Are you expecting Triplets and have no idea where to start? We asked our Houston staffer, Deidra Godwin, MoMM’s – Triplets AND Twin boys to share her Top Ten must-have’s for Triplet parents. We also launched our exclusive TLC triplet only services with Deidra – a 2hr online class that will cover all the need to know areas with Preparing for Triplets. See below recommendations and for any seasoned triplet mamas tell us what you used and we will keep adding to the list:
Most triplets will spend some time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). In the NICU, they will most likely have your babies on a 3-hour feeding schedule unless for a medical reason they require shorter intervals. For newborns, a 3-hour feeding schedule is appropriate (with Pediatrician approval) and you need to do everything possible to feed them at the same time. On feedings where I didn’t have help, I used bouncy seats and bottle props. Halfway through the feed I’d start “assembly line” burping. Then again at the end of the feed, I’d burp them.
Putting them on a schedule naturally gets them into a routine for sleeping as well. I would start a feeding cycle with: waking them up (if necessary), diapering (helps to wake them up), feeding, some awake time, and then sleep until the next 3-hour feed. You will notice that your babies begin to develop an internal clock, so to speak. You will also be able to get a lot more accomplished and a lot more rest. You can get into a routine of taking care of household duties or getting some sleep when they are sleeping. And YES you will occasionally find yourself waking a baby up to feed them!
Temporary Handicap Placard
Consider speaking with your Pediatrician about getting a temporary handicap parking placard for the first weeks or so only. It is very difficult to load/unload infant triplets into/from the car and our Pediatrician suggested we have one as it can also be very dangerous if you don’t have the option to park further away in a spot that has more space. First of all, you are probably already driving a large vehicle because you have triplets. Second of all, you generally will have a large stroller to contend with as well. I always felt safer getting them into/out of the car when I had that extra space in the handicap parking spot as two out of three of our babies were on bulky monitors. Can you imagine a car zooming into the parking space next to you and not noticing a triplet stroller in the way until its too late? The same could be said for one baby in a stroller but with newborn triplets once you begin to load/unload the babies you are turning your back to at least one or two babies.
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Boppy Pillows were great for feeding them at the same time and for “tummy time.” I would have them lined up in front of me with their bottles propped for feeding. Boppy Pillows were also great to support them while on their stomachs and they fussed less than when doing tummy time on the playmats, which helps build their strength as per Pediatrician recommendation. They were also great to help with burping, I would lay a burp cloth over the Boppy and onto the floor. Then I would pat their backs while having them lay stomach down across the top of the pillows.
I had bottle props when my triplets were babies that looked like neck pillows with “hair scrunchies” sewn to the top. These were a lifesaver when I’d be doing a feeding alone. I really wanted to feed them at the same time and these allowed me to do that. Word of Caution: Never prop a bottle for a baby and leave them alone. When propping a bottle you must always watch the baby to determine when to pull the bottle away. I would have my three lined up and scan them constantly and pick them up to burp them when needed. You can also used rolled up towels – they work just as well but we were given bottle props as gifts from our family.
I also loved the vibrating bouncy seats for feedings. Sometimes if I was sitting in a chair or on the couch I liked having them a bit higher in the bouncy seat to feed them versus the Boppy Pillow. I also used the bouncy seat to strap them in and place them in the bathroom with me. That way I could get a much-needed shower and still keep an eye on them.
The Roundabout was my steel frame, ball bearing wheeled, made in the USA, lifeline that gave me a chance at freedom with triplets. This stroller is the Rolls-Royce (or maybe Hummer) of triplet strollers. It is such a durable stroller that it each child could weigh 60 pounds and you could still push with ease. I could easily push it with one hand and pull a shopping cart (from the front of the cart) behind me on the occasions when I needed a lot of groceries. Word of Caution: for some vehicles you will need to purchase the carrier that fits in a standard hitch to transport the stroller.
Another fantastic option is the Peg Perego triplette – although difficult to push it allows you to place all three carseats into the one transportable frame. We also love the Valco Tri Mode Stroller, although not usable for all three babies until they are sitting up comfortably (the joey seat at the front is a rumble seat) this is a fantastic stroller to either use with two babies and one in a carrier and then for all three later on. Please know that triplets strollers are definitely on the more expensive side, so look to your local multiples group for second-hand options.
Step 2 Choo Choo or Radio Flyer Wagon
This workhorse of a wagon was also very well-loved and used when my triplets were little. It was great for trips to the zoo and other more open places. The added bonus was that my triplets loved riding in it and each of the three sections had cup holders. Another wise triplet mom that has little ones told me about the new Radio Flyer wagon -it is a little more compact than the Step 2 Choo Choo wagon but has room for three little ones and storage.
The Podee bottles were a lifesaver as the triplets got past the newborn stage but couldn’t quite hold a bottle themselves. Honestly, I used them until the triplets were weaned from the bottle around age 1. They were nice because I could have them in their feeding chairs sitting up and they could start drinking their milk while I got the baby food ready. Once a baby can hold a bottle they still have to be somewhat reclined but these allow them to be sitting and drink from the bottle. They were great for on-the-go feedings as well because they could just have them in the stroller and drink as they please.
Hook-on or Space-saver Highchairs
I made the mistake of buying three full-size highchairs in the beginning. They are huge and took up a lot of floor space. Once I found hook-on type feeding chairs that I could attach to our kitchen table I got rid of the huge highchairs. So, I would sit and feed them at the table versus sitting in front of the highchairs. You could always start out feeding them solids in bouncy seats if they are too little to support themselves sitting in either a hook-on or spacesaver highchair such as the Fisher Price. Please know in most cases it’s easier to sit on the floor infront of the three babies and master this before moving to a counter top space or chair.
Not only are using sleep sacks easier with multiples for naps and bedtime but they are another suggested method of reducing the risk of SIDS. Halo, amongst other brands, now offer many styles and sizes from which to choose. They are wearable blankets that come in a style that is used to swaddle a baby and a wearable blanket style that doesn’t actually require you to swaddle the babies. I recommend the swaddle style in the newborn stage and then on to the wearable blanket style once they get a bit older. There is no risk of these coming loose and getting around their face, plus it eliminates the need to re-swaddle constantly when they are little. Using sleep sacks allows you to do middle of the night changes with Triplets seamlessly and eliminates the need to master what we call the ‘burrito wrap’.
Deidra Godwin, has lived in the Houston area for the past 13 years and is a native Texan. She is the mother of five boys: triplet boys (2 identical/1 fraternal) and fraternal twin boys. When Deidra was pregnant with her triplets, she turned to local mothers of multiples groups for help and support. She found that this support was invaluable and the friends that she made were lifelong. Shortly after having the triplets, she felt strongly about giving back and took on the roll of a pregnancy support counselor for her local mothers of multiples group. Deidra is passionate about counseling and supporting parents that are expecting multiples. She believes that, even though pregnancy with twins or more can be very frightening, connecting with other moms who “have been there” tends to make the journey much easier and more enjoyable. Her passions extend beyond the world of multiples to design in the home and most importantly functionality with children. For more details on our Triplet or Houston services you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.