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HIGHLAND — Jeremy and Ali Hynek enjoy dressing up their baby triplets in themed costumes for Halloween. But when they first learned they were having three, it was more trick than treat.
"I actually started laughing," said Jeremy Hynek. His wife, Ali Hynek added, "Really crazy, like a crazy nervous laugh."
Life with Penelope, Ethan and Alejandra is a joy, the Hyneks say. But getting them to sleep was tough at first. "We started just rocking them all to sleep, which with three babies, it's impossible," said Ali Hynek. "We would be walking around the house with blank stares like, 'Pick up the next baby, put down one baby, pick up another baby."
Doctors say infants need 18 hours of sleep a day. "The mom is so sleep-deprived — that makes it more difficult for the mother to handle the baby not sleeping," said Katrina Jensen, M.S.R.N., Intermountain Healthcare. The key is to start early with a routine: a warm bath, story time, soft music, and then keep a routine for life.
Ali Hynek said, "If they're fed well and on a good schedule, then you have some happy babies, and we really do."
Jensen recommends starting the routine at 3 weeks old. The Hyneks keep their babies on a strict schedule. During the day they feed them, change them, play with them, and then put them down for regular naps. The payoff? Most of the time they sleep through the night.
"It means that you may miss a few things," Jensen said. "It means that your life may be a little bit different but it also makes the baby happier."
For this to work, both parents have to be in agreement. "I was kind of the weak link in that I would always run to them and pick them up and carry them around," Jeremy Hynek said. Ali Hynek said, "You have to be on the same page. You do."
That means letting healthy babies with full tummies cry themselves to sleep when necessary.
"Now it's brilliant," Jeremy Hynek said. "It's what makes our lives so much more manageable."
For the Hyneks, a routine has made all the difference. A little massage can also help babies before bed. Gently rub their feet or backs as a part of the bedtime ritual.
"They're like clockwork," Ali Hynek said. "If we miss our queue they're like, 'Ahhh!'"