did NICU time in Hong Kong, for 3 and 6 weeks, and then “house-arrest” time for another 5 months.

Once I started the blog, I updated it consistently while in Chengdu, China and even wrote as an author for HDYDI for a while.

For the last year we have been living on a Thai island, a dream come true. Rahul and Leila are 4 now, swimming and running around barefoot with their friends. They go to pre-school and I am doing my yoga practices and teaching again.

I don’t update my blog as frequently anymore, still enjoy it, but there isn’t that same need to get past the difficult, painful experiences of the the NICU time, to express every moment or milestone, to compare with others, or to validate my parenting choices. There continue to be many stories, but for the moment they feature less frequently on the blog.

I have great blogger friends whose ideas and thoughts inspire me, and I found solidarity with many of them at a time when I needed it most, and now I hope some of these posts can do the same for others.

A mother of twins talks about how MoM blogs made her feel less alone in the first year of twin motherhood. from hdydi.com


Me…Start a Blog
Written end of March 2011

Over the last two years my world has revolved around taking care of Leila and Rahul, my almost year-and-a-half twins. So to start a blog now, seems a bit strange. What could I possibly have to say? And when?! I don’t know which regimes are being toppled over, I haven’t seen photos of the effects of the recent earthquake in Japan, I don’t know what yoga workshops are on in the region, don’t know if Federer is still kicking ass, or who presented at the Chengdu Bookworm literary festival; or anything for that matter. Outrageous, I know.

Only a few years earlier I didn’t even know what a blog was until friends in Chengdu complained that they couldn’t access blogspot. Facebook, YouTube, and a number of blogging sites are blocked in China.

After some complications in my pregnancy while in China, I ended up spending 4 months in bed including 7 weeks in hospital, split into 4 different hospital stays.

A number of foreign doctors here, in Shanghai, and Beijing recommended that we leave for the birth, due to the high risk of going into preterm labour and possible lack of high level care for premature babies.

So we went to Hong Kong at 26 weeks gestation. L and R came at 31 weeks, and were cared for at the Queen Mary NICU.

The bed-rest, high-speed internet and open access to all sites meant lots of time on the internet, and my initiation to blogs. But it was only when L and R were five-months-old, after my mum who had spent 9 months with me left, and both of those things coincided with our return to Chengdu that I really got into it.

I came upon some blogs that MoT’s wrote. For the first time in a long time I felt like I could relate. They wrote how exhausted they were, how they only bathed their babies a couple of times a week, rarely dressed them in anything other than pyjamas. I didn’t feel as guilty anymore that L and R didn’t go out everyday. They weren’t the only ones. To have them both ready to go out meant nappies changed, both well fed, not too tired, and a big diaper bag full of provisions.

I remember a post by a father of twins about how his two-year-old girls were finally sleeping through the night, most of the time, anyways. So my two waking up a few times each and every night means I can still be considered in the norm.

One mum wrote about her birth story; similar to mine – it included flights, hospital stays for both mum and babies, pumping pumping pumping, stress, fear, pain, relief.

Then there was one couple that blogged about their micro-preemie twins birth, NICU stay including all the medical details, the obsession with weight gain, the monitors, breathing, digestion, good days, bad days. It wasn’t the most fun blog I ever read. They were born much earlier than L and R, but I could relate to much of it and realised that I would have to deal with this part of R and L, and in fact all 4 of our lives one day, and to be at peace with it somehow.

Reading these stories was like holding a mirror out in front of me, a way to see what we had been through, a way to realize we were not alone – and importantly to let go of it.

There were honest, touching posts as well like the one HDYDI MoT, rebecca, who wrote One Baby Envy. Others complained about the silly questions they got when they took their twins out. If I get started on the questions and comments I got in Chengdu it would never end.

Sometimes the comments on the blogs were funny – MoM’s bitching about how J Lo (on the cover of People Magazine, March 2008) could possibly look as perfect so soon after she had her twins.

I related to these parents and it helped with the isolation I sometimes felt being in China without my family and with no experience with babies whatsoever. Neither of my brothers or brothers-in-law have children. One of my childhood friends has a son in Zambia who I haven’t yet met. I had held one of my friend’s tiny new born baby in Lebanon a couple of times last year feeling clumsy and incapable all the time. So yes, I had that experience.

I had a few parenting books. They only briefly covered twins if at all.

But, we were together again after my 6 month stint in Hong Kong, the 4 of us in Chengdu. That was our main source of strength. I had help from people here. L and R’s nanny or “ayi” meaning aunty as she is called endearingly is a superwoman, a great source of real support and help.

A friend as close as I imagine a sister to be was strong and present when I needed her most.

Another friend lent me lifesaving books at every stage along the way. And there were many others who made up my “village”, both in real life and in my blog life. The crazy thing now is that sometimes my kids both sleep for a few hours at the same time, but silly mama stays up to blog.

In addition to relating to other mums and dads on blogs, I found tips, such as this post that gives advice about choosing a double stroller that works for you depending on it’s use, tips like store big quantities of diapers, wet -wipes, food etc. so you don’t need to go out to the stores until really necessary. Obvious, but hey at least I don’t feel crazy when I walk into my pantry and see the hoarding.

There were videos of calm mums simultaneously feeding their babies. R and L were rarely on the same schedule, so it didn’t apply, but still nice to see how others do it.

So even though I live in this tiny world of eating, playing, bathing, trying to schedule, exploring and sleepless nights, I feel like I am above water now, some of time at least.

I now have the privilege to share my own stories and maybe get some interaction going. Perhaps a new mum, even a MoT will come across it and feel she can relate, find some useful information, or just have a laugh. I would be glad to contribute to that somehow.

These are stories for R and L to read one day if they want to. And if nothing else a way for friends and family to keep up with our lives in China, or wherever.

The other day I read a blog about the therapeutic effects of blogging. That did it for me, a few minutes later I signed up! Not really, I’m exaggerating, but it made me realise that every time I put down my thoughts they rarely came out negative or depressive, but rather I manage to find the “funny” in things, now that I am not sinking all the time, of course. It reminded me of a phrase from a song my dad often used to say to his not so smiley teenage daughter,

When you smile the whole world smiles with you. When you cry, you cry alone.

L and R out in Chengdu. 13 months old
L and R out in Chengdu.
13 months old

 

Natasha is mum of 4-year-old fraternal twins Leila and Rahul. She moved to Koh Samui, Thailand, with her children after spending 7 years in China. Her husband Maher, travels back and forth because work is in China. She has started practicing her yoga more regularly again, and even teaches a few classes a week, after a three year break. She blogs at her personal site Our Little Yogis and at Multicultural Mothering.

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From the Archives: Twin Birth Stories

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Prematurity Awareness Week 2013: How Do You Do It?

World Prematurity Day November 17In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely, 1 in 10 in Canada. Worldwide, over 15 million babies are born too soon each year. While not all multiples are born prematurely, a multiple birth increases the probability of an early delivery. Babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk for health complications in infancy, some of which can have long-term effects. Full-term infants are not all free from their own health complications, of course.

In honor of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, led by the March of Dimes, How Do You Do It? is focusing this week’s posts on The Moms’ experiences with premature deliveries, NICU stays, health complications, special needs, and how we’ve dealt with these complex issues.


We’ll be sharing more twin birth stories throughout the week. Here are the ones that have been published on HDYDI in the past.

Have a multiple birth story to share? Please link to it in our blog hop or tell us about it in the comments. We especially want to hear about how things went for higher order multiples!

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From the Archives: Prematurity and the NICU

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Prematurity Awareness Week 2013: How Do You Do It?

World Prematurity Day November 17In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely, 1 in 10 in Canada. Worldwide, over 15 million babies are born too soon each year. While not all multiples are born prematurely, a multiple birth increases the probability of an early delivery. Babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk for health complications in infancy, some of which can have long-term effects. Full-term infants are not all free from their own health complications, of course.

In honor of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, led by the March of Dimes, How Do You Do It? is focusing this week’s posts on The Moms’ experiences with premature deliveries, NICU stays, health complications, special needs, and how we’ve dealt with these complex issues.


Most, but not all, of the HDYDI Moms’ multiples were born prematurely. For many of us, prematurity is a big part of our motherhood journey. For others, it is a footnote. Premature birth and its aftermath is a topic we’ve returned to again and again, although never in as focused a manner as this week. Here’s what we’ve said:

In the NICU

  • Phthalate Exposure in NICU Babies knows that the tubing used for her babies during their NICU stay was necessary, but still wasn’t ecstatic to discover that they exposed her sons to phthalates, substances shown to cause to affect sexual development in mice.
  • Corn Syrup in My Babies’ Formula?  finds the time to read the ingredients on her babies’ high calorie formula well after they’ve moved on to grownup food. She wasn’t happy with what she found.
  • NICU Rules has seen NICUs around the world and finds that each one has its own set of rules regarding how often parents can visit and what they are allowed to do.

Loss

  • In the MoMs Club – Just Barely:  writes about the loss of her son Carter soon after his birth and how she’s caught between being the triplet and loss mom she is and the twin mom strangers perceive her to be.

Leaving the NICU

  • Reunited writes about the emotions she felt on hearing that Marissa‘s son A was going home from the NICU

Coming Home

  • Everybody Take a Baby: Only one of ‘s triplets needed to spend time in the NICU. Managing sleep with two babies at home was difficult, but doable, but added the third baby into the mix took some creativity.
  • Trying Times of Twinfancy found that it was helpful to maintain the 3-hour NICU routine on arriving home, but it couldn’t last forever.

Staying Connected

  • Giving Back and her boys return to the NICU, every year on their birthday, to give a little something back.
  • The First Year looks back on her 30-weekers’ birth and NICU experience from a year later.
  • A Preterm MoM Intro has three premature sons, a singleton and twins. She has jumped into the role of an advocate for preemie parents, informed by her own experience in and beyond the NICU.

Mommy Issues

  • Prematurity and the NICU hdydi,comPrematurity Is Never Easy:  tried to prepare for the reality of prematurity, but couldn’t despite her best efforts. She still carries a lot of guilt about going into premature labour.
  • My Little Twin: Lisa finds herself actively working on leaving the trauma of the NICU behind and not categorizing the sicker of her babies after birth as “the little twin.”
  • Twinfant Tuesday: Three Things That Helped in the First Year Blur‘s surviving triplets spent 4 months in the NICU and she lost sweet Carter in the hospital. Still, she and her family made it through the first year with help, positivity and organization.
  • The Most Challenging Age talks about how hard the first year out of the NICU was on her.

The Aftermath of Prematurity

No NICU

Parenthetically About Prematurity

You may also want to check out the Infant Feeding archives for posts related to breastfeeding in the NICU and breastfeeding preemies after they’re home including ‘s Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU.

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