Going from 2 to 3 kids can be a major change for most families. See what’s been easier and more challenging for us!
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Like I’m sure many families who are in the same boat, we struggled on the idea of 2 kids vs 3 kids. We had finally just become accustomed and comfortable with having two girls, two years apart.
Things were great! And yet….I still wondered.
- What would life be like with a 3rd baby?
- Would I get a boy?
- How do 3 kids vs 2 stack up?
- What’s easier and harder?
- Is the third child really the wildcard? Or are we pros by now and we have it figured out?
Is three kids too many? Is an odd number bad?
These are all questions that popped in my mind as we discussed the possibility of adding a third child to our family.
Now that we’re 2+ months in and I have the brain space to write about this, I thought I’d get my feelings down.
I did the same when going from 1 to 2 kids.
While I’m not focusing on my difference in pregnancies here, you can read more about the differences between my first and second pregnancy.
Going from 2 to 3 Kids: The Easy Parts
The best part about going from 2 to 3 kids has been the strengthened bond with my girls.
Fortunately, our two girls (ages 4.5 and 2) are very close, and their bond has strengthened more during this time.
I will also, with no shame, turn on the tv if I need to entertain them to get dinner ready and on the table.
The baby is pretty chill (so far!) and I can babywear or give him a pacifier if I need to be productive.
If you have older kids, they will likely want to take some responsibility, like helping to get wipes and diapers, preparing a bottle, entertaining the baby with toys and songs, etc.
This has been the case for us and is a major “pro” of having older children as siblings.
You Truly Know What You Do and Don’t Need
While I did still make some new purchases for our third baby, for the most part, we were all set with what we had.
We did get gifted an Ergo Evolve bouncer, though, pictured below.
We never had a bouncer for the first two kids, and it was something I really wanted.
Sawyer loves the natural rocking it offers, and it is a saving grace for me while prepping dinner, unloading the dishwasher, eating, etc.!
It is extremely soft, and I love the mesh breathable parts. It’s very easy to clean, too!
Of course, Sawyer had a blow out one of his first times in it, and the interior cushion part comes out and it washed right out, thankfully!
It can also transition into a toddler seat, so it’s made to grow with them, which is a major plus.
You start to resent products that you can only use for a few months as a parent, so the ones that grow with your child are truly appreciated!
Plus, we took it on our Christmas trip down to Georgia, it folds so easily so it is very practical to travel with.
Since this third one is a boy, I really just needed clothes.
I did buy some new products that weren’t necessarily around when my oldest was little, but for the most part, you know what you need and what you use!
I highly recommend the Lovevery Boxes – we started those with my second so we have them to use this go around too!
If you take more of a Montessori approach or like colorful, high quality (often wooden) learning toys, do yourself a favor and sign up for Lovevery Boxes.
You’ve done this twice, so you know what to do.
Yes, every child is different, but you can be confident about what you need, how your partner can help, getting in a routine, dealing with your older kids, etc.
The Major Challenges of 3 Kids vs 2
It’s definitely not all sunshine and butterflies – there are some major challenges and logistics in having 3 kids vs. 2.
We’re still figuring this one out!
Trying to Take Care of Myself First
This one is HARD, as all parents know. But, if I’m only focused on serving them breakfast, and not myself, I’m going to be miserable by the end of morning, fueling only on coffee.
So, when possible, I make it a point to feed myself first to stabilize those hormones. We all know you’re emotional as a mom, and understanding physical hunger vs. emotional hunger is helpful.
Chaos and Noise
For us, going from 2 to 3 kids has rocked our world. It’s just chaos, all the time. It’s loud with the girls running around and trying to entertain the baby.
Someone always needs something – always.
If you have a screaming baby, that would definitely make things even more difficult!
Fortunately, our (third) baby is generally quiet and chill, though we do sometimes have a witching hour before bed where everyone is tired and overstimulated and it’s frustrating, for sure.
We are ALWAYS behind on laundry and the house is a constant mess.
This book was recommended to me from my therapist about gentle cleaning and it’s been SO HELPFUL.
I’m pretty much always eating with one hand or a kid on my lap.
We go through so many dishes, cups and more. I have back up ezpz utensils, plates, cups and dishes so when the dishwasher is running, I’m never running short.
It helps to have backups!
Luckily, I also make sure to always have easy snacks and re-heat meals in the freezer, like baby pancakes for all!
Daily Harvest has also been so HUGE for me! They have easy to heat up meals and sides, like these grains, and smoothies we all love.
I’m always cleaning something up in the kitchen, but that’s how it is with little ones!
At least, the ezpz mat’s have saved some of the mess, and I’ll usually give him an ezpz spoon to chew on until he’s big enough to use it. They are awesome!
Bedtimes are a major challenge, although it’s getting easier now that he’s almost 10 weeks and settling into a more concrete routine.
In the beginning, babies just sleep all the time with small wake windows and it often seemed like we were putting him down when we were doing the girls’ bedtimes.
This caused jealousy and chaos if one of us had to be with the baby and not them, and the baby may not go down quickly.
However, depending on how close in age your older siblings are, they may be more independent for bedtime.
Or, they may thrive on having just one parent’s attention while the other deals with the baby.
Once we settle into a more solid and consistent routine with the baby, he’ll likely go down before the girls’ bedtime which will make things much smoother!
The first few months is definitely hard with that.
I definitely recommend investing in a few pairs of magnetic me pajamas because they go on so quickly while baby or toddlers are fussy! And they’re pretty cute, too!
Guilt and Jealousy
I have bouts of feeling very guilty for the time I’m not with the girls anywhere.
The 4-year-old is very independent, and the two-year-old is with her a lot.
The two-year-old still needs me, but I’m not always available like I was before baby.
You truly do miss your older kids with a baby because you have to do everything for them – from changing diapers and outfits, to making bottles or breastfeeding.
Even just holding them when you want to cuddle with your older children.
Baby snuggles are magical, but you miss your older kids too. And that’s okay.
In the scheme of things, I do think this will pass and everyone adjusts in their own time, but it is a hard one for me, mentally and emotionally.
And the young girls feel it too.
They get jealous that mommy is with the baby all the time. I think each family will develop coping strategies for this.
For instance, I know many families will just involve older children as much as possible to make them feel involved in the process and transition. We do this.
We also try to carve out 1-1 time with each child. For the middle child, it’s doing her nap time and often helping with bedtime.
For the older child, it’s often school drop off or pick up, going to the library, or even to gymnastics class and then to get a donut.
This is such a short period in the scheme of things, although the newborn period can really mess with you with the sleep deprivation.
I feel like this one ties into many of the others, but with the transition to a major life event and some jealousy from little bodies, we have seen some forms of regression.
Our four-year-old talks about wanting to be a baby again or being little since the baby gets all the attention. Her patience seems to be shorter now as well.
Our two-year-old is all about mommy, seemingly even more so than before baby came.
She wants to be held and sit on my lap constantly, which can be exhausting.
But, I remind myself that she had two years of me before the baby and she doesn’t know how to give that up or adjust.
In a sense, you may feel that you’re starting over with another baby.
You may have been in a good routine with balancing work and home life, extracurricular activities, bedtime routines, kids sleeping through the night, etc.
And now you go and add a baby to the mix – it can be a big chance physically, emotionally, and mentally!
Seriously, love these Freshly Picked Diaper Packs!
Other Things to Consider for 2 Kids vs 3 Kids
This is obviously a multi-factorial decision and there are several other things to consider for 3 kids vs. 2.
Some of the other things we considered were:
- Finances – Obviously, more children = more expenses! There are more mouths to feed, potentially more childcare expenses, more education to fund down the road, and more extracurricular activities.
- Travel – Do you love to travel? Will having an extra child really affect that or make it much more difficult? That means one more plane ticket, perhaps a larger car, another carseat, maybe another hotel room… These are all things to think about!
- Time – Allot more time for everything. Taking the time to take kids to more activities, assuming you don’t have someone to carpool with, time for homework, entertaining, etc.
- Your “Village” or Community/ Support System– Do you have people to help you? Family or close friends or neighbors nearby that can help with a meal, with childcare, with play dates, or even just giving you a break? Parenting truly does take a village!
- Space – Do you have room in your current living situation? Can your older siblings share a room? This is something we plan on doing in the near future as we move the baby into his own room.
- Thinking of the future – I grew up as 1 of 4 children, so a big family. Now we are all very close and family get togethers are the best! I have a great relationship with my parents, too, and they are now “friends.” I look forward to larger family gatherings down the road with my children.
- Your Past Birth Experience – I definitely don’t think this is one to look at in isolation from the rest because each birth experience is and will be different. However, you may have some trauma from your first or second birth that you haven’t yet dealt with, or that made you think you can’t or don’t want to do this again. My 3rd home birth story and second VBAC home birth were so different from ym traumatic C section birth. Remember, you have to go through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum again, all of which can be very difficult, traumatic and vulnerable times.
- Your Relationship with your Partner – If things aren’t great with your partner, don’t think that adding a third baby will solve it. It will probably leave less time for you and your partner, at least in the beginning. You’re probably working on dividing and conquering and meeting all of the three little peoples’ needs, leaving LESS time for yourself.
Other Things That Helped
- Coffee! If you’ve never tried comateer, this frozen coffee is a game changer. So delicious and easy to prepare. Just thaw it the night before in the fridge or morning under warm water, and add hot water and voila, the perfect cup of coffee!
- Diaper Subscription – You just don’t want to think about ordering diapers when you’re already out. We used a Hello Bello diaper subscription that came every few weeks, with the CUTEST prints. You can use code “SARAHS-2QC” for 20% off!
- Carrier – By the third kid, you probably already have your favorite carrier, but if you’ve picked ones that never felt comfortable or easy, I urge you to try this one. Ergo has always been my favorite, sturdy companion, and the clicks make it SO easy to use.
- Magnetic Me Footie Pajamas – I never knew about these with my first two! They are so comfortable and no buttons or even zippering needed. Amazing!
- Daily Harvest – These microwaveable healthy meals, sides and smoothies are game changers so I can feed myself!
- Diaper Bag/ Fanny Pack – I love the Freshly Picked Diaper Packs. I already had a diaper bag and found that if I was baby wearing, I didn’t want a backpack on my back. Instead, a fanny pack makes things much easier to hold diapers, wipes, pacifiers and more.
- Easy Snacks – Thrive Market has been a life saver! I buy many “healthy” packaged foods. Not everything that’s processed or packaged is a negative thing. There is a lot of nuance in the whole foods vs. processed foods argument.
- Butcher Box – I believe in eating high-quality meat. I did so during pregnancy for all of the benefits, and postpartum is just as important for replenishing all of the nutrients lost during birth and breastfeeding. Butcher box has the best, nutrient-dense cuts of meat and seafood, and you get a free year’s worth when signing up!
- I also thrive on snacks, especially one handed breastfeeding snacks. I always make sure to snack on breastfeeding night snacks for my late night nursing sessions – I feel that it helps me wake up LESS depleted. I should also mention that Thrive Market has tons that are kid friendly, too!
I definitely recommend having snacks delivered when you’re sleep deprived and adjusting to kids!
I hope some of these tips help in your decision in going from 2 to 3 kids. If you’re in the situation, let us know what worked for you!
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