Expecting Triplets? Mother of Baby Triplets? How Do You Feed Triplets By Yourself?
How do you feed baby triplets by yourself?
Seriously, first make sure there aren’t any video cameras around because you will look slightly ridiculous feeding baby triplets by yourself.
Coffee for me was the first thing on the agenda for the day. Back in the day, three and a half years ago, we did not have a Keurig; the first thing we would do to prepare for the day was make a pot of coffee. Many times my husband would do this for us before he left for work. The very few days that he didn’t wake up in time to make a pot of coffee, he quickly received an unhappy phone call from me.
The fact was that if coffee was not ready for me to drink before I went to get our babies up to feed them; I would not be able to find a minute to have a cup of coffee that day. Those were especially difficult days for me. Even with coffee, it was a struggle to keep my eyes open. I remember having that same feeling of when the sun is in your eyes, they are burning and you literally cannot open your eyes. This feeling, along with migraines and blurred vision (no joke) is what comes to mind those first sleepless months before we could put our triplets through baby boot camp or as some like to call it, sleep training.
My husband would not only make us a pot of coffee in the mornings, but also a pitcher of formula for our triplets. We used Pampered Chef’s quick stir pitcher. Then my husband would pour the bottles for at least the first feeding before he would go to work. After each feeding, I would pour the bottles for the next feeding. Preparation is essential! It is a huge help if you are able to have enough dishwasher safe pumping supplies and bottles for an entire day. We like Born Free Bottles.
Our adventure of caring for our baby triplets at home did not begin until they were six weeks old. Two of our babies came home from the NICU at five weeks old and our third baby came home at six weeks. The week without having our youngest triplet home with us was devastating! Thankfully, six weeks after they were born we were all home together and the fun of getting to be their parents could begin.
I’m going to share with you how we would feed triplets when we were by ourselves. Obviously, if both of us were home and it was not the nighttime feeding, we would feed our babies together. One of us would feed two babies and the other would feed one baby. It would not have been cool if my husband drank a beer and watched football while I was feeding three babies by myself. This is one of the many great things about having triplets, husbands have to be 100% involved with the care of their babies when they are home or they would feel pretty badly just watching their wife take care of three babies by herself.
I know there are a million different ways to feed three babies by yourself. After trying many of them, this is the way that worked the best for us. I think it is important to try several ways until you find a way of feeding your babies that is comfortable for you. Hopefully by sharing how we did it, it will at least give you a place to start or a picture of one way that you can try to feed your babies.
A babies feeding schedule is the most important thing new parents can do for their babies and for themselves. The fun times at first consisted of continuing the three hour feeding schedule that they were on in the NICU. Every three hours around the clock we would feed a baby, feed a baby, feed a baby, and then I would pump and then have at around fifteen minutes before the three hour cycle would begin again.
That said, during the nighttime feeding; never wake any of your babies to feed them. It is important not to feed them before it has been three hours, but then also wait until the first baby wakes up after three hours or if you are luck a little longer,and then feed all of your babies. The big thing to remember is if you feed one triplet baby for any reason, then go ahead and feed all of them. You can imagine if you didn’t always feed them together, you would find yourself very quickly in a nightmare and feeling very out of control. You don’t want your babies dictating how things will go, parents of multiples need to be the ones in charge or it will quickly get out of hand.
My husband was and is amazing. He would do the nighttime feedings on Fridays and Saturdays and then not tell me for two years that he used his Marriott Rewards points on several occasions to "go to work" when really he went to the Marriott and slept all day. Must have been nice! I have to admit that I can empathize with his Marriott decision; I just wish he would have offered me some points.
So back to the fun times of newborn triplets, we were tethered to the first floor because they were all attached to apnea monitors and our smallest triplet was also on oxygen. He ended up being on oxygen to some extent for the first eight months of his life. It wasn't an option for them to be in their nursery yet, so we had to set something up for them on our first floor.
We continued to change around sleeping arrangements until we found what worked for us for each stage. Eventually for the newborn stage we settled on the three of them sharing a pack and play in our dining room. We added doors and blinds to this room in order to make it a bedroom. We also put a daybed in there so that I could sleep there during the night for my fifteen minute break between feedings. Sometimes I would reach over from the bed and put pacifiers in their mouths to hold them off a little longer so I could keep my eyes closed for a few more minutes.
When it had been three hours since the last feeding and one of our babies would begin to cry and I couldn’t hold them off any longer with a pacifier, I would begin the next feeding. I had a boppy pillow at each end of the couch and a double nursing pillow ready for me in the middle of the couch. I would grab three bottles from the fridge and do the super-fast warm up method of throwing them in three mugs filled with hot water. I would leave them sitting in the water until I was ready for them. Then I would carry one baby at a time over to our changing station to change them. Then I would lie them down on a boppy with a pacifier. I would spread a blanket tightly across each boppy turning it into a hammock type bed, giving our babies a feeling of being held. I placed our babies on the boppy pillows sideways on the couch so that they couldn’t slide off and moved this method to the floor before they were close to being able to roll over.
After I had grabbed the bottles from the sink and had our triplet babies with me on the couch, the fun would begin. I strapped on the double nursing pillow, even though I was bottle feeding. One baby was to my right and another baby was to my left and our third baby I would place on the double nursing pillow on my lap.
Next the baby shuffle would begin. I chose the two hungriest, screaming babies and fed them at the same time on the double nursing pillow while trying to do my best to keep our third baby satisfied with a pacifier. As soon as one of our babies had enough of a tide me over, I placed that baby over my shoulder to burp while putting the third baby on the double pillow with me to begin to feed them their bottle. I would shuffle our babies between my double nursing pillow feeding them and over my shoulders burping them until our triplets had all finished their bottles and had burped. Then I would carry them one at a time back to their pack and play.
Then this is when I would pump and watch TV again. (We used a combination of formula and breast milk for thirteen months) Hopefully I would be able to close my eyes for some minutes after pumping before the three hour cycle would begin again.
When it was feeding time, I felt like I had quads because of always pumping after feeding our triplet babies. I pumped for thirteen months and never want to see a pump again, ever! It would have taken less time to feed a fourth baby a bottle. I imagine if I had quads, I would have done 100% formula and added another boppy to the couch or floor around me and added a fourth to the baby shuffle for feedings. But I will never know because I didn’t have quads until this past summer when our baby decided at one and a half years old that he is was actually three and a half years old too.
I explained all of this as my middle of the night version, but really it is the same in the daytime too. However, during the day time it was a strict three hour schedule for feedings. It also might look a little different because instead of taking them from their pack and play every time for a feeding, sometimes I might be taking them in and out of their swings or gliders or we might be out and about somewhere. If this was the case, I could still do the baby shuffle by feeding two of them at a time in the stroller going back and forth between our babies until everyone finished their bottles.
Also during the day if I could get away with feeding one of our babies at a time, I would do it. I took advantage of every opportunity for our triplets to be held. If we had friends or family visiting, three of us could feed a baby at the same time. The times when we were able to feed our triplets at the same time, we had so much more time between feedings to maybe go out and take a walk or go out to eat.
Obviously, this method only works until they can roll over. Around the time you might expect your babies to start rolling over; you can still do this method by moving it off of the couch and onto the floor. If you aren’t comfortable ever doing the baby shuffle for feedings sitting on your couch, you can also do it on a daybed or the floor using boppy pillows. I just was trying to be comfortable by feeding them on the couch.
I spent countless hours sitting on the floor in the middle of their contained play areas feeding them their bottles. It was fun when they began to crawl over to me for their turn. Another option would be to have them in their Bouncy Seats or Fisher-Price Soothing Motion Gliders for the baby shuffle feedings. Then you can sit in between two of them and feed them their bottles. Next you can move in between the other two babies so that you can feed your third baby their bottle too. It would be great to try a few of the different versions of the baby shuffle to see what you are most comfortable with and what works best for you. I rarely propped a bottle for our triplets because I felt it was important if at all possible for them to be held for their feedings. However in a pinch, or if they are all inconsolable and starving, a second boppy on top of a baby could be used for this purpose.
Also, as you can see I rarely slept in my own bed until they were big enough and old enough to sleep train because that would have been ridiculous to waste the few precious minutes of sleep going up and down the stairs. Not to mention, I wouldn’t have been able to reach over from where I’m lying down and put pacifiers in their mouths to give me a few more minutes of shut eye.
The good news for parents expecting triplets or new moms of triplets is that this is a season and every day it will get easier. You can do it!!! And you will get through this challenging stage of being parents of multiples. I remember holding our babies in the middle of the night, feeding them, thinking that they are so sweet and adorable and that this has to be one reason God made babies so cute! So that even functioning on little to no sleep, parents are so crazy about their sweet, adorable little babies, that it is still such a joy to be able to take care of their needs around the clock with very little sleep.
Again, it will get easier! The newborn stage is the most challenging. It is amazing what parents of multiples can get through by working together and by being gracious to one another during such a challenging time of very little sleep. Before you know it, they will be drinking milk by themselves out of a sippy cup and chasing each other around the house. Enjoy this stage when your babies are stationary.
My husband and I watched the pilot episode for “Up All Night” tonight on HULU. This show is hilarious! Near the end of the show, Will Arnett’s character was pouring coffee in the morning after he and his wife were up all night with their baby and says to her, “Are we dead?” My husband and I were both laughing so hard that we could not even catch our breath. So another bonus of being parents of multiples and getting little to no sleep in the beginning is you will get some great laughs looking back on what you have been through together.
Triplet Mom Plus One