Two sets of twins: Recovery and a return to ‘normal’
Now I am writing these posts while I pump between after feedings. It is amazingly joyful and tremendously tiring at the same time. Those of you that know me might expect me to say that the most tiring and difficult part of the first year is being tied down and stuck to the couch for most of the day. Thank goodness for my full arsenal of equipment in the garage and a lovely neighborhood where I can enjoy walks when I have coverage at home. The other difficult thing adjustment that I knew was coming was not being able to jump in the car with the boys and go run errands and go for a hike. I can’t take the girls out for at least 12 weeks because of their prematurity and there are so many nasty bugs out there. One of the NICU nurses even recommended waiting until June to take the girls out.
In my last post, I mentioned that both the girls and I received antibiotics in the hospital. Super stressful!! I began gut healing measures immediately but I had to wait until I got home to start with the girls. Fortunately we know that the womb is not sterile and the girls benefitted from my gut flora while still in utero. This article offers support to this idea. The NICU would not allow me to begin giving the girls probiotics, so I started as soon as we got home.
For the girls, I apply a dusting of NANTOGEN probiotic to the nipple three days per week. They also receive one drop each or 500IU of Vitamin D and K2 which support bone remineralization. I am not supplementing with a multivitamin + iron until the girls are six months. Through my research, I learned that iron supplementation is not recommended for every baby. Babies born prematurely are at higher risk for iron deficiency. the last month of pregnancy is when babies receive most of their iron reserve. However, babies that are strictly breastfed are better able to absorb the iron from breast milk than babies who are bottle fed. Breast milk contains specialized proteins that bind to iron making it unavailable to harmful bacteria which will feed on the iron and multiply. If you supplement with iron unnecessarily, you reduce the ability of the baby to synthesize its own iron.
My own personal gut healing protocol is multifaceted. Here are my key goals:
- 100% real food diet excluding all packaged convenience foods. The exception is convenience foods such as coconut milk, sardines, tuna and salmon.
- Low sugar diet to prevent feeding any bad bacteria that may be trying to establish itself after the antibiotics swept my gut clean. This includes fresh fruit and home dried fruit.
- Fermented foods with every meal. Including sauerkraut, kavas, Kombucha and raw milk yogurt. This will help to reseed my gut.
- Two to three servings of coconut per day for its antimicrobial and energy properties. Includes coconut oil, coconut butter/manna, coconut chips or coconut milk.
- Plenty of omega 3 rich foods such as lean grass fed beef and fatty fish. This is to reduce inflammation and improve fatty acid ratio.
- Lots (12+ servings) of non starchy vegetables per day. This offers a huge amount of fiber and important minerals.
- 1-3 servings per day of resistant starch in the form of soaked and sprouted beans, green plantains and cooked cooled potatoes. Resistant starch helps maintain blood sugar and feeds good bacteria.
- One half pound per week of organ meats such as heart, liver and kidney because I like them and they are hugely good for you.
- Of course…gelatin from meat on the bone, bone broth and gelatin supplement. All help in the rebuilding of connective tissue as well as soothing the gut.
- I also supplement with a prenatal vitamin, DHA, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium/magnesium, adrenal support and methylation support.
Finally, I do all that I can to reduce stressors as I am already in a state of sleep deprivation and elevated cortisol (one of the postpartum perks). I personally use movement training, walks in the sun, laughter and sleep when I can.
We are so lucky to have my amazing Mom who drives up from Charlotte to help us and my husband’s parents who take the boys for sleepovers and help us around the house. I can very honestly say that without this help, life would not run as smoothly as it does.
Life with two sets of twins is unique. The boys are starting to connect with the girls. They rush in the house to greet them after playing outside. They hold their hands up agsinst the girls’ hands comparing size. I know the girls know when the boys are around because they open their eyes to look for them when they start chattering.
Life right now is difficult but amazingly good.mi can’t wait to see what next month brings!