Bristol Palin's Baby Proves a Handful for Young Parents

Little Tripp Johnston is often up half the night, but mom has help – lots of it

Photo: Fox News/AP

Little Tripp Johnston has been described as a “bundle of joy” by his grandmother, Sarah Palin, while his mother, Bristol Palin, told FOX News this week that she loves “just seeing him smile and stuff. It’s awesome.”

But like many babies, Tripp – who was born Dec. 27 – can be a handful. Often, he’s up half the night, Bristol, 18, told FOX, and like millions of babies across America, he keeps his parents awake.

“Tripp’s a little fussy,” a Palin family friend tells PEOPLE.

Bristol – now living at her parents’ house in Wasilla, Alaska – has plenty of help. Sister Piper Palin, 7, pitches in, fetching diapers and making bottles. Bristol said her parents and aunts also assist, and Bristol’s maternal grandmother, Sally Heath, lives nearby and baby-sits.

But the new mom’s biggest assist comes from her “hands-on” fiancé, Levi Johnston, 18, the former high school hockey player now working as an apprentice electrician.

“He has been staying at [the Palins’ home] a lot with Bristol and helping her out,” a pal of Levi’s tells PEOPLE. “He really likes being a father.”

Levi Lives with Palins

Last year, when Bristol was pregnant, she and Levi would go out on dinner and movie dates, and Levi would bring her flowers, according to Trailblazer: An Intimate Biography of Sarah Palin, by PEOPLE assistant editor Lorenzo Benet.

Then, in the first week after Tripp’s birth, Levi moved in with the Palins, Levi’s mother, Sherry Johnston, told PEOPLE in January. He immersed himself in childcare duties and bought his son a miniature hockey stick.

Lately, friends and relatives say, he’s been back and forth between the Palins’ and his mother’s home 15 minutes away. Sometimes, he brings along Tripp to visit his paternal grandmother, who told PEOPLE that health issues restrict her ability to go out.

“Sherry sees Tripp,” says a relative. “But it’s not super often.”

Working and Diaper Changing

Between bottle feedings and diaper changes, Bristol and Levi are both focusing on completing their high school course work. Levi is also working with his father, Keith, a construction engineer, Bristol told FOX.

Eventually, Levi hopes to return to work on the North Slope, where until recently a contractor employed him as an apprentice electrician.

“He is supposed to go back up there to the slope sometime,” says Levi’s friend. “He’s also taking care of high school.”

Palin says new parents Bristol and Levi are ‘working their butts off’
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