Wednesday, November 21, 2007
sleep

10 weeks old

We are sleeping much better. For the last two weeks, the babies have been pretty much going to sleep at 8 pm, waking up around 2 am for a feeding, and then sleeping again until 7 am. We have switched our shifts to whole nights. Tonight is my night to feed them, but tomorrow night I will sleep the whole night. A full night sleep is an incredible thing. The babies are only 10 weeks old (and only 5 weeks adjusted) so I think we are doing really well. Better than I expected.

When our little trio came home from the hospital, they were on a three hour schedule. They were pretty much eating at 9, 12, 3, and 6 around the clock. Once we moved to shifts, that meant that I fed the babies at 8:30 or 9 (which was difficult because that is my older girls' bedtime) and hopefully they were asleep by 10 or so. Then, I would feed them at 12 (changing and feeding takes about 45 minutes to an hour) and then hopefully I would get another hour or so of sleep. When they woke up for their 3 am feeding, I would wake up David and go to sleep until 8 while he handled the 3 and 6 am feedings.

Some nights were just ridiculous in between feedings. One baby (usually one of the boys) would leak through their outfit, then another baby would poop, and then another baby would spit up all over. It would have been funny if I hadn't been so tired. They seemed to at least take turns with that kind of stuff, but sometimes they'd all be going at once and it seemed like the only thing to do was just cry along with the babies (except. no. I still had to do what I had to do). I had plenty of days and nights where I felt like I had just hit a wall and I couldn't keep going. But, of course, there weren't a lot of other options, so I did. Luckily, my mom was here during that time and I was able to have her help during the day (although I remember thinking to myself many times that if I was that overwhelmed when she was helping us, how bad was it going to be when she was gone - but thankfully things have been less overwhelming and it's mainly due to getting better sleep and the fact that each of these little guys are really very mellow).

Before the babies were born, everything we read about triplets said to put them on the same schedule. If one baby woke up, wake them all up. If one baby was changed, change them all. We did this in the beginning, but after reading the first part (I haven't had time to read the rest) of Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, I decided that we were just putting them all on the worst baby's schedule and training them to continue to wake up every three hours. So, we let them sleep (especially at night). For awhile this meant that we had staggered feedings and we might get no sleep on our feeding shift. But, the upside was that we often only had one baby awake and we could hold the baby (instead of propping all three babies' bottles) and just focus on that baby which was a lot less hectic. We also tried to get the babies on a four hour schedule during the day to at least have a four hour schedule at night. If a baby was obviously hungry, we would feed them, but we tried to push their feedings farther apart a little every day. And before very long (by about 6 weeks - I think it took about a week of letting the babies wake on their own) they were down to two feedings at night (about 1 am and 4 am).

On Halloween, I was home alone with the babies and they all three freaked out on me. Three crying babies is pretty overwhelming, so I decided just to change each of them, swaddle them, give them a bottle and put them to bed (even though it had only been two hours since their last feeding). Amazingly, they were all asleep by 7:30. Having them all asleep before I wanted to go to sleep was just great. Even more amazing, they slept until their regular 1 am feeding. The Healthy Sleep Habits book I read said that putting the babies to bed earlier would help them sleep better, but I'd been a little reluctant to put it to the test until they were a little older (although that had definitely been the case with Lillie compared to Grace - Lillie was sleeping through the night by 3 weeks old and did much better on an earlier bedtime, but we had kind of accidentally found that out and I just thought she was a better sleeper).

I decided to keep trying the earlier bedtime and it has worked wonderfully. By 8 weeks (the day after my 8 week blog entry, because I almost blogged the next day when they had slept 7 hours between feedings!) they were only waking up once a night. And just to have that 8 pm bedtime has been incredible. I have time to just relax and hang out with the big girls and when it's time to go to bed I can just go to sleep.

And now I get a full night's sleep every other night. Getting that sleep makes such a difference in how I cope with the babies during the day. When I'm rested I feel like I can handle almost anything (and when I'm not, even little things can just bring me down).

It's 3 am and I'm waiting for Jack to wake up. I'm tempted to wake up him so that I can feed him so that I can go back to sleep, but I'm hoping that letting them sleep for as long as they want to will help the babies eventually sleep through the night.

I think it's time for me to at least close my eyes and get some rest, but I think it's important to take the time to record this stuff before I forget it. I feel so lucky to have these three new people in our lives and to get to help them and see them grow and love them. My family is my life and it's a fabulous life. I would never have chosen to have triplets and if I could I would have had these three just one at a time, but from the first day I couldn't imagine not having each of them. They are all so sweet and so loved. And, while we have to parent them differently because they came all at the same time (and I have definitely mourned that loss) they are all loved as deeply and as surely as any baby could be.

A good friend of mine emailed me that her daughter wants to have four babies all at the same time because she wishes that she was the same age as her brothers and sister. I wrote, "She might want to think about having babies just two at a time - then there's one for each hand and one for each parent. A little more convenient than being totally outnumbered." She wrote back "May being totally outnumbered bring out surprising strengths in you". At the time I thought that that was a nice thought, but easier to say than to live. But, the more I think about it, the sweeter it is.

It really is time to close my eyes now. Good night.
posted by lochan | link
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Name: Laura

I have five kids including triplets. I'm too busy to blog, but I do anyway (uh, sometimes).

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