Now, let me elaborate on a few of these items..
Congratulations! If you found this page because you just learned you are having triplets, and you're frantically searching the internet for ANYTHING to tell you you're not crazy, then you came to the right place!
Trust me, I searched the internet too. But all I found was risks, risks, risks, complications, complications, complications. What I REALLY wanted to know was how many baby swings did I really need to have? And what kind of bottles did other parents of triplets like best? THAT's what I wanted to know. But I couldn't find what I was looking for. So I am providing what little knowledge I have for YOU!
Let's begin with my answers to the most perplexing Triplet Questions and we'll finish with my baby registry of suggested items and Numbers of items if you're having 3 babies! If there's a question you have that you don't see here, ask it in the comments and I'll be happy to answer it!
1. HOW DID YOU FEED ALL THREE AT ONCE?
When we left the NICU after a month, we maintained the schedule they had been on, which was a diaper change and feeding every 3 hours. This schedule totally worked for us. But still, you're wondering, but HOW did you feed all three at the same time? Okay. Often, there was another adult/friend/family member who would come over and could feed one of two of the babies while I fed another. However, there were plenty of times I was alone. (Gasp!) One of my boys had to use a special bottle because of his cleft lip and palate, so it was impossible to feed him and another baby simultaneously because his bottle required one on one attention. So let's just say it was coming up on the 3:00 feeding. I would get one bottle ready just before 3. Then I'd feed Colton his special bottle. When he was done, at about 3:20 or so, I'd warm 2 more bottles and feed the other two simultaneously usually by laying them on boppy pillows or in their bouncers. So most times they didn't actually eat at the EXACT same time, but it was never more than 25 minutes apart.
**SANITY SAVING TIP: Do not allow the babies to decide when they're hungry. YOU pick a schedule and tell them when they'll eat. Offer formula/milk to EVERY baby at every set time. Sometimes one won't be as hungry as the others and may not drink as much. That's okay. STILL FEED THEM AT THE SAME TIME ALWAYS. You'll be greatly rewarded later with regular eating patterns and regular sleep patterns.
2. DID YOU BREASTFEED? PUMP? USE FORMULA?
Born at 33 weeks, the babies had not yet learned to suck well, so they were not great at breastfeeding early on. Though I would try each time I went to visit them in the NICU. In the meantime, I was pumping. Like a crazy madwoman, I pumped so that I could bring as many bottles of breast milk to the NICU as I could. Even when they came home, I continued to pump, but had to mix it with formula as well. About 2 months later, I was so FREAKING TIRED of spending my days locked away in the bathroom or my bedroom pumping that I gave up. (Double gasp!!) Honestly, between feeding babies and pumping I never had time to do anything else. So there. I said it. I was a formula mommy and my kids appear to be just fine.
3. HOW DID YOU ORGANIZE FEEDINGS?
I went and bought some tupperware pitchers to use exclusively for formula mixing. At nighttime, I would mix enough formula to make 15 bottles to be used either for nighttime feedings or for the next day. I organized them in the fridge in rows. This made it SO much easier to quickly grab bottles and go. (Trust me, no one wants to measure and mix formula at 3:34 in the morning. )
This was the early days of bottles. Before long they were full sized Playtex Bottles.
4. HOW DID YOU HANDLE NIGHTTIME FEEDINGS?
Brian and I wanted to feel like we could handle three infants from the get-go, so the day we brought them home, we just handled it. We didn't have anyone stay over to help for the first few months because we really, really wanted to get the hang of it ourselves and know that we could do it.
So that said, we agreed that every night we would BOTH get up to help feed. (I know some couples rotate nights so that each gets at least a few uninterrupted nights of sleep in a week.) That just didn't seem feasible for us. So while they were still on OUR schedule, (every 3 hours), we would set an alarm to wake up. Then usually, I would go into the nursery, NOT turning on any lights and one by one, I'd change each babies' diaper (even if they were sound asleep). While I did diapers, Brian would go downstairs and warm up 3 bottles from the fridge. I would set out 3 Boppy Pillows on the floor in the upstairs loft just outside their room. When Brian was ready with the bottles, one of us would feed 2 babies at once, the other would feed Colton b/c of his special bottle. Then we'd burp each baby and put them back into their cribs to sleep. We very purposefully did not turn on lights, and did not talk to the babies. We didn't want them to feel like we were up to play. As they got a little older and started sleeping through the night more, we would not set alarms to wake them up. We would simply wait until one of the babies cried. But then, if one baby cried and wanted to eat, WE WOKE ALL THREE UP TO FEED THEM. Repeat after me: "When you feed one, feed them all." Even if the others are sound asleep. This way, they are always on the same schedule and will not wake up at random times through the night to eat. TRUST ME. You will be greatly rewarded later. :)
5. WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE?
When I had the babies, I was driving a Dodge Durango. It perfectly 3 infant car seats in one row. As we moved into the convertible carseats, however, the Durango was just about 5 inches too narrow to fit all three across. Sooooo...we contemplated our next move carefully. Though many tried to convince us to go "The Minivan Way" that just didn't seem to have enough room for storage. (We really needed a decent storage area for our quad stroller and we're constantly traveling, so we needed more than what a minivan could provide.) And so...I am now a Suburban Drivin' Mama! I can fit all three convertible carseats in one row, plus still have a whole extra row for 3 or 4 more people behind them, AND still have a HUGE storage area. It's perfect. :)
6. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD "YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL"?
Current count: 8, 432
7. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THEY ALL CRY AT ONCE?
Drink. (Mildly kidding.) Breathe in, breathe out and know it will not last forever. :)
8. DID YOU EVER GET ANY SLEEP?
Like I mentioned earlier, if you stick to a regular feeding routine, the sleep routine will fall into place right along with it. Our kids slept through the night a week before they turned 4 months old. There was a week or 2 that followed with one or two wake-ups, but after that, unless one was sick they slept 10, 11 and now 12 hours a night! I actually found myself suprisingly rested.
9. HOW DO YOU SHOWER/GET READY IF YOU'RE HOME ALONE?
As infants, it was easy. Drag the 3 bouncers into the bathroom with you so you can keep an eye on them. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
As toddlers, there's a bit of bravery and trust involved. Honestly, our downstairs is pretty much kid-proofed, so I just usually let them play while I shower downstairs, leaving the door open. I can hear if trouble is a brewin.
10. HOW DO YOU GET THEM IN AND OUT OF THE CAR, IF YOU'RE ALONE?
As infants, I would pull into the garage, (turn OFF the car so fumes don't fill the garage), and ROLL DOWN A WINDOW IN CASE GOD FORBID YOUR DOOR AUTOMATICALLY LOCKS. Bring one carseat in, set it on the couch. Go out and get #2, bring it in. Go get #3 and bring it in. (By 'it,' you all understand I mean the carseat, not the kid.) :) If you're doing the reverse and need to get them in the car, bring them all out to the garage and one at a time, put them in.
Now, there might be times when you need to do the baby shuffle OUT of the house at a place where parking in the garage is not an option. Therefore you are faced with the realization that you may have to run out of the house with Baby #1 to put him in the car, then leave Baby #1 in the car OUT OF YOUR LINE OF SIGHT for a few seconds, while you run back into the house to get baby #2. You repeat the whole 'babies out of sight' thing one more time while you run in for Baby #3. This is tough. I'd at least be sure to lock the car with babies in it while you run for the others. I once experienced this at my mom's house and I swear to you a woman down the street watching seemed so perplexed as to what the hell I was doing. Surely she must've thought I was kidnapping 3 babies, the way I was running so damn fast. (Were she in her right mind she would conclude that no sane person would kidnap 3 babies.) :)
11. CAN YOU EVER GO ANYWHERE WITH JUST THE BABIES? AND HOW?
My first solo trip with just the Bunchkins was to Old Navy at the mall. You KNOW there must've been some darn good sale goin on to posses me take three 7 month olds to the mall BY MYSELF. But, I kid you not, when I walked out of that store back to my car, I felt like I had just won some marathon. I'm pretty sure I uttered the words, "YOU FREAKIN DID IT!" to myself as I loaded them back into the car. And I'll tell you what, once you do it one time successfully, suddenly you feel so liberated. You are reminded that you CAN do this alone! So how exactly did I do it? This time I put the boys in the double stroller and carried Hunter in my "pouch" carrier. You can be sure I was not about to try anything on, but still, I made it through the store with no disasters!
12. CAN YOU REALLY LOVE THEM ALL EQUALLY?
Hell yeah you can. And you love em all for different reasons too.
13. ARE THERE EVER DAYS YOU THINK YOU MIGHT GO CRAZY?
Umm, yes. :) However, they were a lot fewer than I imagined. I pictured chaos abounding and it was really...not. If you can muster up all the patience you have and just STAY CALM, all will be fine. The moment you allow yourself to get worked up, the quicker everything else will fall apart. Be calm. Go with the flow. At the end of the day, even the WORST day, you look at them and say, "I MADE YOU!" You are mine! And all is right with the world.
14. WERE YOU A FREAK ABOUT GERMS?
Uh, no. I really wasn't and still am not. When they were newborns home from the NICU, we just used common sense and had people wash their hands before they held them. But that did not last forever. They swapped pacifiers left and right and put toys in their mouths from straight off the floor. They still do. But I'll tell you what, they have darn good immune systems. With 3 toddlers, I have only called the doctor twice for one kid.(Both times were for ear infections.) Did you hear that? 3 kids, 2 years, only 2 trips to the doc. Boo-ya! See, it pays to not be a germaphobe sometimes. :)
15. HOW DID YOU AFFORD FORMULA?
Let me give you a tip here. Ask your pediatrician if they have any samples you can have. Also, inquire with their formula rep(s) as to whether they have any samples you can have. Ours helped us TREMENDOUSLY. Aside from that, USE the $5 and $10 formula coupons. Ask friends who still get them but don't use formula anymore if you can have theirs. Target will let you use 2 in one transaction. The powder formula, though less convenient than the ready to pour kind, goes a WHOLE lot farther.
16. DID THE BABIES REACH MILESTONES AT THE SAME TIME?
Nope. Not even close. Interestingly however, our babies reached EVERY single milestone in birth order! Isn't that cool? Makes it easy for me to remember who rolled over, sat up, walked, etc. first! But the answer is still no. And sometimes, one baby would hit a milestone as late as 2 months after the others did. I have learned not to worry about this. They were preemies, I have to remember this.
17. DO THEY SLEEP IN THE SAME ROOM?
Yep. Since the day they came home. Now, if one is screaming from his bed, the other 2 will remain sound asleep. They don't even notice it.
18. DID YOU CLOTH DIAPER OR USE DISPOSABLES?
Disposable. I honestly feel tremendous guilt over the amount of NON-BIODEGRADABLE waste we've contributed to the landfills, but there is no way I could deal with the wash that goes with cloth diapering. If you can, I heart you.
19. HOW DO YOU DO BATHS?
When they were infants, we simply bathed them one at a time. Usually one of us would do the actual bath part, then we'd pass the baby to the other parent who would dry them, do lotion, and jammies. As they got older, we got three Safety 1st bath seats that they could each sit in but not fall over in. So we'd put all three in tub in their seats. Now that they're older, they just hop in together. As one is ready to get out, I lay that baby on a towel, in the bathroom so I'm still facing the other 2. I dry them off, do lotion, do teeth brushing and jammies. Then I get another kiddo out and repeat. Then repeat again. BE SURE TO OPEN THE DRAIN after the third kid is out so there is no danger of them finding standing water.
20. ARE YOU A PARANOID, EASILY STRESSED PARENT?
No. And I thank God for giving me the disposition he did, every day. As my sister tells me, I am a "Free Range Mom" whilst she would be a "Helicopter Mom" (always hovering.) It's just not in me to worry about them falling off of things, getting into things that make messes, getting into fights, etc. It is what it is. They are kids. They will make messes, they will get hurt and they will cry. But all in all, they will be okay. I try not stress out about anything that's not necessary. It doesn't get me anywhere. :)
Okay, that's all for now! If there's something else you want to know, ask me in the comments. Like I said, I surely do not claim to have all the answers, but I can definitely tell you what has worked for us! :)
SO WHAT WILL I NEED WITH TRIPLETS?
Below are copies of my baby registry. (The main items anyway. Clothing, well that's a whole different discussion.) So this is just what worked for us. Other people will have different ideas and opinions. The thing to remember is that whatever works for YOUR triplets is what's best for you! This is just a guideline that may help you get started.
Strollers: We started with a double and a single, the ones that we could snap our car seats into. I didn't usually go anywhere those early days without another adult to accompany me and push the other stroller.
Stroller: Once they outgrew the infant car seat, we transitioned to a QUADRUPLE stroller that seats 2 in front, 2 in back and folds up pretty compactly. I'll tell you my top ten reasons why I LOVE this stroller. 1.) It fits through all doorways. 2.) You have an extra seat for your purse, bags, etc. 3.) There is storage beneath it. 4.) The kids aren't so far out in front of you that you can't reach them without going around to the front. 5.) It's got an awesome turning radius. 6.) It has shades to cover the front and back seats, if you want 7.) The seats recline 8.)It's roomy for the kids 9.) You can use it even when the kids get really big...beyond the toddler years and 10.) You can take the trio out all by yourself!! (The only downfall is that it's expensive (but SO worth it) and it's HEAVY. It's about 52 lbs. with no kids in it. But hey, it's a great way to lose the pregnancy weight and get in shape. I'm only 5'2", 105 lbs. and I can totally push it, lift it in the Suburban, etc. all by myself. So you can do it! We got one made by Foundations.
Swings: 2 (my kids weren't terribly attached to it and frankly, I didn't want the clutter) If it were one of the portable smaller swings, I might have gotten 3. I could've done with just one though, to be honest. I rotated where the kids would go during the day...one in a swing, one in a bouncer, one on the floor, on a boppy pillow, etc.
Baby Bouncers: 3 (Go to a second hand type store and get these cheap!!) I found this to be one of the most helpful thing to have 3 of, especially when they were very young.
Boppy Pillows: 3 (good for feeding more than one at once) Good to remember to rotate which side of the head baby is lying on...otherwise you'll end up having to get them cranial helmets because their heads get flat on one side. Yes, I speak from experience. :)
Cribs: 3 (we have ours in a U shape, all in the same room. Cribs that convert to toddler beds might save you money down the road.) This one becomes a toddler bed by removing the drop side rail. (Kinda wish it came with a toddler rail....If you love it, this is the Graco Lauren crib in Espresso.
Changing Table: 1 The only variation here might be if you live in a two story house, which I do. However, I really only used the one in their nursery until they were 4 months old, when I'd change them for feedings. At 4 months, they were sleeping through the night, and thus only got changed downstairs. So I now realize I could've just used one changing table and just laid them on floor to change them for those nighttime changes. Oh well, c'est la vie! A changing table with shelves, cabinets or baskets is a MUST for all the stuff you'll have with 3 babies!
Playtex Bottles: These are the kind I liked best. And I tried about 3 or 4 different types. When you're making as many bottles as you'll be making, you'll soon appreciate the time saved in being able to just throw away the liners and rinse bottles.
Inchbug.com Bottle Bands: I got each baby a set of 4, to keep track of whose bottles are whose. They are about $13.00 for a set of 4 and they fit on skinny bottles, fat bottles shampoo bottles (for camp later in life!) Water bottles, sippy cups, etc. They come in lots of different colors.
to be continued....