Parents Devise Ingenious System to Tell Their Newborn Triplets Apart

Love It! 47

tripletsIf you asked me what I thought about being the mother of identical triplet newborns, I'd probably drop to my knees thanking my lucky stars I only had one baby at a time, because one was hard enough, thank you very much. I can't quite imagine the logistical difficulties of dealing with three babies -- the feedings! The diaper changes! The sleep … or presumably, the utter lack thereof!

But here's something I've never really taken into consideration: if you have identical same-sex babies, how do you tell them apart? That's exactly the challenge faced by a St. Louis, Missouri couple with newborn triplet daughters. They were all born prematurely, and while they remain in the hospital until they can gain a little more weight, Laura and Brad Partridge say they can't tell one baby from another.

The identical triplets were born at 34 weeks on March 19th, and each baby girl -- Sonja, Sylvia, and Scarlett -- weighed three pounds. The babies will stay at Mercy Children's Hospital for the next month or so in order to gain weight and regulate their body temperature, but in the meantime … well, they're identical. According to Laura,

They look so much alike but there are slight differences. Scarlett's face is thinner than the others and she's more petite with a wrinkle in her forehead. And one of Sylvia's ears is a little smushed because her cartilage is still growing. But when they're all wearing hats and bundled up? Forget it.

Okay, that would legitimately freak me out. I mean, newborns kind of sport the same (adorable!) general appearance anyway -- small, crumpled, red-faced, zonked out -- and in the case of identical siblings, it would be SO easy to get them mixed up. Even in a hospital. (Or maybe especially in a hospital, considering the nurses that are always coming and going.)

As for the Partridges, they're relying on a color code system to identify their little girls: Sonja is always dressed in yellow, Sylvia in lavender, and Scarlett in either red or pink. Also, they're making a rather ingenious use of non-toxic nail color.

We buy them blankets, sheets, and hats in their respective colors. And a friend gave us bottles of nail polish in each girl's color so we paint their toenails. That way, we can tell at glance who is who, especially if it's late at night.

Ooh, the nail polish idea is BRILLIANT. A nurse could accidentally put the wrong outfit or accessory on a baby, but the painted toes won't be going anywhere. Although I bet their eentsy toenails aren't exactly easy to pedicure.

The parents are hopeful that once the babies get a little older, their personalities and physical traits will be easier to tell apart. However, Laura suspects there may be shenanigans in the future:

I'm hoping they don't try to prank people by switching places. Parents of multiples have told me stories.

If you have identical multiples, how did you tell them apart when they were newborns?

Image via Linda Sharps

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chech... chechimansmama

My hubby was always great at English and his twin bro at math so they would always trade places in those subjects. He says they stopped in Jr. High because they no longer wore matching outfits and got caught on the first day.

nonmember avatar kayla

i know of dog breeders who paint the toenails on a foot of puppies to keep track of which is which, so it makes perfect sense to use it with identicals too!

Andi Dodd

My itentical twin sister was 2 lbs heavier than i was at birth so it was pretty easier for my mom and dad.  But as we got older the only way to tell us apart was that i have a birthmark all the way up my arm and down my back.

3momm... 3mommy2004

I had identcal twin botys, we used the color method too, Ash was green and brody was blue.  I would have used nail polish too but they were boys.

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

I'm a twin, but mine is a brother so obviously that was pretty easy!  I've heard of people doing the color-coding, and I've heard of the nail-painting.  I've also seen parents do anklets or name bracelets on babies.  For older, school-age kids, I've seen parents still do the color thing, I've seen different colored hair bows on girls, even different colored shoes on boys!  As a teacher, it's also helpful to NOT dress your children alike, no matter how cute it is!  I've had some parents get it down, though: their daughters walked up to me and said "I'm ______, and I'm wearing purple, and I'm ________ and I'm wearing green." or "I'm ______ and you can tell because I have a mole on my cheek, but my sister ______ does not!"  Way to go!

redK8... redK8blueSt8

I knew of a family with identical triplet girls, and the color assigning worked great until they were about 4 and started to switch, and they all wanted pink. For their 5th birthday the parents got them each a tattoo dot on the back of their right hand in the fleshy part between their thumb and pointer knuckle. One got one dot, one got two, and one got three. The girls said that the parents were going to have one with none, one with one and one with two but the girl who wasn't going to get one felt left out. It was literally just a dot, looked like a pinprick mole. The girls did have pranking fun though drawing in the "missing" dots on their hands so they weren't immediately identified.

nonmember avatar Dianna Sather

I have a twin,we are both girls and i was always in blues and greens and she was pink and red, it ended after we started switching clothes on them or we would change because they would remember what we put on in the morning so we would switch at lunch....we had so much fun doing this and we were only 7

Craig Anderson

We used the color method as well but in our case we used pink and purple anklets that my wife made for them

nonmember avatar Karri

I met identical triplet BOYS whose parents used toenail polish when they were newborns

Ellen Hollin Krugman

I have identical boys and I did paint their toes for awhile until one twin was gaining more weight than the other-then it was easier to tell them apart.

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