It's so much fun, don't you worry!
But preparing for the third one is sometimes more challenging than preparing for baby #1 and #2. For us, it meant rearranging EVERYTHING in our home! We had to make room physically for this little third one to join our family. We already were cramped, and had no place to put things. It took a very long time to move things around in our home to prepare for baby, but I'm glad we spent so much time ahead of time getting things ready and organized.
For me, with this third pregnancy I started nesting immediately! I'm not kidding. At week 7 I believe I was cleaning my house and starting to get rid of things we didn't need anymore, consigning and donating things, selling items, making way for baby to come. I knew I didn't want to deal with these things when baby was here, knew we'd have no time, so during pregnancy I focused on organizing everything and de-cluttering and downsizing items.
I went through the toys, bookshelves, clothing, kitchen drawers, ETC. I ended up consigning and donating and moving out 60+ bags of things. I know, nuts that we had that much stuff, but things accumulate when you're having fun with kids right?! It felt SO great moving things around and trading things in for baby items we needed.
We also had to really sit and figure out where the baby was going, where the swing would fit in the living room, where car seats would move to in the car. It was a lot of planning and thinking to get things prepared this time around, whereas I feel the first time it was more fun, this was more "how are we doing this logistically?!"
It's kind of chaotic and overwhelming preparing for the third, as you're so busy and cramped in the house anyway. But it's FUN I promise. In the end you'll feel proud and accomplished at what you get done before baby comes, hopefully, if you follow some tips and start early!
Here are some tips for preparing for your third child:
- Start early - My #1 advice with preparing for #3 is to start as soon as you can and feel comfortable doing so in your pregnancy. You won't have as much time this time around, already having two kids, being more tired because of those two kids, and more involved in activities and things that take you away from the home you're trying to prepare. Everything took me three times longer this pregnancy to get done. Doing laundry, oh please, don't get me started... you already have tons of laundry as a family of four... so adding in baby laundry took even longer to get finished! I had to break tasks down into weekly to do lists, and I never got my lists crossed off early or easily. So take your time by starting early. This means definitely by start of second trimester, not waiting until third trimester.
- Make room - For us, we had to change the play room / office / treadmill room into a nursery. Do you have any idea how long that took?! Yikes. We had to move everything in that room to spread it out among the other rooms in our house. It took weeks to do this. So start early, and figure out where you can make a room if you don't already have one. This may mean kids are bunking up together, so that involves preparing them ahead of time, too. If you have painting or carpeting or things like that to do too, you really need to start early.
- Where will baby go? Looking for childcare is even more difficult this time around if you're not able to send your child to where your first two went. If you are able to send him there, you're good to go. But if you have to start over, start over EARLY. This took me months to figure out, and I wish I'd started sooner. Again, another thing that takes longer because you're so busy. Visiting daycares, talking to people on the phone, etc. all takes longer. So give yourself plenty of time to solidify things.
- Hospital plans - Figuring out who could watch your dog the first time was easy. Figuring out who could watch your firstborn toddler the second time was no problem or at least had a little thought put into it. Figuring out who is going to watch your dog and two kids?! Not as easy. This time around we really had to think about who would stay home with our kids while we were in the hospital, because it included getting kids to and from school, figuring out if they'd go to dance and soccer and activities or not, who would help with homework, etc. It's a lot more work with bigger kids versus just telling them where the diapers are with your first. Prepare early. This includes writing notes on the fridge and figuring out logistics while you're away.
- Gift bags for siblings- I ordered our kids a gift early on and wrapped them and put into our hospital bags at least a month before due date. I didn't want this to be something we forgot or didn't get to do, as I knew our kids would appreciate the gifts at the hospital.
- Checking the equipment- Our baby stuff like the swing, car seats, etc. were almost 7 years old when we prepared for our third child. Not a lifetime, but also not super new either. Several items including the car seat were expired and not in as great shape as we thought they were after our second child when we'd packed them away for someday. So we needed to spend more time and money on items like bottles, car seat, bibs, etc. So make sure you get the equipment out ahead of time so you have enough time to look for deals on items you need. This goes with clothing too, especially if you're having a third baby in a new season from the other kids.
- Get organized - Go through everything and get rid of as much as you can, because adding another person into the mix, especially with baby stuff galore, is a LOT for one house to take. So go through drawers and junk and toss out what you don't need. Consign as much as you can to trade in for new items. Put extra hand sanitizer in the car and back up band aids and cough syrup in the cabinet. It helps to focus on these things now before you are sleep deprived with #3 in the mix.
- Make a list - I know some don't believe in a third baby shower or sprinkle celebration, and many don't agree with making a registry. However, I disagree! I think even if you just make the registry list for YOU to remember what you need, it's helpful! You also get a discount at the end of your due date time to purchase what's on the list, so it's a cost saving benefit also. I made a registry list and kept adding to it as I would go through baby items that we needed new or updated things for the new baby. It helped having a list so I could prepare what we really needed, from diaper cream and baby shampoo to a new bath tub or swing. It's also helpful too in case people ask what you need, they can get something practical.
- Freezer meals- I made at least 10-15 meals for the freezer, soups and stews, pasta sauces, etc. so that we'd have plenty to eat. I also froze a bunch of items we typically eat like raviolis and burger for tacos. When you had your second, you know not as many visitors came by with food like with your first child. Well, with the third, it's even less, if not nonexistent. People are busy! So stock up yourself so you're prepared, and anything people bring will be gravy on top :) If you're too tired and pregnant to cook enlist your partner or kids to help cook, or find some healthier freezer options already made and stock up on those, no big deal. Just make sure you have some meals ready to go for your family so you'll feel less guilty eating pizza every third night later on.
- Bulk up- I made a HUGE list of things we needed to bulk up on in the house before baby came so that when baby was here we'd be all set and not need to rush to the store last minute, which is clearly difficult with two kids so don't even think about trying it with THREE kids! On my list included items like:
- toilet paper
- paper towels
- paper plates (easier when you're so tired, trust me)
- dish soap
- vitamins and prenatals too
- anything special to the mom - like my particular saline solution and face lotion, deodorant, etc. that nobody else will understand what to find for me when I can't get to the store for a couple months
- food items - cereal, pasta, tomato sauce, freezer items like veggies and chicken sausage for quick meals, ETC. anything that you eat all the time like snacks for the kids' lunches, buy 2-3 boxes of each so you have them for quite a while without needing to shop again.
Hope these tips help you in preparing yourself, your family and the house for another one to join in the mix. It's not easy or perfect, but you can do it! Anything you do ahead of time is going to help you a lot in the long run.