20 Difficult Things About Parenting Triplets

You know what’s incredibly cool? Parenting triplets.

You know what’s incredibly tough? Parenting triplets.

Now, there’s no way I’d trade all the blessings that comes with being the parent of multiples. Not even for all the tea in China. But that’s tea people. Not wine. Which is what I’m about to do. Just a little bit, at least.

Because as great as it is, parenting triplets is hard. And here are 20 of the most difficult things that I’ve encountered — particularly as it pertains to their first few years of life.

  • Immediate restrictions

    Immediate restrictions

    You know what’s frustrating? Not being able to hold your baby sister / newborn. Moments after this picture was taken, our tiny little angel (3lbs 5oz) was whisked away to the NICU where she’d spend the next two weeks.

  • The NICU

    The NICU

    Speaking of, the NICU experience isn’t exactly a piece of cake, itself. The physical separation while tending to the other two (and their big sister, of course) really took a toll. As did the concept of our little girl needing round-the-clock attention.

  • At home care

    At home care

    Even when she was home, she was still required to wear an apnea monitor. At least for those first few weeks. We were told to expect false alarms, and there sure were plenty. (Almost always in the middle of the night!) And through that, we learned that false alarms are still pretty darn alarming.

  • No sleep

    No sleep

    Feeding, then changing one infant every three hours isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Feeding, then changing three infants is flat-out grueling. Even once we figured out how to rock the “simultaneous feed.” We didn’t sleep for months. (You’ll note the formula bottle. Yes, she tried breast feeding. No, it didn’t work. We’re sensitive to this because of comments we’ve received in the past.)

  • Back to back to back soiled diapers.

    Back to back to back soiled diapers.

    Trust me when I tell you that this is a trifecta you don’t wanna hit. My single-day, soiled diaper record is 11. (With a two-day total of 19.) Good times.

  • Math


    When you have three infants, math suggests that one will be crying at all times. And by suggests I mean guarantees!

  • Keeping track of belongings

    Keeping track of belongings

    Once they got a little bigger, they began to get particular about their belonging. Blankies, sippy cups, passies, lovies, etc… And we never implemented a true color system as many suggest because, I dunno, I guess we didn’t wanna marginalize our kids to a single color or something. Anyway, it was tough to keep track of all that stuff.

  • All. The. Stuff.

    All. The. Stuff.

    Not belongings so much as gear. You know, gliders, pack ‘n plays, diaper rash cream, boppy pillows, etc… The amount of baby paraphernalia that we had was…staggering. We converted one entire room to our version of Baby Central. You know, in addition to the nursery.

  • Travel


    Which is exactly what made traveling so hard. All the stuff we had to haul down to, say, the beach. Well, that and the fact that, you know, we were traveling with three babies on an 8-hour car trip So there was that, too.

  • Buckling / Unbuckling

    Buckling / Unbuckling

    Speaking of car rides — you’d be amazed at how much time we spent buckling and unbuckling those little guys. I swear, each weekend it felt like we dedicated two hours to this specific chore, alone.

  • Fighting over toys

    Fighting over toys

    You know what’s cute? Watching three little babies play. You know what’s not? Watching three little babies fight over toys. Seriously — we almost had to get rid of the exersaucer you see in this picture.

  • Getting stopped

    Getting stopped

    I get it. It’s not every day you see some poor guy walking around pushing something like what you see above. And at first, all the attention was kinda cool. But it got old quickly. Because, at some point, all you really wanna do is finish getting the rest of the groceries on your list and get on with it.

  • Potty training

    Potty training

    Potty training triplets is like some bad game show where the winners get a cookie while the host gets doused with errant streams of urine.

  • Red letter days

    Red letter days

    Red letter days, like their baptism, were, at least on some level, bittersweet. I mean, on the one hand, they were three times the joy. But on the other, we sometimes wished that each child could get his or her own individual spotlight that most children get on such big days.

  • Keeping everyone looking good

    Keeping everyone looking good

    All in all, we did a pretty okay job of making sure our little ones were presentable. At least for the most part. But in this photo that was taken around Valentine’s Day-ish of 2009? We kinda skew a bit meth-ish, no? (If you think they looked rough, you should have seen their parents!)

  • Anxiety


    When they got mobile, it was like Katie bar the door. And whenever we were near water, we’d be on total pins and needles. I remember this trip vividly. My head was on a swivel the entire time. I counted to three more times in that week alone than most photographers do in an entire year.

  • Human jungle gym

    Human jungle gym

    Let’s just say that whenever my wife hears another mom complain about how her child likes to climb all over her, she laughs.

  • Baths


    Don’t get me wrong. I love nothing more than giving a baby a bath. But giving three babies three baths gets a bit old. Especially given all the other things with which one must contend during the witching hour. Combining their baths helped.

  • Eating out

    Eating out

    This picture makes it look so easy, doesn’t it? But, trust me, when you’re eating out with triplet babies / toddlers, it’s quite the ordeal. The worst part? The shame you feel at the mess you’ve left behind as you make your way to the door with your tail tucked between your legs.

  • Holding one means you're missing out on holding another!

    Holding one means you're missing out on holding another!

    But the very hardest part of having triplets is the fact that whenever you’re holding one, it means you’re not holding one of the others. Which makes you realize how blessed you are to such miraculous love for three different, same-aged babies.

    Yes, there are tough spots for sure. But they’re all so worth it, it’s not even funny!

Read more from John Cave Osborne on his personal blog which he calls (get this) JohnCaveOsborne.com or feel free to stalk him on Facebook and or Twitter.

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