Cloth Diapering

April recently posted a comment asking all sorts of wonderful questions about cloth diapering.  Since I have already written one article on the topic, I figured another post was in order and decided to tackle the answers.

This post really has made me consider *thinking* about cloth diapers, for lots of reasons.  We use disposable {gasp} and they are Pampers {double gasp} ;-)  I have some questions about cloth, though, and I couldn’t find a post on this site about them.  I’d love the honest input from other multiple moms who use them vs. disposable.For all the cloth diaperers out there….

Well, April, I have to admit that we actually use a combination of disposable and cloth, so I didn’t gasp when I read that you use disposable.  I figure a Mama is entitled to some indulgent moments.  Right?  Now, I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but with triplets, I get plenty of exposure to using them even if we just use them once or twice a day.

I see a lot of figures for how much cheaper they are, but, as far as time goes, how much time per week do you spend washing, etc?

Honestly, I don’t spend much time washing them at all.  Since I have a small stash (5 diapers per baby) I toss them in the wash machine throughout the day and do one load at the end of each day with all of the dirty diapers.   I wash them, dry them and reassemble them for the next day.  Depending on how big your stash is, you could actually get away with doing this every other day.

My twins are 7 months, just starting solids.  If I were to make the switch, how many diapers would you recommend?

I have 5 per baby, but we use disposables at night and also if we go anywhere.  If I were to decide to make the switch and cloth diaper full-time, I would probably want to have 5 more each.  I think that it would be nice to have enough for at least 2 days.

I see on various cloth diaper websites that you must change after they’ve “soiled”. My daughters seem to pee a little bit at a time, I change them after every nap, unless there’s poo or pretty wet {every 3 hours or so}. Do you find you change diapers more frequently with cloth?

Not really.  It depends on the day and how much they have to drink and eat; but typically we go through 5 diapers per day, whether we use cloth or disposable.  I do have one brand that tends to hold less so I have to change that one more quickly.

I read on the Fuzzi Bunz site that you can’t use diaper cream on babies who use their diapers – something about the buildup.  So, if they get diaper rash – what are you supposed to do?

I just recently found disposable diaper liners (which makes the poo removal a much easier task, although a sprayer works even better) and so I will put the diaper cream on the affected area and affix the liner to the cream so it doesn’t end up on the diaper.  Prior to that, we would just use disposables with cream until the rash cleared up.

What brand do you like the best and why?

My personal favorite is the BumGenius One Size.  It is a pocket diaper that comes with a newborn insert (which can also be used as a doubler) and a full size insert.  They adjust in size, so they can grow with your baby.  I find them to be quite absorbent, easy to use and they seem to be comfortable for the little ones to wear.  But opinions are varied since there are SO many options out there; one of the newest arrivals are G-Diapers, which are a combination between disposable and cloth.

My greatest hesitation is that our laundry is in the basement….out and around to the back of the house and I don’t always have the time to get down there daily, let alone several times/day to rerun the rinse cycle, etc. I know there’s lots of people who use them who don’t even have a washer/dryer and I really admire those people.  But, realistically, I’m just worried about the time factor.

Like I previously stated, I really don’t notice that I spend all that much time on cloth diapers.  Although I won’t lie.  It does take a little bit of extra effort, but it has minimal impact on my day to day life.  Since your laundry is in the basement, one thing that might help as a time saver would be to invest in a couple of bags to store the diapers until you are ready to wash them.

Good luck!

How DO you do it?

I know I have been MIA lately, but life has been quite chaotic since my oldest daughter headed back to school.  She loves sports and plays any and every one that she can so we have had back to back practices and games, with many overlapping seasons.  Oh, and I also have those 3 one year olds to contend with.  I am hoping that this is the start of some renewed time for posting here at HDYDI.  I have missed you all!


As a parent of triplets, this is probably the most frequently asked question. It does get slightly annoying to have to answer the same question over and over again, but I understand the curiosity behind it so I usually indulge the asking party with an answer. Sometimes I answer seriously, other times I just shrug and say I don’t know. But…lately I have been wondering. Really, how DO I do it?

In short I came up with these answers…

  • Lots of caffeine. Seriously, lots and lots of caffeine. I do not have the energy of one 1 year old, much less three 1 year olds, so I depend on caffeinated beverages to give me the energy I need. Really, my life depends on getting enough daily intake; my veins flow with coffee and diet cola. (On a side note, this could explain the insomnia…)
  • A multivitamin to give my body all of the nutrients that all of that caffeine is probably depleting and a vitamin c supplement to keep illness at bay.
  • Laughter. If I didn’t laugh I would probably cry. So I try to see the humor in everything. Even a poopy explosion at naptime. The upside to that you ask? It makes a great blog post :)
  • Normalcy. A good friend just wrote about getting out and doing things with her triplets that are normal, simple things such as going to the grocery store. Those accomplishments make me feel normal and normal is good in my world.
  • Getting out. Some days I have just had enough and I try to recognize the signs before I reach my breaking point. When I get there I surrender control of my world, hand the triplets off to my husband and head for the hills. Well, not really the hills, usually I just shop, often times for groceries, but the important thing is that I get out into the real world and spend some time with me.
  • Writing. Keeping my blog has really helped me to keep my sanity. I am able to reflect and process everything I am going through, record all of our memories and make new friends – all at once. I tend to hide, so I am not sure that I would be quite so positive and upbeat if I didn’t have somewhere to turn that forced me to think about things as I was going through them.
  • Enjoyment. I love spending time with the three 1 year olds we call The Peaches (and of course, The Peanut too) and I cannot imagine my life without all of this…it is so much fun. All of the sticky hands, messy faces, snotty noses, big grins, tiny giggles, belly laughs, hugs and kisses, jumping, dancing, and on and on…my life would be empty without it all!
  • Family and friends. Enough said.
  • Prayer. Every night I pray. Every day I pray. When the going gets tough, I ask for strength. When I have made a mistake, I ask for forgiveness. When I can’t find the answer I need, I ask for wisdom. When I am faced with uncertainty, I ask for clarity. Mostly, I thank God for this life, this family, this love and I thank Him for giving us another day together. We are incredibly blessed, I know that, and I want to make sure that I never take a single moment, a single breath, a single heartbeat, a single person for granted.

This was cross-posted on my personal blog.

GoodGuide

In an effort to find green products for my family that I can actually afford I stumbled upon a website called GoodGuide.  There is a searchable listing of over 60, 000 personal care and household chemical products.  Each product has its own page and has been rated for its health performance, environmental performance and social performance, there is a list of ingredients and there is also has a user rating.  In addition, you can create a shopping list, test your product IQ and read about where the products come from.  I have only spent a little bit of time on the site so far, but I already love it and find it quite informative.  They also have a brand new blog which promises to bring you the latest in greener, safer products for you and your family.  Go check it out!

Cross posted on my personal blog.

Guest Post: Q&A with a Daddy of Triplets

Recently, the contributors to this site were asked if any of their husbands would be willing to give their perspective on what is like to be the father of multiples. Shortly afterwards, I was informed that I had accepted the invitation. All kidding aside, as a past contributor, I am honored and pleased to be able to speak on behalf of the other half, and hopefully, my answers will help bring understanding to many of the issues couples face when parenting a set of twins, triplets, etc.  So here I am, Rosetta Stone to the male psyche, decoding the Martian language for the inhabitants of Venus, and putting an end to the myths of Multiple Parenting. Let the questions begin!

* What do you wish your wife understood about being a dad?

That I am always eager to help and to do my fair share, but often times, I just don’t think to do it. My schedule prevents me from assuming a routine so thinking about parenting does not always come automatically. There is a reason why no man refers to his “Paternal Instinct.”

* What have you had to “give up” to be a good dad?

Irresponsible living. From immature nights out with the boys, to vegging out on the couch, to driving a little bit over the speed limit, everything now has a consequence for someone else, not just myself.

* What don’t you miss about life before kids?

Lack of purpose. Since I adopted my oldest when I married my wife, my life before kids is also my life before marriage. I remember towards the end of bachelorhood feeling like all the things that I used to do for fun had become tiresome and pointless. I started to feel like I was not accomplishing anything with my life. Getting married/having kids changed that.

* How do you want to parent the same or differently from how you were
raised?

I want to instill the manners and etiquette I was raised with into my children, but I want them to be free to express themselves without worrying about what others may think. I think there is a fine line between being courteous of others and being true to ones’ self. Hopefully they will be able to define that line a little better than I did.

* How has becoming a parent affected your marriage?

Since we had our eldest when we got married, I will say that the multiples have reduced the big things, but not the little things that make our marriage so special. With less time, money, and energy, romantic dinners and expensive gifts have nearly gone the way of the dodo, but we have been sure to improve our communication. Also, we try to have “date night” once a week. Usually it is take-out and tv, but it is time for us and that is all that really matters.

* What character traits do you hope to instill in your children?

HARD WORK for when it would be easier to be good, but they are eager to be great.

DEDICATION for when the reward for that hard work is still just out of sight.

LOYALTY for when the right decision may be the most difficult one.

COMPASSION for when they need to walk in the other person’s shoes.

INDIVIDUALITY for when others want them to be just like the rest.

CONFIDENCE for when they are scared what’s in their heart may be wrong.

And finally:

SENSE OF HUMOR for when they fall so that they can shake it off, tap into the above, and get themselves back up.

* What is the funniest/grossest thing that has happened to you since
becoming a dad?

My third of four, Ella, “projectile pooped” across the room as I was changing her. I feel that meets both criteria outlined in the question.

* How has having multiples affected your relationship with your other children?

What other children? Just kidding… I have done my best to make sure as little as possible has changed for my eldest. It has enabled me to acknowledge just how mature and responsible she is capable of being when given the opportunity and that, much like myself, she is deserving of a break.

* What about having multiples is different than you expected?

I don’t think I realized just how fast things can happen. I realized that I would have to watch James when he is walking so he doesn’t fall down, make sure Ella wasn’t near the outlet, and comfort Cameron if she wasn’t getting enough attention. I just didn’t realize that all of these happen simultaneously while I am on the phone with a telemarketer and 5 minutes late for an appointment.

If you have any more questions for our Dads, just leave a comment and let us know what you wish to know!

Keeping the romance alive…

I have to admit that one of my biggest fears (among many) when I first found out we were expecting multiples was the suffering that my relationship with my husband would endure.  I know how much stress a new baby can place on any relationship, especially a marriage, so I was concerned that 3 new babies would do triple the damage.  And they did…sort of.

After the first couple of months of having 3 premature newborns at home, the sleep deprivation began to take its toll and each evening would find our family in a funk, often with my husband and I snapping at each other over the tiniest little things.  And then it got to the point where I was becoming more and more needy and my husband was becoming less and less present…which of course led to an enormous disconnect between us and very little satisfaction.  But, thankfully we recognized that things weren’t quite right and we made a decision to do something to make things better.  It took quite a bit of work, but I can honestly say that our relationship now is better than it has ever been.

We now try to go out once a month, alone.  No kids in attendance, no kids in conversation.  We don’t always make that goal, but we do try.  And our biggest relationship saver has been that we set aside every Wednesday night (our older daughter heads off to Nana and Grampy’s for the evening) after the babies go to bed for date night.  They aren’t always glamorous evenings, but it brings back memories of our early days of dating and the days before the triplets were born.  Oftentimes, we make dinner together, enjoy a bottle of wine and play a game of scrabble.  Or we stick in a movie and snuggle on the couch with some popcorn. Sometime we just spend the evening talking about the things we don’t have time to discuss in our day to day chaos. But it helps to know, that no matter what, we have at least one night to ourselves, when we can be a couple instead of parents of multiples.

I am curious to know if other MoMs experienced the same funk, and if so what have you done (or do you do) to keep the romance alive?

Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH)

For today, I copied a recent post from my blog.  I apologize in advance since I know that for some of you it will be a repeat, but it is a story that I wanted to share with all of our readers.

There really are just a plethora of frightening things that you discover when you are pregnant with multiples, especially higher order multiples such as triplets.  Premature delivery is inevitable with triplets since very few women are able to carry past 32 weeks (the average), so you know from the very beginning that you can expect NICU time for your babies.  There are a lucky few who are able to carry their babies long enough to bring them home when they are discharged, but the overwhelming majority of women have to leave their babies behind in the NICU for at least a week or two.  When I was pregnant with my triplets and reaching out to find people who had been through what I was going through, I found a lot of stories that terrified me.  So I searched for the ones that defied the odds and had unexpected outcomes.  And I held onto those stories because they gave me hope.

Here is our story…

August 13, 2008

cameron had her weekly physical therapy appointment this morning and jane (her p/t) was absolutely thrilled to see her walking. she kept watching her with a mix of awe and wonder and was so pleased with her rapid progress over the past few weeks. she was just here on friday, we missed our regular monday appointment so she came specifically to see cameron standing for the 1st time; and now, less than a week later, jane was able to see cameron take her 1st steps. i am beyond happy to tell you that jane was also thrilled (and a bit surprised) to see absolutely no asymmetry. none whatsoever. no tightness, no spasms, nothing. cameron was using both sides of her body equally and there didn’t seem to be any of the issues present that her p/t (secretly) feared might appear as she began walking and utilizing more of her body and gaining strength. but, she was walking with perfect symmetry.

why, you ask, is that such a big deal?

allow me to explain…

i don’t talk about this often because we prefer to focus on the positives of our story and relish the amazing miracles our little preemies are. but, it isn’t a secret that the peaches had a pretty rough start to their lives; being born almost 11 weeks early they were so tiny, so frail and so sick. what you may not know, is that cameron, in particular, had it incredibly rough for the first couple of weeks. i wasn’t even able to hold her until she was almost 2 weeks old. we were not sure if she was going to live long enough to come home with us, much less grow to celebrate her 1st birthday. or learn to do the eensy weensy spider. or eat. or breastfeed. or be able to sign all done. or giggle. or play. or walk.

she had a pretty severe brain bleed that was detected shortly after birth. her dr’s are almost positive it occurred while she was in utero and is a result of the stress the twin-to-twin transfusion was placing on her little body. the decelerations and lack of veritability in her heart-rate are the reasons the dr’s decided to deliver the peaches. based on the severity of her brain bleed i know that cameron would not have survived much longer in my womb and it is all part of why i am actually thankful that the peaches were delivered so early. brain bleeds are graded on a scale from I to IV, with IV being the worst. she had a bi-lateral grade II, with several areas of a grade IV. the bleed was so severe, that when the dr. read the scan, he looked up at john and told him that her brain bleed was probably not compatible with life. and if by some chance it did happen to be compatible with life, it would probably not be compatible with any kind of quality life.

cameron proved the dr’s wrong and continued to live. and as she was healing and growing, we were told often that she would have issues with all sorts of things. we were told that it was highly likely that she would develop cerebral palsy. we were told to expect moderate to severe developmental delays; in all areas. we were told it would be a long while before she was ready to come home. but, of course, cameron kept thriving and she was able to come home with us only 3 days after james and 4 days before ella. since her follow up brain scans showed that her bleed was resolving on its own, when she was released there was no need to see a neurologist. everything was left to just “wait and see.”

we had no idea what to expect from cameron, but we knew she was determined and we knew she was strong, so we decided to focus on the positives. it was an unspoken agreement, but neither john nor i have ever given cameron any reason to think she is different. we expect the same things from her that we expect from james and ella. and honestly, the only special treatment cameron gets is from her physical therapist. (and believe me, i tried to enroll the other 2 peaches in p/t along with her.) however, i know that despite the brave face, secretly both john and i have been holding our breath. scared to see what the residual effects of cameron’s brain bleed are. just waiting to see what would happen.

we are not naive. we know that we still have a long road ahead of us before she is completely out of the woods in terms of risk. and we know that there is still the chance that she could have delays and issues that come up as she gets older.

but we are okay with that.

we were told that cameron may not live. and if she were to live, her life would not have any kind of quality.

and yet, here she is today…absolutely perfect. eating almost anything and loving it all. giving tons and tons of kisses. waving hello and goodbye. signing and smiling. laughing and playing. jumping and dancing. talking and singing. quacking and oinking. standing and walking.

and now? even though i have been grateful and thankful and in awe of her all along, i am not scared anymore. and i am not holding my breath. instead, i am ready to celebrate.

i am ready to celebrate for cameron. i am ready to celebrate with cameron. i am just ready to celebrate such a miraculous little life.

cameron grace, you are one in a million baby girl. one in a million. and we couldn’t be prouder.

(and as your aunt jordie just texted me upon hearing the news…go roomba on kicking a@% in life.)

Guest Post : Slow the Game Down [Daddy's Perspective]

Fellow gentlemen, I would like to begin with an apology. Though I am about to make your wives very happy, I might have just sold out my fellow men in search of the truth. I hope you will be able to forgive me for what I am about to say, because, I will assure you, if you take my advice to heart, it will strengthen both your relationship with your kids and your wife. With that said, I would like to tell you why my wife is the Don Mattingly of parenting and I am the Steve Sax.

Apology number two: I am a Yankees fan. I grew up five minutes from the Bronx. Don Mattingly is my childhood hero (I got giddy when I attended a wedding in Evansville, IN, his hometown) so for the purpose of this story, he will represent the pinnacle of all that is good. Ok, not just for this story… but I digress… Steve Sax, on the other hand, was a great player who, once traded to New York, played far below his abilities, many believe due to the pressure of such a big market. It has happened over and over again (Chuck Knoblauch, Randy Johnson, the list goes on…) I call this phenomenon “Steve Sax Disease” and when it comes to parenting, I seem to have caught it.

My wife is an amazing mother of four. We have a twelve year old girl and BGG Triplets that are thirteen months old today. Often I look upon her in awe and wonder: How is she so good with them? Where is this patience coming from? Is there really a natural, maternal connection between baby and mother that makes it so much easier for her? My wife dropped the babies off with me for two hours the other day, and I had my eldest and my boss there to help watch them and I was STILL falling apart. TWO HOURS!! How does she make it through the day? I thought commission sales was hard. It’s a walk in the park compared to parenting…

Babies are like wild animals, they can sense fear and discomfort. And the more uncomfortable you are, the worse it gets. Then the pressure builds, which only makes you more uncomfortable. Heck just typing this makes me uncomfortable.

So I got to thinking, what does my wife do that I don’t? She rocks them. I rock them. She sings them songs. I sing them songs. She dances and makes silly faces. I dance and make silly faces. But no matter what I do, or how hard I try, I am unable to keep order while she is able to do so. And it all came down to one thing: My wife spends the entire day with them and I go off to work. Cue the epiphany: I always thought that this made her a more effective parent because the babies were more comfortable with her, but, in reality, it is because SHE is more comfortable with THEM.

In order to make sense of this, as a guy, I will use another sports analogy. Jameer Nelson, current Orlando Magic point guard, led St. Joseph’s to a number one seed in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. ESPN did a piece on him at the time and talked about how the game slowed down for Nelson.; that extra time to think allowed Nelson to analyze the floor and adjust without panicking, thus removing the pressure. How did Nelson achieve this level of zen? Practice. Nelson commented that he had been in similar situations so many times, things became automatic. Through practice, he had removed the need to think about what was routine (things as simple as dribbling, and as complex as the play) and focus his attention on the variables.

Just like anything else in this world, practice makes perfect. Whether it is basketball, the aforementioned commission sales, or parenting, the more you practice, the more comfortable you become. Fathers tend to be a bit out of practice when it comes to taking care of babies. There is a long standing stereotype that it is the woman’s responsibility to take care of the babies and honestly, there is probably a reason why people think that. Often times, men, we are the bread winners, and the lawn mowers, and the drain uncloggers, and, believe me, I know how little time there can be in the day when all that is done. But taking that extra time, whether it is in the middle of the day or the middle of the night, to be the one to change the diaper or feed the bottle will help you get more accustomed to the role. It allows the parenting to become automatic and “slows the game down.”

So in conclusion, guys, chip away at all the pressure by taking care of things, one by one. Eventually, though you may never reach a Mattingly like level of parenting, you will certainly feel greater joy with your skills. And that better relationship with your wife I was talking about at the top that you have skimmed through the article to learn about? Once the pressure of the full workload is off of her and you chip in, your wife will be a much happier woman. Now go back a read the article to find out how to do that.

Apology number three goes to Steve Sax. You were a great player and a great guy and just being a Yankee is good enough for me. Plus, you were GREAT on that episode of the Simpsons.

Product Review : Baby Carriers

Babywearing is taking on new life and more moms & dads than ever are discovering the joys it can bring to both the parent and the child.  There are so many benefits, but ultimately the biggest appeal to a mom or dad of multiples is the simplicity it can bring to an otherwise hectic life.  When using a baby carrier you have the ability to hold one baby and still have free arms to use for pushing a stroller, carrying another baby, doing the dishes, etc… And since we multiple mamas and daddys are always concerned about our constantly divided attention and often feel that we are barely able to find enough time for cuddles and snuggles, baby carriers seem like the perfect answer to that dilemma.  I have used a number of baby carriers since my triplets were born and I definitely have my favorites, but the most important thing I discovered is that what you like is highly dependent on personal preference.  A baby carrier should become an extension of you and the only way you can discover what works for you is to find one that best suits your body type and personality.  The best suggestion I can give you, if you are in search of one, is to try out different brands and models until you find one that fits you and your needs.  And it is highly likely that what you prefer to use with your newborns will change as they grow older.

I can only review the ones I have experience with, but there are so many brands and models out there that there is a really good chance you can find one that both you and your babies like.  The Baby Wearer has some excellent in depth information, reviews & discussion boards that discuss baby wearing in much more detail.

Slings: Hotsling, Peanut Shell and an Infantino Sling.  The Peanut Shell was by far my favorite to use when the babies first came home; and they were tiny, all under 4 pounds.  They would snuggle right into the comfort of the cradle created by the sling and fall asleep within seconds, whatever was ailing them forgotten until the next feeding.  Eventually, I traded it for a Hotsling, and though I do like it, it just does not fit quite as well as the Peanut Shell did.  Now that the babies are older, I have used the Hotsling as a hip carrier and as long as I am able to get the baby in securely it works perfectly; giving the babies the view of the world they desire along with the closeness of mama and giving me the free hands I need to do my grocery shopping.  I did not use the Infantino Sling often; simply because I found it was just not as comfortable for me to wear, often creating tension in my shoulder blades.

Wraps: I loved the Moby Wrap especially when my triplets were newborns.  It was very comfortable, distributed the weight evenly across my back and shoulders and I was able to hold 2 babies at once.  The only drawback to using the Moby Wrap is that it is a bit more difficult to learn how to use (although with a little practice you can become an expert in no time) and once the babies got older it was too restricting for their liking.

Soft Structured Carriers: Beco Butterfly and Baby Bjorn.  My husband adores the Baby Bjorn and uses it every chance he gets; strapping one of the babies on his chest and off they go to explore.  I find it a little uncomfortable and far prefer the Beco Butterfly.  The Bjorn is earier to put on since there are less buckles and straps, but once on I think that the Beco is much easier on my back.  And honestly, I think the babies prefer it as well.  The Beco can be used for both a front and a back carry and it includes a newborn insert as well.

Mei Tais: Baby Hawk and EllaRoo.  I amrelatively new to the world of Mei Tais and have only used the Baby Hawk once.  It was comfortable and easy to use, and I really like the closeness I felt to the baby over the soft structured carriers.  I lent the EllaRoo to a friend with a 19 month old son who weighs in at the 95th percentile and she loves to use it with him.  She said it is simple to tie and he does not weigh her down at all.

There are several sites where you can purchase used baby carriers…my favorite is The Baby Wearer. If you check out the boards, they often have used carriers for sale and they also have a detailed post listing all of the lingo and abbreviations so that you can follow the posts. There is also a board at Diaper Swappers dedicated to buying, selling & trading used baby carriers.

Cloth Diapering and Multiples

A few months ago I decided to jump into the world of cloth diapering.

(Okay, okay. I will admit that it wasn’t so much of a jump as it was just sticking my big toe in the water to test the temperature and see if it was agreeable to swimming.)

I have been contemplating using cloth diapers since before the triplets were born, but every time I would research them, I would become so doverwhelmed by the abundance of information available that I would freeze up and inevitably chicken out, never ordering a thing. However, after the most recent price hike in diapers and the endless bags of diapers I kept hauling to the curb week after week, I finally got tired of literally throwing money away.  So I took the plunge and placed my first order.  I tend to be an all or nothing type of person, so what I really wanted to do was to buy an entire stash (and all of the accessories) for each baby.  What I did instead, based on the advice of a friend, was visit Simple Wonders and order just a sampling of diapers for each baby instead.  (Part of the draw to that web store in particular was that they offer a multiple discount!)

I had no idea which direction I wanted to go with cloth diapering, but I knew that I wanted the transition to be easy.  Scratch that.  I needed it to be easy, otherwise I knew it would never stick.  There are a wide variety of options available, ranging from diapers that work just like a disposable with everything included in one easy package to a partially disposable diaper to the old-school cloth diapers that you have to fold and fasten with pins (although now it is more common to use a Snappi than a pin).  Prefolds, fitteds, covers, pockets, all-in-ones, one-size, etc…I know, the lingo freaked me out at first too.  But I promise it isn’t nearly as hard to learn about as it seems.  There are a daunting number of sites dedicated to explaining the basics of cloth diapering and how to care for them, two of which I found helpful were Diaper Pin and Pinstripes and Polka Dots.  And if you want a review of products, you can go visit Z-Recs (yes, the BPA people) and read their article on cloth diapers.

I ended up purchasing starter package for each baby that included 3 different brands of one-size diapers: 1 bumGenius 3.0, 1 Wahmie & 1 Happy Heiny.  They are all pocket diapers that you stuff with an insert (to adsorb the wetness) and have adjustable snaps so that they can grow with your child.  The goal being to buy one stash of  diapers that can be used from birth until potty training.  I can honestly say that I like all 3 quite a bit.  Though the bumGenius 3.0 and Happy Heinys are a bit bulkier than the Whamie, which uses a hemp insert; the Whamie’s closure is a bit trickier to get use to than the loop and hook (velcro) the other two use.  All 3 are super-absorbent and we have yet to experience a leak with any of them.  They fit snugly and are so, so soft…and I have to admit that the babies’ fluffy butts are really adorable.

Ultimately what has worked for us so far is to do a combination of cloth and disposable diapers, easing slowly into the transition.  I am not sure if we will ever be able to make the full jump into using only cloth diapers, but for now I am happy to be using cloth for at least 1/2 of our diaper changes each day.  I try to use them whenever we are going to be home, but we still use disposables at night and when we are out.  Trying to figure out what to do with 3 wet and/or dirty diapers while out is a bit overwhelming just yet.  My system for clean-up is fairly simple; as soon as I change a diaper I just drop the solid poop into the toilet (I am hoping to purchase a sprayer, that hooks onto your toilet, very soon that will make that part a bit easier!), pull out the insert and toss it all into the wash machine until the end of the day when I run one load of diapers.

I am quite fond of them so far and they really are so easy and simple to use that I wish I would have started from the beginning (can you imagine how much money I would have saved in the early days when we went through 30 or so diapers a day?!?!).  My husband isn’t quite as convinced…yet.  But, I am hoping to be able to persuade him that they really are just as easy as disposables, and so much cheaper!

If you would like to try cloth diapering, but have no idea where to begin, I highly recommned trying the Changing Diapers, Changing Minds program over at Jillian’s Drawers.  Essentially, you are able to try a very wide varitey of diapers for the cost of $10.

And this post has (by pure chance) coincided quite nicely with Baby Cheapskate’s Cloth Diapering Week.  You can check it out here!

3 is the loneliest number…

The theme of the past year and a half of my life has been exhaustion, so it is fitting that as I type this I am, yup, you guessed it…exhausted. It really is no secret that if you are expecting multiples you can also expect to be tired, so I prepared myself for the inevitable exhaustion that comes as a result of having multiple newborns in the house. I read all of the books about raising triplets (and multiples) that I could get my hands on and I did an enormous amount of research in preparation for their arrival to make sure that nothing caught me off guard after I had the babies. But, of course, despite all of my efforts I found myself completely unprepared, and therefore ill-equipped, to deal with the loneliness and isolation that has come since seeing their three little heartbeats on an ultrasound screen for the 1st time over a year and a half ago.

I think that something strange happens when you have multiples…people start to disappear. Friends who you have known your entire life stop calling and emailing and strangers are suddenly your only intimate acquaintances. From the moment I divulged the news that I was pregnant with triplets, the people around me began to look at me and talk to me as if I were some sort of scientific phenomenon. And because I was such an interesting specimen, it granted them the permission they needed to bombard me with inappropriately personal questions and comments. I ceased being Rachael and became instead, Rachael, the sideshow freak with the triplets; people stopped asking about me and instead asked how the babies were and how the pregnancy was going. I lost my identity in the eyes of the people who know me and our encounters became awkward and forced. Friends and family, some of whom are people very dear to me, suddenly had no idea how to act around me anymore. It was as if they could no longer see me as me; and as a result had nothing to say. (Or I was just like Kate Gosselin to them…anyone heard that one before?)

I am sure that, in part, my demeanor and attitude during the pregnancy contributed to this trend, it was impossible for it to be unaffected. It was a very uncertain time for our family, and we were faced with the possibility of losing our babies on a daily basis with no one close to us to really turn to for advice and support that had actually been through what we were going through. That would be difficult for anyone under normal circumstances, but I also had the added impact of being in a hospital 45 minutes from home which made those feelings of isolation that much more intense. I slept all the time, literally, because there was nothing else I could do to make the time go by faster. I avoided phone calls because I didn’t want constant discussion about the reality of what we were dealing with. And I hated answering the question, how are you? I wanted distractions from what was going on, but all I got were reminders, so I withdrew; which of course only made the isolation worse.

When I had my first daughter at 18 years old, I thought that I knew more than my fair share about isolation and loneliness, but once I was enmeshed in the world of multiples those feelings were brought to an even higher level than I thought possible. And after the babies were born 11 ½ weeks prematurely, I was too busy to do much more than acknowledge those feelings briefly. I did have hope that things would get better once I was released from the hospital after their birth, but because my babies were born so prematurely and came home right as RSV/Flu season was beginning, I was stuck in our house with no visitors for 8 long months. Which of course only exacerbated those already overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation. In the beginning people extended invitations for social outings and gatherings, but they were nearly impossible to attend when I was pumping every 3 hours and getting very little of the 8 hours of sleep I need to function on a normal level. In those first few months, I was so exhausted that the thought of getting myself presentable enough to go out in public (ie: shower and put on clean clothes) was enough to throw me over the edge. I couldn’t form a coherent sentence, much less engage in conversation. I felt like a zombie.

Now that the fog of that 1st year is lifting and the fuzziness in my brain is beginning to sharpen around the edges, I am just now able to really see how much was changed by my pregnancy, the delivery and the past year of raising triplets. I find it quite ironic that though we were surrounded by help in the early days, it still felt like we were alone. People we barely knew pitched in to help us out, bringing meals or buying diapers, but my friends only talked about helping. So I was not surprised to see that not everyone stuck around long enough to make it this far with us, but I was kind of shocked to see just how much my relationships were affected. And I was surprised to see that I have very few friends left. I wish I would have had more time to devote to keeping those friendships intact, but the reality was that I didn’t. And unfortunately not many of them understood. I certainly don’t expect my friends with singletons (or my childless friends) to understand what it is like to have multiples, because I know that I did not get it before I had triplets. But I did expect some support and understanding, something that is integral to the heart of every friendship. I didn’t expect what I got from some of my oldest friends: guilt trips, judgmental criticisms and comments made with the intent to devalue the experiences over the past year and a half. I expected my friends to be, well, friends.

Thankfully, I was able to find the support and camaraderie I needed online. Without the friends I have made over the past year and a half through my blog, The Nest and The Triplet Connection I would not have been able to maintain my sanity. There are some incredible women that I have connected with and it was wonderful to have people (even ones I haven’t met) to turn to who got what I was going through and didn’t expect me to have it together all the time. I was able to vent and laugh and cry, but most importantly I felt supported and I was understood. Those friendships have become increasingly important and I cherish the women I have met online. They have given me the confidence I need to seek out new experiences and make new friends in my “real life.”

I know that though my experience is not the standard for multiple pregnancies and births, but it isn’t unique either. I know that many moms of multiples have similar feelings of loneliness and isolation in the first year after their babies are born. If you are expecting, or already the parent of, multiples make sure you seek out and use the invaluable networks of support available to you online. And I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking out other MoMs in your area in the earliest days of your pregnancy. It is the one thing I wish I would have done differently, because then maybe I would have found the support and understanding I needed. Resources I found particularly helpful were friends I met through my blog, The Nest message boards, The Triplet Connection and MOST; but they are just a few of the many places you can turn. You can also find information on local multiple support groups in your area through NOMTC or Meetup. And, of course, you can always turn to us.

I have spent a lot of time over the past 11 months evaluating who I have chosen to surround myself with and I have come to the conclusion that if a relationship is not making me happy it is ok to let it go. Though I am sad to see the friendships go, I am also hopeful that I can make new ones.