Life with triplets is always an adventure. From approximately 10,000 diapers to 1,095 good night kisses, the first year with triplets is an exhausting, heartwarming rollercoaster ride. Wondering what exactly you’re in for? Here are some tips, tricks, and sneak peeks into the first year with three little ones!
Organize and Outsource
The biggest keys to surviving your first year with triplets are organization and outsourcing. Your sleep-addled brain is not going to remember where the extra sheets are at four o’clock in the morning unless they’re consistently in the same spot. If everything in your house, baby-related or otherwise, is organized and prepped before your trio arrives, your household will run that much more smoothly once the babies come. And if organization doesn’t come naturally to you, get someone to help you set up a system that you know you’ll be able to maintain. Outsource as much as you can, whether it be housekeeping, grocery shopping, assistance with the babies, and let everything else go. Your job is to take care of your babies and yourself, if you don’t have time to do something and you can’t find someone to do it, then maybe it doesn’t need to be done.
Triplets are almost always born prematurely, with the average pregnancy lasting until 33 weeks (March of Dimes). That leads to the babies having essentially two ages, their actual age and their adjusted age. The actual age refers to how old they are, counted from when they were born, while the adjusted age refers to how old they would be had they been born full-term at 40 weeks gestation. This gap becomes less important the older the children get, but for the first year especially, developmental milestones should be based on your babies adjusted age. It’s also hard at times not to compare your triplets to each other, but different babies will hit milestones at different times. You may have one that’s already walking by their first birthday, a second that’s crawling after them, and a third that’s content to let their siblings deliver everything. If you have any concerns, address them with your pediatrician, but it can be surprising to see the wide variation of development that occurs within your trio.
Another variation that can be surprising is the difference in sleep needs from one baby to another. Keeping a consistent schedule can be a lifesaver with three little ones, so it can be a little disheartening if you find your babies’ individual sleep needs seem to vary widely. You can still build a schedule, maintain a consistent naptime/bedtime routine, and allow for some flexibility for each baby. And if you have one or two that are up frequently, most triplets that share a room learn to sleep through each other’s wake ups very quickly.
Getting Out with Three
The idea of getting out of your house with three little ones can be daunting. Having a travel system that allows one adult to go for a walk or run errands with all babies is crucial. Obviously if you have helpers it only makes things easier, but being able to have that freedom can be vital when the walls seem to be closing in. Being organized and prepared for anything, even when going out for a short trip, allows you to deal with the unexpected (hello, flat tire!) without all four of you having a meltdown. It gets easier with practice, a bit of planning, and a flexible outlook. Looking back, the first year is probably the easiest it ever is getting out and about with three. Once everyone’s walking (or, more likely, running) in different directions the real adventure begins!
Looking at your three tiny bundles, it can be hard to imagine them poking into all corners of your house, but they’ll be exploring before you know it. Start your baby-proofing early- by the time you realize you need it, it’s probably too late. It’s also important to remember that you’re contending with a whole team of curious little ones. They’ll discover quite quickly that working together can accomplish a lot, so look for solid cabinet locks, extra-tall gates, and affix anything even remotely climbable securely to the walls.
While there will be nights that seem to last for an eternity, the first year with triplets is a blur. It can be hard to remember just how tiny their hands were or who smiled first so be sure to document everything. Whether you keep a traditional baby book or not, take pictures, videos, and jot down notes to yourself. Make sure you enlist some help so that you’re in some of those photos as well. You might not have showered or be wearing pajama pants for the third day in a row, but someday you won’t care about that, you’ll just be glad that you have that picture to look back on and be proud that you survived those early days.
One of the most common questions you’ll get with triplets is when do they start interacting with each other. Some babies are aware of each other right away, only settling when they’re close to each other. Others may take a while to engage, not really understanding that their siblings are separate beings that can smile and grab back. Regardless of when those interactions begin to occur, they are some of the best moments of the first year. One laughing baby is infectious, three is pure joy. To this day, one of my most precious memories is one of my 11-month-old daughters crawling over to her brother and signing “hug.” They do have a special bond and it’s been a privilege to watch that develop as they’ve grown.
The first year with triplets really is a wild ride. Be patient with yourself and know that there will be days when you feel on top of the world and others when it feels like everything is spinning out of control. But even on the toughest days, take a moment to recognize what a wonderful job you’re doing and remember to enjoy the adventure.
About the Author
Emily Lindblad is Twin Love Concierge’s and Three Birds Family Education & Postpartum Care’s Postpartum Doula and Certified Newborn Care Specialist – providing perinatal support and education to Massachusetts families of multiples and Triplet parents worldwide. Emily is also the mother of triplets and knows first-hand that welcoming multiple newborns can be a daunting task. By providing practical tools and assistance, Emily provides families with the skills and confidence needed to successfully transition to life with twins, triplets, or more. For more information on our Triplet and Boston classes /services or to contact Emily, please email firstname.lastname@example.org