As with so many aspects of parenting, deciding on sleeping arrangements when you have multiple babies requires more thought than if you were to be caring for a single baby. While parents expecting one newborn may have no problem fitting a cot or bassinet in their bedroom with them, space limitations might make fitting more than one cot in the room impractical. Do you keep your babies together in one crib or give them each their own space, but have them in a different room at night? What about once they start school? Do your triplets each have their own bedroom or should you keep them together? There is no “one size fits all” answer here, but this article will hopefully give you some things to consider when making decisions about sleeping arrangements for your triplets.
Will my newborn triplets share a crib in hospital?
Many triplets are born prematurely and this increases for higher order multiples such as quadruplets or more. Premature babies will often requires a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and may potentially require help with breathing and keeping warm, so may spend their early days or weeks in a humidicrib, hooked up to life saving specialist equipment. if your babies require this sort of intervention, they will likely have their own crib, so that it is easier for doctors to monitor them. Once your babies are strong enough to sleep in an open air crib, some hospitals may ask if you would like your babies to share a cot together, but this practice is becoming less common, so it’s important to accept that whatever your hospital prefers to do is in the best interests of your precious babies.
Hospitals in different parts of the world will have their own set of guidelines that they follow when it comes to co-sleeping multiples. These guidelines can vary from state to state and even just from one hospital to the next within the same geographical area. Most hospitals follow the Safe Sleep guidelines relating to SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy), which recommends each baby has their own sleeping space. These recommendations also advise that it’s best to have your baby sleeping in the same room as an adult for the first 6-12 months. Easy enough to achieve in hospital, but maybe less so once you get home.
Sleeping arrangements for triplet newborns at home.
In order to reduce the risk of SUDI, you should be aiming to have each of your babies in their own safe cot and sleeping in the same room as an adult. As with everything when you have multiples, what’s ideal doesn’t always work! Logistically, you might not fit 3 or more cots in your room, so this is a decision you need to make according to what works best for you.
The safest way for two babies to share a cot is to sleep “head to head” with their feet at opposite ends of the cot (see image below).This positioning reduces the risk of the babies chances of smothering one another. Obviously with three or more babies, this set up isn’t possible and your babies may be sleeping side by side across the length of the cot until they get too long for this to be feasible. If separate cots mean spreading your babies across more than one room, you may be able to have one parent in each room with a camping mattress on the floor and share the load that way. Remember – safety and sanity is what’s important in these early days… who cares what your home looks like!
While your babies are small enough to fit into bassinets, this can also be a more compact way of fitting them all in your room, since bassinets are generally smaller. Otherwise you may decide to have 2 babies in a cot together and a single (or other 2 if you have quads) in a second cot.
Other things to consider are if you choose to use devices like movement sensors underneath your babies, you will need to have them in separate cots for this to work effectively. Also, some multiples are more in sync with their siblings than others. I know of parents who report that as soon as one baby started making sounds as they got hungry, the others would wake up and it would be really hectic getting everyone up and fed at the same time. For those parents, having their babies sleep in different rooms to one another made it a little easier to get one baby up before the next one woke. Then there are those babies who will happily sleep through any noise!
Sleeping arrangements for triplet toddlers
Toddler beds are a great transition from cribs to single beds as they are lower to the ground and have a partial side rail to help prevent any falls. they’re also much smaller than single beds so might allow you to fit all your kids in one room for a bit longer. Toddlers sharing a room can be a lot of fun as they entertain themselves and have cute little conversations. It can also make settling down for sleep more challenging, so you need to do what works best for your family! Some of my favorite memories of my triplets as toddlers is capturing the adorable games they played amongst themselves when it was supposed to be nap time by filming them through a crack in the door! It doesn’t always seem quite so cute when you are sleep deprived and desperate!
Many families with multiples look into bunk bed options, which are great for maximising space and keeping siblings sharing a room. If you haven’t had bunk beds before, be warned that the changing of sheets on a top bunk is far more labour intensive than a regular bed. If you have any physical limitations such as back or upper body injuries, I would urge you to think twice before going down the bunk bed path. Ask friends if anyone has a set of bunks and have a try of changing the sheets there first, so you know what you’re in for before committing!