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The Top 5 Things To Say To Moms of Multiples

top5thingstosaytomomsofmultiplesWelcome back to our series on Life with Multiples! Some of your favorite posts in this series have been If You Were Born With Your Siblings and Ahhh, Those Newborn Days…x 3!!!.

Being a mom of multiples (MoM), I am no stranger to embarrassing and, oftentimes, challenging questions while out with my family. It comes with the territory: I remember the day we first tried to go to our local Farmer’s Market when the babies were really little. There were three adults with me and we did not have enough fingers between us to count the stares, looks, points, questions and whispers. No joke. (I did get some free cheese for having triplets, though, so I guess it was all worth it. Ha!)

We are a spectacle wherever we go. As the babies have gotten older, we have learned some tricks for escaping some of the spotlight that seems to follow us everywhere. For example, my husband usually has one of the babies and I’ll have the other two (or vice versa). People don’t notice us quite as often this way.

We also include extra time to be able to accomplish an errand. Talking to people throughout the errand takes a lot of time. And thought. It’s like having 15 mini-conversations in 45 minutes while trying to shop for everything on your grocery list. It is unusual that I don’t discuss how the babies sleep, how we do it, how they were conceived, whether I used fertility assistance or not, no you cannot take their picture, when I found out, they were a surprise, that I have family in town to help, that we are actually blessed and our hearts are fuller than our hands, that they are triplets, yes this is a big stroller and no it doesn’t fit through doors/on sidewalks, that the girls are not identical, that we actually don’t know that we are done (we hope to adopt!), yes we do get stopped a lot, and that they do all sometimes cry at the exact same time. Etc.

This is every neighborhood walk, every trip to Target.

Most people, I believe, are well-meaning. Many don’t mean to say hurtful things like “I’d kill myself if I had triplets”. And most don’t set out to embarrass themselves – like the Customer Service gentleman who asked, “Wow, so did you, like, do that fertility thing?” Generally, the people who say, “Having three kids close in age like I did is just like having triplets” are just opening their mouths before thinking. And I’d venture the majority of them don’t realize they are the 13th person that day to stop me about the exact same thing.

I get that. It just doesn’t make it any easier, less exhausting or less hurtful.

And I’d like to say I take every opportunity to interact with people about the blessings God has given me and David. But I don’t. Sometimes I even avoid eye contact. But I’m learning to tell the difference between rude gawkers and sincere encouragers.

And when the sincere encourager comes along with a comment that is supportive? Well, it’s like a fresh, cool breeze. It’s encouraging to know that this person, in this moment, does not think I’m a freak for creating three persons at once. It’s refreshing to hear that they don’t want to hear about my sex life and how the babies were conceived. It’s a relief to see their joy at finding I have triplets and not disdain.

So what are these comments that can be so encouraging?

The Top 5 Things to Say to Moms of Multiples

  1. You’re doing a great job! (Ohmygoodness! What mother wouldn’t love to hear this? And a mother who’s handed three babies from the doctor with a parting “have a great life; call if you have questions”? She may kiss your face. And it’s especially meaningful if you say it even if all three are screaming and tantruming.)
  2. What a blessing! (Right? Because they are! And so much nicer to hear than “I’d kill myself if I had triplets.” Triplets are super-duper challenging. But they are blessings. They are little lives. Little people. Tiny souls. And we have the privilege of moulding, shaping and growing their hearts and minds. What about that isn’t a blessing?)
  3. So fun! (We know it’s lots of work. Trust us. We do. There’s no need to tell us that because we’re doing it: hard work is right now! But it’s a lot of fun and we love to talk about that. It also helps us focus on those things that are fun in a particularly challenging season of their lives.)
  4. Incredible! (Only one in 8,000 bodies creates triplets spontaneously. And however they were conceived, we had 30 fingers, 30 toes, 6 arms, 6 legs, 3 heads and 3 hearts being sustained by our one body. God is amazing!! He created our bodies to do a phenomenal thing. There’s nothing freak-ish about it!)
  5. Can I help you? (Yes. Oh, yes, please! Holding the door open for our mammoth strollers? Bless you! Pray that we all sleep tonight? Oh, for sure! Push the cart to the car while we push the stroller that weighs as much as a small elephant? It’s not likely we’ll turn away help.)

So the next time you see a mom with multiples, say something like the above and you will knock-her-socks-off bless her! Seriously!

I’ve found these comments can really open doors for some meaningful conversations. We’ve talked with complete strangers about battling infertility, struggles with raising children, experiences with a sibling/friend/co-worker who had multiples, high-risk pregnancies and the challenges of having special-care, preemie children. All intense, serious stuff!! …and in lines at Costco and by the swings at the park.

MoMs what would you add? Share your story of the nicest thing someone’s ever said to you!

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Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Family, Triplets

 

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The Back Porch

David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:

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Fighting for food frenzy.

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:rosy lips:

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:juicy fruit:

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:getting sticky, getting dirty:

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Dada is sooooooo cool!

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Love those wispies! ❤

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Sweet Girl in a whine-y moment.

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Baby Girl! So silly!

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Noah was determined to keep a grip on his snack while trying to get into the swing by himself.

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Letting brother push her on the swing.

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Snuggles with Dada.

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Very dirty feet.

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Lots of very dirty feet!

makennacollage

Makenna was being especially photogenic. =)

Happy Friday! =)

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {How and When to Feed Baby}

In last week’s introduction to this series (Bon appétit, bébé!), I shared some of the questions I am most frequently asked with regards to feeding babies. So, I’ll begin by letting you in on the little journey I have been on for…oh, about 15 months now.

making real food

Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…

I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?

And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)

I discovered two major things:

  1. Babies don’t need solid foods for the first year of their lives.
  2. Cereal (aka, grain) is empty, nutrition-less and potentially harmful for babies at this point!

We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).

Signs of Readinessfirst meal

So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:

  • The baby can hold her head up and can sit unassisted. This is very important because there is much less likelihood that the baby will be able to handle and control the eating process safely.
  • The tongue-thrust reflex has disappeared. If this reflex is still present, the baby will be unable to swallow foods and could potentially choke. This reflex is God-given to protect the baby from choking hazards and usually disappears between 4-6 months.
  • The baby is able to chew. Yep. This most likely will mean a delay in the eating-adventures… again, probably after the six month mark.
  • The baby has a decent “pincer” grasp. Can the baby pick up small objects or food with his thumb and forefinger? Or is she still trying to pick items up with her fingers and the palm of her hand?
  • The baby tries to eat food off your plate. It is actually not uncommon for the baby to watch your every move at a mealtime. But, remember, the baby is curious about everything and may not be showing actual signs of readiness for eating.

All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)

Not Signs of Readiness

Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:

  • The baby is waking up more during the night. There is no proof that feeding the baby solids will enable him to sleep better (or longer) during the night. The baby is simply not yet consuming enough solids (ever fed a baby and watched how most of the food ended up everywhere except in the baby’s tummy? =). The baby may simply be going through a growth spurt (which will end, mama!) and need some extra time breastfeeding.
  • The baby has reached X amount of weight (sometimes it’s recommended by the time he’s doubled his birth weight). This is especially untrue for babies born prematurely! If I had followed this recommendation, my 3 lbs. 12 oz. babies would have been eating solids at six weeks old!!! Even for infants born full-term, though, this recommendation makes no sense. KellyMom states, “It’s the maturity of the digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness that makes the difference, not baby’s weight.
  • The baby is too small. Nope. Solid foods are quite inferior to the calories found in the same amount of breastmilk! Food simply cannot compare to the quality of nutrients she is receiving from breastmilk…even into the toddler stage!
  • The baby needs more iron than is found in breastmilk. Possibly. An easy way to determine this is through the blood test done at most pediatricians’ offices around six months. If the baby is, in fact, iron deficient, there are wonderfully iron-rich foods that can be given to the baby. But most breastfed babies do not have low levels of iron until well past the six month mark!

At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!

Baby-led Weaning or Purees?

A yummy lunch with Granny!

A yummy lunch with Granny!

If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.

I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.

What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)

So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!

The poll on making babyfood is currently still open: :nom, nom, nom:

Sources: KellyMom, Wholesome Baby Food

Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.

 

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Mother’s Day Is…

Mother’s Day Is…

Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.

However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
getting snuggles.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
midnight-waking babies.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
changing diapers.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.

Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.

Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

My sweet girl!

My sweet girl!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Apparently Noah is confused...

Apparently Noah is confused…

Who knows? =)

Who knows? =)

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

How do you see your children honoring you on this Ordinary Day?

 

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Meet the Boss – the Babies’ MFM

ultrasound-doctorRecently I got to visit my MFM with the babies!! If you’ve ever had a high-risk pregnancy, I’m sure you understand my excitement. Right? Have you visited yours post-birth? =)

If you haven’t been high-risk, an MFM stands for maternal-fetal medicine specialist (or neonatologist, or perinatologist). These men and women walk us through our pregnancies more closely than our OBs! We see them on a weekly basis sometimes. They make life-saving decisions about our babies and even us! They become much more than a white coat. They watch our babies grow, literally, weekly, and celebrate all the milestones with us – halfway for triplets, halfway for singleton pregnancy, viability, term for triplets, etc.

Dr. Al-malt is the man who (with my OB team) kept my babies safe and sound in their womb-home for nearly 33 weeks! He made the call on the need for the cerclage. He did more than a dozen ultrasounds on the four of us – tracking soooooooooo many things and watching for a thousand more. He never even breathed the word “reduction” to us. I whined and made promises to him that I’d be good and stay in bed at home so I didn’t need to go on bed-rest in the hospital. And he called it that my labor wouldn’t be stopped and that my babies would be born that day instead of the two weeks from then we were shooting for (read the birth story here).

And he’s like a proud Grandpa with the babies. =) This is Dr. AL-Malt.

So precious! The babies were not quite three months old here. =)

Three babies, three grown-ups!

Our recent visit at 19 months! Such a difference, huh?

He hadn’t seen us in almost a year and a half but knew exactly who we were. He pulled out his phone and asked his staff to take pictures. Ok, Dr. A, whatever you want….you’re the boss! ❤

Do you ever go back to visit the doctor/midwife who delivered your baby? Did they become part of your family?

Photo Credit

 
 

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Little Daycare in the Suburbs, part 2

Little Daycare in the Suburbs, part 2

Welcome back! If you’re just joining us, check out the first part of Little Daycare in the Suburbs. And if you’ve found us from Intoxicated on Life, hi!!! Be sure to like us on Facebook so you can get updates on the three M&M’s and each new post that comes along! Oh, and leave a comment so I can “meet” you! Can’t wait! =)

So. Why is it so hard to leave triplets with a sitter? Glad you asked! Here’s why:

It is physically exhausting. Loading three babies into highchairs (12 times), out of them (12 times), onto a changing table (18 times), off of it (18 times), into cribs (9 times), out of them (9 times), into the stroller (3 times), out of it (3 times)…it is exhausting. (That’s a full-on workout!! And mine “only” weigh 22 lbs!) And of course they aren’t all happily watching you cart one kid around…oh no. It often sounds like a daycare class. I challenge anyone who isn’t rattled by crying babies to join a MoM one afternoon. =)

My former boss, Benny, watching the babies with his wife, Sheree.

My former boss, Benny, watching the babies with his wife, Sheree.

It is hard to discern the needs of one toddler, let alone three. Remember that language thing? Yeah, there are three different dialects going on and I oftenoftenoften times cannot remember who says what, or who uses which sign or word for which item.

It is a lot of diapers. One wake-time is six diapers…six. More if you forget you already changed that one. Less if you forget you haven’t changed that one all day. I did this. Last week.

It is necessary to be structured. I have one nursery and three babies. One up, all up. One down, all down. And of course the babies all cooperate with this. Right.

It is confusing. What do you do when one baby wakes and cries? Is another going to wake before she settles back down? If two or more wake, what do you do? These are just some of the questions David and I ask ourselves. Still. It often takes the both of us to settle two babies down.

It is expensive. I’ll be honest. And frank. Frank is good, right? Paying a sitter is a new thing for our skinny budget…paying two sitters is even more daunting.

It is…well, you get the picture, right? =)

Two arms...two babies!

Two arms…two babies!

Of course, the fact that I have breastfed the babies has made it doubly difficult to get out because our schedule is just naturally tight. You can see a typical schedule here – except the 4pm nursing and the 11pm nursing are no longer! Before this, though…my get-out-of-the-house opportunities were even more limited. But, lest you think I’m complaining about breastfeeding and its limitations…I am not. I have loved it. I recognize it is a very short season and am ok with those limitations. David has been incredibly patient with me and was happy to fit in date nights after the babies went to bed and before I needed to be back to feed them at 11pm. Since we dropped those feedings, though, it’s been amazing! Which leads me to:

Sitters

Our friends - Joe & Kristen with their son, AJ!

Our friends – Joe & Kristen with their son, AJ!

Amazingly, we have been able to get out for date nights about 1-2 times a month for about a year! Granted, those date nights were usually just long enough for dinner and maybe an errand. But my parents have been heroes – coming over so often to play with the babies and then shoo us out the door after they were in bed. Other than them, our dear friends, Benny and Sheree, watched them for our second anniversary dinner (yes, you read that right – second). And some other dear friends, Joe and Kristen, kept the babies for a short afternoon and we came back to feed them before leaving again for a couple hours. Of course there was our first overnight getaway that my parents kicked us out for. In the past week or so, we’ve had two amazing teens from our church and then Katherine stay with the sleeping M&Ms (remember – she was a preschool teacher!!!).

Papa walking the grand-triplets.

Papa walking the grand-triplets.

Pretty much that’s it. Four non-grandparent sitters in 18 months. =) And that’s ok! There have been lots of things I’ve had to say no to over the past year and a half, but it means I’m saying yes to what is necessary for our situation. God has blessed us with three babies at once, and with them came unique challenges. But there is grace for these challenges. I definitely have to fight bad attitudes and a “need a break” mentality at times. But for the most part, He has orchestrated in my heart a love for the home and a desire to care for my babies during a season when few others can!

That being said, I’m currently in the process of working with some great girls who will hopefully, some day!, become the M&M’s babysitters! Won’t that be the day!! What should I do? Any suggestions? =)

MoMs, do you have any thoughts or suggestions? For those of you who are still pregnant with multiples, let me encourage you that there can truly be an incredible amount of grace for the massive work and unique challenges your babies will be. Few MoMs get to do what we do and it is a privilege! Amen?! =) Please let me know if you have not yet found an active community of other MoMs online and would like to join one. What a source of help we can be to one another!!!

Oh, and while you’re here…would you take a second and click the button below to vote for us? See, we’re in this contest competing with other blogging moms of multiples and would love your vote. And, if you reallyreally love us, you can vote once a day!

 

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Breastfeeding Triplets: A Battle of Love {Guest Post}

KangarooingTriplets

**The response to this post has been overwhelming! I truly hope it is helpful to others to hear the struggles and victories of a mama who is able to breastfeed – against many odds. Please take a moment and “like” us on Facebook so that you can stay up to date with the goings-on here at Growing Up Triplets! And leave a comment to say “hey!” =) **

Today I’m guest-posting over at Intoxicated on Life. Trisha is running a series on breastfeeding – the challenges, joy, obstacles, paraphernalia and stories of dozens of women and their children. And she asked me to join these women and share my journey. If you’ve been reading Growing Up Triplets long, you know sharing what God has done for me in this area is one of my biggest joys. So here’s a mini-bite:

There are times when mathematics simply don’t make sense. For instance, I remember crying and crying over short division in school. It didn’t make sense. And I had similar experiences over the past two years with three babies and two breasts. It just didn’t compute.

You see, I was told on April 26, 2011 that I was carrying triplets.

Immediately I began seeing my dreams of a drug-free, home birth evaporating. I saw many, many dollar signs floating before my eyes. I saw a plan unfolding for my life that I wanted no part of.

Well, as the news of spontaneous triplets sunk in, and my love for my three munchies grew to epic proportions, I began to research if some of those dreams might actually still be possible. There was very, very little research out there for higher-order multiples (HOMs). With the advent of fertility assistance, the numbers of triplets and HOMs has risen dramatically, but the research is still very minimal. Most books for multiples are written geared towards twins. But…I had three babies and only two boobs! Even my very logical brain couldn’t develop a plan for this!

The research I did find led me to believe it wasn’t likely I’d be able to nurse all three, but that switching two out every feeding would be more realistic. So I grabbed onto that: I can do that. Ha. Little did I know what awaited me.

[read more]

If you’re just finding us here at Growing Up Triplets, welcome!! It’s a pleasure to meet you! =) To stay connected with us and the munchies, be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our email feed (both on the sidebar to the right). And in the meantime, here are a few posts that you might find helpful in getting to know us a little bit better. Feel free to leave a comment, too, letting us know how you found us!

 

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