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What to Expect When Adding Child #3 to Family

I'm a SAHM in the second month of my third pregnancy. I have two kids (a girl age 3 1/2 and a boy age 2). This pregnancy was quite a surprise for us! I'd always wanted three, but my husband was content since we already had a boy and a girl. Though we're happy about expecting a new little one, I've been hearing a lot of cons about how hard three is. I'd like to learn from anyone else who has experience adding a third child to a family. How did it change your family dynamic? How did you make one-on-one time for your older kids?

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Thank you all for your wonderful encouragement! It was reassuring to read about your experiences. I'm going to try to relax and enjoy this pregnancy, prepare and involve my older two as much as possible and try to just enjoy this chance to have a new little one around the house again. And anytime I start to feel a little freaked out about it, I now have your stories to look at to remind me this is possible! Thanks again!

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I have 3 daughters...7yrs, 5yrs and 11 months old. I thought because my kids were older that having a 3rd would be a breeze. I assumed that since my older 2 kids were great sleepers that #3 would follow suit. Unfortunately not the case so the sleep deprivation has been the toughest adjustment. On the other hand there has been no jealousy, and I love it when the older girls try to make their baby sister laugh. They've become good friends already. I have really enjoyed having a baby again. I wrestled for a long time about having another hence the wider age gap between #2 and #3. Now that she's here I can't imagine life without her...she belongs.

I can't be of any help in the advice department. I just wanted to let you know I am in the same boat you are. I am 10 weeks pregnant with #3 and it was a total suprise for us. We have 2 boys ages 12 and 4 and a half(he'll be 5 when the baby arrives). And I always wondered how hard it would be. I feel guilty sometimes knowing that the time with each one will be even more limited than what it is now. Thanks for asking the question so I can read the responses too! Take care and I wish you a H&H 9 months.

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I think that you have already done the hard part! Going from 1 to 2 kids was really hard for me. Learning how to divide my time so the oldest didn't feel left out, getting them both to sleep at once, etc... I too was worried about how hard adding a third child would be. Life got much easier once I had them both (and myself!) on a schedule, and when our 3rd came, she just slipped right in. My oldest was 5 when we had her and was quite the little mother, it was like playing dolls for her. My son was 3 and had about a 10 second attention span for the baby and was off to more exciting things! Just involve the others as much as they would like and turn that positive interest into help for you! As far as one-on-one time goes, plan special time during naps. I always enjoyed reading to my older kids while feeding the baby. Don't worry, you will do great! Good Luck!

Quick bit about me....I'm a SAHM of 4 wonderful, crazy kids ages 9, 7, 3, and 1. Our youngest has Spina Bifida. Check out his website at www.caringbridge.org/visit/babybrendan

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Girl - it is great! The transistion was so much easier than 1 child to 2. We were not planning on a third for a little while after our 2nd (I had post pardum pretty bad), but what can you do? So, we had a girl 3 1/2, a boy 19 mo and a brand new one. He fit in wonderfully and I wouldn't have it any other way. You'll find you really don't have to "do" anything. Just enjoy this and know that. Mine are 8, 7 and 5 now, and they are my joy. There are struggles. There are hard days. You can do it, and I pray you really take the time to enjoy it - consider yourself blessed.

Three for me was wonderful. I can share a story with you that will probably make some of you cringe but will be funny all the same.
When we had our third in Portland the rainy town, my husband had to use the car not the bike to go to work. I needed to go to Fred Meyers in the Hollywood district. So I don't have a stroller big enough I do have the bike with a bike seat, it had stopped raining, I needed to get to the store. So I did what I had to do. I put the two month old, in the snuggie on front, the 21 month old in a back pack, and the 5 year old in the seat, and I rode the bike from 33rd to Hollywood to Fred Meyers, so how crazy was that, when I think back on it. This day and age, I probably would have been pulled over, but this was the 80's! Oh, and my sons weren't small either, when born they were 10lb, 11lb, well and the 3 was only 8 lbs, but you know what when I think about the crazy thing I did just to get by and the giggly little ones on my back I would do it again in a heart beat!But this time they would all have helmets!
I loved being a mom of three and if God had given me the gift to have more I would have. We took in exchange students as they got older, and family and friends to fill our home, but to me nothing is better then a house full of kids.
Oh, I was the middle of 9 and God bless my mom she had all of us in exactly 12 years, 3 shared the same birthday exactly 6 years apart....... Growing up we always had room at the table for more.
Enjoy them they grow fast so fast that I am now a proud grandma of two already and I don't feel that old.
I wonder if their mom would let me take them all on a bike ride? :)

I am in the same place you are just a little further along. I am the mom of a gorgeous 6 year old girl and a very active 20 month old on top of that I am pregnant with our third who is due next month but due to complications could be here at the end of April.

I was so nervous when I found out about baby number 3. Are we ready? Are we crazy? My husband is in the military and leaves for deployment shortly after the baby is born, so I constantly ask myself if I am sure I can do this alone? But as we've started packing for the hospital and putting the diaper bag together I realize that experience is a wonderful teacher. With #1 I was so nervous about being a mom. With #2 I was trying to balance between both kids and be supermom. But now I've relaxed and I hope I can enjoy #3 a little more! Plus I will have two special helpers this time around.

There will be bumps in the road as our family adjusts to a new baby but there will be wonderful memories too! Relax, don't stress about it or you will stress out your family and kids. I am sure your kids are wonderful and the new one will be too!


Adding #3 isn't as tough as we imagined. Sometimes it takes a little bit of shifting things about, deciding who will share a room, and in our case asking our oldest to do as much for himself as possible.

The toughest thing was getting our middle boy (who had been the baby before little sister came along) to learn to like the new arrival. But now he loves his "Sissy" and seems to have adjusted to his new place in the family.

We don't do much one-on-one time, there always seems to be someone who wants attention at the same time or needs something... but we do our best and the kids have learned how to "share" Mommy...

The other thing for us was getting a vehicle that would seat all the kids comfortably and still have room for strollers and groceries.

But three isn't unusual anymore. I know more and more moms with three (or more!) these days.

Congrats on baby #3!

I have no advice for i am in the same boat. I am seven months pregnant with our third boy! I have the big sense that it will be just one more.. you know i thought that the change from one to two was going to be this horrible thing and i was never going to get sleep and life it self would just be a struggle for awhile but everything was ok so this one i am just so lax and really the thing i cant wait for is to be done being pregnant! I am sick of it. sorry i went on a tangent!! Good luck and i wish you well!!!

The addition of #3 was great! I think the addition of #2 was harder and more shocking for me. Everyone is different and children behave differently in different families. We train our children to obey and they are true blessings to us. I am expecting #5 and can't wait! You become experienced and the care of your child is less guess work and worry and you know what you are doing so you can appreciate them so much more. I have enjoyed my 4th child probably the most because I haven't been freaked out about all the baby stuff. The dynamics are great too among the siblings. When there are more than 1 or 2 each child becomes a vital helper to the family. My oldest is 7 and he loves to help his younger brothers and sister and he is the better for it too. Responsibility is so valuable for children as they feel needed and important and makes them so much less likely to act up. I am told all the time by moms who have 7+ that the more you have the easier it gets. It really is true as your oldest ones become mature enough to help even a little bit. Yours are still toddlers and your hands will be full but enjoy this season of your life for what it is. They will only be little once:) Congrats on the new baby growing within your womb!

Hi J.,
I am a mother of 3, our oldest she is only 3 and our first son was only 16 months when son #2 came along. I made the adjustment just 4 months ago and I must say it wasn't as difficult as I had imagined. I made lots of Dr.s nervous because I became pregnant less than 2 months after having brain surgery and am still considered to be in recovery. What's actually the most difficult for me right now is just the fact that I don't have medical clearance to drive and am stuck at home all day every day and I have to make arrangements well in advance for appointments that don't always work out. Having 3 kids really isn't hard, they entertain eachother very well and it's fun to watch and/or listen to, and I look forward to what I'll hear when they're just a few years older, wondering if people will ask if my boys are twins for one. For one on one time I first put my two older kids to bed at seperate times and for about 1/2 an hour or so I am with them in their room reading them the book of their choice, and my husband is doing the same with the another in a different room or he takes them out for car rides that they take turns for and I for now get time alone then too.
I do still have my bad days, but I blame that on the surgery, making it hard for me to keep a system. When I do at least stay close to my system my days go well and I'm not so exhausted at the end of the day to do a few extra things with a certain someone after the kids go to bed;) So my best advice after all that I've said is keep a system or pattern for each day of the week, just so you know, you must give yourself a 'lazy day' on a weekday where you just let youself sit around, take a nap when the kids do and play outside with them, just no housework, I have that on Wednesdays.

When we found out we were expecting our third (unplanned) we had two 20 months old. We were seriously freaked out! The bigger two are already used to sharing you, so it isn't all that hard for them to adjust to another. My third just seemed to squish right into our lives and schedule. The most important thing we decided on right after we had our baby was to never call her "sweetheart" since that is what my hubby calls our oldest daughter. (At that time she would tell people that was her name because it is all daddy ever called her.) It was very important to us, once we had the baby and found out the sex, not to push either of the older two out of thier "special spot" so to speek.
The alone time thing is actually easier than you think. Sometimes I will take the older 2 with me on the weekends while the baby is sleeping and we will hit a park. On weekends when dad is avaliable, have himstay with 2 of the kids while you take one of them to run errands. I don't think it is the destination that is important at this age I think it is just the excitment of being alone with mom or dad that counts. Every thursday after dinner my hubby takes one of the big kids to the library. He switches kids every week and they always bring home a book for each of the others (that way they are not left with out thier own book for a week).
We took the big kids to the local Nutcracker this last year and decided my son would be my date and my daughter would be my hubbys date. The boys even went out and got us flowers and rang the doorbell to "pick us up" (even suprised me!!). We left the littlest with grandparents for this outing. They still talk about this trip often!!
Just a quick story;
I was unloading the troops at the park the other day and a mom was walking past me with her screeching wriggling son (just 1) in her arms and asked me "Are they all yours?" I said "yup" to which she replied " Man do you have your hands full". I just smiled and continued on. I was carrying the littlest and my big 2 were walking next to me quietly!! I am not saying my kids are perfect angels (far from it actually ;p), but the fact she thought because I have 3 I was busier than her just cracked me up!
In all honstley, the hardest thing for me about having 3, was finding out how easy it actually is, realizing I want more, and trying to convince my hubby that we should lol

I was also concerned due to finding out I was pregant a week after my son's 1st B-Day! We too have a son and daughter, and then found out we were pregnant with a little surprise :-). But after he came, it was just as much fun and once you have two, three isn't as difficult as I thought it would be! It is really a team effort, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Although I felt like I was nursing forever! It takes a lot of sleep and organization (good luck) but the good news is that you've already got everything you need and everything is fresh on your mind. It will be fun!

I don't think the third is hard. I thought the transition from one to two was harder. The third child/the baby of the family
tends to be the compliant one (although not always, of course).
I had two girls and was content and then the 3rd came along-a boy. He is a little more rambunctious but aims to please. He really just blends in well. All your kids are pretty young though. My oldest was 7 at the time he was born so she was a huge help and still is. I'm from a family of three siblings and I'm glad to have three of my own.

It does make vacations a little more expensive I've found. Most hotel rooms have a maximum capacity of 4. You'll have to get used to suites!!!! Not such a bad thing but more expensive.

One on one time is something you have to be conscious about. For us, we take turns taking kids to ball practice, grocery shopping, special one on one days, etc. One parent takes the two and the other takes the one. It's a little more of a juggle but hopefully each child will remember the times we had together as a family and those special one on one times.


I don't know if my experience is valid for yours since my 2 older ones are farther ahead of my 3rd....however, 3 for me is in some ways easier than when I had just one and was a new mom unsure what to do.

The older ones help alot and I encourage that. Also I know more and am more confident with much of what I do.

I love 3, it made the older ones more helpful and they have learned much from helping with her. They really love her even when they are fighting with eachother.

I do have to work harder to have one on one time. My husband and I take turns having the 3 in order to do things with just one.

The thing that is hardest is for my husband and me to get alone time and we have had to make that a real priority.

Three is like a whole new world... it is a challenge- but then, most of life is.
It is hard to find one on one time for everyone, but like most things, if you make it a priority, you can do it. We have to be very careful and make a conscious effort to keep our son from falling into "middle child syndrome". Turns out, it really is real! LOL
My husband jokingly says, "Two kids was fine... but somehow, three- became two, to many!" However, you know he couldn't love them any more when they are climbing all over him with hugs and sticky kisses.
Three kids may be the hardest thing you never regret!

Wow! You could be writing my bio! I have a 4-year old, a 2 1/2-year old and a 4-month old. Our 3rd baby was a surprise since we had just decided we were content with our boy and girl, but we are thrilled to have our new little princess and can't imagine our family any other way. It has been a big adjustment, but actually not as difficult as it was to go from 1 kid to 2 kids. Our older 2 kids entertain each other well when I'm nursing or when my baby needs some extra attention, and they actually are very helpful in ways that they can be. I don't know how you feel about TV, but I have thoroughly embraced using a Clifford or Mr. Rogers show when I need a break, and I don't feel one bit guilty about it! I think my biggest adjustment was the difficulty in being able to get out of the house to do anything with all three, but I'm figuring it out. So far I've got Costco, Target and Fred Meyer's figured out! Anyway, congratulations and good luck. You'll do great if you just take lots of deep breaths and hug your kids whenever a moment allows. Oh, and as far as finding time with the older kids, I definitely take advantage of any time the baby is sleeping to try to play with them and snuggle and read some books without distractions. And between my husband and me, we are able to find one-on-one time with each kid as well. Have fun!

Hi J.,
I don't know about everyone else but I had a harder time going from one to two. When #3 showed up it was very easy to make the adjustments. I think the only difference for me was when #3 showed up, my oldest was almost 5 and getting ready to start school. Your time will be stretched a little thinner between the older kids in taking care of the newborn, but you can involve them in feeding, holding and changing the diapers and playing with the baby. ( that can be one on one as well ) I know my son just thought he was very special and very big when he was allowed to hold the baby and feed her...it made him feel very special. Just make sure they know how important their roles are as big brother and big sister and possibly when baby is taking a nap, sit down with the older two and have special time. Dad may have to pitch in some when he gets home from work showing the older siblings some one on one also. YOU are going to need a break also!
Good luck :)

Your heart grows bigger!!! Your 2 older kids get an opportunity to love and be loved by another human being. You will juggle to find some one on one time for all three of them as years go by. Compromise, concensus and democratic process come into consideration as they get older. They will be a unit of 3, but they are distinct individuals and should be treated as such. I made a point of taking each child to Washington DC for a week when they were 10 yrs old. They were excited when the first one went, anxious for her to come home as they missed her, a tad jealous, but listened intensly to all she shared. When it was #2 to go, #1 had all sorts of suggestions and he got to do the same things and some different things that he wanted to see and do, again the absence made hearts grow fonder, sharing was awesome and then #3 went and again, the recommendations, the absence, the new experiences totally awesome, but being able to give that one on one with each child gave us a touchstone, a place to go back to, our 'Kodak' moments. Dad has his special time with the 2 at home each trip and he gets his opportunities. I have continued this 'tradition' with my nephew and will be taking his sister next year. It gives the cousins a common experience, a sharing, a bond that even though they didn't do it all together, they did all do it, they were unique and still part of a group. You will find many opportunities similar to this, on a small scale as well as the big trips. But when they get older and they sit around playing a new game (board or video), watch a movie and all break out laughing at the same time... sit in the grandstands at a track event or at the finish line of a marathon and cheer their sibling on, it's worth all the work. Knowing that as a parent you have given them not only a sibling, but a friend, a partner for life and they truly like one another is wonderful. There are hard times, but they are so outweighed by all the good times. Enjoy all the moments. You are very blessed!!!

I can't be of any help in the advice department. I just wanted to let you know I am in the same boat you are. I am 10 weeks pregnant with #3 and it was a total suprise for us. We have 2 boys ages 12 and 4 and a half(he'll be 5 when the baby arrives). And I always wondered how hard it would be. I feel guilty sometimes knowing that the time with each one will be even more limited than what it is now. Thanks for asking the question so I can read the responses too! Take care and I wish you a H&H 9 months.

No need to worry!! When my third child was born , eveything fell into place wonderfully. My older two were all over her, and to this day they are very protective of each other. We included the other two in prenatal check-ups, ultra sounds, shopping for the baby, pretty much everything. My son at the time was almost three,and my daughter was 6. My son loved being part of everything as much as his sister did. What I did for my son is I went out and bought him his own baby doll that came with clothes, diaper, and bottles. I played with him with it to show him what babies needed and what not. It worked really well!! The big brother/sister classes are helpful too. Another thing I did with my kids si I bought them a present from the baby that they got when the bay was born, and I had them buy the baby a present each. In the hospital the little toys they got their baby sister went in her little bed she stayed in in the hospital. So the biggest thing is keep them involved through the pregnancy, and they can evenhelp out oafter delivery!! They are great at fetching wipes, diapers, bottles, blankies, spitup cloth, and even grabbing a drink or snack for mommy!

I have 3 daughters...7yrs, 5yrs and 11 months old. I thought because my kids were older that having a 3rd would be a breeze. I assumed that since my older 2 kids were great sleepers that #3 would follow suit. Unfortunately not the case so the sleep deprivation has been the toughest adjustment. On the other hand there has been no jealousy, and I love it when the older girls try to make their baby sister laugh. They've become good friends already. I have really enjoyed having a baby again. I wrestled for a long time about having another hence the wider age gap between #2 and #3. Now that she's here I can't imagine life without her...she belongs.

Your kdis are young so it will be a little bit of a challenge. The hard part was dealing with the sleep depervation and the other two kids. It is not like you can nap much when you have otehr kids at home. The hardest part in in the begining. It does change the family but not in a bad way at all. Just involve the kids as much as you can. have somone come in once in awhile so you can get out withthe other two. It will take a little bit of getting use to but it is not as horrible as others say it is. The nice thing about number 3 is you know what to do now and are probably a little more relaxed about things. Do not feel bad about putting a tv show on while you feed the baby or even catch a few winks.
Good luck!
Oh and forget about a clean house!
Not going to happen and so not imortant!

We had four children in four years, and so life has been busy for us, but I love being a mom. The transition from 1-2 was harder than 2-3, and 3-4 was even easier, I don't know if life just can't get much crazier than having two kids or what. I also homeschool my children. I would say that the hardest thing for me is finding the balance. I like to have a very neat house, as does my husband, and I constantly strugle to balance kid time with housework. I think it helps to have a schedule in place. That way, if I get off track (which happens alot) I know exactly where I need to hop right back on the track to keep things from being completely chaotic. I am a happier and more patient mom when things are organized, and I think my kids are happier when they know what to expect, and things aren't constantly changing. Some times I find myself feeling guilty that my house is messy, but then I look at the fun the kids and I had making nature walk collages that day, and realize that memories and relationships are what is precious in life, not my clean house. I would much rather feel guilty about the house being messy, and not feel guilty that I skipped story time so that I could scour the bathroom. I made a " MY Happy Day Chart" for my 2 oldest kids that is round like a clock with a sunrise,full sun,sunset, and moon at the 12,3,6,and 9 o'clock positions. In between the suns and moon are pictures of my kids doing things like making their bed, washing their hands, cleaning their room etc. I laminated the chart, and printed an extra page of the job pictures and laminated that too. I put magnets behind all the pictures and cut them out. As they do a chore, they put the magnetic picture on top of the chart picture that matches. Chores have become a game, and they actually race through the chores to see who gets their magnets on first. If I am nursing the baby, and they don't know what to do, I can send them to the fridge to see what comes next for the day. This is also a great babysitter's tool. When I had a new baby, family and friends could keep the kids on track without having to disturb me or the newborn. My husband started a tradition for our family that has been great. We have "Family Fun Night" every Fri. night. This way, no matter what kind of craziness goes on during the week, we always get to spend at least one evening making memories together no matter what. We do things like take nature walks, read stories and than act them out,build forts and play house,bake something yummy together, etc. I always say I am the best kind of busy! Feel free to e-mail me if you want to chat more!

I'm new at this #3 thing... my 3rd is just 6 weeks old! I found to my surprise that going from 2 to 3 was not nearly has hard as going from 1 to 2. The only thing that is difficult is going shopping alone. There is simply not room in a cart for 3 kids and stuff! I have found that putting the baby in an front pack or sling, having my 2 year old in the front of the cart, and having my 4 year old holding onto the side of the cart has worked best. Good luck! It's going to be just wonderful having 3!

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