Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Transitioning from 2 to 3 kiddos // Tips & Tricks for a Smooth Transition


I've only been at this three kid thing for about six weeks so I am in no way an expert!  I have had a ton of questions about how our transition from two to three kids is going so I thought I'd share the little bit of wisdom I've gained so far.  Not everything may be feasible or work for everyone, but I feel like anyone with multiple children could implement some of these tips and tricks.  The things that have surprised me the most about having three kids is that there is NEVER a moment of down time and our laundry has somehow tripled even though we only added one family member (and his clothes are super tiny?!).  With two children, they nap at the same time or one becomes old enough to have some quiet independent time.  You're able to squeeze in little moments of down time here and there.  With three children, you never ever sit down.  There is always someone that needs you or something that needs to be done.  You're busy, really really really busy, but it's a good busy!

Our transition from two to three children has been SO SO SO much easier than our transition from one to two children (read more about that transition here).  I think there are a few reasons that going from two to three kids is easier than going from one to two:

1. You know how to juggle and love more than one kid-you've actually gotten really good at it.  You're also more relaxed as you've come to realize just how hard it would be to break your baby ;).

2. When you bring your second baby home, you feel so guilty not giving your first baby as much attention.  When you bring your third baby home, the first and second babies have each other to play with!  This definitely comes in handy when you're breastfeeding all. day. long.

3. You know more stuff.  By the time you have your third, you've seen it all.  Ok maybe you haven't seen it all, but you do have so much more knowledge about babies.  For example, Phayre (our second baby) had undiagnosed acid reflux for eight weeks.  She screamed constantly which left Eric and I constantly feeling frazzled and lost.  At just one week old, Briar (our third baby) showed signs of reflux.  We took him to the doctor, he was diagnosed, and we had meds in him by that night.  Because of our experience, we were able to quickly figure out the problem and he's been the easiest baby ever since!

4. This one is specific to our situation, but our transition has been so much smoother because Eric worked from home for four weeks after Briar was born.  He had conference calls that took him away for parts of the day, but he was super available to us.  The girls got just as much attention (if not more) than they had gotten before brothers arrival because daddy was home.  Eric didn't get much time off after each of the girls were born which always made me super nervous in those first few weeks.  Even if he has to bank all of his vacation days, ask your husband to be home for as long as he can after baby's arrival!

Tips & Tricks for Transitioning from 2 to 3 Children
(Most of these tips could be used with any number of children though!)

1. Prepare anything and everything you can before babies arrival.  Finish the nursery, make some meals and put them in the freezer, make diaper caddies, etc.  You'll be so thankful your home and family is prepared for baby!

2. Once baby arrives, involve your other children in everything you do with the new baby.  Even if it takes longer or it's not how you'd normally do it or if it ends up being a messy disaster.  Especially for Sloan, being included meant she was spending time with me and helped her be really excited about her new brother.

3. Take all the help you can get.  It takes a village people!  Eric and I don't have a lot of family help, but we have incredible friends who have become family.  Our friends surrounded our little family with so much love and lifted us up after Briar was born.  Between meals, gifts for the girls, coffee runs, and so much more-it just helped us feel so loved and supported as we transitioned to three kids.  Several of my girlfriends came over to give the girls extra hugs and gave them little gifts, this made them feel extra special and loved.  Our church also set up a meal train for us which was a GIANT help.  We had the most delicious hot meals delivered to us from church members for two weeks and I seriously don't know what we would have done without them.

We lost Eric's mom earlier this year and that really rocked our world.  Our friends rallied around us then with love and support and we will forever be grateful.  To be lifted up again just six months later was truly incredible.  We are so thankful for the people in our life who love our children and have become our village.  So my advice is-find your people and love them hard.  Lean on them and let them help you, especially as your family experiences a big change!

4. People haven't offered to help?  Don't be shy and ASK!

5. Embrace your life right now and give yourself some grace!  When I walk into target and get the "Oh, looks like you've got your hands full!" comments,  I am well aware that I look like the ringleader of a tiny person circus.  When Eric gets home and looks around at our disaster of a house and says, "Rough day babe?", I know that I probably didn't win at motherhood that day.  But guess what?  Life may not be perfect and life may be really full right now, but this is the part of my life I have always dreamed of.  I have always wanted to be a mama.  I have always wanted a house full of babies!  So I am embracing this time before it flies by and this part of my life is over.  Find little bits of joy every single day and hang on to them like hell, especially on the hard days.

6. Get down with Elsa and let it go.  You simply cannot do everything you did before and you can't do things exactly the same way as you always have because you don't have enough time.  Let it go and adapt.

7. Allow more time for everything.  You're only adding one family member, but it will take you twice as long to leave the house.  I always try to nurse Briar right before I leave the house and that takes time, I have to potty the girls, put shoes on, and get three little bodies into their carseats.  Bottom line, allow more time for everything so you're not frantic all the time!

8. A load a day keeps the piles away.  Three kids results in so much freaking laundry.  Try to run a load, fold it, and put it away every single day.  Otherwise it will become a mountain before you know it.

9. Wake up before your children.  This can be a hard one, especially when your newborn is waking you up all night to nurse, but it is SO beneficial.  I slept terribly when I was pregnant so I never woke up before the girls did, I needed the extra sleep!  Since having Briar, it's become more important than ever that I set an alarm and get myself ready before the kids wake up.  My girls usually wake up around 7am so I set an alarm for 6am.  I shower, quickly get ready, and start on breakfast.  Once the girls are up I get them dressed, feed them, and nurse Briar before we leave.  This is the only way I can get all four of us to preschool on time and I am so much more productive when I get a shower in and feel somewhat human.

10. Choose everyones clothing and pack your diaper bag the night before.  This has helped us SO much.  I go from room to room choosing everyones clothing before bedtime each night.  I lay out everyones outfit (down to their underwear and bows) on my bedroom floor (I also lay out my clothes).  In the morning it's like an assembly line of dressing kids.  This way I'm not frantically searching for Sloan's left rain boot in the morning!

11. Routine, routine, routine.  Do your best to get your kids on a good daily schedule, this will help your days run much smoother.  I also like having a weekly schedule.  For example, I always grocery shop on Monday mornings while Sloan is at school and I only have two little ones with me.  Our week usually revolves around Sloan's preschool and activity schedule, having a solid routine that we can all count on is so beneficial for all of us.

12. Make the most of nap time.  It is very tempting to sit and zone out or even nap during nap time and if you absolutely need to do those things, do it!  For me, I have to make the most of nap time to help our day run smoothly.  Phayre usually naps for about an hour and a half and Sloan has quiet time in her room during this time.  I either nap Briar in the swing or put him in the wrap and it's go time.  I get the dishes done, get a load of laundry folded, do a quick clean up, and ALWAYS prep dinner.  If I can get dinner prepped during this time, we always have a much better afternoon/evening.

13. Embrace baby wearing.  Didn't wear your baby in a wrap or front pack much before?  Well get good at it, because you're going to need your hands when you have three little ones!

14. Carve out one on one time for each of your children and cherish those moments.  You won't be able to go on solo dates with each of your kids all the time, but squeeze little solo moments in with each of them.  For example, Sloan always wakes up first so I try to cuddle her or chat with her in the mornings.  Every few weeks I try to take her on a little pedicure date and it fills her mama cup right up.  I make sure to have special moments with Phayre while Sloan is at school and she's always so appreciative of the mama time.  I soak those moments up as best I can and try to make each of my babies feel special individually.

15. Take care of yourself.  This is by far the hardest one for me personally.  I give everything I have and more to my babies and that leaves little to nothing left for me most days.  BUT waking up a little early each day to squeeze a shower in, eating well, and sneaking off every few weeks for a quick manicure helps me feel more balanced.  If you're having an exceptionally rough day, put the crying baby down or put your toddlers in front of the tv and take a few moments to yourself.  Take a quick shower or eat a decent lunch-it will help you refocus and get back on track (thank you Lauren for reminding me to do those things when I'm having a hard day!).

The Best Baby Gear for 3

The following conversation is sponsored by UPPAbaby and written by me on behalf of UPPAbaby. The opinions and text are all mine.


I've gotten SO many questions about what car I drive, carseats, and other baby gear.  Here are the items I couldn't live without:

When I was pregnant with Briar I drove an Acura MDX.  I loved that car!  It was barely two years old and had all the bells and whistles.  I decided that I didn't want to get a bigger car and would just do three carseats across.  The girls carseats were too big and bulky to fit three across to we decided to get the Diono Radian RXT carseats for them.  They are so slim and streamlined, but still incredibly plush and comfortable.  Oh and the carseat straps never twist (my biggest complaint with their old carseats)!  They also fold up to be even smaller, perfect for traveling.  If you are looking to do three carseats across, I so so highly recommend the Diono Radian RXT.  And even if you aren't looking to do three carseats across, but are looking for a convertible carseat-check out the Diono carseats.  I wish we would have always had them!

A week after Briar was born, we realized that my car just wasn't big enough for a family of five.  We couldn't really travel anywhere because we didn't have enough space and the girls did not do well sitting next to each other (which is shocking because they usually get along super well?!).  We decided to trade my car in for a bigger car.

After test driving several SUV's, we decided to get a Chevy Suburban.  I have Briar and Phayre in the two captain seats and Sloan sits in the middle in the back row.  Sloan knows how to buckle and unbuckle her top buckle so I just have to reach over Phayre to buckle and unbuckle the bottom buckle.  There is SO much space.  None of the kids can touch each other and I still have a huge trunk space that fits my double stroller and lots more!  At first I felt like I was driving school bus, but now I seriously love it!  It drives much better than I thought it would, I'm so glad we made the switch.

Convertible carseats c/o Diono  /  Infant carseat c/o UPPAbaby



Speaking of my double stroller (pay attention to this part!).  We have the UPPAbaby VISTA and it is hands down my most used baby gear item.  I can actually cart all three kids around with this stroller, an absolute must when you have three kids four and under.  We also have the UPPAbaby MESA infant carseat for Briar and not only do I love the carseat, but I absolutely love how easily it clicks in and out of the VISTA stroller.  We put Briar in his carseat or bassinet (included with the VISTA stroller) on the bottom part of the stroller, Phayre in the stroller seat on the top part of the stroller, and Sloan stands on the piggyback board when she gets tired of walking.  If I am wearing Briar in the wrap and both girls want to sit in the stroller, we attach the rumble seat.  If you have three kids don't mess around with other strollers-the VISTA is where it's at.

Stroller and carseat c/o UPPAbaby.

We chose the MESA carseat (in the Henry fabric) for Briar for a few different reasons.  Mostly because it clicks so easily into our stroller, but also because it's an incredibly safe carseat.  It is super lightweight which is really important for me when I'm trying to carry Briar's carseat and keep track of the girls.  The base is SO easy to install and I can install is correctly in seconds.  He's so comfortable and it has just been such a convenient carseat for us, I so highly recommend it.  Learn more about all of the UPPAbaby products here.

The Solly Baby wrap is another must have item.  My babes fall asleep almost instantly when I put them in the wrap and it gives me two free hands.  This is especially important when you have two more little ones to take care of.  Getting out with three can be hard at first, but the wrap (or front pack if that's what you prefer) makes this much easier.  I put my wrap on at home before we leave-this saves me time once we've reached our destination and it doesn't touch the ground while I'm in the parking lot.  Once I've reached our destination I put Briar in the wrap and that allows me to hold each of the girls hands while we walk through the parking lot.



I hope so much that you found something here helpful!! Let me know if you have any other specific questions!

Xo

Marisa

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3 comments :

  1. Can you share a picture of the trunk of the Suburban with the double stroller in it? I need to show my hubby the amazing amount of trunk space with the two rows in use!

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  2. I am currently 29 weeks pregnant with baby #3 and really appreciated this post! So many great tips (like, waking up early before the kids is definitely something I know I'll need to adopt!) Thanks for taking the time to share! And congratulations to your beautiful family! xoxo

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  3. We are welcoming baby #3 in two months and I found this post soooo helpful!! Thank you for sharing your tips and your honesty!

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