Aussie mum of quintuplets: 'I've had eight babies and this is what I've learned'

Photo: Kim Tucci and her eight kids. Supplied
Photo: Kim Tucci and her eight kids. Supplied 

Four years ago, Perth mum Kim Tucci made international headlines when she gave birth to Australia's first ever naturally conceived quintuplets. The odds were one in 55 million.

With her three older children, Kim is a now mother of eight - and as a result, has gained a lot of hard-earned wisdom and unparalled insight when it comes to wrangling babies and toddlers. 

Along with changing thousands of nappies and feeding her family of 10, the 30-year-old has (somehow) managed to write a book to help mums and dads survive the early years of parenthood. 

Photo: The quintuplets. Supplied
Photo: The quintuplets. Supplied 

Essential Baby caught up with Kim to discover her top tips and tricks and what she wants other parents to know. 

My number one piece of advice for any new mum is... 

"Be kind to yourself. Often during pregnancy, especially with multiples or complicated pregnancies, we are all too hard on ourselves. I think we need to take a good a step back and just enjoy the ride. 

Also - you can never have too many nappies!"

The question I get asked the most is...

"'How do you cope?' And the answer.. Well I don't really have a choice! I just have to march forward and take whatever is thrown at me throughout the day. And honestly, I don't always cope. It's chaotic. Everyone falls apart sometimes!"

My top tip when it comes to sleep is... 

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"Dream feed your baby. Feed them just before you go down to sleep - so at least you can get a solid three or four hours before you have to wake up for the next feed. When I don't get enough sleep, my mental and emotional health really suffers, so I think it's important for all new parents to sleep when they have the opportunity. We established a sleep routine when the quintuplets were around 10-months-old and they've been sleeping through the night ever since. 

The best way to save money on food is... 

"Buy Black & Gold brands from the very start because honestly, kids don't know any better. Give them the cheaper home brands, it doesn't make you any less of a person. I manage to do our weekly shop for about $200 a week. I also meal plan and prep at least once a week. If I don't have a plan for dinners every night and then we end up getting takeaway one night, the budget gets blown out."

Photo: The quintuplets. Supplied
Photo: The quintuplets. Supplied 

The best way to entertain toddlers on a budget is... 

"My kids really enjoy going to different parks - we take a picnic, it's cheap, it's fun, it tires them out and there is no mess at home to clean up afterwards. Also, toddlers love waterplay! All you need is a low table, a large plastic container plus a few different-size ones for pouring. Add a toy tea set for even more fun. Trust me, they'll do this for hours."

When I can't be bothered to cook..

"As a mum of eight, I have many days where the last thing I want to do is cook dinner and clean a mountain of dishes. So I put an old queen-size sheet down on the floor, my husband gets some takeaway fish and chips, we all watch a movie and once we've finished eating, we just pick up the sheet and shake off all the mess outside.

Also, it's not the end of the world if your children occasionally have a bowl of cereal for dinner!"


I've done a LOT of washing and...

"Use boiling water for berry stains! Simply boil the kettle, place the clothing in the laundry sink and immediately pour water over the stain - it should lift right away. For ink stains, scrunch up the section of clothing with the stain and place it in a bowl of milk. Rub with a dollop of dishwashing detergent and leave to soak. Voila!"

The thing that's surprised me most about having quintuplets is...

"The amazing bond they share. They all feel each other's feelings. If one's upset, they are all upset, if one's angry, they are all on edge. It's really beautiful and really strange at the same time. They also feel lost without each other. If one comes home sick from daycare they say 'where is Tiffany?'. They don't like to be separated. Its a really special connection."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The hardest thing about that first year...

"I had a lot of anxiety in the first year when the quins were babies and the logistics of going out were difficult. I had to try and get used to my role as a mum with so many kids and just being brave enough to go outside was tough - because people do stare and ask me lots of questions. It does still happen of course but I take it more as a compliment these days."

Don't underestimate the physical toll of pregnancy...

"It has been really tough. I've had 12 operations in the last three years since having the quintuplets - hernias, bladder issues, adhesions, it was one things after the other. My body will never be the same and I often say 'they took everything from me'."

I've recently learned the importance of self-care...

"The housework and washing can take a backseat if im burnt out and need to rest. Before I would clean the house and cry, but now if I'm tired I go and have a sleep. Or I say kids, I'm knocking off and having half an hour to myself." 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kimberley (@surprisedbyfive) on

The best present for a new mum is...

"A voucher for a cleaning service or meals - or a washing service. Because that is always a struggle! " 

Also P.S. my book is not like other 'parenting' manuals...

"It's light, small and super easy just to browse and dip into sections without feeling overwhelmed!  

'I've had 8 babies and if there's one thing I've learned' by Kim Tucci is published by Plum, RRP $19.99. Find out more at panmacmillan.com.au

'I've had 8 babies and if there's one thing I've learned' by Kim Tucci is published by Plum, RRP $19.99. Find out more at panmacmillan.com.au