“Are they twins?”
“*GASP* You have your hands full!”
This is a common conversational exchange whenever I go out in public with my triplets. People see two of them and, assuming they're the same age, naively ask if they're twins. No, there's a third one, and that's the one that gets ya!
Allow me to state the obvious: there are two parents, two arms, two hands, two legs. Yup, we're totally outnumbered and it's tough! Very early on we had to learn how to deal with our triplet parenting reality; it's a never-ending journey but through each phase and transition we've found ways to make our routine less of a struggle.
Although my triplets are past the newborn stage, I remember those days quite well and actually think little triplet babies are easier to deal with than screaming toddlers full of attitude…
Still, being outnumbered will always be a problem and there are certain things we used that were extremely helpful. What I want you to keep in mind is: practicality, effectiveness, and streamlining. The only way you can get anything done when there are more kids than adults is by creating a system, and here are a few things that can allow for that:
1. Baby formula maker (if you're using formula) and/or a hospital-grade pump (for breastfeeding)
Think mass production! Besides sleeping and being changed, the only other thing babies will be doing is EATING, so might as well make the process efficient. There are two different options of baby-formula makers to fit your budget, mixers and all-in-one systems.
You have two options for formula mixers. One is a mixing pitcher to make large batches of formula and it's a more budget-friendly option. The other option is a machine where you just add water, powdered formula, and select the amount of formula you want. It is perfectly measured, mixed, and comes out the perfect temperature. This is a great item for your registry!
As for the hospital-grade pump, it'll most likely be a rental through your insurance and have stronger suction and special programming to aid milk production than a standard double electric breast pump.
2. Swings, sit-me-ups, and pillows
You have to be able to leave at least one child safely somewhere besides the crib while you are working on the other two. Having a variety of swings, infant seats, or pillows will get the job done.
The reason I say “variety” is because soon you will learn even at this age, kids have a preference. And also because these things are expensive! Well, what isn't expensive when you have to buy three of the same? That's why trying different options is a good idea and buying used will come in handy (and hardly ever will you find three used of the same item!)
And I can't stress this enough: although these items are helpful, it doesn't mean they are 100% safe for leaving babies unattended. Always have your babies within your sight when using an infant seat or swing and do not use them for sleep.
3. Multiple changing stations
Besides having different laying/sitting areas to free your hands for other babies, it's also a good plan to have more than one changing station throughout the house, especially because you will want to hang out in different rooms of the house to help pass time.
In addition to a changing station in their room, you could add one in the bathroom and living room, which could also be convenient if more than one baby has a blowout and you have the help of another adult for cleaning up.
That said, be prepared for having wipes, burp cloths, diapers and the essentials handy around the house as well. You never know where you'll be when hell breaks loose!
4. Feeding and Diaper-Changing Chart
With multiple feedings a day for three babies, it's hard to keep track of who drank all their bottle when or make sure everyone had a poopy diaper that day. Having a chart to fill out after every feeding, diaper change, and nap will be extremely important as the days go by to follow your babies' growth.
The newborn fog is a thing in the first few months, so the best you can do to get organized instead of relying solely on your memory, the better, especially when you go to doctor's appointments. Even to this day, it's a struggle for me to remember who did what or to talk about each child separately instead of saying “they”.
No matter how smart you are, the reality of handling three babies at the same time is tough on anyone!
5. Baby monitors
While this may be obvious even for one baby, I want to encourage you to get more than one camera and potentially a monitor for vital signs if any of the babies have special health concerns.
In the first few months, all of my babies had choking issues after each feeding no matter how long we waited for them to burp. Having two cameras (or three, if you're feeling spendy) was a life-saver to watch them after they'd gone to sleep.
We got a system that allowed for more than one camera using the same screen, which provided a better view of each child to make sure their positioning looked okay.
One of my sons has a lung condition so we got an Owlet to be able to check his oxygen saturation at all times. Although he wasn't sent home from the NICU with an apnea monitor, I found it helpful to have the Owlet to check my son's heartbeat and breathing once he came home.
Bonus item: Something for YOU!
Finally, I couldn't forget to mention some must-haves for infant triplet PARENTS. I highly encourage you to find something that can help YOU during this stage. Besides getting a subscription to something like Netflix and Amazon Prime, consider a food delivery service like HelloFresh to make meal-prepping easier and above all, allow yourself to rest whenever possible.
It may seem obvious that you will take any chance to sleep, but when you're in the thick of it, it may be harder to give yourself permission. So, if you take anything away from all of these tips, please let it be that you need to make sure you're rested enough. As much as your babies will need their food and sleep, so will you. You can't pour from an empty cup.
Marta Spirk is a triplet mom and success coach. Her focus is teaching moms how to define & create their own happiness from within regardless of what’s going on around them by using NLP strategies and positive psychology. Through her podcast Mom Does It All and her programs, she hopes to encourage and uplift all moms to step into their own power and realize they can DO IT ALL!