Several people inquire about what life is like for one of the Vanderwall quints. Many have come to visit and have peered into the world of the V-5. Some are surprised at their cool, calm and collected nature. Others have witnessed the choir of screeching alley cats (aka all 5 crying at once), which is enough to scare anyone into abstinence. All have to take a moment to allow reality to settle in that there truly are five.
When I was pregnant I was searching long and hard for example schedules and routines for high order multiples. I found suggestions but nothing clear and concise, so I thought I would share with the world what a day in the life of the Vanderwall quints looks like.
The life of an infant is fairly plain and simple; it consists of eating, sleeping and pooping. But, as a child ages the time allocated to these changes.
When the kiddos first arrived home at 2 ½ months, or a gestational age of 40 weeks, they ate every 3 hours and slept for the majority of the 3 hours between feedings. We inherited their care time schedule from the hospital, which was 12am, 3am, 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, and 9pm.
About a month ago we consolidated the evening so, there was only one evening shift: 1am, 5am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm.
More recently, we decided to challenge the quints to sleep through the night and. they did it! According to the research literature, “sleeping through the night” is 5 hours, however most, including any sleep-deprived parent or caregiver, would agree that that simply is not enough. However, it’s a start. The quints care times are now 5-6am, 9am, 12pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm. It continues to amaze me at how adaptable they truly are. We are very grateful!
Those who have visited know the in’s and out’s of the quint’s cares, but I’ll give you the rundown for those of you watching from home. The sequence of care times mimics that of the hospital. We tried to maintain patterns that the kids knew.
“Cares” begin with whoever is awake, which is typically Ellie and Theo, but on some occasions everyone wakes up at the same time. Most of the time half of them wake up on the hour and then 2-3 wake up at the half hour. This works out perfectly for our feeding sequence. We start by changing their diapers and then feed them one-by-one. It will be a glorious day when they can hold their own bottles, but for right now each one takes 8-45 minutes to feed depending on how cooperative they’re feeling. That means that one “care” session can last 45 minutes to over 2 hours. When I’m running this ship solo, the average care session takes 90 minutes, but Frank and I can cut that time in half.
After everyone is fed, they lay back down for a nap, some quiet-alert time, or play-time. We try to rotate their positions from lying on their back, to tummy time, to sitting upright in the swing or bouncy seat, or to a slight incline in a boppy.
We believe its important to vary the positions and locations of the room.
In between care sessions, we spend time documenting their “I’s & O’s” or “In’s & Out’s,” making bottles, and doing the laundry. It is important for us to track their care sessions because when we go to the doctor they always ask how many “voids” and “stools” they have each day, and there’s no way I could recall that for each one without writing it down. A sample of our tracker is below:
Percent of Daily Goal
So, a day in the life of the V-5 consists of 6 feedings, 90 ounces of breast milk, about 6 scoops of Neosure, 18 teaspoons of rice cereal, at least 50 diapers, an abundance of boogers, drool, stinky butts and spit-up, and a whole lot of love!