Tips and gear for life with three children

I feel like all the posts I read before having our third child (Emma!) centered around how crazy you are for having a third child, ha! Really, it was not the most encouraging information I’ve found, that is FOR SURE. Even separately from that info, going from two to three had caused me to encounter all of those emotions.. you know—terror, fear, excitement, freaked out, scurred, elation, super scurred, more.

As you may have surmised, many of these feelings were perpetuated by these small people outnumbering me, their ages at the time (3.5 + 1.5 + newborn), etc. This is all we’ve ever wanted to be sure, but there were some practical points to it all that freaked us out a bit. Since we’re newbs with it, and since I couldn’t find a ton of positive content about welcoming a third kiddo, I thought I’d share a few saving tips that have kept me functioning and—dare I say—totally loving this ride!! Down below, I highlight some gear that has literally saved my life every single day.

ONE Be brave! It’s not as scary as you think! Really. There were a few days right away that really made me nervous, and going anywhere was a huge feat! But I talked it over with the kids (mainly Luke) and we just went for it! It feels a little bit like Russian roulette, never knowing who’s going to break down, run away, be unexpectedly hungry, or urgently have to go potty. The first few outings to the doctor’s office were practice for us 🙂

TWO Don’t sweat the small stuff. Maybe any sort of parenting will en you up in this conclusion, but if I got too hung up on every small detail, I would go crazy. Sometimes I just have to let something go, sometimes I won’t catch it all, it’s a marathon, not a sprint..

THREE The tide ebbs and flows, work with it. Maybe that’s a little abstract, but what I mean is that you’ll figure out each child in their separate seasons as time unfolds. When we first began the journey of three, Emma just needed to eat and sleep all day, I needed much rest, Kate was in a busy 18 month stage and Luke did well to have personal one-on-one attention. We hired a helper for one day a week and had other arrangements for little moments of respite here an there. It was HUGELY helpful.

FOUR Receive help and enjoy it! When James offers to take everyone on a Saturday so I can do everything or nothing at all, I learned after modestly declining once to never under any circumstances do that again.. enjoy the help moments and do whatever you want to—whether sleep, Netflix, cleaning, working out, no expectations.

And then, as much as you can, figure out the right gear. I say this because you don’t always know what works for your family or your kids until you’re in the moment, but these ones have helped us!

ONE The stroller. This by far required the most investigation work. I had a stroller that connected to my car seat that I’d used for Luke and Kate (this one), and then a double stroller for jogging and walks with the two of them (this one by Thule, still have). This time, I knew I wanted something that could flex to the need I had in the moment, for when I only have the carseat, or only one of the big kids, or both, or one carseat and one toddler, or one carseat and the big kid kick board, etc etc. I need flexibility!

There were two strollers that seemed to be closest to my needs and I ultimately ended up with the Uppababy Vista (I have the Henry blue color way). We purchased this main stroller frame that comes with a bassinet and regular seat, the rumble seat, upper adapters (which allow for the carseat and seat on stroller), the kick board and I’ll probably get the cup holder one of these days.

Maybe this seems like a lot of bells and whistles, but we’ve use every last one and it really is awesome (the bassinet the least of these, which is included so there’s not much saving on that one). I have a few key accessories in the back of my car at all times so that no matter where I end up, I have every configuration necessary. This thing is my third, fourth and fifth arm, it’s been so smooth to use, perfect for a long walk, quick trip into the grocery store, tons of storage, easy fold up. I could go on.

TWO Sleeping arrangements. Because most of our stuff was already falling apart from the two “big” kids, or already had because they were hand-me-downs even before us, I knew I needed to reassess what sort of sleeping gear I would need. I wanted a Moses basket for the beginning months, and one with a stand so I could have a spot downstairs to set her down. I went with this one and we use it for daytime and nighttime sleep (I found the stand there too).

Upstairs in our room, I was given a Halo Bassinest, which has been extremely helpful! When Emma was a newborn, I placed the basket inside the Bassinest and when the basket is downstairs it would go in the stand; it was a great landing place for diaper changes, naps, or for a place to lay. Also, the Bassinest can be adjusted and jacked up high above the height of the other kids. It’s by our bed so they could both maneuver up to it if they really wanted, but if I pulled it slightly out, nobody is getting to it.

THREE Carrier. Oh bless you carrier creators. I have the Happy baby wrap, which I’ve had since Luke. It’s been wonderful but for some reason, Emma is not liking it like the other two did! So I’ve got a Wildbird too. Instead of taking time to wrap on like the Happy wrap (or any of the like: Solly, Moby, etc), I’m able to slip the ring sling on and be on my way a little faster.

FOUR Backpacks. Instead of a diaper bag that I carry around, I decided that I would rather have a small purse and keep all of the kiddo’s stuff portioned out to each one’s own backpack. Luke easily grabs his and he uses it for preschool or for days we want to pack a few books or toys or snacks. Kate is able to carry hers and I keep her diapers/wipes and a few things in there for her. Emma’s has a change of clothes and diapers/wipes. I still carry hers of course, but I can hook it to her car seat and it generally stays in the car or I toss it in the bottom of the stroller.I opted for the Fjallraven Mini Kanken because the colors are so sweet and they seem great quality and (I hope) will last a long time. I hear they are great to find second hand as well!

FIVE Car seats. Since we don’t have a minivan (and decided not to make that move yet), we discovered that we need new car seats in order to fit in our car.. WHAT. So much research was done. Currently, we’d had a Britax infant car seat (that we were going to get rid of since it was close to expiring) and a Britax convertible seat that we love. In order to fit all three, I would need car seats that don’t cross 17″ across.

Spoiler alert, there aren’t many!I ended up with the Uppababy car seat (I figured it would be easier to just stick in the same family as the stroller) and two Diono car seats. All of these are the correct size. Since Kate still faces backwards, I have one of the Dionos in James car so Luke can freely transition between either car. The Britax convertible seat I had still faces backwards in the main car I drive, but since it faces backwards, does not need to meet the 17″ requirement. Loophole! Thank goodness too, the Diono took up quite a bit of room backwards in our car and those things (while SUPER SAFE and worth it) are WAY HEAVY.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now, godspeed! 🙂

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