Feeding Triplets: A Complex Journey

feeding triplets

The feeding journey begins the moment you welcome your cherished triplets into this world. Feeding your little ones will be one of the first things you do once they arrive, but it can feel overwhelming. It’s certainly not an easy task to feed three babies, but you can master it.

Before Your Feeding Journey Begins

In order to eliminate some of the stress that comes with feeding triplets, preparation is key. You definitely can’t prepare for everything, but thinking ahead may save you trouble down the road.

NO Room for Guilt

When it comes to parenting it’s inevitable that you’ll face some form of guilt at one point, but there’s no room for that here! Whether you decide to supplement, breastfeed, or formula-feed, have confidence in your decision. You’re making the decision that’s ultimately best for you and your babies, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Consider Your Feeding Method

  • Breastfed
  • Bottle-fed
  • Breast and bottle/formula
  • Formula fed

Have the Right Equipment

In order to master feeding three babies, you’re going to need some reliable products. Make sure you have the following in order to really make the feeding process as smooth, and efficient, as possible.

  • A reliable pump- A pump is a necessity if you plan on giving your little ones breast milk, as it’s likely at least one of them will be receiving expressed milk.
  • Bottles- It’s recommended you have at least 12-24 bottles on hand to feed your triplets.
  • Sterilizing equipment- You’re going to have three times as many products to sterilize, so it’s a good idea to invest in a sterilizer to make your life a little easier.

Providing the nourishment for one baby is stressful, but providing it for three of them can be downright chaotic. If you find yourself with a million questions still, we won’t hold it against you, and we’ll certainly do our best to help!

Is it possible to breastfeed three babies?

It absolutely is possible! Many mothers of multiples breastfeed their little ones. However, you may need a bit of practice at finding the hold, method, and timing that works for you and each one of your babies. It’s a journey no doubt, but it’s possible.

Take a look at these incredible mamas of multiples who breastfed their little ones, despite some common obstacles.

How often should I feed them?

It’s easy to get caught up on ounces, minutes, and frequencies of feedings, but those shouldn’t consume your feeding plan. You should feed your little ones as often as they are hungry, as well as letting them eat until they are content. However, it is stated that most babies have three to four hourly feedings, but keep in mind every baby is different!

Can I combine breast and bottle?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s extremely common for mothers of triplets. Take the time to find some breast-like bottles to help your little ones avoid nipple confusion, and to encourage latching on the bottle.  As this article states, most mothers who successfully breastfeed their triplets actually contribute their success to bottle-feeding the third baby.

Tips and Tricks to Feeding Triplets

  • Ask for help- Whether it’s your midwife, lactation consultant, best friend, or husband, never feel guilty about asking for help. Getting help with feeding your little ones, or simply receiving incredible advice, is priceless during this complex time in your new life.
  • Take Care of Yourself- In order to tackle the challenge of feeding three, you first need to take care of yourself. Take advantage of those napping opportunities, have a good cry, and nourish yourself. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a consumption of 300-500 extra calories for mothers who breastfeed.
  • Create a Routine-Although it may not seem like it, babies are creatures of habit, just like us. Starting your little ones on a feeding routine early can help each feeding go smoothly.
  • You can develop a feeding routine to share responsibility as well. For instance, your partner can feed during the night, while you try to enjoy some cherished sleep.
  • If breastfeeding, invest the time in attending a breastfeeding course, or getting help from a lactation consultant. It will help ease a lot of your worries, and you won’t regret it.
  • Pillows are your best friend- invest in a quality nursing pillow, or use a few standard pillows to help you feed all three babies comfortably.
  • One-on-One- You may have three babies, but you can feed them individually. It definitely takes a lot more time, but  it does have benefits!
feeding help

Getting help with feeding

You can spend some one-on-one bonding time with each baby, practice the right holds, and learn the needs of each individual baby.

It’s normal to have a million questions when you’re feeding three. If that sounds like you, take a look at this incredible booklet that covers everything you’ll need to know about feeding multiples!

Potential Feeding Methods

  • Breastfeeding
  • Bottle Feeding/ Supplementing
  • Formula Feeding

Choosing to Breastfeed

Breastfeeding is the most nourishing option for your little ones, so you’re making a great decision.

Getting Started

When you begin your breastfeeding journey, it’s a great idea to feed your little ones separately. This will allow you to find confidence and comfort in breastfeeding. Once you feel that you have a good handle on it, you can begin to feed your little ones simultaneously.

Remember that your milk supply is determined by supply and demand. Try to feed your babies often, or express the milk with a pump to help increase your supply.

Breastfeeding is tricky. When you only have two arms and breasts, but three mouths to feed, it takes a good deal of practice. Try various “holds” to find the method that is most comfortable for you and your triplets.

Remember that breastfeeding typically takes 4-6 weeks to be truly established, so don’t stress if you struggle in the beginning.

Common Breastfeeding Holds

  • Double Underarm hold- For this hold you would tuck two of your little ones underneath your arms, like footballs. Use pillows to make it more comfortable for everyone. You can use a free hand to bottle feed your third baby, or simply feed him or her after. 
  • Cradle Hold- This classic hold is perfect for nursing multiples individually, or simultaneously.
breastfeeding holds

Breastfeeding Holds. Source: multiple births.org.uk

Regardless of which method you choose, it’s recommended that you swap breasts during feedings. This will ensure each baby receives enough milk, and both of your breasts are equally stimulated for milk production.

Potential Struggles

Breastfeeding is incredibly beneficial, but you may face some struggles along the way.

Sore nipples - Three babies feeding at the breast may be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Unfortunately,  it’s likely that your nipples will become quite sore or blistered in the beginning of nursing. 

Milk Supply - Some triplet mothers do face issues with low milk supply. It’s important to remember that your body needs to be told to produce more.

  • Express often/ nurse frequently
  •  Take Supplements/ consume foods that encourage milk supply, such as oatmeal and avocados.
  • Eat a nutritious diet

You can always supplement to make up for any lack of milk. However, remember to continue pumping/nursing even when you do supplement, otherwise your supply won’t increase.

Discomfort - Breastfeeding for extended periods of time, and breastfeeding in general, takes quite a toll on the body. It’s possible you may be very uncomfortable during feedings.

Individual Preferences - It may not be a struggle necessarily, but it is something you will likely encounter. Your little ones will all have their own preferences when it comes to breastfeeding. One may eat more than another, while one has trouble latching. Take the time to figure out the needs of each one.

Formula Feeding

Sometimes breastfeeding doesn’t quite turn out the way we expect, but thankfully there are some incredible formula options for your little ones.

formula feed triplets

The Necessities

You will need:

  • Plenty of bottles
  • The right formula (and lots of it)

Check out our article on the Best Organic Baby Formula for Newborn.

Things to Know

Everything should be sterilized prior to use. You can also re-sterilize them when needed.

Not all formulas are the same- It will take some research, investigating, and attention to detail to find the right formula for your babies.

You may need more than one formula for your children. Your little ones are all individuals, so it’s not surprising they may need different nourishment. It’s possible for one baby to have a sensitivity to an ingredient that the others do not.

Sterilizing

  • Steam- Steam sterilizers are great products that let you sterilize bottle parts in peace since most of them have an auto off feature.
  • Boiling- You can sterilize the bottles in the traditional boiling water. Simply boil all parts for five minutes, and let them drain.
  • Microwave- Microwave sterilizing uses a similar product as the steam sterilizer, but functions solely in the microwave.

Preparing the Bottles

The bottles can be made up as needed, but doing so can be time consuming. One way to eliminate some of this time is to make up the bottles beforehand.

Make sure to keep the bottles refrigerated for the day. They will need to be consumed within 24 hours. Be sure to label each bottle, so you know which one  goes to each baby. By doing this you can tell how much each one drinks, keep their formulas from being mixed up, and save time when your babies are particularly hungry. (This is a great way to save time during those long nights.)

Potential Struggles

Certain issues may arise when using bottles and formula, but they can all easily be handled.

  • Higher chance of colic - look for bottles that use anti-colic valves
  • Sensitivies to formula - one or more babies may have allergies to particular formulas, such as soy or dairy.

Will I Still Bond with My Baby?

Many mothers are hesitant to formula feed their little ones because they feel that it separates them and their children on an emotional level, but that’s not the case.

You can still bond with your child while using bottles and formula. While you feed your little ones practice some skin-to-skin bonding. It’s another way you can feel connected to your little ones while you formula feed.

Introducing Solids

Most babies are introduced to solids around four-six months of age, but it will depend on your babies’ readiness, and yours.

Introducing Solids Triplets

Signs your little ones may be ready

  • Babies can hold their heads up
  • They can sit up well when supported
  • Babies watch you eat with interest
  • No more tongue-thrust reflex
  • They can show when full (Turning the head away from the breast)

Invest in baby booster seats, or rockers, for early ages. They support the baby well, and you can set them up anywhere.

Choose What Works Best for You

You have a couple options when it comes to feeding your baby solids. You can choose to make the food yourself, or purchase store bought. Both have benefits, and thankfully there are plenty of organic options available in stores.  

Benefits of Both

Home-made

  • You know exactly what is being put into their food
  • You can make large batches for all three babies
  • Can be made with any blender
  • Ability to use only organic, non-gmo, products
  • Potential to save a lot of money

Check out our article on the Best Baby Food Maker for Triplets.

feeding triplets solids

Store-bought

  • Convenient for on-the-go
  • Saves time (appreciated with triplets)
  • Long shelf life
  • Can be purchased organic

During the early stages of eating solids, it’s perfectly acceptable to use one bowl and spoon for all three babies. Just be sure that one of them isn’t coming down with an illness beforehand. As their appetite grows simply upgrade them to individual bowls and utensils.

Feeding three babies can seem overwhelming, but as you can see, plenty of mothers have done it and lived to tell the tale. Breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or formula feeding are all incredible ways to nourish your triplets. You simply need to choose the one that feels right for you and your babies.


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