This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse podcast I had Katie Ferraro from @babyledweanteam come on the show to share her very unique experience as a mom to seven! She had one singleton baby, gave birth to quadruplets, and then had a set of twins! As you’ll hear her talk about in the episode, there was a point where they had seven kids 3 and under.
Katie is an amazing person, and she shared so much awesome advice during today’s episode related to parenting multiples, pregnancy with multiples, and prenatal nutrition in general. I can’t wait to share her with you.
Below you’ll find a glimpse of the topics we covered, but as always, be sure to listen in for the full scoop!
Sharing how her multiples came to be (5:33)
In the start of the episode Katie dives right into an explanation on how she got pregnant with her quadruplets. And interestingly, she did not have any embryos transferred! On ultrasound, her provider saw three eggs but actually advised against trying for a transfer because she thought it would be a waste of money.
Katie took that info and decided to get pregnant “the old-fashioned way” as she puts it, and believe it or not, there were actually FOUR eggs in there, and all four stuck – and stayed! Katie went on to give birth to four healthy babies (which we’ll talk about more below). But amazingly it didn’t involve any IVF.
She later went on to have her twins via IVF.
Caring for all those babies (8:08)
I was curious to hear about how childcare works with so many little ones, particularly in the early days. Katie opens up about how she was so concerned with how to afford so many babies at once, particularly when it came to hiring care to help overnight.
Her solution was amazing – and such a great tip for others that are pregnant with multiples (especially triplets or more!). She reached out to local nursing students that were training to become newborn or NICU nurses. They were thrilled to get experience with preemies and were willing to work for a far more affordable rate than traditional night nannies or overnight doulas.
She also reached out to a lot of the older women and grandparents in her neighborhood and would ask them to come over to help with feedings and care in exchange for food and drinks. It ended up being super helpful and she gained such a sense of community she didn’t have before.
What was it like to be pregnant with four babies at once? (11:08)
From the beginning, Katie was very intentional about her mindset surrounding her quad pregnancy. Here’s a bit directly from the episode that she shared,
“I wasn’t going to go online and start looking up stories about quadruplets. Because the specialist that we met with made a very good point, there’s a 50% chance of having a major handicap when you have quadruplet pregnancy. And parents of babies with major handicaps don’t have pretty blogs of all their beautiful babies. And so don’t go online because you’re self-selecting a story that might not be your own. And I really took that to heart. The 50% chance of major handicap to this day gives me goosebumps.”
She talks about how her specialist did very bluntly recommend a reduction down to two babies, and how she hoped and prayed that a natural reduction would occur. In the end Katie did not decide to do a reduction and she called it “the hardest decision she ever didn’t make.”
Weight gain in pregnancy with multiples (especially triplets and beyond!) (15:09)
Katie is a dietician and she actually is a college professor at the University of California in San Francisco. She was able to use her network to get in touch with a researcher that really understood the unique nutritional needs of women who are pregnant with multiples.
Katie explains that fast weight gain is more important because you know out of the gate that you aren’t going to have the full 40 weeks to gain weight, and in her case, she had 34 weeks. With this researcher they came up with a 3000 calorie meal plan for her to use right away.
She wasn’t officially on bed rest, but for the last 20 weeks of her pregnancy she shares that she barely moved because she so wanted to keep those babies in longer and not have her water break!
In this part of the episode, she also talks about how she became a part of a documentary series put on by her hospital in her final weeks of pregnancy and the first year of her babies’ lives, as well as the details of the delivery where there were a whopping 30 people in the delivery room!!
What advice would you give to moms about weight gain during pregnancy (especially moms of multiples) (20:12)
We continue talking about the role of nutrition and the importance of a faster weight gain in multiple pregnancies. Katie shares about the book she used and recommends to all: When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads, Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy. Because this is the book written by the woman who’s actually doing the research and is on the panel that sets weight gain guidelines for pregnancy.
She also is a huge advocate for turning to a dietician for support during pregnancy – no matter how many babies you are having – because they are the true experts. Here’s a bit of what she had to say:
“Be an advocate for yourself in your pregnancy by asking for a referral to a dietician who can help you in a sit-down, low stress, outpatient appointment to set a meal plan. You don’t have to see the dietician every week, it might just be a one- or two-time thing. But they can actually give you tangible information, rather than just getting a tear-off from your doctor that says calories, which you might not know what that means or what those calories should look like.”
Feeding her multiples (29:00)
In this part of the episode, Katie shares about her feeding experiences with all of her babies. She pumped after all three births and supplemented breastmilk with formula for her quads. It was awesome to hear her talk about this experience and the way she allowed herself peace when it came to breastmilk vs. formula, and even pumping vs. feeding at the breast.
I love her perspective and the general message that moms need to do what they have to do to make it work and that when it was all said in done, she felt so good about how she handled things but knows that it is a decision every mom needs to make for themselves.
Her experience with her twins (35:32)
So as if her quadruplet pregnancy wasn’t interesting enough, we can’t forget that she then gave birth to twins when the quads were 18 months old. She talks about what that pregnancy was like, some complications she had, and how she managed the transition home with the newborn twins with all those toddlers running around.
You’ll hear her talk again about the importance of leaning on her community and being super intentional about giving herself time to heal during the first 6 weeks after their birth.
Wrapping up the episode (39:38)
At the end of the episode Katie is really candid about how looking back she doesn’t know how she did it. As of the time this episode aired, her oldest is six, her quads are five, and the twins are three. She just gave away her last crib and changing table and feel grateful to have gotten to where they are today.
Katie talks about the blessing of all these children during COVID and how amazing it was that they all had each other.
About Katie Ferraro
Katie Ferraro a mom of 7 and a registered dietitian specializing in the approach to starting solid foods known as baby-led weaning. Her passion is helping parents and caregivers give their babies a safe start to solid foods, raise independent eaters, and prevent picky eating.
She is an Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of San Diego. She is an author, speaker, and educator working to teach parents, caregivers, and healthcare professionals how to safely start solid foods using the alternative to traditional spoon-feeding known as baby-led weaning.
Connect with Katie:
- On Instagram @babyledweanteam
- On her top-rated podcast, Baby-Led Weaning Made Easy
- In her FREE Baby Led Weaning for Beginners Workshop
And as far as resources, here is the nutrition book she recommends to all women that are pregnant with multiples that is written by Dr. Barbara Luke who was on the IOM revised weight gain guidelines committee: