We’ve been getting a lot of questions how we handle three babies all day (and night) long and not go crazy. I figure I should write this down before I forget or block it out entirely in the future. The first few months, with a very tight 3 hour round the clock schedule, are already blurred in my memory; although I attribute that to much more sleep deprivation than I have now.
Back in May and June, after the girls came home from the NICU, we did round the clock feedings every three hours for at least six weeks. That meant several short 1-1.5 hour naps each day was all the sleep we would get in a 24 hour period. Other triplet parents take shifts for feedings so one parent gets an extended length of sleep, but it worked well for us to tag team everything and then settle the girls back down.
Now that we are 8 months old, the day to day is dramatically easier, but in a different way than when they were younger. They can grab a toy or binkie and chew on it themselves, so self soothing is vastly improving, although the next leap teaches them awareness when Mom and Dad aren’t nearby (that’s gonna be fun…). Since they occasionally entertain themselves for moments, that allows for laundry to get collected and washed, dried, and folded, dishes and bottles to be washed, the occasional vacuuming and random household cleaning…but mostly, it’s babies babies babies or Craig or I are doing a household chore while holding one and keeping an eye on the other two.
The first feed of the day is at about 5:40 AM. At this point, I’ve already been awake about an hour to pump and prep their bottles, and start to get ready for work or the day at home. Typically someone will be waking up and ready for breakfast as soon as I flip the nursery light on, or Craig has gone in a few times to re-binkie to hold them off until I am ready. Everyone gets a diaper change and arms released from their sleep sack cocoons for the feed and everyone is propped on the nursery armchair. We have this feeding down to a science and have everyone fed, happy, and back in their cribs to chat in about 30 minutes. After a few minutes of sisterly chatter, all fall back asleep until nine or so. Sometimes one is up earlier or one sleeps until 9:30, but overall they are relatively consistent with the normal schedule.
On the weekends we often take a nap while the girls do, and get up about 8 AM to start our day (mind you we’ve already been up for the first feed!). First thing in the morning is by far the happiest portion of the day. The girls wake up happy and relaxed, and hang out in their swings for a few minutes while we eat a quick breakfast. Then we get everyone up and dressed for the day, and let the fun begin!
On an average day at home, we try to switch up activities when moods start going downhill. Once we implemented a nap schedule, it was 1.5 hours of activity, feeding, etc. and then down for a quick nap. Now that they are a bit older, we are in the vicinity of 2 hours up. The girls are not nappers; in fact, they believe 30 minutes several times per day is plenty of sleep, and rarely give me the satisfaction of an hour or more nap, and never all three at the same time for a long one! We are nearly out of 3 naps a day, and don’t seem to be able to convince them it is important to have all three anymore. I usually have just enough time to pump before someone is hollering to get back up. If the nap is in the car, it stretches to about 45 minutes, and we’ve learned that driving from our house out to Indian and back is the perfect amount of time for them to wake up as we pull back into our neighborhood.
Daily baby activities now include lots of jumper time, for everyone, rotating who goes in which one as they all have different things to play with and chew on. Sometimes we make 30 minutes with three happy babies, sometimes one adamantly refuses to jump at all and wants to be held, and sometimes no one is in the jumping mood, although that’s rare. The bouncers are now liked (previously hated) and all three girls think it’s hilarious to pound their legs as hard as possible and pull on the dangly toys. That results in a little enthusiasm as well.
Another activity is tummy/sit time on the floor with all three. They are getting much stronger at sitting up and can do it pretty well with only minimal assistance needed. During this time, the girls are starting to steal each other’s toys and look around for anything fun around them. There is always a plethora of teethers to choose from.
While feeding schedule is a little less regimented than in prior months, we still do five feeds per day: the early morning, 3 main day feeds and a bedtime one at six o’clock. If one gets a bottle, everyone gets a bottle! During the day we prop them in their room and can have everyone fed relatively quickly when they focus. Other days no one wants to eat and it’s much more of a battle! When we are out and about, they actually eat pretty decently in their stroller/car seats with direct supervision, but we don’t do that as often.
The girls side prop or can eat bottles straight on, and we are so close to them holding them outright! They are definitely interested in the bottle and understand it is food when we hold one up.
During the summer and fall we did a daily walk to get the pups energy out and everyone some fresh air. We have a great 1.3 mile loop by our house that is in the trees and feels almost like an easy hike! It’s secluded enough the pups can run off leash for a little bit and we don’t have to worry about vehicle traffic. Now that’s it’s older out, the girls get bundled up if we go. Sometimes, like earlier this week, we get stopped by a young neighborhood moose on the trail.
This is pretty much our daily routine. Feed, play, tummy/sit time, cuddles, maybe a walk or leave for an errand, nap time, and repeat. Somewhere in there we do one baby food feed in their sit-me-ups. Somewhere in their we eat, I pump, and we try to get a few household things done too. Here’s the girls eating blueberry and something else (I forget!). Emerie is the baby bird if the group although Harper and Reagan both liked this one too.
Nighttime routine can take anywhere from 30 minutes (our personal record) to 2 hours. Starting at six, we put everyone in pajamas and start the feed. The girls eat a ton at night, Reagan more than 8 ounces now, and Harper and Emerie that much sometimes but not as consistently. The fidgetier ones get swaddled mid-feed, and everyone gets to settle in their crib when they decide they are done eating.
Don’t get me wrong here, the bedtime feed is an epic battle every night. Everyone wants to go to bed except the babies? We usually have one baby that goes down pretty easily (often Harper!) and then one who takes some coddling and one who refuses and tries to wake everyone else up. Emerie and Reagan vary on this day-to-day. Once everyone is down, we sneak in and out of their room for mini cuddles sessions as needed or to re-binkie someone who sneezed, coughed, or spit theirs out. I tell you, baby binkies have been a life saver in our household. I also believe we get our exercise simply by running back and forth from our room to theirs…alllll night.
For the most part, everyone is asleep by 7:30. The past month or so we’ve been getting up 5-10 times per night to settle someone, and in the past couple weeks someone ends up in a rock and play in our bedroom, just to keep from waking the other two up due to the snuffles. But overall, the girls sleep quite well for their age and it’s quite a blessing. We make it to bed by 9 PM, and other than our diving out of bed to quiet a screamer as fast as humanly possible, get to “sleep” until 4:30, when it all starts over again…