A couple have shared the ‘military routine’ they use to keep their house in order while looking after their seven-month-old triplets.
Rachael and Chris Winterton, of Eastbourne, East Sussex, welcomed Jude, Lily-Rose and Esme in August last year following two rounds of IVF.
The parents admitted they ‘haven’t slept much’ in the months since and rely on ‘team work’ and careful planning to stay on top of their hectic family life.
The day begins at 6.30am when Rachael, 28, and Chris, 29, juggle morning feeds while getting ready, and ends with story time and bathtime before bed at 6.45pm.
The rest of the day is broken down into manageable 30-minute slots.
‘The only way we’ve managed is by having a very strict daily routine. It’s all planned and timed very carefully, it’s like a military regime.’
In the morning, the parents take turn entertaining and feeding the children while the other gets dressed for the day. Chris, a mortgage adviser, then comes home on his lunch break to help with the feeds.
Rachael said: ‘They have set times for half an hour naps throughout the day with feeds, and play time in between.
‘At bath time Lily-Rose and Jude need to be bathed first because Esme is happy to wait. She’s definitely the most patient.
‘We get them down for the night at 6:45pm and then it’s time for us to make and eat dinner before a very early night and it all starts again.’
The mother-of-three was told her egg count was too low to conceive naturally but too high to be offered on the NHS. The couple eventually paid for private treatment in Cyprus, spending £11,500 on two rounds of IVF.
Rachael said: ‘We decided to implant them all [the embryos] because a lot of people have three or four implanted and just one of them survives.
‘You’re not meant to test for two weeks but six days later my stomach was so swollen that they told me to do a test which came out positive.
‘I had to go to hospital and it turned out my hormone levels were so high they were making me swell up. They did a scan and told us all three embryos were growing.
The tiny triplets were born via caesarean at 33 weeks and six days weighing just 11lbs 3oz combined and were whisked away to intensive care.
‘It was really difficult not having that skin-to-skin time you imagine you’ll get as a new mum, I still struggle thinking about it now,’ Rachael said.
‘But they were all such fighters and they came home after two and a half weeks. They’re still small but that’s normal for premature babies. They are doing brilliantly.
‘They’re all very different and their little personalities are coming out more and more now, they are really lovely.
The Wintertons’ ‘military regime’
6:30am – 7:00am: Wake up triplets and do morning feed
7:00am – 7:30am: Get dressed ready for the day ahead
7:30am – 8:00am: Baby bouncer time while mum prepares breakfast
8:00am – 8:30am: Eat breakfast
8:30am – 9:00am: Nap time
9:00am – 10:30am: Play mat time to practise rolling, trying to crawl and sit up
10:30am – 11:00am: Mid-morning milk
11:00am – 11:30am: Nap time
11:30am – 12:00pm: Jumperoo play time
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Lunch with mum and dad
1:00pm – 1:30pm: Baby bouncers in front of CBeebies
1:30pm – 2:00pm: Nap time
2:30 – 4:00pm: Sit in baby seats with toys
4:00pm – 5:00pm: Go for a walk with mum in our buggy
5:00pm – 5:30pm: Dinner time
5:30pm – 5:50pm: Calm play with quiet toys while mum sings
5:50pm – 6:00pm: Story time
6:00pm – 6:45pm: Bath and put down to sleep