In many countries and particularly in my home country having 2 kids is considered normal but when you have 3 it is like you come from Mars. “How will you manage them?” was the frequent question people addressed me when my third pregnancy started to be visible, as if the anxiety I felt was not enough. Despite being totally unplanned and I was scary as my second one was still young (one year old), the third child was not the alien element and the management of all the kids was quite easy. Well, quite. Parents especially moms, need to learn to be more and more organized as they will go through some new challenges.
The jealousy between siblings
The first challenge will wait for you at the house door once you come back from the hospital with the new baby in your arms. Who is this thing that keeps all mom’s attention? The jealousy starts and you must face new cries, childish behaviour, tantrum, koala attitude (yes, the second one wanted to stay attached to me like a koala on a tree) and so on, while the baby needs to be fed and changed and washed. This phase is the toughest but here is some tips:
- Explain to the kids what is going to happen with the newborn, what is their new role as big brother or sister and your precious helper;
- Tell them you love them all in the same way and for any reason your love for them is reduced because of the newborn;
- Involve them in the everyday routine like preparing the baby change with diapers, powder, clothes, assist you with the baby bath, etc;
- Let them watch during the breastfeeding or bottle feeding, bedtime and other and bath time;
- Take special time for each of them when possible. I sometimes leave two of them to my husband and go out with only one to do something together.
Going out with the gang
Another challenge is going out with 3 kids. The first thing you need to adjust is the equipment. You will need a double stroller and a second car seat. And, by consequence, a big car. It is not allowed everywhere to bring a double stroller so you will probably need a baby carrier and a small stroller, but one of the advantages to have two kids close to one another is that you can reuse most of the equipment you already have. And clothes. Since the first pregnancy I bought a lot of unisex clothes that I could use both for my daughter and for my son. Then, you need a bag for the kids when you go out with them but believe me, the more kids you have the less things you will learn to put in your bag. With my first baby I used to bring one million clothes, diapers, toys, medicines, bottles and everything I thought it could be needed in one year time even if I was going out for one hour only. Now, I bring the minimum to survive and in case of need I will have a look around and see what I can do. I use to give a small backpack to the big brother with one change each, and in my bag I put:
- 4 diapers – 2 each
- small baby wipes
- basic medicines like paracetamol, cream, cortisone, plasters, handsanitizer
- small savory snack and banana.
Everyone has his/her own water bottle and in the car there is always water, dry snacks and some toys to entertain the kids.
Taking a taxi with 3 kids
When it is not possible to use your own car, taxis can be the best solution to go around with the kids. Twice a week kid n.1 goes to basket lessons and I have to take a taxi. In many cities there are taxis with the baby car seat included, that is simply amazing, so you can bring only one with you for the baby and kid n. 2 will use the taxi’s one. I am lucky that kid n. 1 is tall so he does not need it anymore, otherwise you need to bring a booster with you. Not impossible but annoying.
Bedtime, hard time
When I finally see 7 pm on my watch, it’s time to arrange the trip to the bed. It happens when my husband is not at home, so I am alone with 3 elves that say no to “it’s time to sleep”. I start with the kid n.2. Dinner is served for everyone at the same time and while they eat, I breastfeed n.3. Then, bath/wash time, diaper change and pajama, milk and sleep, while n. 1 and 3 are watching tv (well, n. 1 watches tv and n.3 watches and smiles to n.1 while seated in the baby chair or stroller). Then it’s n. 1’s turn who is independent and, in the meantime, I prepare n.3 who is the last one to fall asleep. Taking turn is the only solution when you are alone, but if you have some help, well, use it!
Positive sides of having 3 kids: more muscles, more burnt calories, more coffee!