After having kids one and two you might feel like a veteran parent, but here are some tips for preparing for baby number 3 to help you be fully prepared for your new addition.
Whether you are pregnant with your third child or you’re planning on having a third baby, I first want to say congratulations!
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This can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time for parents. There’s so much to do when you are preparing for a new addition.
So much that you may be wondering how you will manage with three children, especially if you have your hands full with two already.
I personally have 3 children and I didn’t feel the transition was too difficult, but that’s not to say I wasn’t super stressed out during the pregnancy with all the things I had on my mind.
Everything from wondering what to expect to which baby items I should buy and so on and so forth – My mind was always racing.
If you can relate, I hope you find this guide helpful.
Here are my best tips on preparing for baby number 3. Knowing what to expect from a mom who’s been there seems to help alleviate some of that anxiety!
What to expect with baby #3
Although you may feel like a veteran mom, there will be new challenges.
Baby #3 will come with their own challenges. Assuming and hoping that the baby is perfectly healthy, you’ll still have to figure out sleep routines and work around your other kids’ schedules.
You’ll have to find ways to squeeze in time for your own self-care and think about what home priorities are truly important. And, you’ll have to figure out what you can let go of when the baby arrives.
You’ll most likely need to drop some responsibilities while you learn to handle your new ones.
Unless you are some kind of superhuman (all the power to you if that’s the case), you’re going to be tired, and you’re going to need to let some things go.
For example, you may want to ask your partner to help with the laundry and drop the folding for a few weeks until you get settled in with the new baby.
You can also make ahead freezer meals so you don’t have to cook every night while you are healing postpartum. You may decide to use disposable dishes so you don’t have to wash mountains of dishes for a few weeks.
Anything you can do to minimize responsibilities while you are healing will be helpful.
You’ll have to prioritize taking care of yourself.
You won’t have a lot of time for self-care when baby #3 arrives but you can certainly ask your partner to hold the baby for 5 minutes while you take a hot shower, drink a hot cup of coffee, or eat a hot meal.
Don’t sacrifice your basic needs to care for your newborn. You’ll take better care of the baby and the family when you’ve taken care of yourself.
Don’t expect everything to be rainbows and butterflies all the time.
Life is hard, and adding a newborn to an already busy household is not going to make things easier.
We don’t mean to say that it’s going to be hard, so don’t do it. We are just saying to keep in mind that this is real, and sometimes it’s hard. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or should not do it.
The days will be long and they will be crazy. The older kids could act out upon the arrival of the newborn and possibly show signs of regression. These are all normal things that you should expect when adding baby number 3.
Being pregnant with baby number 3 will feel like you missed pregnancy altogether.
With baby number 1, you read baby books and take classes. With your second baby, you’ll need to coordinate the hospital rush and create the registry.
By the time baby #3 comes along, you’re so tired from looking after the first two that you’ll be lucky to remember to take your daily prenatal vitamins. The whole pregnancy will be a total blur.
When preparing for baby number 3, you’ll plan the delivery with precision.
You’ll want to prepare for the delivery weeks in advance with schedules, locations, contingency plans, and phone numbers emailed to everyone in your life so your other kids can be cared for while you labor.
The outfits become less cute and more practical.
With baby number 3 you’ll want to have the most easy-to-use zipper pj’s and simple snap diaper shirts on hand at all times to make diaper changing a breeze.
You’ll be too busy to manage stockings and adorable dresses on an everyday basis.
When you have three children there will always be someone to feed.
If it’s not the baby who needs to nurse, then your other children will be demanding snacks and drinks all day long.
If you can manage to teach the other children how to get their own snacks and drinks, you’ll have a leg up.
When you have a third baby, you’ll deal with even more bodily fluids all day long.
If your other children are potty training, or still require bum wiping, then you’ll likely be dealing with poop, pee, and spit-up all day long.
The house will always be busy and loud.
The baby will get used to sleeping through all that noise. However, investing in a sound machine will be very helpful for babies who have siblings.
Your heart will be full.
At any given time you could have one, two, or three children attached to you asking for kisses and snuggles.
There is so much love to go around in a larger family. It’s so nice.
Older siblings can teach the baby new things.
You’ll basically get built-in teachers with older siblings.
What you need for baby #3
Is baby number 3 going to have a nursery or are you going to share a room with them?
Babies don’t take up a lot of space and they don’t need a lot of things, but there are some things you can get to make your life oh-so-much easier.
Here are some things that are nice to have when you’re preparing for baby number 3.
Bassinets fit into smaller spaces and they are portable, so it’s a good idea to grab one for baby number 3.
You don’t need a changing table, but you might want to think about where you are going to change your baby on a daily basis and possibly put together a diaper caddy that you can take around the house with you.
Some playpens have changing mats built into them.
We highly recommend setting up an Amazon Subscribe and Save service for diapers because then there is no dashing out quickly to the store to pick up diapers when you’ve run out.
Having diapers delivered to your door when you’re not even thinking about diapers is very helpful.
You’ll most likely want baby wipes in every room of the house, so be sure to have a good stockpile of wipes before the baby arrives.
Figure out where you are going to feed the baby. If you are going to have a nursery, perhaps you want to consider a glider so you can nurse or bottle-feed the baby in private.
You’ll want to have lots of burp cloths, nipple cream, drool bibs, snacks, and water with you at your feeding station to make things very easy for yourself.
A baby swing can be your saving grace with a third baby.
You’ll be busy with all the kids, and you may want your hands free for dealing with poopy bums, handing out snacks, and changing clothes.
A swing can help you out when you need a third hand to soothe the baby.
Bouncy chairs are lifesavers too.
Place the baby in a bouncy chair while you give the other siblings their baths, feed the family, make dinner, and more.
Preparing the house for baby number 3
You might already have a nursery space in mind, but if you do not, you may want to consider finding a room in the house for one.
This could mean moving siblings together into one room. If you DO need to move your older kids into one space, then you should do so a few months before the baby arrives so you can develop a solid bedtime plan and get all the kinks worked out of the new arrangement.
Think about where you are going to need to place baby gates when the time comes, and possibly even install them so everyone gets used to having them around before the baby arrives.
You might also want to consider the space around the dining table where the high chair will go and think about the type of high chair you’ll want to purchase when the time comes.
You’ll also want to consider safe spaces to put the baby down quickly all around the home just in case there is an emergency with one of the other children. A playpen in the living room can be very handy.
Prepare the children
Prepare your older children for the arrival of their new baby sibling.
Try to teach your children to grab their own snacks, put on their own clothes and shoes if they are old enough, and get the younger ones potty trained if they are ready for it before the arrival of your new baby.
These things will make life easier for you and them too!
Prepare the car
Make sure that 3 car seats can fit into the car if you need them to. Consider upgrading the vehicle if you require more space.
It’s best to have everything set up so that it is easy to get all the kids in and out of the car quickly and effortlessly.
Make sure you have all the postpartum must-haves all ready to go before the baby arrives so that you’re not sending your partner out in the middle of the night to buy you large pads.
Make sure you have lots of support at your disposal to help you cope with postpartum hormones. This could mean making sure you’ve got close friends that are easy to get a hold of and family that can come and help you out.
Prepare your finances
Saving money is important, especially when you have kids to care for. Think about how much a baby costs and if you have the work hours to cover maternity leave for the first 6 weeks after birth.
In Canada, mothers can take anywhere between 12-18 months off of work and get paid for that time frame, but the pay is 60% of the original salary, so you have to account for that.
In the United States, you’ll still need to contribute to the medical benefits plan and your 401K when you’re not making a paycheck while on leave, so keep that in mind as well.
You may also have hospital bills to cover, doctor bills, and then eventually childcare bills to pay. Keep all those things in mind when preparing for baby number 3.
Some parents like to stay home after having more than 1 child just to save on childcare costs.
Having another baby in the home is amazing. It’s fun, adorable, and overall blissful.
The most important thing to remember is to not stress out. You’ve done this before and you can do it again.
All the things you need to get will all come together before you know it and you’ll be waiting for your new bundle of joy to arrive with excitement and open arms.
The hardest part of the transition will be adjusting the siblings to their new baby at home, but with some conversation and positivity, they will be so excited to welcome their new sibling.
Sure, you might feel outnumbered now that there are 3 children and you only have two arms, but the love you have to give is only going to grow.
You’ve totally got this!