How we manage feeding, bedtime, and other tasks: Life with Triplets, part 3

Triplets3

Life with triplets is difficult but rewarding. At the time of writing this, my triplets are three months old. I am in no way an expert, and am learning something new everyday with them. But this was my first pregnancy and these are our first children, so we don’t have anything to compare our experience.

triplets

 

Here is how we handle some daily tasks in our life with triplets:

Feeding the Triplets

As of now, our babies eat every 3.5 hours. Thankfully, they sleep in between feeds. The entire feeding process takes about 45 minutes–1 hour, from heating the bottles to changing the babies, feeding them, and re-settling them all. Half of their feeds are breastmilk (I am still pumping) and half are formula for added calories. We use a double Boppy pillow to feed two babies at once and either the third baby is being fed by the other parent (or a family member) or is waiting (and hopefully still asleep)! 

We go through about a pack of diapers a day, using anywhere from 21–30. I’m in the process of signing up for multiples programs and deals that diaper and formula companies provide. Thankfully we have been given so many packs of diapers from various showers that we haven’t needed to buy any so far! 

Bed Time

At night, one parent is “on duty,” meaning if the babies cry it’s their turn to handle them and do a “solo” feed while the other sleeps. Then, we switch roles. This helps ensure that we each get about 5.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep (and hopefully also sleep some between feeds during the shift). We have three mini cribs in the nursery, but it’s been a trial-and-error process trying to figure out what helps each baby sleep best. Two of ours like the typical velcro Snuggle Me swaddles, while the other enjoys the Love to Dream Swaddle Up, which keeps her arms at head level. All of them enjoy sitting in the Boppy Newborn Loungers that we keep out in the family room during the day.

Our NICU doctor informed us that the risk of SIDS is lowered by 70 percent if a fan is on in the room where they are sleeping. So, we keep the ceiling fans on inside the house at all times! I chose not to buy Owlet Smart Socks to monitor their heart rates while they slept; it would have been too nerve-wracking for me, personally. 

Comforting the Babies

life with triplets
Husband Richard with the triplets

The hardest thing about having triplets is when all three babies start crying at the same time, demanding attention. We call these laugh or cry moments. Thankfully these times are few and far between. We’ve gotten really good at holding two babies at once while rocking a third. It’s most difficult when we finish comforting one and then another pipes up and the whole process starts over again. Other times, one baby hears another crying and starts up along with them (I call this sympathy crying). As of now none of them seem to be huge pacifier fans, mainly because they can’t keep them in for very long before they fall back out. Just like other mothers, I can distinguish which baby is crying or fussing without looking. Each has a distinct cry. Our triplets aren’t identical, so there is no fear of getting them confused, although our girls do look very similar.

It Takes a Village

I can’t imagine adjusting to our new normal without the help of family and friends. My mom came and helped for six weeks after the babies came home. This was especially helpful during feedings. Members of our community and church brought us meals three times a week via a meal train, so we didn’t have to worry about cooking. It really does take a village! I gained a lot of firsthand wisdom and advice from two triplet moms I know: one whose babies are about six months older than mine and another whose are toddlers now. I also joined several social media groups for support, including some about pumping, multiples, and sleep training with multiples. 

Because of COVID, we haven’t taken them out much except to visit close family, attend church, and for doctor appointments. But, we do enjoy walks around the neighborhood. I opted not to buy a triple stroller. I heard from other triplet moms that such strollers were heavy and difficult to maneuver, many not even fitting through a standard size door frame! So, we use a double stroller and have a single stroller as well for when it’s the two of us. If I’m walking alone, then I will push two in the double stroller and wear the third baby. When they are old enough to sit up, we can use a wagon to pull them all. 

life with triplets
Jenna taking the triplets on a walk

Tracking Their Growth

One of the hardest parts about having multiples is constantly having a running, internal comparison going on. We subconsciously compare things like their sleeping and eating habits and their growth and development. Our pediatrician warned us that it’s inevitable, so sometimes we have to catch ourselves.

Another unexpected challenge has been realizing that their development (both physical and cognitive) will be a step behind other children with their same birthday. Preterm babies have two important days: their birthday (actual age) and their due date (adjusted age). Healthcare providers and families with preterm babies use the adjusted age to set expectations; that means when we are looking for our triplets to reach their next milestone, they will be about two months behind full-term babies born on the same day, since they arrived 10 weeks early.

So far the babies do not interact with one another. I look forward to when they will enjoy each other! Despite all the challenges and trials of life with triplets, we have been incredibly blessed and wouldn’t trade our little family for the world.

life with triplets
Jenna and Richard with their babies

This story is part of a three part series:

READ PART ONE: HERE

READ PART TWO: HERE

Responses