Statistics regarding the odds of conceiving identical triplets differ, but many sources state those odds to be as high as one in 200 million!
Having Identical Triplets
There is no arguing that the birth of identical triplets is very rare. While the use of fertility drugs has certainly raised the occurrence of multiple births for parents, those multiple births often deal with fraternal siblings.
Any parent of a newborn can tell you the joy and the challenges he or she faced in those first few weeks and months of the baby's life. However, when you triple the number of babies, you also triple the number of challenges.
Most parents of multiples believe that time management is the key to handling the stress of taking care of more than one baby. This is especially true when parenting identical newborn triplets!
How are triplets created? In many cases, triplets are the result of fertility procedures and/or fertility drugs. In some instances, however, triplets were naturally conceived. Fraternal triplets are typically conceived when three eggs are fertilized separately. The medical term for this is "trizygotic". In some cases, triplets are actually formed from two egg/sperm combinations in which one egg then splits into two. When this occurs, two of the fetuses are actually identical or twins, while the other has a separate genetic makeup. Identical triplets are referred to as "monozygotic", which means that all of the fetuses were created from a fertilized egg that was split in thirds. These fetuses will always be of the same gender.
How do you handle the daily care of identical newborn triplets? Creating a schedule and having access to several pairs of extra hands are the keys to surviving those first few months after the babies' birth.
It is common for multiple births to be premature. When this occurs, not only does the mother have to handle the recovery of an often stressful delivery, but she, along with her partner, may have to deal with the worry over her babies' health. Babies born prematurely often have to stay for longer periods in the hospital; medical costs can be exorbitant as well.
Once triplets are brought home, the costs usually don't lessen. While many mothers choose to breastfeed, which can reduce the day to day expenses of feeding a baby, mothers of identical triplets may not be able to breastfeed their children. It may be possible to breastfeed, however, although you may have to supplement your milk supply with formula. Other expenses include triple the amount of diapers, wipes, baby equipment and other essential supplies, such as beds, clothing, etc.
Identical newborn triplet babies present a multitude of challenges. Your days will be consumed with feeding, changing, rocking, and most importantly, trying to keep the babies' identities straight! The following coping strategies will help you manage the days, weeks, and months to come.
- Accept any and all offers of help! Realize that you and your partner cannot do it all! This is especially true if you already have other children at home. When well-meaning family members and friends ask how they can help, be ready with your answer! Be specific as to your needs!
- Create a schedule. One of your first goals is to establish a routine. Begin feeding the babies on a schedule at the same time. Try to get them on the same nap and bedtime schedule as well. This won't happen overnight, but it can happen. You must be as consistent as possible.
- Keep a log. Keep a log of when each baby is fed, changed, etc. This log should be made available to everyone who helps take care of the babies.
- Create a system of identification. Decide how you will tell the babies apart. One simple method is to assign a particular color for each child, and dress the child with that color each day. Another suggestion is to pierce baby girls' ears, using a different color stud earring for each child. Be sure that all of the caretakers understand the identification system.
Finally, rest when you can. You'll need all your strength to take care of your tiny, but demanding, babies' needs!