Baby Number 3: The Best Tips for How to Practically Prepare
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Baby number 3 is on your mind, whether you’re already pregnant or even just contemplating a third child.
You want to know what it is going to be like to add a third child to your family and how on earth you should go about preparing for the event.
I mean, two kids is busy, but three kids mean you’re officially outnumbered and that means that you kind of have to just be more intentional and organized in general.
We welcomed our third child in October 2018 and she was just the most gorgeous addition.
Personally, I didn’t find it a major transition for myself or my family, but there were definitely things that required some preparation.
Preparing the Nursery
Babies don’t need a lot of space (the more kids you have, the more you realize that), but they do need some space and some things.
Regardless of whether your baby is going to be sleeping in the same room as you, sharing a bedroom with a sibling, or having their own room all to themselves, these things will be super handy to have:
- Bassinet – Having a bassinet, especially a portable one, will be incredibly useful during the first 3-4 months of your third baby’s life. It’ll fit into smaller spaces and you can take it around the home with you when you need to.
- Bouncer – A bouncer is not going to be one of those things that your baby may or may not love, but it is something that I’ve used for all three of my children. It is a safe place to put your baby while you attend to older children, and I’ve personally used it to feed solids when they’re just starting out.
- A Changing Station – By the third child, you’ve likely realized that having a designated changing table isn’t actually necessary. However, you will need to set up some kind of changing station. Use a caddy like this one to keep essentials in so that you can take it around the house with you. Storage baskets will be your best friend!
- Diapers – With three kids, just dashing to the supermarket is no longer a thing. You don’t just “dash” anywhere. It takes time…often more than the trip is worth. For that reason, I recommend stocking up on plenty of diapers and even just ordering them online from here on out.
- Wipes – Are you even a parent if you don’t have packets of wet wipes in every room of your house? Trust me, by your third kid you’re gonna be using them for more tasks than you’d ever imagine. Stock up and never let them run out…
- Coconut Oil – This is my go-to for sore nipples, diaper rash, eczema, chapped lips, dry skin…and basically any weird looking something that doesn’t look over threatening. I’m not a crunchy mom, but coconut oil is pretty amazing so I recommend having it in your nursery.
- A Feeding Station – Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, you’re going to want to have some kind of feeding station set up. Make use of a caddy and fill it with things like burp cloths, wipes, nipple cream, bibs, a water bottle, and some snacks (for you).
Preparing Your Home
Depending on the age of your older children, there may not be a whole lot that you need to do in order to have your home ready to welcome a third child.
However, you may require switching bedrooms around and moving siblings in together. I recommend doing that well ahead of the impending arrival of your third baby so that you can get all the kinks worked out.
If your older children are still very young, it is wise to put up some baby gates and be sure that heavy furniture is anchored to the walls.
The reality is that even really amazing moms cannot physically keep an eye on all 3 children 24/7. For that reason, you want to make sure that your home is safely set up so that your kids aren’t at risk of serious injury if you’re tending to the baby.
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Preparing Your Children
I’ve never personally made a big fuss when we bring home another baby in regards to the emotional impact it might have on older siblings.
We’ve always made it a positive event and make an effort to be sure all of our children are getting the attention that they need.
However, there are some practical things that you can do now to make life easier once baby number 3 arrives.
We often underestimate just how capable our children are and deprive them of certain responsibilities.
When you’re expecting your third baby, take the time to teach your older children to be a bit more independent in certain areas.
This could include things like:
- Getting themselves dressed
- Putting on their own shoes
- Brushing their teeth
- Tidying their toys
- Potty Training
It really will make a difference if your children can do a few more things without so much help from you.
Have a Routine
Our children never really struggled much when we added our third baby and I believe part of that has to do with the fact that we stuck to a fairly consistent routine throughout it all.
It gives your children a sense of normalcy even when everything has changed.
Having a routine also means that you’ll be more likely to get a break now and again.
You can work to sync up naptimes and also have consistent bedtimes. Those may just save your sanity on the days where everything is just a little crazy.
These routine cards are a great visual way for toddlers to understand the process and get into the habit of having a routine.
Check them out HERE.
Obedience is an important part of our family values.
You’ll hear me saying to my children, “We obey, right away, the first time, with a happy heart.“.
Obedience is an important trait to foster, but more so when you have multiple children because it becomes a safety issue.
There are times when you won’t have enough hands to take care of everything all at once and you’re going to need to know that when you ask your child to stop running, they will stop.
If this is an area that you’ve neglected or you just know that your children could do with some reminders, work on it now.
Preparing the Car
One of the big changes that can happen when you have baby number 3 is that you just need more space in your vehicle.
This is especially true if you have children close in age and they’re all still in cars eats.
We needed to upgrade our vehicle because we couldn’t safely fit three car seats in the one that we had before.
And then, of course, there was the research into what car seats were best.
I LOVE the Clicktight car seats because they are dead easy to install and I know my babies are safe.
With all the preparation for every other area of life, it can be easy to skip over yourself, but mama, you are THE most important piece of the puzzle.
If you’re not taken care of, everything else will suffer, so please don’t neglect to prepare yourself as you look forward to welcoming your third baby.
Here are a few areas that are worth focusing on:
I’m not talking about getting your nails manicure or going for a massage (although both of those are WONDERFUL), but more so along the lines of addressing your basic needs.
Make sure that you are taking care of your body and your mind on a daily basis so that it is an established habit by the time that your third baby arrives.
It is just a reality that when you have a baby, your needs are more challenging to meet because you’re investing so much into your family.
However, your needs are just as valid as theirs. Don’t stop eating, be sure to take a shower, and do something for at least 5 minutes every day that fills your soul.
You can read more about postpartum self-care in this post.
When you go to pack your hospital bag, don’t forget to have YOUR postpartum needs covered.
You can find a whole list of postpartum must-haves in this post.
By the time you have your third baby, you’ve likely come to terms with the fact that you are not capable of doing it all without a major crash and burn event going on.
Take the time to gather the support you’ll need in order to make the transition to three kids just that much easier.
That may mean asking friends and family if they can help with meals or babysitting. It also may mean sitting down with your spouse and having a clear conversation regarding the workload and expectations.
Don’t just expect people to know what you’re going to need. Take the time to graciously tell them.
Baby Number 3: What to Expect
So what should you expect when you have baby #3?
All of that information is found in this post, but just to summarize…it’s busy.
You’re going to be busy all day every day, especially during the newborn stage. However, as time goes on, you’ll get into the swing of things and you won’t be able to imagine life without your third child.
Baby Number 3 Advice
It is so difficult to hand out advice about things like this because everyone’s circumstances are so different.
If I think on my own experience I would recommend the following:
- Take care of yourself – Your children can cope for 5 minutes while you take a hot shower or eat a warm meal. You don’t have to sacrifice your basic human needs in order to be a good mom.
- Encourage independent play – Your job is not to entertain your children. You don’t have to have Pinterest-perfect activities every day (or ever!). Encourage your children to play with one another.
- Don’t forget your spouse – You’re going to be really busy with three children, but don’t forget your spouse through it all. I mean, there are going to be days where you don’t think you can give another ounce of yourself to another human being, but your spouse needs you. You’re a team.
- You don’t have to enjoy every moment – Honestly, you don’t have to enjoy it when your eldest is being defiant, your toddler is melting down, and the baby is screaming. It doesn’t make you any less grateful for your children if you don’t enjoy that moment, it just makes you human.
- Join in on the crazy – There will be days where everything goes wrong. Ignore the non-essential chores and just do something with your kids. Watch a movie, go for a walk, read to them. Just join in and enjoy yourself.
Third Baby Syndrome
I’ll admit that I had a few reservations about having a third child, especially because we planned on baby number 3 being our last.
The main concern was that someone would always be left out, or ganged up on.
Honestly, I’ve come to learn that it is more about the attitudes that you foster in your home when it comes to how siblings interact with one another.
You also can’t control how different personalities will gel with others.
Having three children means that siblings can take a break from one another, which is a healthy thing, I think.
For a brief moment, I also worried about having a typical “middle child”, but then I realized that I’m one of four and there is still a typical “middle child” in our family, so the number doesn’t really matter.
Of course, our youngest has had barely any clothing bought for her because she’s had all her sister’s hand-me-downs and just a lot of hand-me-downs in general.
However, she’s spoilt in her own right and everyone adores her, so I think that more than makes up for it.
Baby Number 3 Announcement
Baby announcements are just my favorite! They are so much fun to put together and I love the reactions that they provoke from friends and family.
If you’re curious how we went about announcing that we were expecting our third baby, you can find that HERE along with how we announced our other two children.
Welcoming baby number 3 into our family completed our family and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone that asks.