Last year we added our third little man to our family. He’s all kinds of wonderful and an absolute joy (except for sleep — that part he’s not so great at), but having a third baby has certainly been different to my first and second. Some things are easier and some are a whole lot harder; it’s both what I expected and completely new.
So, if you’re thinking of having a third child, here’s the inside scoop on what you’re really in for.
The Truth About A Third Baby
The Hospital Stay
When you’ve got two kids at home, the idea of a few days in relative silence being brought food and hot tea every few hours is basically luxury. While my first two post-baby hospital stays were spent attending classes and learning to breastfeed/wrap/settle/bath and care for a newborn, my third hospital stay was spent watching copious amounts of daytime TV and Netflix on the computer. It was basically a holiday!
After your first baby you become the centre of the universe. Every distant friend and relative wants to share in the excitement — it’s like this is the first baby that has ever been born. When you have a second the excitement comes down a notch (or quite a few if you have a second baby the same gender as the first, in my experience), but family and friends still bring gifts and meals and flowers. By the time the third comes along, don’t be expecting any fanfare. I even got outright disappointment from some family members when I produced a third boy. It certainly wasn’t the response I had expected or hoped for.
One thing that really made a third baby a lot easier than my first two was that everything had become second nature. I didn’t have to think about how to bath him without drowning him or worry about every little squeak and snort. Third time around, caring for a newborn did come more naturally and I was more confident in my abilities.
It’s really just as well I could do most things without thinking, because one thing was strikingly absent from my life after my third arrive…
I never realised how much spare time I obviously had with two kids until I had my third. When people ask me if a third make things harder I usually say, ‘No, it’s not harder as such, but it certainly is busier.’ I never seemed to have a spare second to myself with a newborn, toddler and kindie child. Someone always needed something at every moment and it’s one thing I don’t think I was fully prepared for. As they get older and more independent I know it will get easier, but right now, someone seems to need a piece of me every minute of the day.
Between the busy moments there are also more moments to really treasure the small things that I remember having with my first two kids. I don’t know whether it’s because he’s my third or because I know he will be my last, but I’m really cherishing every little moment with him. His gorgeous teeny hands and feet, his giggles, his luxuriously soft skin that far too soon will be tarnished with the scrapes and scratches that come with crawling and walking and running and jumping.
Having a second baby introduces the new dynamic of a sibling relationship, but having a third child takes that to a whole new level. When I had my third, my eldest was five and my middle son was three. My five-year-old was old enough to be really involved and even took on the role of teaching his little brother to be a big brother to their newest baby sibling. It was absolutely adorable, and I still find the three way interactions between them totally precious.
Having a third child has been wonderful in so many ways. Sure, it has been busy and exhausting and challenging at times, but he is such a joy and I can’t imagine our family without him.
Have you had a third child? What was it like for you?
Image courtesy of Michelle Thompson-Laing/ Photography by Ten Little Toes Photography.