I have always been concerned about the girls’ milestone because they were born a month early. They were behind for a little while but they seem to have more than caught up. Just two weeks’ shy of turning 9 months, they have started to hold their own milk bottles. Considering that they drink 4 times a day, and times 3 babies, that’s 12 times a day I am free to do other things than sit down, feed and look at them while they suck on their bottles for a good 10 minutes. That’s 2 hours of my life that I got back to do anything else than sit and feed them. Before this, I felt like I was always feeding them either milk or solids and it didn’t seem to end.
Since they are only starting to hold their own bottles, I do sit by their side to make sure they are holding it properly (like tilting it upwards). The first day they did this, they kept dropping the bottles, but by the second day, they started to get the hang of it, and soon I can totally just pass them the bottle and leave them completely alone to drink it on their own. I know it sounds so simple but its a BIG deal! I wrote on Facebook that self-feeding is a triplet mother’s dream come true.
How I came to know that they were ready to feed themselves was rather funny. Our fraternal triplet Liora started grasping and holding her own bottle one evening. I immediately thought that was very odd, she has always been the last to reach any milestone. The identical twins have not even tried at all to hold their own bottles. So I left the bottles in front of the twins who were very hungry and wanting to be fed and I refused to feed them, and lo and behold, they tried to pick up the bottle and feed themselves! They needed a bit of help to put the bottles in their hands at first but once it was in their hands, they were quite comfortable feeding on their own. And it once again proves how children can do things independently if we let them.
I have also decided to skip purees for now and transition directly to table foods when they are 9 or 10 months, which is two months’ time in adjusted age. I actually started this a little bit but not consistently enough like putting a biscuit in their hand to feed themselves. I did the exact same thing with Livia where I started out with purees, got really fed up with purees and then totally stopped and around 9 months allowed her to feed herself table foods like rice, chunks of protein, fruit and vegetables. So by the time Livia was 9 months old, she was completely independently feeding herself milk and table foods, and my only task was to clean her and the mess she made. I don’t mind cleaning because even when I feed them, they still make a mess anyway. So I plan to do the same with the triplets. More independence for them equates to more freedom for me.
My mood has dramatically improved since they started drinking milk on their own and playing for a while on their own. They are still very dependent – I mean I still gotta wipe their butts for another couple of years, prepare their meals, bathe, nag at them to take naps, put them to bed at night, and make sure they are generally free of harm’s way. But just to reclaim 2 hours back that I had initially spent feeding them milk seemed like such a triumph after 8 months of completely submitting to their will. And there is also a correlation between their growing independence and personalities: they are a lot less babyish. They don’t cry and fuss much and its been so much easier to bring them out like to the swimming pool or playground. When before, any social experience will cause them to break into uncontrollable tears. I think what I would like to really try next, and I am a bit afraid to try this, is to bring them to a restaurant and have a full dinner. We’ve been hemming and hawing on attempting this because we feel they will just get bored halfway and start fussing and then ruin our meal. But I think they might be ready for this soon.
When you are this deep in childcare, the small triumphs like the ones I mentioned above are just so HUGE. Its like I can finally start enjoying my children and feel less tied down.