If you would rather read than watch my above video then here is the transcript of this week’s video about sleep coaching triplets:
Hi, Kim West, The Sleep Lady and in this video blog I’m going to answer Kristine and Brandon’s sleep coaching question:
“Dear Sleep Lady,
I have read your book and still have some sleep coaching questions…specifically: how can I sleep coach triplets? We have a 10-month old – or rather, we have 10-month old identical triplet boys who were born eleven weeks early. Therefore, their adjusted age is just over seven months. Thankfully, they have no health issues, but we’re at our wits’ end in trying to get them to sleep. I took your advice and begin separating them during nap time to start which helped a little and I’m still lucky to get an hour nap out of them if anything.
My problem with implementing your methods at night is that they wake each other up, and often times, our 4-year old daughter who’s across the hall as well. Do you recommend separating the triplets at night also? The worst case scenario is we end up with three screaming babies at 3am or they’re up individually at three separate times and the only way we could get them back to sleep is with a bottle. On a good night, they will sleep until 5am. We’ve installed black-out curtains, we use a white noise machine, and I’m just not sure what else to do. Taking care of triplets is hard enough and then you add lack of sleep on top of it and it’s nearly impossible to function. Can you please help us get started on the right path to sleep coach triplets?”
Kristine, you know what? I don’t blame you. You have your hands full with four children, three of them triplets. That’s a lot of babies and I agree that it must be very hard to function without sleep. First, I want you to keep them together at night. I can’t even imagine trying to separate triplets and put a 4-year old to bed too. You’d be running all over the house, both you and your husband.
Dream-Feed or Set Time Feeding
Since I would keep them together, I’m wondering whether they still need a bottle during the night. While they’re young and they were born early, there are plenty of babies at seven months that only need one feeding at night. I want you to think about that and talk to your pediatrician (or lactation consultant or whomever you feel comfortable with), and make a decision regarding the night feedings. Decide if you’re going to say, ‘we’re going to eat or do a dream feed’. A dream-feed is when you go in at a set time and wake them up to feed them. Of course you’ll need to feed them one after another, or you and your husband take each a baby and decide who gets the third baby after the first two have been fed.
Another option is a set time feeding, like their first awakening after midnight. You’re going to go in to their room and one at a time you’re going to feed each all of them. You can always wean off that feeding when they no longer need it. I’m actually not sure whether they might still need that, So I want you to check on that with your pediatrician. The other thing that you didn’t mention is bed time: what time it is, or if they have a bottle at bed time. Make sure that if they’re having a bottle at bed time that they are really awake when you put them to bed.
Drowsy But Awake
Make sure that the babies are not getting a little drowsy. Is it possible that you’re giving them a bottle in the dark, (or something similar) so they go to sleep easily at bed time but then they are awake during the night. If they’re being put to bed too drowsy, then they are needing you to give them a bottle to go back to sleep. Again I’m trying to determine whether they have the need to suckle back to sleep or are genuinely hungry in the middle of the night. One of the ways to figure out the answer is to continue to do the feeding and make sure they’re awake at bed time.
Those nighttime issues are super important. You can continue to work on the naps. I know that it’s really hard. It’s not like you can do a third back-up nap with triplets and a 4-year old-lots of times it just means that you have to put them into the crib a third time during the day and make sure you have an early enough bed time.
Please know that this is completely doable, and that there is sleep at the end of the tunnel.
The Sleep Lady
Video filmed by In Focus Studios