Feeding Triplets Solids

Moving onto solids is a milestone that I secretly dread. There’s definitely many nice elements when feeding your baby real food, such as finding out what they like and having the satisfaction of seeing them enjoy new tastes. But it’s more work. That’s the part I dread. Suddenly you need to shop for food then peel, chop and puree it. And don’t get me wrong, I really like making my own baby food. I find it stangely satisfying completely pulverising things. But it’s another thing that has to be done in a day already crowded with tasks. Before long you adjust though, and can’t remember what life was like before the bubs needed three square meals a day.

Because of the babies consistent reflux, in the early days, our health nurse suggested starting solids at four months, which is now accepted practise. Our paeditrician said that was OK, but had suggested that I start trying solids at around 5 months if it didn’t work. I did give it a try then, but they really weren’t interested in the slightest. Even a month later they weren’t all that keen. So, they didn’t start eating solids properly until they were six months old. It took several weeks before they were really enthusiastic about eating the food even after that. I don’t know whether it was the premmie factor because J Boy and T-Star loved eating and got right into the rhythm at 5 months and 6 months respectively. (Oh, and the reflux still took about two months to settle down after they started eating anyway. It got better around 8 months. But they still spit up fairly regularly even now.)

Missy and Joey’s first taste of solids. We began with rice cereal. 4 months old.
First taste wasn’t entirely successful! They found it difficult swallowing in the beginning.

But the biggest challenge I find at the start is working the feeds into the day and making a new schedule. With both T-Star and the triplets it took me about two months to get into the three meals a day groove. To begin with, they were fed when I remembered or wasn’t too busy. One meal a day at first. If I remembered or had the time. I think some people freak out about feeding religiously once they start, but the babies are pretty cruisey at the start, and still more than happy with milk only days. Gradually we got into the routine of one meal a day, and then we started a second meal. By then they had got the hang of it also, so they would remind me that they wanted solids. Suddenly milk was no longer enough. Which is also a pretty sad moment, especially when you breastfeed. It didn’t take long before 2 meals a day increased to 3 meals a day. At that point in time, forgetting was no longer an option.

Two babies being fed by Mummy while Chook supervises. Almost 7 months old.

At the start I would often feed one or two babies at a time. They just needed the extra time sometimes to eat, but once they were finished, they wanted the next bit instantly, and would have a melt down when you were feeding someone else. It was often less painful and quicker to feed them separately, one after each other. At the moment we will normally have one huge bowl of food, one spoon and shovel it into the mouths as quickly as possible. There often is lots of crying, but they are old enough to deal with it now. Kind of.

It can be rough waiting for food. There’s often a lot of wailing that is heard from the triplets around dinnertime!

I prefer to make our own food. Unlike the rest of the family, the babies are pretty much vegetarian. It’s just easier to puree vegetables and not muck around with meat. As they grow older I will probably reserve some from our meal and puree it through, but at the moment, they are happy, so we’ll keep it that way. I’m also unashamed about purees. I know there’s a defense for leaving lumps in the food, but it’s so much quicker to whizz it through the food processor or get out the stick blender. (Mine is cheap though and doesn’t do a good job. Must invest in a better one…)  I find it tedious chopping bits into teeney tiny pieces to include in the puree. 

I let the babies get used to ‘lumps’ and texture by giving them finger food. I normally start this once they are eating confidently. The babies favourite at the moment are Hot Kid Baby Mum-Mum Vegetable Flavor Rice Rusks, 24-Count (Pack of 6). They absolutely devour these rice crackers, which amuses me because they look like cuttle fish. It’s like feeding a flock of budgies! You should try them out if you have babies. They are really great as a healthy snack before dinner (baby equivalent to a cheese platter) while you are still getting dinner ready and they are grizzling.

Other finger foods that are popular at the moment include milk arrowroot biscuits, steamed carrot (I’ve steamed carrot sticks, but they prefer to eat a small whole carrot peeled and steamed. It’s easier for their hands to grasp.) and cooled down chunky potato chips. I really need to keep expanding their repertoire, life is a bit busy at the moment, so I just need to remember. Has anyone got some other good finger food tips for us? I think the next thing we’ll try is grated apple.

When I first started making baby food for J Boy, I constantly referred to Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. It was one of the best baby shower gifts I was given by a friend. (Thanks Elizabeth!) Since then I’ve referred to other Karmel books such as: SuperFoods: For Babies and Childrenand Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats Seriously, for a cook who likes using recipes like me, these books are inspirational. My Mum laughs at me for using a recipe to do a puree, but I would have never thought to mix pumpkin and pear together or orange juice and sweet potato and the babies love it. There’s also great recipes for when they are growing up a little more (but still babies) such as a mild chicken curry or an excellent fish pie. It was my boys favourite, soft, tasty, easy to digest, and The Accountant and I thought it was a pretty delicious family recipe also.

(Disclaimer: I don’t use a recipe every time I make baby food. Sometimes I make up my own flavour combos and sometimes it’s just a case of chucking in every or whatever vegie there is in the fridge.)

At first we were using the boys old highchair and bumbos to feed the babies in. I had wanted to buy the highchairs that you strap to an ordinary chair, but I couldn’t find the type I wanted here in Australia, so we ended up going with the Accountant’s preference and choosing two steelcraft highchairs.

One of the first times they were all in a highchair each.

We were very lucky because their grandparents bought these for the babies. (Thanks Grandma, Grandad and Nanny B!) In the end, I’m really happy that we did this. The highchairs have wheels, so it’s so easy to wheel the babies around the room so we can feed wherever it’s convenient or slide them so they are in the best position. Also wonderful if you just want to put a baby in a chair and wheel it somewhere where they can watch the household happenings when they are tired and grizzly.

Aunty Julienne feeding the triplets mashed potato and sweet potato last night. (9 months old)

 Today I’m linking up with “For Moms By Moms” (It’s really hard for me to write Mum with an o! )

Disclosure: The links above to Amazon are products I have recommended because of their excellence, however if you do order them through Amazon I will receive a commission. Seriously though, if you don’t buy them from Amazon, you should totally look into getting them from somewhere else!

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"I Don't Know How You Cope" – Life with Baby Triplets – Getting Help

One of the common things people say to me these days are “I don’t know how you cope.”, “How on earth do you look after three babies?” or “I could never do that.” I thought I would briefly answer this question, in case you too have been wondering.

Firstly, if you think that you could never look after three babies, I think given the opportunity, you would find that you would. Sure it’s hard, but I think anyone with the capacity to love your own children would grit their teeth and get on with the job. Sure, some people might be able to cope better than others according to the level of your emotional resilience. But in the end, I think most people would end up growing three healthy children into adulthood.

So when people say that they ‘never would be able to do this’ to me, I always feel a tad embarrassed, because there is nothing particular special about me. I’m just doing the best I can with the hand I have been dealt. I also think to myself, I’m sure you could do it…

The second reason why I feel embarrassed is, because I cheat. I really find it incredibly hard doing it by myself, so I don’t! I have made sure that there is pretty well always a 2nd adult in the house most of the time – 24/7. It may be someone we have hired or a volunteer, or my husband. But someone is normally ready to help when I’m stuck feeding one baby and the other two are crying.

I know some triplet Mum’s do it without assistance, and they are amazing. Like I said above, if you are in a situation you will cope. I would survive if I had to do without assistance, but I know I would be feeling a lot more stressed than I currently am. There would also be a lot more crying and misery abounding, for myself and kids! And although our house may often look like a shambles, it’s still running fairly efficiently. If I didn’t have help, it would be in meltdown because I would be in complete survival mode. I’m glad that I don’t need to do it alone.

We have a Nanny who helps out under the In Home Care Scheme. I am so grateful that living in Australia we have access to In Home Care. (If you are an Aussie multiple Mum, you really should check it out. In a nutshell, you are able to claim childcare rebates and benefits for having a Carer in your home if you have three or more children not in school.)  It has meant that we are able pay for someone who really helps alleviate the burdens that result living in a household with triplets and two other children. We have a little gem helping us out right now. (Different person to the lady I had previously mentioned that had originally filled the position.) All the five children absolutely adore Miss Rachael, and I have to say that this makes The Accountant and I are pretty smitten as well.

We’ve also made the decision to have a 2nd paid person helping in the home, especially while things are so busy. Mrs. T is also a gift from God and is helping the household run more smoothly.

In addition to this I have several selfless ladies who come in and help with the babies and the running of our household. To them I have overflowing gratitude and endless amounts of appreciation. Firstly there is my family. My mother is a consistent fixture in our family these days. (It’s kind of nice seeing her so often!) She comes around either early morning or afternoon and helps out before or after our helpers are around. She also takes T-Star for a few hours on a Thursday to have some Grandma time. The little tyke looks forward to this – big time, and just quietly, I think the triplets don’t mind a bit of breathing space where their big bro isn’t rolling over them or waking them up from comfortable naps.

My youngest sister and my brother (when he’s in town) often come around and just help out looking after the children. It’s so handy having another pair of hands, especially at the end of the day during twilight of ‘the crazy hours’. (From about 4:00 until the kids go to bed.) And the best bit of this is the babies are also bonding with their Aunties and Uncle. My other sister helps by letting the two big boys come over for regular playdates with their 5 cousins. Sometimes the big boys just need to get out of the house and be somewhere where everything doesn’t revolve around three tiny persons.

Then there are my angels. I have a lady who comes on Monday  for a few hours and whips around my house cleaning it. Another lady comes for most of Wednesday and helps with the bubs and irons. I’ll tell you the truth. My ironing pile has never looked so healthy since I’ve had triplets, and the ironing quality is even an improvement on my efforts. (Oh and for those who don’t iron. I just can’t do that entirely.. But that is for a whole new post.) And then on Thursday morning I have another lady who cuddles babies, giving me the opportunity to feed, play with T-Star, shower, or do whatever I need to. (Crazy Sister also used to be a Thursday cuddling angel, until I had a helper reschedule. She was rather brilliant at getting all mooshy over babies.)

I’ll always be appreciative of the selflessness of these grandmothers (and even one lady is a great-grandmother!) who give up their time to help our family.

And I haven’t even touched on the myriads of people who have dropped in to help or say hello for a little bit. Or all the ladies who have made life easier by cooking us meals.

People sometimes are surprised that I “am still smiling” (I find the whole statement a bit odd, but there you go), but it’s easy when there are so many helping share the burden.

There’s so much more I could say, trying to phrase “Thank You” and “I’m Grateful” in a million different ways, but I hope you’ve got my point. Plus, it’s taken me two weeks to write this much, so if I wish to ever publish this post. I think I’ll stop here.

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Things That Terrify Me About Having Triplets – Part 2.

OK, I’ve already written one post about things that terrify, a.k.a. concern, me about being a mother of triplets. I thought even though I’m exposing my vulnerabilities and fears, this is a good post to make. For a few reasons.

a) Hopefully I can obtain some valuable advice from those who have been there done that.
b) Alternatively I can establish some relationship/solidarity with those who may be in the same situation
c) Let other pregnant Mum’s who happen to find this site know they aren’t alone.
d) Be informative for those who don’t have multiples, but are interested in some of the thought processes of multiple Mum’s.
e) Obtain prayer from those individuals who believe in the power of prayer and pray into certain situations where divine help will be the ultimate solution.
f) I think it will be really interesting to return to this post once I’m an experienced Triplet Mum and comment on what I found worked and which fears were unnecessary.

Mostly, the first post was about things that were directly effecting moi. Today I thought I’d extend the list talking about some of the more day to day aspects of having three newborns/babies/toddlers/children/teenager/grown up children all at once. Although, I think I’ll just start at the beginning and focus on my eminent concerns of newborns/babies.

Before I continue, I’ll comment on one more self centred thing that makes me rather anxious – it’s rather obvious. What is going to happen to my body before these three little beings make an appearance in this world? The mass, the stretching, the bulk, the physical strain it is going to be. Yikes! I am shuddering at the though. The worst thing is that I can’t do anything about it. I just need to wait and see what happens…

Anyhoo: Back to the likely hurdles that are going to make life, well, uh, interesting with the babies.

1. Their Birth Day
I am praying so hard that I don’t have pre-term labour. I would really like to reach 35 weeks. (For the babies sake. As I’ve said, what I will feel like at this stage of pregnancy is another issue!) At this stage my doctor has said if I go the distance, we’ll plan a caesar for 36 weeks. It’s my motivation for keeping life slow, although it certainly isn’t easy with the two boys. But I also want to delay hospital bed rest also, so that is also motivation. We just want to do whatever it takes to keep those babies in the womb as long as possible so that they can have the best possible start to life.

2. Breastfeeding
With my past two children, I have been fortunate enough to be awesome at breastfeeding. In fact, an older lady once said I was a great cow. Hmmm. Not sure that this was really a compliment, even if she may have meant it to be. However, if you ignore my similarities with the bovine, I’m hoping that I’ve been good at this particular female gifting for such a time as this.

However, I don’t presume that things will necessarily go smoothly. I know while some mothers have no problem with one child, it’s no guarantee for others.  Should I start having trouble, I have decided there is only a certain degree that I will stubbornly persist before I can get it right. I think you can have this luxury when you are only dealing with one child, but when you are operating with all the other competing factors that triplets will bring, I will have no hesitation in eliminating this problem and proceeding straight to formula. (Even if it makes The Accountant weep with the inevitable increase in the budget.)

Should things go well, my current plan is to feed two at once, and have one baby being bottle fed breastmilk. I plan to rotate the babies, so that every third feed they will have the bottle. That means 2 out of 3 feeds that get an under the arm snuggle with Mummy. I have to admit, that with my previous two, I never expressed. I just always worked any trips away from my children around feeds. So, I’m a little bit nervous about the whole breast pumping experience, because the one time I briefly tried to, I did not find it a pleasant experience. Suppose you get used to being ‘milked’. I’m thinking of hiring a hospital pump at first since I’m doing some heavy duty regular pumping. I would like to pump after each feed. Friends have also given me pumps, so I guess it will be a case of working out which one suits me the best. If pumping is too much effort, I’ll drop the breast milk bottle and substitute it to formula. I think it will be still be fine for the bubs to be getting formula every third feed.

Also, with singletons you have the luxury of breastfeeding when out and about. I’m supposing the easiest way of dealing with feedings when I’m not at home would be to bottle feed at least two. I’m not expecting to be out a whole heap, especially at first. It would nice to not be completely housebound. I would still like to make occasional trips to valued activities like my monthly bookclub, church or to do things with the boys.

3. Routines
I like routines. Most of the time. When they suit me. We have routines in our family. It’s good to. They create order and security. They can also create rigidity and inhibit spontaneity. So, one of my routines is to regular break from the routine. And up until now, this style has suited our family.

During the first few years with triplets, I’m imagining we will need to be more rigid in maintaining routines. It kind of scares me. Not only could I feel a bit inhibited, I’m kind of really bad at maintaining them long term, so I’m bound to break from the routine at some point, and it’s the consequences that may result from my actions that is worrisome.

However, I’m hoping that it will happen infrequently enough that the triplets also learn to deal with spontenaity, as my other children have.

The top of the list for more precise baby routines is sleeping and feeding. Up until now, I have labelled my feeding as “Feeding on demand with rules”, which I’ve been told is not really feeding on demand, because that demands no rules. With my previous two babies, I have been able to pro-long the feeds so that they were at least three hours apart. Of course if the baby was so upset that it was screaming and hyperventilating, I’d give them a snack. Or I’d be lenient when they were sick, or if their routines had been interrupted and they needed the comfort of a breastfeed. But generally I fed when they were hungry and looked like they wanted a feed sometime after the three hour mark.

With sleeping, I let the babies establish the pattern. When they looked sleepy, I would put them to bed. Generally they worked out a routine that suited them, and as they got older their sleep patterns would adjust and I’d work with them. It means that they didn’t go to sleep at the same time everyday, but at a similar time each day.

As I said, this has worked for me. People who love routines love that they can plan when they are out, or when to do things, because they know the exact time their baby goes to sleep. I preferred being able to have babies flexible enough that if I wanted to do something at a time when they normally slept, the baby could deal with the interruption to the schedule and make up the sleep some other time, or sleep in the pram, etc.

Because I think the method that would most suit living with triplets would be to have them all feeding and sleeping at the same time, (fingers crossed), a strict routine will need to be in place. I just hope this sanity saver doesn’t drive me insane.

4. Fussy Babies
J Boy and Toddler T, were generally pretty good babies, with not too many issues. I am hope, hope, hoping and praying that we don’t have fussy babies who constantly cry or have allergies, reflux,cholic or other ailments that make newborn life even more difficult than no

rmal. Please God! Completely healthy babies (who learn to sleep through the night early would be a bonus) will equal blessed babies, and a blessed Mummy! (Daddy, and brothers also!)

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