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Breastfeeding Triplets: Beyond the First Year

Breastfeeding Triplets...beyond 1 yearIf you missed the first part of my journey of breastfeeding triplets, you can read it here: Breastfeeding Triplets: A Battle of Love

There was much rejoicing when the babies turned a year old—but much sadness, too. My babies were getting big (that was really sad). The year had flown by and so much of it was a blur. However, we made it through the first year with three newborns (that was cause for celebration)! And all three babies were still nursing (also cause for celebration)!

I could hardly believe that I had breastfed triplets for a year. When I was pregnant, my loftiest goal was to breastfeed two and hopefully have enough expressed milk to bottle-feed the third (and I used this pump for many months!). So, imagine my surprise and delight to find that the babies were happy to continue! They felt no need to wean…so neither did I.

Are you going to be one of those breastfeeding moms?

Breastfeeding Triplets: Once they turn 1!

Maybe. I guess so? Wait, what do you mean by “one of those?”

As I entered the “extended breastfeeding” stage, I did feel a shift in people’s responses. Whereas there was admiration and awe prior to the one year mark, afterwards I was needing to explain that it is actually still incredibly beneficial. So when people ask why I’m still breastfeeding I usually leave it at something like, “We’ve worked so hard to get to this place; I enjoy it, they enjoy it, and it’s still so good for them.”

Personally, though, I work better with a goal in mind. And while I still take it day by day and never force any of them to nurse (seriously, have you ever tried to force a toddler to do anything?), I began setting up new short-term goals. So my hope was to keep the ratio between breast milk and solids as close as possible to 50/50 from 12-18 months. Breastfeeding actually made up more than 50% of their intake during this season!

2 weeks old

My Schedule for Breastfeeding Triplets Toddlers

“Breastfeeding” and “schedule” don’t often find themselves in the same sentence, I know. However, with three preemies in the NICU for a month, we all got on a pretty good schedule. My babies came home mostly content to continue that schedule. I found it incredibly helpful for staying sane because I knew what to expect—which one would wake early and want to eat, which one would rather sleep, which one would rather be held.

When the babies turned one, we had adjusted to the following schedule:

  • 7am – wake, tandem breastfeed, breastfeed the third on both sides
  • 8:30am – breakfast
  • 11:30am – tandem breastfeed, breastfeed the third on both sides
  • 1pm – lunch
  • 4pm – tandem breastfeed, breastfeed the third on both sides
  • 6pm – dinner
  • 7pm – tandem breastfeed, breastfeed the third on both sides
  • 10:30pm – tandem breastfeed, breastfeed the third on both sides

And, yes, it took a solid hour to breastfeed all three. That was five solid hours of breastfeeding! Being on a schedule at this point also really helped them becausethey now knew what to expect—when it was playtime, when it was meal-time, when it was milk-time. By the time she turned one, Emma had decided she’d rather sleep than nurse. So she was the first to drop the “dream feed.”

18months

Moving Forward

At this point, I don’t see any reason why we can’t reach two years old—we’re less than four months away! Right? And if they want to continue nursing, I am perfectly fine with that.

I do think that I may implement a mother-led weaning and attempt to just nurse in the morning and before bedtime. This will free up about an hour of our day and I can see myself ready for this in a few months. They are currently 20 months old and still nursing three times a day.

Not bad, huh, for such a rough start?

What do you think? Have you attempted mother-led weaning? How did it go?


Jennifer Fountain is the founder of Growing Up Triplets and is a contributor to other blogs, including Breastfeeding Place. She writes about raising their three-year-old-triplets, taking the family back to living simply, and endeavoring to honor God in the midst of it all. She has been married to her hubby, David, for nearly five years and is madly in love with him! You can follow Jennifer and the three peas on Google+FacebookTwitterPinterest and the blog.

Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    I was very lucky to be able to breastfeed my twins to almost 18 months before I weaned them, and I also noticed a shift in attitudes and in my comfort to breastfeed them in public after 1 year. I had never had any issues in feeding in public discreetly, but suddenly I had this toddler who was interacting with others and sitting up and then walking all by him or herself, then I’d be gently encouraging them to join me for their scheduled lunchtime milk, and I did feel a bit self conscious. Well done for continuing for so long! As much as I loved breastfeeding and once it was established, i had no issues with it, I was surprised by how liberated I felt once I stopped too!

  2. Good for you! What an accomplishment! I nursed my singletons for 14 months and 19 months respectively, only weaning each time because I was pregnant again and too sick to continue. I really enjoyed it, but I like the idea of scheduling toddler feeds since I found my toddlers would begin to get both possessive and aggressive about nursing, wanting it as often as every 15 minutes, which needless to say is quite tiring!

    I would think extended breastfeeding would be even more important for preemies, since their immune systems are still extra delicate. 🙂

    • Jennifer Fountain says:

      Great job, mama! Yes, toddlers are quite aggressive at times, haha! They bring the Boppy to me now and ask for “nilk.” 🙂

      It is quite beneficial for preemies to get breast milk! Though, they actually stopped being considered preemies not too far into the first year. I do attribute their incredible health to all of the breast milk, though!

  3. Wow great job momma. I truly admire you for breastfeeding three babies for this long. I nursed my son until he self weaned at 20.5 months and it was an amazing experience. I can only imagine how much bonding goes on with three breastfeeding at the same time! Great job.

  4. I am literally giving you a standing ovation right now! Way to go mama! So awesome! I have been nursing non-stop for four years now. My daughter nursed throughout my pregnancy with my son, and then I began tandem nursing. Your obvious love and dedication warm my heart. Thanks for sharing with the Tuesday Baby Link Up Community!

    • Jennifer Fountain says:

      Jennifer, thank you so much for your kind words! Wow, what a gift you’ve given to your own children! Great job, mama! 🙂

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