Thursday, August 5, 2010

Babywise and Triplets {Guest Post}

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Blog reader, Suzy, contributed a success story during success stories week on Babywise and triplets. I thought an article on triplets might be helpful, and Suzy was very willing to contribute. Here is her story:


As you all know BW has a multiples chapter, written by a mother of triplets (I'm sure most of you just skipped over this chapter with relief), but we followed it to the T and are happy to report that it worked wonderfully. Our kids are sleeping better and are more cheerful than most singletons we know. As it says, first and foremost, do not try and do it alone. It is necessary to have an extra set of hands, at least in the beginning. At no time in the first 3 months did I do a single feeding alone. My husband had to go back to work after 2 weeks. My mother stayed with us during the week nights and helped during the afternoons also. Various friends also chipped in.

After staying in the hospital as long as we could (five days), we were lucky enough to take all 3 babies home with us. That first feeding at home was daunting. We did not have anything set up, and professional help was suddenly gone. In retrospect, we adjusted quickly, but we were both feeling a bit overwhelmed at the time. Anyway, the nurses put the babies on a 3 hour schedule (6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, midnight, 3am) which we simply continued. The lactation consultants' lessons on breastfeeding held pretty well, but we still called them a number of times, and we took advantage of their offers to visit and help us (four times). In the hospital, we had been using donor breast milk, but at home it was pumped milk (my milk finally came in). I began nursing one baby at a time, while the other two were being fed from a bottle. I would nurse and then immediately pump for the next feeding. And, amazingly I made much more milk than we needed. Yes, it was tiring and I had my moments, but it was clearly better then having all three kids on different schedules. It really doesn't matter if you're using breast milk or formula, that is just what worked for us.

We also kept a schedule on a whiteboard (like those in the back of BW). We kept track of who ate from the bottle (B) and who ate from which breast (L or R). We'd also keep track of their pees and poos, and anything else that seemed important (like questions for the doctors or nurse practitioners). There is no way we could have just remembered this info and keeping track of it was a HUGE help.

Not until 6 weeks did I begin to nurse two at a time, while the third was being fed breast milk from a bottle. At this point, I did a few feedings a week on my own, and I would nurse two at a time, while the other played under the play gym or was in the swing, then I would feed the third baby after. I made sure the babies got full feedings from the get go, but just as BW suggests, I never let them feed for longer than 30 minutes. We would make sure to keep them awake, with cold wash cloths, etc.

Then at 2 months, we dropped the 3am feeding. Only one of the boys woke up around 4am-ish for the next two nights and I think we fed him once but the next night he just cried a bit and fell asleep. Just two weeks later we dropped the midnight feeding as well. The 9pm feeding was a dream-feed (the babies had been sleeping since 6 or 7 p.m., and were more or less unconscious for this final feeding). But we pushed it forward to around 11pm, and then, little by little, we took it back to 9pm. So at 2.5-3 months, the babies were sleeping from 9 p.m. to 5-6 a.m. (my husband goes to work early, so in order for him to help on the first feeding, we set it at 6:00 a.m., which is where it remains today.) Then around 4 months we dropped the 9pm, although I think we could have done it much earlier. We were a little nervous, but mainly we just loved the dream-feed because they were so sleepy and cute and the schedule just worked for us. At this point I also began feeding all 3 from me. I would just rotate.

Oh, and though the babies were not feeding as consistently, I still would wake up around 3am-ish and pump to keep up the supply, and to keep it coming (not fun). I did that until the end of the 5th or 6th month. Nevertheless, at around 5 months, I wasn't making enough milk and so we began to supplement with a couple of ounces of formula in one bottle per feeding. Then around 6 months I decided (--I had had enough of breastfeeding--rotating three babies never felt especially intimate) to begin weaning the babies. Two of the boys drank from the bottle easily and they it did not matter for them if it was breast milk or formula. I kept going with the girl for another couple of months, but by 8 months I went cold turkey, which took her until the last feeding of the first day to totally accept. I just couldn't breast feed anymore. I was exhausted. She was totally fine and took to the bottle and formula well thereafter.

I think around 8 months we also went to a 4 hour schedule. We probably could have done this earlier also, but the 3 hour schedule was working well for us. The new schedule was 6am, 10am, 2pm, and 5:30pm. They had been sleeping 6pm-6am since 4 months and, honestly, we got up in the middle of the night only once for one of the boys who was teething, not including the first and second nights of shots, which were sad nights).

For the most part they stayed on schedule but every once in awhile we had to feed a baby a little earlier than planned. We also used the pacifier earlier on if they woke up early just to try and get them a bit closer to the 2.5-3 hour mark, but never as a sleep prop, of course. Now, one of the boys sucks his thumb a bit, but I can't remember the last time we even saw a pacifier.

They all slept in the same crib until they were about 4 months old. Then they got too big and we brought in another crib. Just a few weeks later we brought in 3 cribs. They do not wake each other up with their cries. I plan to keep them in the same room for a few years at least. We adhered to the feed, wake, sleep cycle and still do. We put them down awake in their cribs and never rocked them to sleep (except, again, on the first night of the shots). We consulted our BW bible multiple times a day and stuck with it. The Chronicles has also proved very helpful, especially for schedule shifts. What to Expect in the first year was also a great reference for us for specific ailments and the like. There were some trying times but I truly think by following BW the whole family is well rested and happy.


Thank you Suzy! I had to laugh at "I'm sure most of you just skipped over this chapter with relief"--I know I skipped it the first few times I read Babywise :).



Aubrey Jane said...

Wow! Suzy, I just have to say that you and your family are amazing. I only have one little baby and I can't imagine doing it all times three. You must be a really remarkable, determined person. Thank you for sharing! Aubrey McLaughlin

Ashley said...

Suzy, I don't have multiples but I really enjoyed your post. It's great to hear how the sleep, eat, activity, routine can work for different baby situations. I can't believe you nursed all of them for half a year! Go you! That's amazing :)

E. Merritt said...

I too have triplets that are now 17 months old. We also followed BW to a T. Unlike Suzy, we did not have help (we are a military family) with feedings. We learned within days of our boys coming home from the NICU at 6 weeks old to feed them all at the same time in bouncy seats. During the day, I fed/cared for the triplets alone and at night we would take turns doing feedings so the other person could sleep. For example, I would do the 12am feeding and my husband would do 3am so each of us got 6 solid hours of sleep (I still would week briefly to pump). I pumped until our boys 1st birthday.

I would highly recommend anyone with multiples to follow BW, keep the babies on the same schedule, and to learn to feed without a second person in order to give the other person rest. From 4 months on (2 months corrected age, since our boys were born 2 months early), our boys have slept 12 hours consistently and have always been solid nappers during the day.

Leigh Anne said...

Woah momma!! That's incredible! Way to make it to 6mos ish nursing - you did a great job. Loved reading your post too! And LOL - I was happy to skip that part of the BW book ;)

Redheads said...

This was AMAZING! Babywise is such a great resource. I am so in awe of you mamas with multiples, especially triplets!

Angela said...

Thank you so much for this post! I can't wait to send it to all of our new Triplet moms in our group and will link it under Expecting Triplets if that is ok with you. Please let me know if you have any issues with this!

With my older 3 we never used BW and we paid for it...looking back. But when we found out that we were expecting triplets, I bought BW right away. The NICU schedule was easy to keep and is a MUST for some sense of sanity. The biggest thing I learned from BW was to change their schedule to Eat/Play/Sleep. My babies are now 22months old, but still go down to sleep w/o much fuss and 2 of them were sleeping thru the night by 5months.

Thanks again, I really can't wait to share this!

shani said...

wow good work Suzy. i too have triplets who are now 11 months. i have had different types of challenges with them at the moment its become more difficult to feed them different type of foods. they just dont want to eat. any advice will be appreciated.

Kristin said...

All I can say is WOW! Breastfeeding was hard enough with just the one (singleton!) I had, I can't even imagine rotating 3! Really, you are remarkable and have such a great attitude. If I ever have another baby and need some inspiration, I'm going to re-read this post!

Plowmanators said...

I am glad everyone liked the post!

E. Merritt, thanks for sharing your experience, as well.

Ashley, I am more than happy for you to share the post with others.

echo marich said...

Hi im a first time mom of twin girls born at a little over 34 weeks. They were in the nicu for two weeks and they had them on the every three hour feeds. So I just stuck with that when we got home. My girls do awesome during the day. I don't really give them much waketime cause I think since they r preemie they need to eat and sleep. Well around the evening after my 4four o'clock feed they seem to wake up a hour to a half hour early. I try to hold them out as close to 3a hrs as I can. I tried a cluster feed at 6. But they still woke up at 7 for their regular feed. I also bottle feed them at 10 and 1 to try and get them really full to sleep well. But they still wake early. But get right back on schedule at 7. Any help?

Plowmanators said...


I would wonder if adding a bit if waketime to the day would help with that? They might be looking for some waketime and are choosing that time of day to take it.

Kate said...

Val, my sister just had triplets, I was wondering if it was possible to link her up w Suzy for any advice or tips as she is just about to bring them home! Its kate jennings from the Google group - maybe you could pass on my email or pass me her email or anything like that - i know she would love to hear from other mamas doing BW w triplets as she is keen to do it!

Plowmanators said...

Hi Kate, I contacted Suzy and sent her your email address :)

Jennifer F said...

Hi Val,

I have been reading your blog for some time. Our trio is 10 months old/8 adjusted. I write about our life over at I noticed you only had one post from a triplet mama and thought I'd offer to write for you if you'd like to add more to your repertoire. So many trio mamas I know and connect with utilize the -wise series but life during the wee months can be so incredibly overwhelming. It's just so hard to think through the simplest of ideas. ...Cue the blogs. :)

We are bf-ing and have done sleep training very successfully. I love helping other mamas with this, as well.



Jennifer F said...

Hello? :)))

shani said...

Hello nice to hear you too have triplets

Plowmanators said...

Jennifer that would be great! I have my twin mommy writing in stages. So she did newborn stage and is now working on 4-12 months. Then a 12-18. Then toddler, etc.

Go ahead and email me at and we can hash out details.


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