“In a few days my triplets will be three years old. They are walking and talking, they are inquisitive and socialised, they eat three meals plus snacks and drink from a cup, they have all their teeth, they are independent. And they are breastfed. Yes, still…”
Davina is one of my breastfeeding idols. Her triplets have never had donor breastmilk or formula, they received her milk via nasogastric tube at first and then switched to breastfeeding when they were a bit bigger and stronger. She has not only been able to establish her supply but she has been able to produce enough for them this whole time. So what’s it like breastfeeding her triplets now that they are three?! Davina has described her experiences, while giving us insight into this awesome achievement…and how she does it! Her words are in grey…
The early days…how it all started:
“We didn’t start out breastfeeding immediately. My trio were born at 34 weeks, a good gestational age for triplets, but still a little small to get the hang of breastfeeding straight away. They had nasogastric tubes, through which they got my first precious drops of colostrum and within three days my mature milk. I have been lucky enough to have a great supply and as such they have never had formula. My body grew three babies, and then exclusively fed three babies and is still helping to nourish and comfort them and I am pretty proud of that fact.”
“When I was pregnant I knew I was going to breastfeed (even though I had had breast augmentation surgery a few years earlier) and so I tried researching it, looking for anything I could find on how to breastfeed triplets. I was amazed that there was so little information out there. I did manage to find a couple of blogs by women who had done it and so knowing that it could be done, I pretty much set about blazing a trail for others. Online now you can find specific breastfeeding triplet groups, many articles (some written by myself) for all kinds of breastfeeding advocates, many more blogs by triplet mums and even a video montage (which I took part in) showing how many women have achieved their goal of breastfeeding their trio. I feel very proud at the breastfeeding advocacy I have taken part in, and how I have taken this experience and turned it into something that has benefited others around the world.”
So how does it work for them now? ‘’How do you do it?’’ is the question she gets asked most often!
“They have always been demand fed, with no schedule, they have found their own feeding and sleeping patterns, which have been very different for each child. In the early days it was all about frequency, with three babies all having growth spurts, cluster feeds, teething, night waking and that dreaded ‘witching hour’ (which is actually more like 3-4 hours!), it was pretty tough to do anything besides feeding. ”
And as they got older…
“The frequency didn’t slow down but the amount of time it took for each baby to get a full feed was a lot faster so instead of 30-45 minutes per feed it became 10-15 minutes which was brilliant. Since the age of about 18 months our biggest issue is competitiveness and the inability to wait. Lots of people seem to think that triplets have an innate ability to share and maybe later on they will, but at this age they want boobie and they want it NOW! It took me forever to come up with something that kept the third child happy while they waited and in the end it was letting them know that the one who waited would get two boobies instead of just one.”
So then Davina got creative!! This “wait box” idea is a great technique to use if you have an older child to needs something to do while you breastfeed your youngest…
“I have also added a ‘wait box’ , which is a small box full of my own little trinkets, just bits and pieces that they find fascinating and will sit and pick through them until they get their two boobies.”
As with any growing, breastfeeding toddler many of us find that setting boundaries is very important.
“It’s not so much demand feeding now, although if someone is having a rough time or has hurt themselves and wants some boobie comfort we do, but we have boundaries now that I am able to discuss with them.”