Yesterday, Henry, Jack, and Sophie met their first set of great-grandparents when Gee and Poppy came to visit. To be honest, it was really only Jack who “met” Gee and Poppy, since Henry and Sophie were busy sleeping at the time. Perhaps Jack knew that his middle name namesake was standing above his bassinet — Poppy, Will, and Jack all share the middle name Waldron. Or perhaps he just knew it was nearly his lunchtime 🙂 Asleep or awake, it was pretty exciting to have four generations together in the same room. A preview of Islip summer evenings to come.
Regrettably, I didn’t take a single photo of the visit with Gee and Poppy. In fact, I didn’t take a single photo all day. Not a single one. With the current feeding schedule, it feels like it is ALWAYS somebody’s turn to eat. There is little time for photos or snuggling when you’re popping from one bedside to the next. If ever I doubted the advice of those other moms of multiples who said the most important thing is establishing a feeding schedule where all babies feed at once, I don’t now!
So what does feeding triplets really look like?
For now, it looks a little something like this:
In the NICU
At the NICU, the feeds cycle through in the following manner:
And so it continues every three hours for the rest of the day, for a total of three feeds. Will is usually there for the 8, 8:30, 9AM cycle, I make it there for the 11, 11:30, 12 cycle and stay through the 2PM, 2:30, 3:00 cycle. We’re back for the 8PM, 8:30, 9 stint, and then the nurses and the trips are on their own for the other four feeds. So, for example, at about 10:45AM, it is time to start getting Jack ready for his 11AM feed. This involves changing his diaper, taking his temperature, and waking him up. By 11AM he is ready, and by about 11:25 he is finished, depending on the type of feed he is having. Then it’s time to get Henry ready for his 11:30 feed, and the cycle of changing his diaper, taking his temperature, and waking him up begins. As you can see, when I am trying to be involved in all three feedings, we inevitably get a little bit behind schedule by the time Sophie’s turn rolls around. It would be all fine and good if she didn’t notice, but believe me, she does. By about 11:45, she realizes someone is being fed and it isn’t her.
So we get through Henry’s feed, and it’s time to put him down so we can begin the process with Sophie, who is due to feed at 12PM. Before she can feed, we have to change HER diaper and take HER temperature. Notice we don’t have to wake HER up. Like I said before, she is very aware that it is time to eat by the time her turn rolls around.
This is where an extra set of hands is helpful. If someone else gets Sophie ready for her feed (dealing with her diaper and her temperature), I can move right in and feed her closer to 12pm. But that same person is sometimes still dealing with Jack or Henry at this point, making sure they are settled in after their feeds.
By the time we’re done with Sophie, it’s usually closer to 12:45 or 1pm which gives me 45 minutes to an hour to pump (and perhaps eat something myself) before it starts all over again. Hence, fewer photos.
At Home (we hope)!
If you haven’t yet recognized the benefit of feeding all three at once rather than cycling through, then I don’t think you quite understood the last section. Scroll up and read it again. If you still don’t see it, try making a 24-hour schedule for the day, mapping out half-hour intervals and inputting all of these feed times. Assuming it all goes exactly according to plan (which, with three infants, it probably never will), I still think you’ll find it’s a bit of a rat race.
So, what’s the plan for home? The plan is to feed everybody at once. How does one person feed three infants who have only just “mastered” (I use this word lightly here) the art of at eating and breathing at once? She doesn’t. Feeding becomes, at the very least, a two-person job.
The goal? One of us feeds two babies while the other feeds one. Now, you can’t change two babies’ diapers at the same time, nor can you lay two babies down to sleep at the same time. Actually, maybe you can, but not if they’re in separate cribs. But you definitely can’t change two diapers at once. I haven’t tried it, but I wouldn’t want to be there when you do. Changing their diapers is, at the moment, a job that requires one’s full attention. This is because SOME of my children (I won’t name names here) decide to do their business AFTER you have opened up the “dirty” diaper and are getting ready to make the quick swap to the clean diaper.
Anyway, because dirty diapers are a one-at-a-time sort of task, there will still be a bit of an assembly-line procedure going on here unless we enlist the help of a third set of hands. But with only one changing table, it seems unlikely. But with any luck, we will eventually have this changing/feeding routine down to one hour instead of two, freeing up a few more minutes in our day for, oh, I don’t know, basket-weaving?
Ok, if you’re still reading this, you’re wondering, “Where are the photos of the babies?” You’ve probably forgotten that I didn’t take any yesterday, and you’re thinking, “I stuck with all of this nonsense about feeding and diapers and schedules, and I don’t even get to SEE the little nuggets?” So here you go. These aren’t from yesterday, but they are pretty darn cute, so they should satisfy your hunger for adorable babies.
Have we mentioned that she’s a bit of a drama queen?