The Little Things Thusrday: Installment #9

Here are the little things we celebrated this week-

1. We now have three rolling babies (Rylin, Harper, and Mason), plus they all turn and scoot a bit.  This meant time for changes in our den arrangement.  First we sold all of our little baby equipment (three rock ‘n’ plays, two swings, three Bumbo chairs, and two bouncy seats) on Craigslist.  We caught babies trying to flip over while in these types of seats so it was time to say farewell.  With all the movement and exploration we noticed far too many baby tangle ups so our coffee table found refuge upstairs.  I really like how our den works now.  We have just two baby contraptions and an activity table so there’s much more open space for all.

Oh boy!  The babies are like heat seeking missles when they see a toy being used by another baby.  Harper is stretching out to nab Sydney's toy.

Oh boy! The babies are like heat seeking missiles when they see a toy being used by another baby. Harper and Sydney seem to be scuffling over that book.  As of now, they don’t mind having a toy snatched up, but it won’t be long before there are wails of protest.

For the first time in months there is nothing below the television besides baskets concealing baby toys.

For the first time in months there is nothing below the television besides baskets concealing baby toys. Ahh!

2. We summoned the babies to be Mini Monets once again for our spring artwork.

This is my favorite piece of baby art so far.  We used the babies' footprints to make robins for spring.

This is my favorite piece of baby art so far. We used the babies’ footprints to make robins for spring.

3. Even when we scrubbed it with rubbing alcohol, Mason’s DOC Band started smelling like a foul foot. I tried putting baby powder on his hair as suggested, but he just smelled like a stinky foot dusted in baby powder. My sister reminded me of an amazing product I bought in Vegas a few years ago.   It is coconut scented deodorant powder from Lush. They use organic and chemical free ingredients at Lush, which is baby friendly in my book.  Now his noggin smells like summery  coconut even after hours of wear!

Even when we scrubbed it with rubbing alcohol, Mason's DOC Band started smelling like a foot after day one. I tried putting baby powder on his hair, but he just smelled like a stinky foot dusted in baby powder.  My sister reminded me of this amazing product!  It is coconut scented deodorant powder from Lush.  Now his head smells like coconut even after hours of wear!

There are a few Lush stores internationally located, but if there is not one near you, check out

4. Sydney is clearly our Little Evil Knievel with her stunt girl moves.

Sydney's latest trick is planking.  She should have a seriously developed core now!

Sydney’s latest trick is planking. She should have a seriously developed core now!  Sometime we catch her bear crawling like this, but of course she only goes backwards so it’s not efficient means of locomotion.

5. I found my latest snack craving this week when we seemed to have way too many pretzels in the pantry.  I paired them with peanut butter and Nutella.  I just love salty/ sweet snack combos!  George was less than impressed, but I think it is yum-o!

Sometimes I dip the pretzel in each scrumptious spread while other time I mix the spreads together first.  Either way I love it!

Sometimes I dip the pretzel in each scrumptious spread while other time I mix the spreads together first. Either way I love it!

6. During playtime I’ve been playing children’s music for the babies so they don’t hear only me talking all day.  And so I don’t hear myself talking all day!  Most of our children’s music was sung by the Fisher Price Little People.  The Little People have quite the repertoire of children’s sing-a-long tunes and they can carry a tune, but their voices started grating on me.  I visited the itunes store yesterday and purchased a bunch of folksy-indie children’s music that is much more appealing to me.  I am the newest fan of Frances England and Elizabeth Mitchell.   Seasoned parents, do you know of great children’s music not sung by Wee Sing or the Little People?  I accumulated a good bit, but I will soon tire of the 40 some odd songs I have now.

What little things highlighted your week?




Good Night, Sleep Tight!

A few days ago, a friend with preemie twins asked if I could tell her how we sleep trained the babies.  Of course I can!!!  I believe every parent and baby deserves a good night’s sleep; however it doesn’t generally happen naturally.  It takes effort and time, but it is all worthwhile.  There are no books available for sleep training high order multiples.  Thus, I started out by consulting fellow quad mamas then reading On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins (there is a singleton version available too).  I adapted my findings the best I could to quads and it’s served us well. Here’s what worked for us:

Follow a Feed Schedule

When the babies came home from the NICU they were on a three hour feeding schedule (6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm, 12 am, 3 am) and mostly slept between feeds.  We quickly learned that no matter the number of feeders available, the babies had to be fed together (or as closely together) as possible to maintain that schedule.  That meant tandem feeding when they were tiny enough to need a side lying position.  We used a firm memory foam pillow and laid the babies back to back to accomplish this.  With two people all were fed together, if it were just me, I fed the fussiest two first then the other two.  Between feeds there were tons of chores to be done from bottle washing to well, taking a shower.  George and I snagged a few hours of sleep here and there between those feeds.  It was excruciating to get tidbits of sleep here and there.  We lived in a fog for weeks.  Incoherent conversations were held and bloopers ensued (I only wish I wrote them down because I don’t even remember much of that time anymore).  The first few weeks, we set alarms for ourselves to feed the babies in fear they were too tiny to alert us.  After a while (I think they were about nine weeks old), we stopped setting the alarms and let them cry to wake us.  The rule was if one woke, they all woke to be fed and kept on the same schedule.  One night we ended up with an extra bottle at the end of the day and were baffled.  After reviewing our feeding chart, we realized the babies slept through their midnight feed: they slept from 9 pm to 3 am!  We logged six consecutive hours for the first time in months.  Yippee!!!!  We felt so much better finally getting that six hours, but we knew the babies could go beyond that.   When the babies were twelve weeks old, sleep boot camp began.  About this time, the babies were getting big enough to sit supported in Boppy Pillows with bottle buddies.   This allowed a successful quad feed and maintain better adherence to the feeding schedule. As part of sleep training, we adopted a few tenants:

Set the Stage for Sleep

We bought sound machines for each nursery to muffle foreign sounds and the cries of siblings.  Most sleep training books (and some parents of multiples) say that multiples don’t wake each other, but ours do!  We invested in diaper booster pads to help absorb more moisture in the night and keep them from waking to wet diapers.  Now that they are bigger we may try overnight diapers.  Additionally, we set up a going to sleep routine (for all naps and bedtime).  We put each baby in a sleep sack, turn their mobile on, and hand them a WubbaNub.  They now use their WubbaNubs as security blankets and self soothe with them during naps and bedtime.

We also follow both book’s advice of where the babies sleep.  They are not allowed to sleep in contraptions such as swings or bouncy seats and they NEVER sleep in our room.  They are put down for all naps and bedtime in their cribs.  However, we sometimes deviate from the books here.  If a baby wakes up and is getting loud enough to disturb siblings, he or she is relocated to a Rock ‘n’ Play either in the laundry room or bathroom.  Rock ‘n’ Plays are probably “contraptions”, but we use them solely for sleeping so I consider them sleeping places.  I am currently working on teaching them to sleep in a Pack ‘n’ Play instead.  When they can sit up they can no longer safely sleep in Rock ‘n’ Plays and I’ll be up a creek without a paddle.  The idea is moving an upset baby away from siblings to maintain good naps for all.  If they didn’t wake each other up this would be unnecessary.  At night, they go into a much deeper sleep and don’t bother each other.

Rylin has been stirring the pot during naps so she's taken to bathroom naps.

Rylin has been stirring the pot during naps so she’s taken to bathroom naps.  She has a weighted neck wrap on her tummy for cramping.  Works wonders!

Watch for Signs of Drowsiness

When we put the babies down for naps or bed, we try to catch them in a drowsy state.  This is the time when they start relaxing, but before they nod off or get a second wind.  They tend to slow down their movements and eyes start looking heavy.  If we catch them at this opportune time, they go to bed content and go right to sleep.  If we miss it, they inevitably get revved up for more play then crash and get incredibly grouchy.  It can be difficult to find this “sweet spot” so I watched the clock and developed a nap schedule that works pretty well.  It also helps caretakers to watch the clock rather than for sleep cues.

This is how the babies should look when they are put to bed.

This is how the babies should look when they are put to bed.

This is how they look about 10 minutes after being laid down.  Looks like Sydney's eyes are getting heavy!

This is how they look about 10 minutes after being laid down. Looks like Sydney’s eyes are getting heavy!

Follow the Sleep-Wake-Sleep Cycle

In the day, we follow the Babywise method of following a feed-wake-sleep cycle.  After finishing bottles, the babies stay awake for “playtime” before going down for naps.  In the early days, wake time was quite short.  Sometimes they struggled to stay awake to finish their bottles let alone play.  Over time, they have extended wake time to 90 minutes and sometimes two hours.  For our babies, this cycle is apparently important.  Anytime we deviate from that order, things go awry and babies get cranky.

Plan for When Babies Wake

As part of sleep training, we moved our baby monitor out of our room to the den.  We were a bit nervous about this at first, but babies make tons of little noises all night long that disturb our sleep.  If a SIDs monitor alarms or if a baby truly needs intervention, we always hear them.

If a baby is crying loudly or getting noisy during a sleep, we give them a few minutes to settle on their own.  If they can’t settle, we listen to the cry to infer the meaning.  Having multiples means we must know the unique cries and the meaning for each baby.  For example, if Sydney fusses she is usually settled by her WubbaNub.  However, if Rylin begins escalating, she does not self soothe well and often needs a burp.  Whereas, Harper can escalate if he sees a caretaker nearby so he’s best left alone.  Mason rarely cries or fusses so if we hear him, it’s likely a soiled diaper or a stuck arm.  Of course, they all have a specific, unmistakable cry for discomfort that requires immediate intervention no matter what.  Every few weeks, Harper wakes up in the night with his hunger cry.  We give him a “snack bottle” of about 2-3 oz and he goes back to bed.  We believe these are growth spurts that work out within two or three days and he does not continue feeding at odd hours.

If a baby wakes up cooing and happy, we let them entertain themselves and enjoy alone time until the next feed.  It is not unusual for the girls to wake up about 6:00 am, happily chatter to each other for about 20 minutes then go back to sleep until 7:30.

The Result

With sleep training in place, our feed and sleep schedules evolved into longer stretches at night and fewer feeds. By three and a half months of age, the babies started sleeping from 10:30 pm to about 5 am (You may notice we adjusted their feed schedule so the final feed was when we wanted to go to bed ourselves.  This allowed us to get a good stretch of sleep too!).  At this point, we started adding 1 tablespoon of rice to their final bottle to add extra calories to sustain them.  They would wake again about 9 am and we would start our 3 hour feed schedule from there so it was: 5 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm, 10:30 pm.  After a week or so of that, I noticed we were routinely waking three sleeping babies because Harper was waking.  This is when tough love came into play.  Over a weekend, when Harper woke up we did not wake the others.  Instead, I got up with Harper and soothed him with some rocking and his WubbaNub.  It took three nights and he started sleeping until 6/ 6:30 with the others.  By four months our schedule then went to 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, 9 pm, 10:30 pm.  We maintained that schedule a few weeks when Mason began refusing the last bottle, but still slept all night.  Although we worried about dropping the late bottle, we gave it a whirl and it worked!  Babies were sleeping from 9 pm to 6 am.  In time, they began to sleep longer and woke at 7/ 7:30 for the first feed.  Over a few nights, we gradually backed the last feed up so their bedtime became 8 pm.

By the time the babies were six months old, we adopted this schedule:

  • 7:45 am feed
  • 9:15 am nap
  • 11:00 am feed
  • 12:30 nap
  • 2:15 pm feed
  • 3:45 nap
  • 5:15 feed
  • 7:45 pm feed
  • 8:00 pm

Notice how naps are about 1-2 hours long and occur after about 90 minutes of wake time.  We recently attempted moving to a four hour feed schedule, but were not ready because the babies become too sleepy and grouchy if wake time is extended too much.  As they can tolerate longer wake times (we push them about 5 minutes here and there to experiment), we will revisit the coveted four hour feed schedule, which will result in two longer naps and dropping the third one.

Since Mason can roll over, he's a tummy sleeper.

Since Mason can roll over, he’s a tummy sleeper.

Our little side sleeper, Harper.

Our little side sleeper, Harper.


I found this blog: Chronicles of a Babywise Mom that is a great place to go for troubleshooting and other Babywise implementation ideas.  The author uses the principles of Babywise, but bends them to fit her family’s needs.

Fellow quad mama, Amber, wrote about how she got her crew to sleep 12 hours at night on her Blog, Texas Tales.

Here are the books I read.

On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the GIFT of Nighttime Sleep

On Becoming Babywise, Book Two: Parenting Your Five to Twelve-Month-Old Through the Babyhood Transitions

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins: A Step-by-Step Program for Sleep-Training Your Multiples

I would also like to give a special thanks to my cousin, Lindsay, who is my go-to gal on sleep training all things Babywise.  She may not have quadruplets, but she does know a thing or two about sleep training, schedules, and babies in general!

So there you have it, that’s how all six of us get a good night’s sleep!  What would you do for a good night’s sleep?



Wising Up!

While I was on bedrest I managed to devour every baby magazine I could get my grubby paws on and poured over several pregnancy books.  But do you think I read much about baby routines?  Of course not!  I read a dry book about basic (well duh! type) baby care, but not much about routines and schedules for the day.  As a school psychologist I know a good deal about elementary aged children and I know that routines are key, but I am no baby expert.

When everyone trickled home, we kept them on the NICU schedule of feeding every three hours at 12 am, 3 am, 6 am, 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, and 6 pm, and 9 pm so we had eight feeds per day.  This was totally exhausting!  After feeds during the day, we kept them in the living room in various contraptions that propped them up to prevent reflux and/ or lulled them to sleep.  At night, we’d put them all in their beds with SIDS monitors and the baby monitor on so we could keep tabs on everyone.  While this worked for our tiny preemies, they began to outgrow this routine rather quickly.  One night we woke up at about 3 am and panicked when we realized we didn’t feed anyone at midnight.  We successfully dropped the midnight feed.  This was great!

As the babies grew, they started going closer to four hour feeds in the daytime, which was nice.  However, I soon figured out that if they went four hours all day long, they never went more than four hours at night.  Now this mama wanted more than three hours of consecutive sleep at night, so  intervention was in order.  I vaguely remembered an email sent to me before delivery from a fellow quad mama about how to get them to sleep through the night using Babywise.  I pulled it up for reference and realized that we 1. needed to keep them on a three hour feed schedule in the day to keep them sustained through the night 2. needed to turn our baby monitors off.  Say what?  Turn the baby monitor off???  We did!  The thing is baby monitors pick up EVERY little movement and grunt all night long.  I would find myself stumbling out of bed at 4:00-5:00 am to feed one baby that was grunting and waking three sleeping babies up to keep them on the same schedule.  Also, when we turned the monitors off, we realized we CAN hear when they cry and if a SIDS monitor alarms.  Even with implementing these things, we continued to wake every morning at 5:00 am and this just wasn’t working.  So, I picked up a copy of Babywise at Half Price Books to learn the whole program for myself.

I read it cover to cover last Tuesday and began full implementation on Thursday.  I quickly realized that Harper’s circadian rhythm was “stuck” to wake at about 5:00 am and he wasn’t really hungry.  When he’d wake up, bleary eyed me would heat four bottles and wake the other three to feed.  I knew that if he could sleep until 5:00 am, that 6:00 wasn’t too lofty of a goal.  So, I set the expectation to feed starting at 6:00 or later.  After three days of convincing Harper to go back to sleep, he finally agreed.  I am proud to say all four have slept from 11 pm to 7:30 am!  I don’t mean we fed them at 11 either, they SLEPT from 11 pm to 7:30 am.  That is a FULL night’s sleep for us!
We have a few other kinks of Babywise to work out, but sleeping a full night is absolute

ly fantastic.  The Babywise theory is that babies have a cycle of feed-wake-sleep and they move through these cycles in that order all day long.  Also, babies must sleep in their cribs in their rooms anytime they go into sleep cycles, not contraptions.  (We still rely upon the Rock ‘n’ Plays for sleep because they keep the babies upright helping prevent reflux spells.)  This teaches them to fall asleep independently.   If they get these cycles out of order, things get disrupted for them.  Right now we are struggling to keep them awake for the entire feed and to stay awake before a nap.  They tend to fall asleep too soon and wake long before it is time to feed.   Right now, Rylin is particularly upset with the new routine.  She prefers to eat in her sleep and during “playtime” then wakes up like a banshee about an hour before the next feed.   I am sticking with it in hopes that we will teach the babies where and how to sleep so everyone is more rested.  Here’s to wisin’ up!



Cue the pictures of sleeping babies-






Hmmm…..looks like Rylin fell asleep during tummy time!

Rylin’s looking a bit more alert here.

Maybe Harper and Mason can keep each other awake.

Sydney is awake this round!

And we lost another one to tummy time fatigue…