Every triplet mom goes on and on about the importance of sticking to a schedule. After talking to dozens of triplet moms online, it appears that maintaining a schedule is the most critical key to sanity.
Currently, my greatest battle is how I want to go about feeding. Thus far, we have very rarely offered formula as I've been able to produce enough milk. However, now that the babies are moving from 2 to 3 ounces, I'm having a harder time keeping up. I'm down to 5 ounces in the refrigerator, which will probably be exhausted tonight. Let's do the math folks...3 ounces x 3 babies=9 ounces. Multiply that times every 2-3 hours. Let's say the babies eat about 9-10 times per day. That's somewhere between 80-90 ounces of milk I must produce per day. I had been simply breastfeeding, but the babies kept falling asleep at the breast, then waking 10 minutes later gnawing at their fists. It became a feeding frenzy which took over an hour to feed all three of them, not to mention I was basically topless for an hour or more a dozen times a day. With all the company we've had, it's hard to hide babies under a receiving blanket when you know the people are there to hold your cute infants.
I tried exclusively pumping for a few days and strictly offering 3 ounce bottles. While this eliminated the hunger and made actual feeding time much faster, it's not as effective as nursing. In fact, it seems to have hindered my nursing relationship with Amelia, as she is a lazy latcher anyway. I found myself spending just as much time feeding the babies, then running to go pump. Additionally, my supply seems to be dropping because I'm spending less time pumping than I was nursing. Try to balance being hooked up to a pump with a two year old who cannot be left unsupervised anymore because he likes to pick up and carry the babies around and you'll see the flaws in that routine. Jackson also enjoys turning the pump on and off or the speed up and down while I'm pumping. Yeah, that's not stressful!
Triplet moms always talk about their babies being on a 4 hour schedule. This is obtainable because:
1. Their babies are formula fed.
2. Their babies have been in the NICU for several weeks and already have a schedule established. The babies are also accustomed to laying down, rather than being held constantly.
While this seems to be the norm, it certainly is not our routine. We have more of a two hour schedule, and I'm not sure how I'm going to manage once Jesse goes back to work next week.
The next major battle we are facing is Jackson's nap and bedtime routine. His schedule was severely disrupted the minute the babies were born, because he spent three nights with different family members and was taken to and from the hospital each day. When we were all reunited at home, we had a constant flow of visitors all hours and late into the evening. For about two weeks he didn't take a nap and he threw some of the worst tantrums yet at bedtime. We've managed to get the naptime a bit more consistent but the bedtime routine still takes an hour or more. Jackson has to be rocked and demands specific songs, blankets, comfort items, etc. Tonight we tried just putting him in his room with a childproof doorknob cover. He cried, screamed, pounded on the door, and gagged himself for 48 minutes before he fell asleep. (Yes, we went in there periodically, though it seemed to make matters worse.)
Have I mentioned Jesse goes back to work next week??? Oh my, how I wish the roles were reversed. I nearly had a panic attack in the back-to-school aisles at Wal-Mart the other day. The classroom is a place where I feel successful and in control. I fear spending all day alone with three infants and a toddler is just going to drain any confidence I ever had as a mother.
So...we've got six days to come up with some kind of schedule so I can pretend like I know what the hell I'm doing next week.