Breastfeeding Triplets

It’s World Breastfeeding Week. To acknowledge the importance of breastfeeding, I thought I would relate my story of breastfeeding triplets.

The breastfeeding journey started immediately in hospital, I’m thankful that all the midwives at my hospital assumed I would breastfeed and were very encouraging with getting the whole process underway. I know this is not always the case, so I was fortunate there. I had decided while I was pregnant that I would like to breastfeed, I wasn’t really sure how this would happen, so I read up as much as I could find on the internet about breastfeeding triplets, it wasn’t very much and I think even since I’ve had them, there is already a lot more on the internet now as well as Facebook groups for Mums (or Moms) breastfeeding triplets which can be very helpful. I had somewhat of a plan in my mind but when I was in hospital, the midwives actually suggested a much better routine, so being a flexible person I happily adjusted my plans.

I’ve already written in more detail about Beginning to breastfeed the triplets during the first week, so feel free to go and check that out. I’ve decided to give a broad overview in this post of our experience breastfeeding triplets for 14 months. This is just my experience. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey will be different, but if you are pregnant with triplets, be encouraged that it is very possible!

Initial Feeding Cycles
For the first four months, we managed to breastfeed exclusively. The first few days in hospital we needed to give them formula, but as I’ve explained in my first post, once they began breastfeeding, they took to it really quickly. By the time we left hospital, the babies were breastfeeding in four hour cycles. They only did that for a few days, and then they slipped back to three hourly feeding sessions. I was pretty well constantly breastfeeding. It would take around two hours to feed all three babies. In that one hour before they next feed I would rush around, going to the toilet, grabbing something to eat or if it was night time – sleeping! I was so tired. During the first few weeks I was averaging four or five hours sleep, and all of that was interrupted.

breastfeeding triplets
Jayden and Toby tandem feeding together for the first time. 

Reflux and Cholic
The babies also had bad reflux, so they often would find it difficult to get to sleep. They liked to be held in an upright position, and most nights Alex and I would be holding all three babies between us until 11pm at night. As the weeks progressed, they got better at sleeping for longer stretches, and got back into waiting 4 hours in between feeds after 11pm. When the first baby woke, I would get up, feed that baby and then wake the next two if they were not already awake and feed them. The ideal was for me to wake them to feed them, because when they woke up altogether hungry and waiting for a feed, Alex would also have to get up and hold a crying baby while it waited for the other two to be fed. I was so grateful for his help, but I would feel bad for him too though, because he needed to work the next day, and accounting requires you to be switched on all the time and he had to remain alert with also suffering severe sleep deprivation.

Breastfeeding triplets
Alex holding 1 month old reflux and colicky babies. Can’t you see how tired he was?

Single Feeding vs. Tandem Feeding
Some triplet Mums say they need a third boob. My kids and I only needed one boob really. Right from the early days in the hospital the triplets and I all agreed that we hated the breastfeeding pillow. I hated how big, bulky and awkward it was. I really felt like I was a walking hot dog stand/milk bar with it wrapped around me and protruding.  “Fresh milk, get it here. Roll up, roll up and nuzzle on in to milk on nipple.” I never got used to it.  As young as they were, the triplets began to display sibling rivalry when they were on the pillow. They would often pull off and look at the other baby, (not common behaviour for newborns!) they would wriggle and fuss and generally not settle. I decided that feeding them one by one would work better for us. It of course was more time consuming, but they were so much more content feeding individually, and I quite liked spending that one on one time with each baby. If two (or more) babies were really hungry at the same time I would drag out the breastfeeding pillow and we would all endure it because you have to put up with inconveniences when you are starving hungry. Over the months I worked out that if I held one baby as if I was feeding normally and then tucked the other baby under my arm in a football hold with a cushion propped under him or her, it was a tandem feeding compromise. Especially once we got older, it was even more rare to feed more than one at a time.

Feeding Routine and Record Keeping
Our method with feeding was to feed Baby A the right side, Baby B the left side, Baby C both sides and then pump afterwards to try and get a store of milk. Then we would rotate everyone so they all had a go at the different breasts and getting the hind milk and the fast flowing side. In the first couple of months, I began to get a nice little stockpile of expressed milk. This was useful particularly at night when two babies woke at the same time so Alex could feed one and go back to bed. The only thing was that we never knew when that would happen, so we still had to thaw it out before he started feeding. We had a little stockpile, but it was hard work getting it, so I didn’t want to use up EBM (Expressed Breast Milk) unless we really needed to.

I had a great little book that I bought from the US and a friend sent it over for me. That way we could keep a track of which baby needed which side, it gets confusing after awhile, especially when you are heavily sleep deprived. (You can buy the book I used here at Just Multiples)

Breastfeeding triplets
12 week old triplets. Life was just starting to get more of a rhythm.

Supplement Feeding
When we went to the paediatrician for the triplet’s four month old check up, Toby wasn’t gaining enough weight so she said we should start
supplementing his feeds and give him the breast still, but top him up with some extra formula at the end of each feed. I didn’t really want to, but I decided that I didn’t want my baby to be hungry just because of my pride. I was already taking motilium to increase milk supply, and I didn’t think I could do much more to increase what I was already producing.

Toby seemed very happy to accept the extra milk. He always had the weakest suck, and he seemed quite happy to accept the bottle. (They were already familiar with bottles because of having EBM in it.) A week or two later I noticed that even after the other two had drunk their fill from the breast, they still seemed hungry, so I tried giving them extra milk, and they guzzled it down and started putting on extra weight. By now, I didn’t have any extra milk to express after feeds and didn’t have all that much milk when the final baby fed both sides. We started feeding the third baby both sides and then breastmilk and rotating them so every third feed a baby would get the majority of their milk from formula.

Toby very abruptly stopped breastfeeding at 11 months. He just didn’t want anything to do with the boob anymore and wanted his bottle instead. It was a bit of a shock. By this stage they were in a good routine with breastfeeding. Once they were older, every third time a baby would have formula and they would still rotate having left and right breasts. By that stage we were down to two breastfeeds in a day, morning and evening. Because it had all worked out smoothly, I didn’t think I would finish breastfeeding until at least the 12 month mark. But Toby had other ideas. Since he has always been the smallest, he is probably the last one I would have chosen to finish first. However, right from the start, he was always the child that found breastfeeding most difficult, particularly latching on in those first few months. I don’t know whether he always got less milk then the others?

The other two finished feeding at 14 months. Once they were over 12 months, I thought I would just continue while it felt OK. Especially they were a little smaller than other children their own age, even though there was nothing to be concerned about. When they were 14 months, I went away overnight with some girlfriends. I took my pump with me and expressed and Alex had some EBM to feed each of them while I was away. (Even though Toby finished feeding at the breast, he still received EBM regularly.) When I got home we were at a child’s birthday party and after that we raced over to a park for the local Carols by Candlelight. I breastfed Jayden and Imogen during the carols, but they didn’t have a good feed because they were distracted. It turns out this was their last feed!

Breastfeeding triplets
Waiting for the Carols by Candlelight to start the before Jayden and Imogen’s final breastfeed!

The next day we were very busy and at the end of the day the children were tired and grumpy and not wanting to be held so I put them into bed with their bottles, thinking they were fine while I was away anyway. The next day after that, they were asking for bottles at bedtime, and I realised there really wasn’t any need to feed them. Because they were used to bottles, weaning was a non-event for them. (Weaning them off bottles was another story.) I had been growing tired of breastfeeding and it just seemed like the right time. A part of me wanted to have one final feed when I knew it was a final feed, but when I offered, the two of them weren’t really interested, so I decided it was far less of a drama to run with what had naturally happened! The oddest thing was that I had no problems whatsoever with weaning, unlike the older two boys where my breasts were very painful after finishing. It was ironic, because I didn’t ever breastpump, or even own a pump before the triplets. Now that I did have one, and still had children using a bottle, there really was no need to use it. I expressed a few times with the pump, just to leave some milk in the freezer, but I was getting very little milk even then. Maybe that’s why the triplets were happy to stop, they may not have been getting too much in the end anyway.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to breastfeed triplets. It was relatively easy for me, (apart from the physical tiredness) and I’m grateful for that. Others have not found it easy, but have persisted and have successfully breastfed for extended periods of times, so it’s definitely worth giving it a hot shot. Read my friend Jennifer’s breastfeeding story at Growing Up Triplets if you want to hear how one woman’s persistence paid off when breastfeeding higher order multiples. Jennifer has also just launched an e-book, so that is going to be a great resource for HOMs. Some HOM’s would like to breastfeed also, and like so many women, it really doesn’t work out. Those women need our love and support also.

I find it such a comfort that my babies were able to receive those extra nutrients and antibiotics from breastmilk. Do you have a breastfeeding story?

Linking with Essentially Jess

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How Can I Help A Multiple Mum/Mom?

It’s Multiple Birth Awareness week, so I thought I would suggest ways you can help Multiple Mums. Since my triplets are two years old, I’m sure there are more ways you can still help as they get older as well. If you have older multiples, please leave further comments below, I would love this to be a resource for those who are hoping to help out but don’t know where to start.

Mothers who have multiples, or higher order multiples are very busy people. If we weren’t aware of the fact, we would soon become aware, because most people you meet say, “Oh, you must be very busy.” And I flash them my widest smile, (if I’m not in the middle of trying to keep my child alive and away for the traffic,) and say, “Yes, yes I am!”

Since we are so busy, and most of the time, we are very grateful for all forms of help, I thought I would share 8 ways you can help a multiple mum. You know, just in case you were wondering how to. If you weren’t wondering how to and you know parents with twins, triplets, or God help them, quads, quints or beyond, keep reading and be inspired. (Although many of these suggestions would be appreciated by any mother!)

1. Hold A Baby
I know that it’s simple, but seriously, it can be such a big help! Of course, proceed on this one with caution, because like any parent, multiples are cautious and often reticent to let strangers hold their babies. So please, don’t swoop in and grab. But if there are more babies crying then a mother has arms, ask sweetly if you can help. If you are good friends with the multiple Mum you might be surprised how often you can be of assistance by doing the very easy and delightful task of holding a bub. Examples of times that I have found this useful have been at church on Sunday’s. When there are people I know around me, I am more than happy for them to scoop up a little one who is making too much noise and hold and distract them. When the babies were very young and unsettled with reflux my wonderful book club used to hold them all evening while they slept. It was like a little holiday, especially for my husband who would retreat with relief for a child-free evening.

Book club after the babies were born.

2. Hold A Child’s Hand
Of course, a variation of the above topic. Once the multiples are a bit older, if a mother looks like she’s struggling to keep children in one spot, volunteer to hold a hand or walk with a toddler. Now the triplets are two, they are getting better, but it can just be so challenging walking them to places.

Walking into kindy is super challenging, sometimes I would really appreciate a little assistance as I shuffle past holding three hands at once and keeping an eye on the Kindy boy. At the moment, when we are out, I hold two hands in one hand and one in the other. Unfortunately Jayden is insistent that he holds hands on his own. I’m trying to work on this, because it’s not very fair, but it’s so hard when he doesn’t get his way and has dropped to the ground in carparks and other public places having a tantrum!

3. Take the Multiples Older Sibling(s) on a Playdate
If you are doing something with your children, and think you could squeeze in one or two more, offer to the multiple Mum to take the big kid(s). Sometimes, life just seems so easy when only the multiples are present, because big kids can really make like difficult sometimes with their own set of needs. Plus, especially while the multiples are young, the siblings of multiples really do miss out on activities just because Mum is so busy. So just going to a park can be a rare outing for multiples and their siblings, so don’t underestimate how much it will be appreciated by the Mum and the kids!

I have a friend who regularly offers to take Trent for playdates with her son. Trent relishes these times. He also goes over to his friends Nana’s house on other occasions. He now calls her Nana also and talks non-stop about the things they got up to in her backyard! Even if you are an older person who is able to take a Multiple’s sibling away for a few hours, they will have fun!

4. Cook Meals or Bake
I’ve mentioned before that cooked meals are so appreciated in our house. We regularly had people rostered and cooking meals every night before and after the triplets were born. It was such a relief when I was too big to stand for very long and then in those early days when all I was doing was breastfeeding  day and night. In those days it was hard enough to get time to eat myself let alone find the time to feed my family.

Multiples are tiring for Daddys too. The early days. Look how tired The Accountant is. The price of being a great (and hands on) Dad.

5. Clean/Iron/Garden
When you have young multiples, finding time to do even the mundane jobs can be complicated. I’ve spoken about my Ironing Lady, our pastor’s wife who has been doing our ironing for over two years now. Seriously, not having to worry about that chore, makes so much time for other things and for spending more time with the children. If you have a few hours spare, why not drop by a multiple Mum’s house and volunteer a few hours to clean. Or head out to the garden, (or send an able bodied man around), because especially in the early days, the garden will most likely be in a state of neglect. I’m getting to the stage now where I’m wanting to plant vegetables again. I already had one attempt, got everything weeded and planted. Then killed it all. It’s been a few months since that attempt, it must be time to try again!

6. Invite a Family with Multiples Around to Your Home
I am on quite a few Facebook pages with Triplet Mums around the world. It regularly comes up that people are hurt because people no longer invite them to their homes for meals or even the children miss out on being invited to parties because there is so many of them. Parents who have multiples still need to socialise, and it’s good for children to get out and about also. I know that it is daunting having a large family around, but if you ask, most families would be happy to bring various elements of the meal with them. Or, meet each other at a park for a BBQ if you fear that your home just won’t cope with too many little children.

Plus dining out gives the multiples an excellent chance to learn appropriate etiquette! And in this instance, what better way to
learn it over a milkshake and sprinkle bun!

7. Don’t Pity Us
Don’t tell a Multiple Parent, “I’d shoot myself if I had triplets.” Seriously. I’ve had someone say it to me. Don’t say, “Poor You”, “Should I send you a commiseration card?” or  “I’m so glad I don’t have triplets”, (Insert twin, quad, etc. …), “I’m glad I’m not you.” Once again, all been said to me. Us Multiple Mums love each of our children dearly. Our multiple children make our life richer. So if you do pity us, be helpful and say nothing.

If I wasn’t a Multiple Mum, I wouldn’t have this moment. And it’s priceless.

8. Give Them A Spa Voucher – Or Offer Babysitting Services
I haven’t had this happen to me, but I can’t tell you how many times I fantasized about it happening in the first year. I was seriously sooooooo tired.  I had visions of being whisked off to a luxurious 5 star day spa and wearing a fancy bathrobe before having a full body massage, facial and a spectacular makeover.  Of course these fantasy getaways were handed over with full babysitting services provided for the children. I also dreamed of having a weekend away with my hubby, and happily that happened February last year. (Beautiful two days. Thanks honey. And Grandma’s babysitting services. xxx) Now I know that most of us can’t afford to give away packages for a whole day away, but maybe if you have a friend who is a multiple Mum, (especially with babies) you could get a group of you together, throw some money in a hat and then babysit the kids together. (You know, safety in numbers!)

Mummy and Daddy out for dinner.

Another variation of this would be to just offer babysitting services so Mum and Dad could go out to dinner or watch a movie together or some other sort of date. Especially the Multiple parents that don’t have extended family nearby. (Or if you are extended family and haven’t been called on, try offering!) Having multiples is stressful, so more than ever cultivating a marriage brings stability to the family.

For the record, I will still accept vouchers for a pedicure at someplace like this…
image credit here

So, do you think you could do any of the above for a multiple Mum? Are you a multiple Mum yourself? What have you found (or fantasised about) really helpful from others during your multiple journey?

And if you are on the triplet, pregnant, babies or just want to reminisce, you my like checking out my reflections on Things that once terrified me about having triplets.
Or Advice for Surviving With Newborn Triplets
Or Advice for mothers pregnant with triplets

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Breastfeeding Triplets – The Beginning

Breastfeeding triplets is a task I accomplished and I’m extremely proud of myself and the babies for doing it.

Feeding my tiny, beautiful six week babies was precious. They were so tiny and fragile, yet they had an inbuilt mechanism to instinctively seek nourishment from me, their Mummy. The first baby to feed was Imogen. I was cuddling her on her third day of life. I had heard that premmies mostly take awhile to learn how to feed and their first experience is often just ‘nuzzling’ around the breast. While I was holding her, she just looked like she wanted to feed. I wasn’t sure whether I was ‘allowed’ to let her nuzzle, (sometimes you get like that in special care!), but the nurses were busy, so I thought I might let her anyway. Lo and behold, as soon as she went near the breast, she latched right on and started sucking effectively. Clever little girl! When the nurses came by they were amazed to see her sucking away.

Feedling little Miss Imogen

After that, I gave the boys a chance to feed the next time I held them. They were also champion little feeders, although Toby, the smallest of the crew, didn’t have a very strong suck for the first few days. He still did very well, better than a normal premmie of his age. Imogen was definitely the best feeder.

One of the babies biggest challenge was staying at the nipple. I’ve got quite a large nipple, so a supersized nipple was not really great for a premmie mouth. I had to really stroke the babies chin and get them to open their mouths really wide before they attached, otherwise they would just slip off. Because they were little, they would tire out very easily if they couldn’t attach in the first couple of turns. I was desperate to keep them awake long enough to breastfeed so that they didn’t have only a formula feed through the tube attached to their nose. Not only did I want them feeding well, I also needed the extra stimulation of their mouths to help me bring in more milk. I definitely produced more milk when they fed compared to when I was just pumping.

By day 5 I tried twin feeding for the first time. It was an amazing feeling having two babies drinking away at my breasts. Once they were all settled and attached that is. It was a bit awkward before then. I had used the hospital’s breastfeeding pillow. I hated it immediately, and I never did grow to like it, even though it was a necessary evil,especially at the start. The babies were so tiny, and they kept falling down and getting stuck in between a little gap in between my body and the pillow. I used to fold up nappies or blankets, stuff them in the holes, then I would cover the vinyl pillow with a bunny rug or towel so it was not so cold and uncomfortable for the babies before trying to get them to attach. It was quite a routine even before the babies were ready. The midwives were great at giving me helpful hints and tips on how to do things, and laughed with me about how silly the breastfeeding pillow looked. (Still didn’t help me feel any less like a goose when I had it on.) One of them joked that it looked like a hotdog stand. That’s pretty well how I felt, like it was Mama’s Milk Bar. There were two midwives there the first time helping. One was helping to show me the position to put them on, making sure they were attaching from that position and helping the babies to latch on. The other nurse was also giving hints, but was changing babies, and getting them ready to feed. At one stage I had a midwife either side of me trying to get the babies mouths to stay on the nipple and not slide off. There really is no dignity during that period after childbirth! Once they were attached in sucking well, the feeling was euphoric.

Feeding Toby and Jayden for the first time.

I ended up taking Motilium the entire time I breastfed. It is a drug that is often used to combat nausea, but it also helps increase the milk production in lactating mothers and is safe for the babies. I had enough milk for two babies, but I just needed a little bit of extra help to push the milk up a little bit more. There were times that I wished that I could just make the milk without assistance, but I figured it was better to receive that bit of extra help then to lose the chance for my babies to breastfeed.

In those early days, it felt totally demoralising at times trying to get the milk levels up. It started in the middle of the night the day that I had the cesarean. I midwife woke me up saying that we needed to start trying to get some milk for the babies. I had always wanted to try breastfeeding, but I hadn’t really considered how I would need to start the process while the babies were still in humidi-cribs. So, it was a complete surprise to me when the midwife literally started milking me! She hand expressed colostrum straight into a cup then took it down to the special care nursery. This happened again first thing in the morning and then after I had a shower (Ugh. The memory of all those yucky firsts…) I was taken in a wheelchair to see the babies. I think I started hand expressing in the special care nursery then. I’m so glad that in the hospital I stayed, it was just presumed that I would try to breastfeed. I’ve since discovered that this is the norm, and a lot of women are told they won’t be able to. I would have fought to at least try to breastfeed if I had been met with opposition, but I’m glad this is a battle I did not need to fight during a very full on time anyway. Plus, the midwives were able to give me a lot of hints and tips that I did not know. I had tried to research how to breastfeed triplets, but there was very limited resources available.

Hand expressing during those first days could be completely demoralising. Because the babies were not at my breast, the milk was not flowing as readily as it had with my first two babies. I never had the feeling of the milk coming in with the triplets. It was always a struggle. This was a surprise because I had no problems whatsoever feeding my two eldest children. I found the midwives could often get more milk than I could, so I would often let them hand express after I had tried. I can remember seeing the little medicine cup with three mls in it. It was less then the milk the two other mothers had expressed, and they only had single babies who born on the same day as the triplets. I can remember thinking that I may as well slit my wrists if I didn’t get more milk next feed. (I wasn’t literally planning on carrying the thought out, but it was my lowest moment where I just felt completely depressed.) And then my tiny minuscule amounts of milk would need to be shared times three. The midwives assured me that even such a tiny amount was good for the babies and still giving them extra strength and antibiotics that could help them grow and give them protection. Luckily the milk production did pick up.

My precious view.

Once the milk started to increase, I started expressing by using the hospitals pump. It was still small amounts. After we tipped the little bit of milk (maybe 20 mls) into the needles to be used with the feeding tubes, a nurse would get a needle and would suck every last drop from the side of the bottle, and then she would get every last drop that was stuck in the express pump too. No drop was wasted. “Liquid gold” is what I was told repeatedly by several different nurses. Especially when it was shared three ways. Every drop mattered.

While I was in the hospital, the babies were feeding three hourly. It normally took me two hours feed them, and then I had an hour ‘off’ until the next feed. I had asked for a room change because my room was right outside the nurses station so it was very busy and I needed the sleep. My room change was the closest room to the special care nursery, so that was very convenient to not have very far to walk. I tried to sleep in between feeds as much as possible. I didn’t have very many visitors in hospital. I love getting visitors in hospital, so it felt a little odd, but it was also a little weird because this time I had no babies to show off. Only close family were allowed two at a time into the nursery. I was able to sneak a few friends in if they came at the right time when the nursery wasn’t busy. The reality was that I was in the special care nursery so much, that if I had more visitors, I probably would have missed them, plus I was so tired, so it was a relief to have a rest in between feeds.

One of my biggest regrets was not being able to stay in hospital a day or two longer. I was very emotional one day and told the nurses that I wanted to stay longer, because I knew that as tiring as it was getting up throughout the night, it was helping increase my milk production. The nurses listened, and then rang my insurance company to get more time. They did approve an extra two nights, but the nurses advised that I should use one of those nights at the end of the babies stay in special care for a rooming in. This is when Alex and I would have stayed overnight in hospital with the babies, but would have the luxury of pressing the buzzer if we needed assistance during the night. It would be like a practise run. At the time I didn’t see the usefulness of this, and I said as much, but the nurses were very insistent that it was crucial and very necessary. So I stayed the extra one night and then went home. I never did use the second night. Later I was talking to the special care nurses and discovered that it wasn’t crucial and that many experienced mothers didn’t use that night. I should have talked to the special care nurses that I had built a relationship with and knew more about premmie babies then the ward nurses. We received so much help and advice during our time in the special care nursery, and not being a first time mother, we were more than ready to take the babies straight home rather than staying an extra night.

I’m still mad that the nurses would consult the insurance company rather than doctors. If I had my normal doctor, I would have felt free to talk to him. However, if you remember my birth story, my obstetrician was away and then his replacement went fishing the day the babies were due to be born so there was a third doctor who delivered the babies. The second doctor was lovely, but I was feeling to shy to directly ask to stay in hospital for longer. I did hint at it every time I saw him, and I really wish that I had been more direct. Finally on the last day he approved me to stay the extra night, after the nurses had talked to him and told him what the insurance company had said.

Insurance companies should not run hospitals. I only say all this in case another soon to be Australian triplet Mum is reading this. If I were you, I would speak to your doctor, hospital and the insurance company prior to admittance about the length of stay. I was very grateful for the time I had at home while the babies were in the special care nursery, I didn’t want to stay in hospital the whole time. I just wanted to stay a little longer and work on getting the supply up before I was unable to breastfeed the babies overnight.

Anyway, I’m sorry. I’ll end that rant.

Once I had more milk and the babies had started feeding, my routine was to feed each of the babies one breast each. We rotated the order that the babies were fed. That way they each got a chance to get the most milk during the first feed. If one baby was always fed third, he/she would have been normally only getting the leftover dregs. I always have one breast that flows better than the other also. That was the golden breast that all the babies preferred, so every third breastfeed they got a chance to have the full flowing liquid gold! After I fed all three, I would express. This helped increase my production. It also meant that the hospital had a stockpile that they could use if I wasn’t there for a feed. I always tried to miss one feed overnight and let them use the stockpile of EBM (expressed breastmilk). Having those extra few hours to sleep, I was assured by the nurses, helped increase the milk production, they really did know best, as it worked! I also found this valuable when I went home while they babies were still in hospital. This was really a chance where I got extra rest, even though I was still getting up to pump throughout the night and brought little containers of EBM into the special care nursery the next day. Whatever EBM the nurses didn’t use got frozen. When I was discharged, another mother of a single baby born the same day as the triplets was also going home. She went home with a great big box full of EBM. I had a miserly four containers!

When I was no longer an in patient, I would go to hospital in the morning, Alex would drop me off on his way to work. Then he would come into the special care nursery after work. He would say hello to all the babies, and help with any feeding if the babies needed any top ups with formula. It was only just before I got home (after I had started taking motilium) that I had moved onto exclusive breastfeeding the three babies. Then we would go and pick up the older two boys from Grandma and head home. We were so grateful during those busy days that helpful women from the church had been making us meals. It would have been far too exhausting to make a healthy family meal after arriving home, sometimes after 7pm.

Daddy feeding Jayden

While I was at the hospital, the babies were still feeding three hourly, until the day before they were discharged when they moved to four hourly. Most times it took 2 hours to feed, change, express. During the hour between feeds I would eat, read a book (a luxury for me) and sleep. The midwives were j

ust obsessed with getting my milk production us as I was, and my favourite midwife was very insistent that I sleep. I can remember her marching me into the family room one time when I had an hour and a half break before the next feed, handing me a blanket, pointing to the couch, pulling the curtains and telling me that she would wake me when the babies were ready to feed. I was very grateful for her, I slept so easily (Normally I am a person who never sleeps in the daytime unless I’m sick), and Dee woke me up at the very last moment when the babies were all changed and ready to go. Hey presto, the fountain flowed freely after the sleep, so it inspired me to really concentrate on getting more rest to allow my body to have maximum energy to do it’s superpower and make milk! I also drank litres of water to help boost milk production.

So, that’s how I did it in those early days. It was a good start and I was able to continue breastfeeding until they were almost 14 months old. It’s such a good thing to be able to breastfeed your babies, and I’m glad that there is a lot of encouragement in Australia to do so. This is my story. There’s a little bit more information on how I breastfed once I got home here. The more I come in touch with women who breastfeed, the more I know that every mother has a different story. There are certain rules to follow such as attaching the child to the nipple. However, there are many different styles, so it is a case of a mother finding what works for her. Even within the triplet community, different mothers tackle how to order the breastfeeding different ways. Some feed all at once on their own twin feeding then single feeding. I preferred to have someone on hand to change and pass me babies and fed them one at a time. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong, you do what suits your own capacity.

Being so little when they started life, I’m sure that the health benefits for the triplets having breastmilk really did assist them to a great start in life.

What is your breastfeeding story?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess

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Road Trip! With 1 Year Old Triplets, 3 year old Boy and 6 Year Old Boy

Sometimes, when you have a lot of children, especially at such young ages, it’s tempting to crawl up in a hole and stay in safe places and wait it out before entering the big wide world until they are more responsible and less inclined to run away and in need of a parent in eternal pursuit of mischievous bodies. Being a homebody, it hasn’t bothered me all that much that we have spent a lot of time at home in the past year. However, in December, we choose to venture out into the big wide world in spectacular fashion.

A good old fashioned road trip. Only with air conditioning included. Oh, and DVD’s and Nintendo DS. No sense losing some sanity to go completely vintage. Except for our youngest passengers. Poor kids had a brand new DVD player to watch and it stopped working by the 2nd day. They travelled 5 other days keeping themselves entertained with toys. Bravo babies, bravo.

The journey was a December trip from our home in South East Queensland to have Christmas with family at Cairns in Far North Queensland. We drove an impressive 4,405 kilometres (2737 Miles) from start to finish. One van, (our Kia, Grand Carnival), and seven people packed into it. Three 14 month old babies, a 3 year old, a 6 year old and a very brave Daddy and Mummy.

Our trusty Kia Grand Carnival. We borrowed the pod, and it was fantastic! Exactly what we needed for this trip.

It was actually so much easier than I had thought it would be. I had imagined a lot of screaming and crying, getting into places late at night because of so many stops to let children stretch their legs and having to provide endless in-car entertainment.

Our children, as it turns out, are awesome travelers  Unlike a memorable road trip to Sydney and Canberra when Trent was a three month old baby and had cried/screamed the majority of the drive time, and I came back needing chiropractic assistance to the damage done by twisting my arm back to hold a dummy in for hours. This time, all five children were content to travel the long distances with minimal fuss.

Our strategy was to get in the car and drive. (Profound, huh?) Minimal stops. It became apparent that our kids would just get in the ‘travel zone’ and we knew that it would start getting tricky getting them back into the car if we started letting them out too often. Mainly our only stops were to get petrol. Most toilet stops were on the roadside. (So easy with boys… and nappies for the babies) Our goal then was to let them have a swim in the morning before we left, so we didn’t leave ultra early. This made them nice and tired to start with. Then we would go hard during the day driving virtually non-stop in between 6-8 hours during a day and mostly arrive in time to have a swim in the late afternoon as a reward for getting there.

The Christmas mobile all packed and ready to go!

Our travel itinerary. The time is the estimated time to travel without stopping, so of course it took us a bit longer. It was pretty well a good break up of time for the age group we were travelling with. Next time, we will probably take two days (one night) to get there if we drive again.
1. Toowoomba – Rockhampton (6.4hrs)
2. Rockhampton – Ayr (6.4hrs) – Took a lot longer this day to get there because we stopped to visit my Uncle and his family in Mackay.
3. Ayr – Trinity Beach (Outside of Cairns)(5.13hrs)

On the way home:
1. Trinity Beach – Townsville (4.17hrs)
2. Townsville – Yeppoon (7.55hrs) This was the biggest travel day we did – no time for swimming that evening!
3. Yeppoon – Bundaberg (3.6 hours) We stayed in Bundaberg simply because there is a barber who has become a family friend there. The little boys were getting scruffy and I simply wouldn’t let anyone else to give Jayden and Toby their first haircuts!
4. Bundaberg – Toowoomba (4.19 hrs)

OK. So even with an ultra nice barber, first hair cuts can still be very scary. I love it that Matt cut the two boys hair at once. He was literally snipping a bit from one head and then going back and doing the other!

If you are interested in the details of how we travelled with the five kids, I’ve put it under headings below.

A common sight travelling with kids!


We would get takeaway and keep driving for lunch. I know it’s not fashionable to admit that, (espcially on blogs, which you are more likely to hear the virtues of organic homemade meals!) but I have an everything in moderation policy. Plus, it was a treat for the kids and it made the trip more exciting. (As well as being great for bribery during the day!) Because my children don’t get junk regularly, it really did make the trip more of an event.

I packed an insulated lunchbox full of snacks for the big boys each day. They also had water handy to sip on throughout the day. That way they could just nibble away when they were peckish or bored. I packed packets of several sized zip lock bags, this way I could pull them out each morning and fill them. I had a rule that fruit always needed to be eaten first.

Travel snacks suggestions are:
GRAPES! (By far the babies favourite!)
Cut up fruit, (that wouldn’t mush) for the babies and Jonty. Trent prefers to eat his uncut. I wish Jonty did also, it would save so much time. 😉
Yoghurt Buttons
Dried fruit
Tiny Teddies
Muesli Bars
Cut up sandwiches. (I also brought a jar of peanut butter with me.)
Fruit nuggets
The packaged lunch box items are great, because they are easy to store, especially in the heat, with minimal preparation.

I had bought the triplet’s “gyro bowls” for the trip. They turned out to be the best thing ever for travelling. Basically the bowl is designed to minimize food being tipped out by having two bowls that swivel, encased in a larger easy to hold casing  They look like a little alien spaceship, and I was worried they would just be a gimmick, but turned out to be spill proof for big brothers to pass around the car. I had an insulated bag of triplet snacks near my seat, so at regular intervals I would fill a bowl up and pass it to Jonty, who would give it to the two babies sitting next to him. Then the third one would get passed back to Trent who would lean across and give it to the baby who was relegated to the back seat. (The babies don’t have set seats, so we always made sure they had turns at sitting in the different postions.) Any bowl that can be passed by a six year old and a just turned 3 year old and still make into a 1 year olds hands with the food still within, really does deserve to be applauded. And I have spoken the gyro bowls praises loudly to all who care to listen.

This picture was obviously the first day – the only day the triplets had working DVD players. We’ve since solved the problem (why couldn’t we figure it out en route?) and they are now developing a set of square eyes during trips. But anyway, check out their groovy gyro bowls! Perfect for containing special travel treats!


 To be truthful, I had organised a whole lot of activities to keep the children busy, but we didn’t do most of them. The two older boys were more than content playing their DS, Leap Pad and watching DVD’s. Of course we didn’t let them do this all the time, and controlled their screen time, breaking it up into chunks throughout the day. In between using the screens, they were more than happy to talk and look out the window. It’s quite boring to report about really. Except the boys didn’t think so, and that’s the main thing.

Another favourite past time for Jonty was posing for photos!

The triplets were pretty much legends. They were so patient. I did have a bag of toys always in the front with me. When they started to grizzle, I would pass them back a new toy. Whenever we stopped, I would retrieve all the dropped toys and then rotate them to a different baby. Because there was a baby in the very back seat, I got an expert at throwing soft toys so they would land in the car seat in the back right hand corner! We did get Trent to hand toys to the baby also, but the toys would often not make it.

The baby in the back. This time it’s Toby.

Some ‘old fashioned’ things I did prepare in advance. (As in they didn’t require a screen!)

1. I loved this Travel Bingo from The Organised Housewife. We printed them out and laminated them so they could be used with whiteboard markers.Unfortunately Jonty’s headspace was firmly entrenched in Super Mario when I pulled this out. So I had to threaten there would be no DS until the bingo was complete. At all. Zilch. No more arguing. At all. I mean it. (etc. etc.) Eventually he begrudgingly played a game. For awhile there, he was enjoying it. Until we were stuck with bland scenery and couldn’t find a dog to cross off the list anywhere. The atmosphere in the car got tense. Eventually he was able to shout a triumphant bingo and in two seconds flat the car was filled once again to the tunes of Mario jumping and catching coins.

2. Towns and Cities Lucky Dip.

I spent so much time before hand searching out little knick knacks. I then divided them into paper bags that had names of some of the towns or cities that we were travelling through. I gave Jonty a map, which he marked our route as we progressed. I was also going to give him laminated cards with various place names on. When he saw we were travelling through that place, he could trade the card in for a prize for him and Trent.

Except, I left the bag full of prizes at home. I cried when I realised. I had stayed up really late the night before getting all the last minute things in order, so I was ultra tired. So when I realised that all my carefully prepared goodies were sitting on the dining room table at home, I pretty well bawled. Which rather alarmed the boys, and they talked about Mummy crying the rest of the trip.  But anyway, if you are looking at things to do on a road trip, I’m sure it would be a great activity to fill in the time!

Some of the bags which are leftover. The others have been used for bribery..

There is no doubt that road tripping is a fantastic opportunity for hours of family time. Even if the kids are playing electronic games or watching DVD’s, there is still a sense of community. We are all locked into a confined space, and we make the time pass together. (Plus, while the kids play, it’s an excellent time for Mum and Dad to chatter away about grown up things.) The moments that the devices were turned off, gave us unique opportunities for in depth discussions on life. We discussed death as we passed cemeteries, the upcoming fears and expectations of the upcoming school year as we passed rural school houses, the environment as we drove through our vast country, natural disasters as we drove through communities recovering from major cyclones. We discussed our expectations of behaviour at the various places that we were visiting, we talked about how our family works and the different personalities. Road trips certainly offer a wealth of opportunities. It’s a reminder that it’s not just the destination, it’s also the journey that will last in our memories.

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess

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Triplet's 1st Birthday Cake Smash

Triplets first birthday cake smash. Cute much? Definitely! So I thought I would share some extreme cute with you since I just got back photos of their 12 month cake smash. Thanks to the wonderful Zara Jane for doing this for us. Check out her facebook page here.
So here they are. Eyeing the cake with anticipation and curiosity!

The first tentative touches.


It didn’t take Jayden long to realise that this was lots of fun.

Here he starts some serious mooshing.

Miss Imogen decided that blue looked very pretty so started getting a piece of her brother’s action. Jayden was preoccupied in his own world of mess.

After awhile the pink and blue started becoming purple on her leg!

 Cheeky girl!

Oh my, Jayden just loved this whole experience so much, and hands down was the messiest baby. Although the red icing rather resembles a blood bath.

Getting towards the end of the session.

Looks like he has war paint on his cheek now!

 Messy bubba.

I am sure Jayden was only trying to be friendly, but Miss Im is not impressed with a friendly hand on the shoulder.

Yes, she is not impressed at all.

Toby having his last of his sugar overload.

Picking up Jayden because he kept trying to do a runner. (Note footprints…)

 The aftermath.

Of course there was heavy duty bathing required.

A glimpse of Imogen as Daddy bends over scrubbing the boys.

It was such fun! Thanks again to Zara for her beautiful images and great memories!

Today I’m linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT. (I Blog On Tuesdays)

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A One Day Triplet Babysitting Gig

It was my sister’s birthday on Saturday. To celebrate went to Dreamworld, a theme park two hours away on the Gold Coast. We decided against bringing the triplets, and my mother-in-law kindly agreed to babysit them for the day. She decided to come around to our house to do this since all their stuff is here, she thought it would be easier. Because this was her first solo triplet babysitting gig, (although her husband did arrive later in the afternoon to help. Vital really, it makes it so much easier if there is a 2nd person around in the late afternoon.), I typed out some of their routine for her. After it was all done, I thought I’d share it with you, (plus photos!), since I thought it gave a good little glimpse of my days with the triplets. (Minus all the household chores and the three year old entertaining.)

The Triplet’s Routine
February, 2013

5:30Wake Up and play in cots.

6:00-6:30ishTake out of cots, change nappies.

6:30ishBreakfast. 4 Weet Bix soaked in milk. Drink Water. They (normally the boys) can get teary (as in possibly screaming!) and temperamental about eating breakfast sometimes. Normally they will come good with a bit of coaxing. 

After Breakfast until around 9:00Get dressed. Play. I put them to bed when they are grizzling or at 9:30 will normally be the latest I’ll let them stay up until. They normally play with their toys and with the big boys. They also like saying hello to Bronco in the morning. 

At the moment they like sitting on the dining room chairs. I will often give them an empty bowl or cup and a plastic spoon and they like stirring them as they sit there. They will climb onto the table and crawl all over it, sit on it and stand and walk on it! I just keep lifting them down and saying “No” very sternly to them. If you push all the chairs in under the table so they can’t climb onto the chairs they will most likely go under the table and get stuck on a chair underneath it. (Just so you know!) Oh, and they will probably dirty their nappies during the playtime. You’ll smell it. The boys might dirty them more than once.

9:00-10:30/11:00Morning Nap! Put them into bed with their bottles. 125ml. Toby and Jayden having soymilk, Immy: cows milk. If they are mucking around, after 15mins-30mins, go in and check. They have a habit of doing poos instead of sleeping. After their nappies are changed and dummies back in (They will chuck them around the room or under the bed) they will normally settle down.
Relax! Eat chocolate. It will help for the rest of the day. (Ha ha!)

11:00-12:00Playtime. They will still probably be obsessed with the table. I’ve been giving them little games to do at it. They love sorting things into muffin tins. Watch for when they start to get bored to take the things of them otherwise they will start pegging it all around the room. (Normally I’m not quick enough and they start throwing things!) 

They have also been having little scribbles in their scrapbooks and have just started putting stickers in. They will try to eat the pens, so I’m trying to teach them to keep it out of their mouths. It’s easier for only one to draw at a time, because that will require the most supervision. They will prefer to take the lids on and off the pens more than actually drawing. If it’s easier, pack them into the pram and take them for a walk. Bronco will want to come too. Only take him if you want to. 

 12:00 – Lunchtime. In their highchairs. I make three sandwiches with different spreads on, cut them up and feed them only two pieces at a time. Trying to encourage them not to throw their food. After their sandwich, they will normally have some cut up fruit. There is plenty in the fridge. (plums, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears and their favourite: grapes, they eat the grapes whole, just pulled off the stem.)

After lunch until somewhere in between 1:00-2:30, (depending on when they woke up in the morning.) Playtime. 
Same as before. Because the big boys aren’t in the playroom, they will enjoy going into there. They might like the Duplo. Help yourself to any toys in the toybox or baskets. You’ll need to watch out though. If you leave the room at all, keep an ear out because they will instantly try to pull all the books out of the bookshelf.

1:30-3:30 (Typically?) Afternoon Nap. Probably best putting them in the three separate port-a-cots because they have been mucking around a lot and not settling lately in the afternoons when they are together. 125ml just like before.

3:30-4:00(ish) They will wake up. They can have a snack. More fruit and/or biscuits or cereal bites (on stove top)
Playing Outside. – Suncream is on the kitchen bench. Hats hanging in the garage. Feel free to walk to the park if you’d prefer. You’ll need to put the dog water up. They will make a beeline for it. Just put it back down for Bronco after they go inside if you remember please.

5:15(ish), or when they start getting grumpy. Dinner. Chicken and mushroom Pasta. In the square Tupperware container. Heat it up, but they won’t have it very hot. Put it in bowls with a spoon. Shouldn’t be any trouble, they love it.

5:30Bathtime. You can go two ways. Either bath them individually. Maybe give the two who are waiting their turn some fruit in their high chairs if they have already finished eating. Or if you are feeling game, bathe all three at once. When they are finished, either dry them and release them out into the wild naked and when you are finished drying the last one, hunt them down and put nappies on. (They love a good streak.) Or you could be more civilised and bring nappies into the bathroom and lay them on the floor and change them each as you get them out. I’m starting to put them in long sleeves overnight again because it’s getting cooler in the early hours.

6:00 Bedtime. Although if they aren’t all ultra tired, I’ve been staggering them so they don’t muck around. (They will probably poo again if they are all together.) You could put them in the three separate cots again, they might settle better. Up to you. If they aren’t settling down if they are all in the bedroom, feel free to take him/her out and put in isolation!

And that’s it. As you can expect my mother-in-law looked pretty exhausted when we got home. I think she kept the triplets very busy and content though. The next day they were wiped out! It was obvious they had a great day with Nanny.

Next it’s my Mums turn at the end of the month! Alex and I are escaping for two nights. We promised ourselves a little break once the babies were weaned and man, are we ever looking forward to sleeping in! (Hope we can!)

We had a lovely time in the Dreamworld by the way. I think the big boys loved having undivided attention for the day. Jonty went on his first big kids roller coaster, although he by far preferred the ball pit that was complete with ball shooters. Trent’s favourite was the rapid ride and the log ride. He loved getting wet! We so appreciated the opportunity to do this. Thanks R!

Our group, except for the birthday girl who is actually taking the photo!
So, what do you think? Would you like to volunteer a days babysitting service for me? How brave do you think my mother-in-law is? Have you had any ‘escapes’ recently with reduced children or no kids?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess

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A Story About Triplets + Paint

So, as I have said before, Thursday morning is normally my opportunity to blog. So on Thursday morning the babies had got me up early, and all morning I was looking forward to putting them down for their morning nap and getting started!

Things did not go as planned.

Our current set up at the moment for sleeping triplets is their bedroom, where there are three cots. However,  we also have 2 port-a-cots set up in the lounge room and the playroom. This is because the babies often wake each other up or cannot settle down on their own.

Generally if one baby sees another baby is awake, no matter how tired they are, they will stand up and start squeeling and talking to one another until they get over tired and then start howling and crying and cannot settle down.

Take for instance this morning.

Fed Jayden and put him into bed where he fell instantly asleep.
Fed and put a sleepy Baby Toby in bed.
Fed Imogen, opened door slightly ajar, saw that Toby was very nearly almost asleep. When he saw me he didn’t move a muscle. I knew that means he was really close to dozing off. Little Imogen was almost asleep in my arms, so I crept in and put her to bed also. Crept out.

Turned on the computer.
But wait, what is it I hear? Surely not babies?

Of course it was babies, standing up, bouncing up and down and looking pumped.

Laid Jayden back down. Tucked him in. Took Imogen out of the room. Placed her in the playroom.

Sat down. Logged onto blogger.
Is that giggling I hear?
Toby upon losing his first playmate, woke up the second playmate.

Banished Toby to the lounge room.
Sat in front of the computer. Listened to Jayden having a breakdown because he felt that the 15 minutes he was asleep was a full nap.

Got him out of bed. But because he was still tired, he sat pulling at my legs crying.

Which woke up Imogen.

Who started wandering around crying because she too was tired.

Which woke up Toby.

I shut the computer.

I thought I would try to do a focussed activity to take their minds off the unfairness of life and give them some extra stimulation. I often don’t do the same amount of things I did with my singletons. I had no Trent at home, so I decided to just do a babies and Mummy activity. I remembered seeing on pinterest a zip lock bag of paint that was no mess and they would be able to swish and swirl the colours around. So I sat them in their highchairs and started filling bags with paint and taping them onto their highchair trays.

 They refused to let go of the toys that I had let them play with while they were waiting. If you are super Mum/Dad, you will automatically see my error.

And by the time I taped the last bag on, the first baby was crying already.

They weren’t very impressed with the whole brilliant paint in a bag scenario. They gave it a bit of a tap, but soon all three were crying again. Except while they were crying they started banging the toys. Who had sharp pointy tails. Can you see the problem?

So, little bits of paint started getting out and onto the toys. The real paint held their interest a bit more, so I threw caution to the wind and cut open the bags and let them do some finger painting for real.

This kept them quiet for a little while.

But not forever.

And then as they started crying, they began to rub their tired little eyes.

Oh yeah. You can see just how tired the little munchkin was.

While their hands were all covered in paint, I grabbed some paint and smeared hand prints onto a few pages. Some were better than others. There was babies crying and I’m grabbing hands and smacking them onto paper like a madwoman.

Then I plonked them all in the bath. It was hectic plus! Then when I was pulling them out, I didn’t have clothes ready I had naked babies running everywhere!

 Once the babies were clothed, I then had to deal with the highchairs. A lot of scrubbing was involved. Especially since I hadn’t used child friendly paint. (Since I thought it was going to be confined to a bag.) There’s still traces of paint…

Anyway, I was trying to write a blog post for Thankful Thursday over at We Heart Life. But in the end, I’m just thankful I survived the combination of paint and triplets!

Have you made any rash/foolish moves lately?

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Things That Once Terrified Me About Having Triplets

Last year I wrote a post outlining some of the things that really frightened me about the prospect of mothering triplets. So, I have to say, I really had a pretty good realistic expectation of how it was going to be. I knew it was going to be hard. And it was. I knew there would be much joy. And there is.

Since the triplets are now one year old, I thought it would be good time to go back and re-cap on how it has been. If you want to see my original post, check out Part One and Part 2 (I’ll only address Part One today.)

1. Having 5 Children 5 and Under.

Oh man. It’s been tough. But wonderful. I just look at the five kids some days, and marvel that they are mine.  It just seems normal having them all around. I sometimes wonder why this is a big family. I just couldn’t imagine life without any of them, and having lots of kids around is our normal.

It did make it easier with the babies, as I had expected, having been there done that before. As with any mother who has 2+ children, you can just apply what has worked before and move on from there. My sister once made a comment that I seem more relaxed with five than I did with one. Perhaps it is true. Sometimes first time mother’s feel overwhelmed by me and they question why they find it so hard when they only have one and I have five. I try to explain, that I too found life difficult when there was only one child. 

Having said that, I’ve often thought how much simpler my life would be if I did not have to deal with the older two kids and could just work according to the triplet’s schedule. Dealing with the behaviour issues with the older two is a constant juggle. At the moment we are struggling with T-Star being rough with the babies. He throws things at them, hugs them too tight around the necks, picks them up and throws them and rolls around the floor holding them while they scream desperately trying to escape. People have chuckled as they have heard me say things such as, “Don’t stand on the baby please.” And I understand why it is a funny statement to listen to. (Once it has been verified that the baby has survived the ordeal.) But my goodness. It’s so frustrating trying to teach a two year old gentleness, especially when the lesson does not interest him in the slightest.

J Boy has own moments when he has had mammoth tantrums that have needed to be addressed. This will than put out the whole routine of the home, which will result in screaming babies which only escalates the tension in the home. Also, because this is J Boy’s first year of full time schooling, we have found homework a real challenge. This is such a disappointment to me. The teacher in me was so looking forward to doing homework with my kids. I’m afraid some days it can only be described as hell. It doesn’t matter how many fun ideas I try to implement, J Boy refuses to participate in the spirit of frivolity when learning. I have to push aside my own agenda often and just let him read the flashcards, because he would prefer to do homework in the ‘boring’ way rather than participate in the alternate games I have suggested. But even still, there is great wailing, moaning and gnashing of teeth from both of us before homework is accomplished. (For the record though, I still believe in it. The exercise of practising learned work really does help a child consolidate his/her learning and help increase achievement and confidence.)

Then there are other issues. The triplets get a lot of attention and the boys will often be ignored by some people. The triplets get things given like lots of baby food, milk, clothes, even today there were smash cakes for a photo shoot. (Can’t wait to share that one with you!) The boys don’t want the things like baby food or baby clothes, but they do notice that the triplet’s have been given something and they have not. Luckily they are very loved boys and do receive attention from many people, so they remain confident and (generally) well behaved boys.

2. Lack of Sleep


I have never experienced anything like the level of sleep deprivation I have endured throughout the last year. When they were newborn, it was common to only get four hours sleep, and that was interrupted sleep. I can remember wistfully thinking that all I wanted was to sleep more than two hours without being interrupted.
3 weeks. Sleeping newborns, so precious. Never through the night though.

I was right about it being hard to cat nap through the day also. When they were young, the same rule applied. They would need to be fed in three hour cycles. That normally only left one hour before the next feeding session began. And if you wanted to do anything for yourself like pee or eat, your time was reduced. And ther

e was also other children to consider also.

I didn’t like going to sleep during the day, and found it very uncomfortable to just say to whoever was in the house that was what I was going to do. I did do it. I probably should have done it more. I wanted to. I would often spend a feeding session pep talking myself that I needed to just get a power nap in, even if it were only 20 minutes. And then I didn’t. If I were to do it all over again. I don’t know if I would improve though. It’s just the way I felt and sometimes I would prefer to be tired rather than uncomfortable. That’s just the way it was.

Alex was an amazing help, and I truly don’t know how he functioned at work some days.

As for the books I read before I had the babies on rigid sleep routines which would help them to sleep through the night earlier. 


It maybe works some people. But it didn’t work for me. One year on and we are very almost (fingers crossed) at the point where they are sleeping through. It has been a ridiculously long process. Much longer than the first two children. Which is the ultimate irony. If I was going to chose the worst sleepers of my five kids. Probably wouldn’t have chosen the triplets! Oh well, you deal with the hand you are dealt.

Update: Since writing this, at 12 1/2 months the babies started sleeping through. Hip hip hooray!

3. Housework

So this has been either as bad (I imagined it to be pretty bad!) as I thought it would be or surprisingly, quite often it’s heaps better than I imagined. 

I have been so embarrassed from time to time when people came to visit because there was (is) just stuff everywhere. But to be truthful, I can remember being embarrassed for the same reason before multiples as well. The biggest difference I’ve found in my current situation is that when I know people are coming, I do what my friend Belinda defines as a Panic Clean. (Go on read her post. It’s a brilliant little phrase she’s coined up, and she gives some helpful hints on how to Panic Clean well.) Most of the time I used to make my home fairly presentable before people came around. (So long they didn’t open closed doors.) These days, the Panic Clean, well …. often you wouldn’t really know it happened. It often still looks like chaos when people arrive. Or it really didn’t happen because the kids interrupted me so much. Or it happened too early and got messed up again before people arrived. Sigh. 

Normally I try to throw things out of the way when I take photos, to make it look a bit tidier than it really is. Or take the shot from another angle. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. Like this shot taken in the playroom on the weekend. The playroom is often such a mess it’s difficult to walk into it. Oh, and in case you are wondering what’s happening in this picture. Missy is mad at Joey for taking her chair so she is in the process of trying to reclaim it. (She eventually sat on him.)
In the early days, it was almost a hopeless cause getting housework done. I died a thousand deaths when people came into the house, (even if they were coming to help), especially after the weekend. So often I literally didn’t have time to do anything. The only way it got done was thanks to a lovely older lady who volunteered to come in once a week and clean my house, and the paid help that we had pitching in. According to In Home Care guidelines, the carer is only allowed to clean up after children. I justified this to the co-ordinators that it was to include things like sweeping, mopping and cleaning the toilet after the boys (Yuck. Boys make such a mess.) After all, it is the kids mess. We are also very lucky that Miss Rachael is a tidy person. My Dad always said it makes sense to staff your weaknesses. In my case, being a “messy”, I sometimes just marvel that Rachael walks into our house and half an hour later it is remarkably tidier. It makes everything instantly seem a bit calmer. Although I’m watching carefully, I kind of don’t know how she does it, because I just can’t seem to replicate it. It just illustrates that because of the extra help, it can certainly be better than I thought.

When I’m left to my own devices, things go pear shaped quickly. It also doesn’t help that when I’m on my own I often have five kids and often if the babies are asleep, the boys start demanding attention. This is justified. It’s only fair that children get as much as their mother’s time as possible. Throughout the year, T-Star in particular, has watched a lot of TV. Sometimes it’s the only way I can get anything done. It’s always my goal to counter-balance the screen time and give him other opportunities again. Alternatively sometimes if I’m on my own with sleeping babies, I choose to ignore the housework and do things (like blogging) that I feel guilty doing when other people are around. 

In many ways though, the triplets are helping me to be more organised, even in the cleaning department. I’m more aware of keeping on top of things. You just have to. Catching up is almost impossible.

4. Lack of Privacy

I’ve coped with this better than I thought I would. If I’m feeling frustrated, I just paint a picture in my head of what life would look like if I didn’t have the extra people around. It helps me get over any feelings of frustration pretty quickly. Like I said above, having people around has often made things better than I expected.

Miss Rachael when she first begun working with us.

Of course, I do really wish sometimes that it was just the kids and I. I think about all the fun things I did when it was only J Boy and I in the house. We played hard building block cities, roads all around the house, making hospitals, and doing grandiose box constructions of castles, crocodiles and space shuttles. Play got less extravagant when there was another baby in the picture, but with five kids, I really try to play as much as I can with them, but there’s always so much to do. And absurdly, even though I’m grateful there is someone with my kids and keeping them very happy so I can get much needed tasks done, sometimes I just can’t help but feel a little jealous. I would always prefer to be playing with my kids rather than doing jobs! I sometimes worry that they will love me less because maybe I’m ‘not as much fun’, or I ruin it all by having to discipline them, but then I have to kick myself out of self pity. I know I’m the Mummy, which includes the good the bad and the ugly. There’s always going to be a bond with my children and I, and because I work at strengthening that bond we’ll always be close, even if I am busy in the meantime. And because life is full of contradictions, I’m grateful that I have help around the place, because often it means that I am able to play with my kids more because someone else is doing that task for me.

Or sometimes, no kids, just myself. I have had many daydreams about being sent away to a day spa and receiving massages, facials and manicures. Heaven. Alex and I have decided that when the babies are all weaned and sleeping through the night we will have a little overnight getaway, leave the kids with Mum and Dad, (Mum has also conscripted my sister to come over too for re-inforcements!), and we will have some time to ourselves to dine elegantly and SLEEP UNINTERRUPTED! (Hopefully in a swanky hotel room.) You don’t know how often I have thought about this. Must anticipated overnight stay ever.

5. Being Stuck At Home

We do spend an awful lot of time at home. I don’t mind much. I’m a homebody at the best of time, (50% introvert) and because there has been so many people passing through the doors, the 50% extrovert in me stays satisfied.

I do feel sorry for the triplets sometimes. Like the time I took them to the park and they were acting like cats who are placed in a new situation. They were so cautious and wary of the grass and when they hit a new surface like sand or dirt they would freeze and cautiously assess the new situation. As they are now getting older and the weather is getting warmer, they are starting to get outdoors a bit more. Which has the disadvantage of three little bodies diving bombing and trying to rush out to fresh air and freedom when the door is opened.

Being stuck at home all the time means sometimes you have to get creative when finding new places to have fun.

They also are starting to need the extra stimulation of alternate activities. It’s very hard though because to go to playgroups, etc. They are always scheduled in the mornings. Right during their daytime sleep. It takes a day (sometimes two) to get over any outings. (For instance, Mondays are always a fall out day around here from having gone to church on Sunday.) Then there’s people coming and going at set times that we have to work around as well. It makes life very complex.

Me time is now often when I have been able to sneak to the grocery shops without T-Star. Having people around does mean that grocery shopping is easier for me than most mothers with five kids because I will often leave them with a carer and head to the shops by myself or with one or two kids. I do sometimes yearn for the days of old though where I could dilly dally around the shops with a child in a pram for half a day (or more). I miss browsing and being able to shop for myself. I now shop like a man. I go into somewhere, see it and buy it. No looking at another store. Speed shopping I call it. Surprisingly this type of shopping means that I can spend just as much money (if not more) as I did after all my carefully considered purchases of old, even though I’m shopping a lot less. 

I’ve never gone shopping by myself with the five kids or even with just the triplets. There’s two reasons. Firstly there’s almost always someone around the house, so I would be a glutton for punishment if I took all the kids with me when they could be looked after at home. Secondly the triplet stroller is so ridiculously heavy that The Accountant has advised against me using it. He probably doesn’t want to pay for extra sessions at the chiropractor. I’ve got scoliosis and sometimes get a bad back just pulling a double stroller in and out of the car. The few times I’ve attempted to fold it up, I’ve failed. It’s very sticky, rusted in a few spots (the one drawback of an awesome 2nd hand deal) and I can’t remember which lever to pull and fold out where.

Can you remember something that terrified you? How did it work out for you? As expected, better or worse?

Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT (I Blog On Tuesday)

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12 Month Old Triplets

I am so thankful my triplets are 12 months old.  It is such a cute age. They are ADORABLE! Also, it is a route marker. I’ve survived the most difficult bits of higher order multiple babyhood challenges. Granted, I am about to embark on the challenging era of toddlerdom, but for now, I am basking in the bittersweet warmth coming from the glow as the sun sets on babyhood. Of course I do have a few sniffles as I contemplate that my children are growing up, but for now I am thankful that they smile those baby grins, give baby cuddles and wet baby kisses.

And as a sidenote, if you tell me they aren’t babies anymore, I cross my fingers at you and hiss as though you are an approaching vampire. I want to prolong their babyness for as long as possible. In my opinion, they really stay babyish until around the 18 month mark, where magically they lose their babyfaces and widen their scope of interest. Which will often include TV. See, I told you, it’s a magic age (and an excellent consolation prize for no longer having a baby). (Yes, yes, I supervise their viewing and limit it, but TV is great for diverting little people’s attention so Mummy can get something done. Let’s keep it real people!)

Anyway, here is an update on what my darling threesome is up to now that they are 12 months old.

I’m so proud of them! They are starting to wak this week! Joey started the week before his birthday, Chook started the day after his birthday, and finally Missy joined the merry crew of walkers this week! You would not believe how unbelievably CUTE three little wobbly walkers are! I’d share a video clip here, but they never seem to work for me. It might be my incredibly slow internet connection? If you wish though, we were in the local newspaper this week, check out a video on their site here.

Joey is starting to favour walking over crawling, so you will often see him toddling for no reason of late. Chook will get up and have a little wander on occasion. Missy took two steps on Monday, was a complete show off when the reporter was here doing about four sets of six or seven steps, and hasn’t walked since.

On their birthday, Missy has six teeth, (four up top, two down the bottom) and the boys both only had their bottom two. In the last two weeks, the boys have had their four top teeth coming through. It hasn’t been easy for them, so there has been a bit of misery in the house lately.

We’ve started decreasing the purees and increase the finger food/real food. I hate it. Such.A.Mess. If you walk anywhere near the highchairs location, it will most likely be crunchy underfoot. The highchairs are such a mess to clean up afterwards, the babies always have food stuck and dried to their clothes and food stains. Plus, the babies often aren’t that impressed with eating by themselves, so we have a lot of wasted food. I am finding though they are starting to get the idea, and if you just give them the food and leave them be, they are more likely to eventually eat something. Their favourite foods they are corn on a cob and sausages. They loved macaroni and cheese, but pasta is normally a bit hit and miss, you never know they’ll like it. Last night they had rice, it was a slow start, but eventually they ate a bit, (I think. There was so much left in the highchairs and on the floor, perhaps not!) Of course they love junk food too. Plain biscuits are always a winner and they have had a little ice-cream now, which went down a treat!

Rice and mince chow mein. Chook’s bowl is empty because he has just dumped the contents on his lap.

I’m very proud that we made breastfeeding the triplet’s 12 month mark! They have been supplemented since 4 months, but generally they have all received breastmilk two out of their three feeds. In the last week Joey has refused breastmilk at all, so he is now weaned. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to do the other two, but I’ve now had three children who have done this, so I’m hoping it will be that easy for Chook and Missy. If not, I don’t think it should be too big a drama since they are used to having bottles. I’ll probably be more upset than they will be! Sniff, sniff.


The babies most often play together and crawl around in a pack. They are starting to become even more away of each other and more affectionate. They will often give each other cuddles and kisses, (Altogether now, everyone saw, AWWWWW.) If they are tired one might lie their head on the other’s lap.

The still fight, and the boys quite physical at times and will push and hit. Missy can also push and hit with the best of them, but is more likely to cry and/or yell and look for intervention. Dummy stealing is still a popular activity, although as they develop an awareness of one another, they will often try to stick it back in the mouth (albeit the eye, nose of cheek) of the crying baby that it was stolen from. They may instantly steal it back, but hey, they are starting to get the idea that other’s have feelings too!

Favourite toys right now are walkers. They also love their wheely bugs that they received for their birthday, and mostly use them as walkers at this stage. Missy in particular charges around with her walker like a woman posessed. She has also discovered that if she rams her wheely bug into Daddy’s legs/feet it gets an instant reaction. She doesn’t mind that it’s a negative reaction and will delight in doing it repeatedly and then laugh. She has a wicked sense of humour.

They can now open doors, which means that T-Stars train set is no longer safe. Of course, because this is a forbidden activity it is now a favourite activity. It causes T-Star a lot of grief. And you can’t blame the little guy, it’s three against one.

There’s lots of it. All the Triplet Hot Spots are still strong favourites. Bookshelves have also gained popularity.

We are getting lots of words. Mum, bub, dad are favourites. “Hello” is probably the most said word by all three. The identical boys can say each others names which is very cute. (Admitedly, you do need to be listening to notice, but they certainly do it!

) Having only one girl and four boys, I’m constantly amazed that Missy will just garble away nonsense sounds for no reason at all. It seems that whenever the boys are talking, even if it’s only making sounds, it’s for a purpose. Missy will happily just babble just to make noise. It seems she already has more words to use in a day than her male counterparts.

Seeing their little personalities develop is one of my delights in life right now.

Joey tends to be the trailblazer.

He is the most adventurous, so he will crawl off and explore first and the other two will so join him if it looks like fun! He is still the smallest, at 8.8kg, but he eats the most food and is the least fussy. He’s very quick to smile and gives lovely cuddles, grabbing you around the neck and holding on tight. Melts.My.Heart. Absolutely every time.

Chook is Mr. Social

He loves interacting with and being around people. He’s growing up and is 9.4kg. He’s very cuddly at the moment and will often crawl up and lie his head on people’s (siblings included) lap. Another thing he is doing at the moment is when he finishes breastfeeding, he’ll pull away, look up and eyeball me and give a beautiful time. Heartcrush.

Missy is so unique, cheeky and always makes us smile.

Another picture I discovered today of her in her beloved chair.

She is a girl who know what she wants and is resolute in her objective to obtain it. She is vocal and can be quite forceful. She’s a power to be reckoned with, my girl.

Today, with my heart full of 12 month wonder and gratitude, I’m linking up with Thankful Thursday over at Kate Says Stuff.

What are you thankful for today?

Thankful Thursday

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The Triplet's Owl First Birthday Party

An owl theme for a birthday party was a lot of fun to prepare and there were so many cute owl themed ideas to implement to make the day special.

I’ve shared in the previous post about what the triplet’s did throughout the day they turned one. See it here

In this post, I thought I would go into further detail about some finer details of their actual party.

The theme was all things owls. Quite a simple theme to choose, since their nursery (See a picture of their nursery here) has been decorated in an owl theme. Most of my ideas came from Pinterest, feel free to check out my “Owl Party” board. There’s heaps of ideas that I would have loved to do, but quite frankly, I just didn’t have the time.

To start with nibbles, an owl cheese ball? Surely that’s not to cheesy?

I got the recipe here, which was really quite simple. 125g cream cheese, 125g grated cheese, 3 tablespoons gherkin relish. I threw it all in the mix master. It was very easy to shape. I’ve covered it in crushed pecans, flaked almonds for the tummy, carrot for beak and claws and the eyes are olives, apricots and sundried tomatoes. Plus I made double the recipe and made the 2nd into a ball and rolled it in paprika and curry powder and brought it to a party that we went to the day before. Add crackers and even a little kabana and it was popular with everyone.

I was going to make some owl devilled eggs. I googled a recipe, but didn’t think it looked as nice as Mum’s, so I rang Mum up to find out her secret. She promptly offered to make them for me, owl themed and all. She may have later regretted her offer, but oh well, I wasn’t going to turn down the offer! Look, aren’t they cute?

It was a beautifully hot day, so the owl ice cream cupcakes went down a treat. I was going to make regular owl cupcakes. Miss Rachael had made the cupcakes ready for me to ice, but at the last moment I had a brainwave that ice-cream would be better since we would already have so much birthday cake. (As it turned out, I have already iced them with left over birthday cake icing and they are frozen ready for T-Star’s playgroup on his birthday!) I softened regular vanilla ice cream and then spooned it into muffin tins lined with plastic wrap. Then it was simply a case of lifting the plastic out and decorating the circles of ice-cream. We had to do a fair bit of improvising according to what I had in the house, since my sister Julienne was helping me late at night. Chocolate ripple looked best for the wings, (the mint slice wings were yummy though also), lifesavers for eyes, (maltesers were a good substitute). An orange Jelly-bean cut up for a beak and chocolate buttons cut up for the eye brows.

At the beginning of the week I had commissioned Miss Rachael and the big boys the job of making a pinata. It looked great, don’t you agree? So cute! Although admittedly, the boys participation was limited. We will have to work on building their involvement and enthusiasm for the project for the next pinata project for T-Star’s November birthday!

Look at them all lined up and ready to give it their best shot to smash it to smithereens. Poor little fellow. He really didn’t deserve it.

I’ve already shared on Caitlin’s Happy Heart Facebook Page the favours I have made. Wherever possible, I like to present party favours that have a little bit of quality. Homemade gifts are the perfect way to achieve this aim. Which is why I made owl beanbags for this party.

Aren’t they adorable? Not only do they suit our theme, but they are great gifts for children. They have been very popular at our house for throwing and catching. (Although we are working on the difference of throwing the beanbag TO someone as opposed as throwing the beanbag AT someone) They boys also are having fun tossing the beanbags at a target and into a bucket. Even just holding the bags is a great sensory experience, which is always good for kinaesthetic learners such as my sons.

They are all a little bit unique, (a very loving way to describe my limited sewing ability!). I made a cardboard template, cut 2 pieces of fabric out. Sewed it wrong sides together, turned it out, sewed the eyes onto felt circle cut outs, then glue gunned the eyes and beak. Lastly I filled the owls with rice before sewing the last opening at the base.

Oh, and as a nice touch. The fabric I used was from the Triplet’s Monthly Project.

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2 months (November 2011) and 4 months (January 2012)

My children would be severely disappointed if they are ever sent home without something edible, (preferably including lollies), so I wouldn’t dare to omit these just because I wasn’t sending them home with a ‘loot bag’. Instead they went home with a cute little owl lolly jar!

Here are the cute little jars, just waiting to be filled.

The good thing about having triplets is that it’s very easy to collect 16 baby food jars. (Although later I realised I could have had minus four since the babies who were present didn’t need them!) I used a scrapbooking circle cutter and then glued googly eyes on. Then I hot glued the eyes, felt beak and feathers onto the jar. The big boys love sticking some owl stickers to pretty up the lids.

We made sure we had triplet coloured lollies! Blue mentos for Joey, Pink Marshmallows for Missy and Red Raspberries and Strawberries and Cream for Chook. (Not that any of them got to sample them!) The flowers in the background was to say Thank You to three special ladies who helped us throughout the past year. Our Mums and our Pastor’s wife who has ironed for us every week for over a year now.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of the kids filling their jars. But be assured, they were very cute holding their glass jars oh so very carefully and choosing the perfect delectables to fill the jar! But prior to the choice, the anticipation of eating the lollies was great.

Altogether it was a lovely day and a great party for my beautiful triplets.

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