Prepping for our Fourth Baby

I’m due any day with Baby No. 4. Yep, I’m signing up for more years of diapers, sleep deprivation and squishy snuggles. Preparation for Baby No. 1 was full of unknowns, but I’m heading into No. 4 with a game plan and priorities.

Sure, every baby is different, but a lot is the same. Repeated experience with any situation should lead to increased wisdom and confidence, and I think adding babies is no exception.

I will soon have an elementary student, a preschooler, a toddler and a newborn. Life keeps rolling along! So, having been through this a few times before, here’s what I’m doing (and not doing) for Baby No. 4’s arrival:

Four Things I’m Doing

Cooking freezer meals 
Even if there’s an easy recovery after delivery, and even a couple months after baby’s arrival, I know I’ll be wiped out by the end of the day from the sleep deprivation plus keeping up with the regular routine of other lively kiddos. Not the time I want to juggle school pickup plus cranky toddler and preschooler plus newborn plus cooking dinner. Healthy convenience is as close as my freezer when I do a little work ahead of time. Worth it!

Stocking up on essentials 
Major Costco run in the works. On my list: paper plates, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers (for the toddler as well!), wipes, frozen pizza, toiletries, etc. Amazon Prime and Hy-Vee delivery are also a mom’s best friend when you don’t feel like getting out, but I want to assemble a stash of as much as possible.

Taking inventory 
Our baby items have served us well through three, but I needed to look through everything again. Our infant car seat has expired, so we purchased a new one. A couple other items had broken, so it was time to update. I’m thankful to borrow several items from friends, so refreshing our baby stash didn’t mean spending a lot. But I wanted to make sure what we have is up-to-date and functional.

Planning transitions 
We knew it was time for our toddler to move out of the crib and into the bedroom with her sisters, so we tackled this transition four months before the due date. We wanted plenty of time to work through the adjustment and make changes if needed. A transition I’m NOT planning to tackle before baby? Potty training. Having two in diapers has its downsides (been there, done that), but I’m choosing that over the alternative of having one in diapers along with the frustration of a freshly-trained toddler who was pushed before she was ready. Each set of kids is different, but we wanted to time our transitions wisely for our family.

Three Things I’m Not Doing

Reading books 
I’m not giving up reading altogether, but I’m not dusting off the pregnancy and parenting books again. After lots of reading and lots of life, I’ve realized that actual experience is the best teacher. My mommy intuition is much more finely toned than my abs. And instead of reading books in advance, I have trusted external sources of information when things come up.

Buying elaborate sibling gifts 
Buying your kid a giant train set or an American Girl doll “from the baby” might work when the first sibling arrives, but when there are three siblings this isn’t going to fly financially. (Luckily we never set the bar that high, so they have no such expectations.) They have each other; they’re cool. Matching Big Sister shirts are in the works, but I’m not recreating Christmas in an attempt to ease the transition. (this is what we did for the first-time big sister, and it was a big hit!)

Worrying if I have enough love and attention for this baby 
It was hard for me to emotionally process a second child. How could I possibly love anyone else with the crazy intense love I had for my first? There was no mathematical way that could work. But it did! And now further down the line, I know the feeling of the family’s love growing in a way I couldn’t imagine was possible.

When adding babies, the preparation may go down, but the excitement sure doesn’t! Now if only my nesting instincts would motivate me to tackle the laundry pile.

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