When I became pregnant with my third, after the initial excitement of seeing those two pink lines started to die down, I was quite honestly...TERRIFIED. Not because I didn't want another baby (because I SO wanted this child), but I already felt in over my head with two children. I had a one year old and a 4 month old and in between caring for them, I was in the bathroom throwing my guts up and laying in the bed feeling beyond exhausted. The adjustment from one child to two had been a doozy and I was struggling with postpartum depression during all of this.
I wanted to try and make the transition a little easier and prepare as much beforehand as possible. I also love reading other moms' perspectives who have paved the way before me (when I was pregnant with my first I probably read 50 birth stories to see what to expect during labor. Yes. I'm that person. ha). So when I scoured the internet for practical tips on preparing for a third baby, I was very surprised at the lack of material. I don't know if its just because a lot of people aren't having three kids these days or what. But I was left hanging!
I had to do a lot of "learning on the job" and I've found a few practical tips that have helped my days run a little more smoothly. I hope you don't mind if I share them with ya'll, in hopes of sparing any of you mommas out there pregnant with your third the agony of not being able to feel "prepared." (DISCLAIMER: you never feel prepared. ha)
1.Baby proof one room in your house.
And by baby proof, I mean toddler proof too. The last thing you want is to be stranded feeding your newborn and have your toddler sticking his finger in an electrical socket. You've got to get down on the floor and think like a toddler and look for all of the potential disasters they can get into and get rid of it!
Our house has an open floor plan in the kitchen/dining/living room. So I have those three rooms baby-proofed, baby gates on the stairs, a lock on the refrigerator, and all of the electrical sockets covered.
The less stress you can put on your brain as you adjust to three little ones the better. If you can deal with any potential problems or disasters before they are even an issue, this will make the transition less stressful. Your hormones will thank you later.
If your children are older and are past the "getting into everything" stage, then maybe just add activities for them to do into your nursery. Add a basket of books, crayons and coloring books, or even a TV with movies for them to watch with you. You'll be spending a lot of time in there and making them feel included will be huge for you both.
2. Add a diaper station or basket in various rooms.
I have three children under the age of two, so I change A LOT of diapers during the day. And I can't leave two little ones unsupervised while I go upstairs to change a diaper (I tried this once and came downstairs to my two year old holding a knife. True story.). So this diaper station is crucial for me right now. I realize that most of you will not be in the same situation as me and have three children in diapers at once, but I think this can still be very helpful.
I also had a diaper station in our bedroom when Elliot was still small and sleeping in our room with us. That way when she woke up at night to nurse, I could change her right there and get back into bed as soon as possible.
I always forget how many diapers a newborn goes through and diaper explosions always seem to happen at the most random times and places. Having a basket of diapers and wipes within reach in these situations is a HUGE help.
As I said earlier, I have our living space downstairs baby proofed, so I just hung this rack that my mom so graciously gave me on my pantry door with diapers, rash cream, bibs, burp clothes, wipes, and all of the medicine for the babies like infant Tylenol/Advil and teething tablets. I have the boys diapers on one rack and the newborn diapers on another rack. I also love this way of storing them because it is hidden when the door is closed. When I have company come over, I don't have to worry about cleaning that part up...I just shut the door. (can I get a HALLELUJAH!)
3. Organize your bottles and parts.
I almost didn't put this one because it doesn't always apply, but I would have found this helpful in my situation...so I'm just gonna share it. (ha)
I have a 15 month old who will not take anything but a bottle right now (I've tried every kind of sippy cup, but he's a preemie and I'm discovering that they are STUBBORN. I just say it's because he had to be a fighter from the beginning. Sounds better right?! ha) and a 4 month old who takes bottles of pumped milk. So it got super confusing when I was trying to assemble bottles for them. Try finding the right size nipple at 3:00 in the morning...it ain't pretty.
So I bought this three drawer organizer off of Amazon and now I have all of the parts in the top drawer, the size three nipples in the middle drawer, and the size one nipples in the bottom drawer. I then got one of those bottle holders that looks like grass to keep the actual bottles on. Now my counters look less cluttered and when I have two babies having a meltdown and wanting a bottle I can easily find what I need.
If you have babies close in age like me, or twins, or triplets...I hope this will be a huge help for you. You know how they say "team work makes the dream work?" Well I'm changing it to "ORGANIZATION KEEPS MOMMA FROM GOING TO JAIL." ....or something like that (rhymes were never my thing, can you tell?).
And that, my friends, are my top three tips for you if you're preparing for your third baby! I hope they were helpful and I'd love to hear any other ideas you've found that work.
My biggest encouragement to you is YOU CAN DO THIS. If I can do it, anyone can. God gives us abundant grace in motherhood and He will equip you for each day and each night as you adjust and rock this thing!