I wanted to answer some of the burning questions I had when I found out our triplet news. I will expand upon each question in a series of detailed posts. This is literally the post I wanted to read the day I found out I was having triplets. I didn’t want all the details just yet– I needed time to process everything– but this post would have calmed a lot of my initial fears. It would have allowed me to approach my new reality in a more rational and optimistic way. I hope this post allows you to take a deep breath, feel peace, and get excited about your new reality.
- Will I be up all night feeding three babies in the first few months?
Not exactly. You WILL get some sleep. To get that sleep, you will have to feed all three babies when one baby wakes up hungry. By doing this, all three babies will get synched on a feeding schedule, and in between that schedule you can sleep. When my triplets came home, they were 36 weeks gestationally. They ate approximately every 3 hours. That meant I would feed them around 9pm, 12 midnight, 3am, and 6am. I did sleep in between those feedings. Yes, it was fragmented sleep, and yes, those 3am feedings were hard, but I DID sleep.
- Will all three babies cry at the same time all the time?
My babies rarely cry at the same time. The only time they do cry together is when they are hungry, and that can be easily fixed with bottles. Since the babies are on the same feeding schedule, I can anticipate when they’ll be hungry, and I often am ready for them with bottles so that the simultaneous crying is kept to a minimum. Most of the time, if one baby is crying, the other two are not, and I can tend to that baby.
- Can I breastfeed triplets?
Yes! It can be done. Some triplet moms exclusively breastfeed triplets for an entire year. Breastfeeding them will involve pumping, alternating who gets to breastfeed versus who gets expressed milk, and potentially some help from lactation consultants if the babies are preemies. But again, it can be done. I breastfed my triplets for 14 months. I had to pump daily and at least 2 of the triplets got expressed breastmilk in a bottle each day (as opposed to nursing), but I am able to produce milk and breastfeed all 3.
- How do I bathe triplets?
This will vary depending on their age. For newborns, you will bathe each individually. It usually requires 2 people to do. You bathe one baby, hand it off to the other person, then bathe the next, hand it off, and bathe the last. The person receiving the babies should have bottles ready and feed each right after the bath. If you are alone, you can bathe one baby after the first bottle of the morning, the second baby after the second bottle of the day, and so on. Generally, I found the best time to bathe newborn triples was when they woke up from a nap and were shortly due for a bottle.We followed the hospital schedule of bathing the triplets every 3 days. Babies don’t need baths daily, and in fact do better if their natural oils are allowed to hydrate their skin between baths. For older triplets, you can bathe them simultaneously, but this probably is best when they can walk and you can safely take them out of the bath and contain them in the bathroom safely while you dry and diaper the other two. My triplets are now 18 months old and I still wait to bathe them either when I have another adult present or when only one baby is awake at a time.
- How many diapers will I go through?
At the newborn stage, we would go through a minimum of 24 diapers a day. We fed the babies 8 times a day (every 3 hours), and we changed the babies right before we fed them. 8 feedings a day x 3 diaper changes equals 24 diapers. Of course, if a baby had a poopy diaper in between those 8 feedings, we would change them, so the number could go up, but that gives you a general idea of the amount needed for one day.
By the time the babies were about 4 months old (adjusted), my girls were sleeping through the night. That meant that we were down to about 6 feedings a day. 6 feedings a day x 3 diaper changes equals 18 diapers.
By the time the babies were about 6 months old adjusted, our feedings were spaced out to longer than 3 hours a day and they were eating more at each feeding. We were down to 5 feedings a day, and consequently we went through about 15 diapers a day.
Now the babies are 18 months old and we have switched to sippy cups. They are changed about 4 times a day, which usually coincides with the time they are getting their sippy cup of milk (first thing in the morning, after the first and second naps of the day, before dinner). That means we are down to 12 diapers a day.
- Can you really sleep train with multiples?
Yes! I sleep trained my triplets when they were at an appropriate adjusted age to begin sleep training. The girls were sleeping through the night by 4 months old adjusted. This meant they went to bed around 5pm and woke up at 6am. At 4 months, our triplet son woke up once a night, but he also went to bed at the same 5pm bedtime as the girls and only awoke for a “dream feed.” In other words, he just eats and goes straight back to sleep. He has the same healthy sleep habits as the girls in terms of being put down in a crib and not crying when it’s nap or bedtime. He has learned to self soothe and put himself to sleep. So by 4 months we had sleep trained triplets. This doesn’t mean we had no hiccups (and still do), but it got significantly easier to manage nights after sleep training. (This answer will cause a lot of controversy, I’m sure. I will expand on this post.)
- How much laundry will I be doing?
You don’t have to do a load of laundry a day when you have triplets. Of course, this all depends on the amount of clothes you have for the triplets, whether you are cloth diapering, and whether your babies have reflux issues. But the truth is, you don’t HAVE to do laundry daily, even if you don’t have a ton of clothes for the triplets. An unexpected benefit of having triplets is that you can have a pretty good sized load quickly. When I had my singleton newborns, I’d wash baby clothes separate from everyone else’s clothes because I was worried about skin sensitivity. As a result, it would take time to amass enough laundry to justify a load for just the baby. With triplets, that load is easily amassed, and at least allows for some efficiency. I didn’t buy any clothes for the triplets- I had friends who generously gave us hand-me-downs. While I did have changes of clothes for each kid, I didn’t have tons of outfits each, but I still managed to not need to do laundry daily.
- How do you go up and down stairs with triplets?
Generally, I would carry 2 babies downstairs/upstairs, put them somewhere safe (like strapped in a bouncer, in the crib, etc., and then go get the third baby. Books will admonish carrying two babies at a time. I understand the risks involved. I’m also trying to preserve some sanity for myself. I chose to carry 2 babies when I could have a good grip on both. That often meant having one baby in a baby carrier so that both my hands could carry the second baby. Some people put the babies in a padded laundry basket when they are newborns. This is something you have to decide for yourself, based on your comfort level and the stairs involved. But once my babies began crawling, I was more concerned about having eyes on them at all times, which meant having 2 babies carried at the same time to eliminate time that the babies weren’t watched (even if they were in a safe place).
- Do I have to buy a new car to fit 3 car seats across?
The Car Seat Lady has a good post about fitting three car seats across. I know many triplet moms who didn’t have to buy a new car. Personally, we had 2 other children already, so we needed to buy a minivan to accommodate 5 children.
- Will I have a free moment to do anything else- even chores like cooking meals or fun things like playing with my other kids?
Yes! I’ve had time to do other things. I’ve read books, I’ve gone to my daughter’s field day at elementary school, I’ve gone to the gym, taken naps, even gone on dates with my husband. I clean my house and cook dinner almost every night. All of this takes planning and time, but I’m Type A so planning is my jam. I’ve recorded time logs when the triplets were 4 months adjusted, 9 months adjusted, and 14 months adjusted. The logs showed that I was sleeping a decent amount of time even at 4 months old and I had time for lots of other things too.
What other burning questions do you have??? Write in the comments! I’ll happily respond and expand upon this post!