The thing I’ve been asked the most over on instagram since Westley was born is what we’re doing differently / new things we’ve bought or learned since having baby #3. And so today I’m answering – the 15 things we are doing differently with our third baby.
We are six weeks into life with three kids! There are quite a few things we’re doing the same (like living in sleepers and using pampers diapers), but there are also a lot of things we’re doing differently the third time around.
1. His own room from the beginning:
With our first two babies we spent the first few nights with a bassinet right next to our bed and I woke up to every single noise the baby made. This time around, we have put the baby in his own room the first night we were home from the hospital. Granted, our home is only 1500 square feet and all the bedrooms are right next to each other. So I do sleep about as close to Westley in our separate rooms as I do in the guest room at my parent’s house when we share a room. This way whoever gets up with the baby doesn’t need to wake up the other sleeping parent (as much). I still wake up in the night when Westley grunts or makes non-crying noises sometimes, but mostly we all sleep better with a few more feet between us at night.
2. Using a mini crib:
The nursery is very small and I was pretty unsure about what sleeping arrangements would be long term in our house when this third baby arrived. With two older kids who have started keeping each other up at night, a newborn, and three bedrooms, I’m trying to pick the solution that will maximize sleep all the way around. So far, it means having the big kids continue to share a room and give Westley his own room. In a few weeks or a few months it might mean moving Westley in with Lincoln and giving Adelaide her own room. It might mean letting Westley sleep in our room once he sleeps through the night and giving the big kids their own space. The mini crib is small enough it can fit through doorways without being taken apart AND it rolls. I love this for being able to use the mini crib as a pack n play throughout the house if I need a safe place to put the baby without having another baby item up.
3. Halo Snoozy Pod:
With our second baby we used the Halo Bassinest and LOVED it. This time around it seemed a little superfluous to have a bassinet AND a mini crib but I really wanted the vibration feature of the Halo Bassinest that was so helpful when Adelaide was born. The SnoozyPod goes under the mini crib mattress has has white noise (although not loud enough for our preferences), a night light (that we use with our toddlers but not right now with a newborn), and a vibration feature (that I use a few times a day). This helps the baby settle down but still be in the crib by himself.
4. Formula feeding from the get go:
Aside from that first latch/ nursing session right after delivery in the hospital, we have been exclusively formula feeding this baby and LOVING IT. I learned and struggled a lot in the journey to feed my first two babies and, in hindsight, I am grateful for those trials. But this experience makes me wonder what my first newborn experience could have been like if I hadn’t put myself through those first 5 months of nursing and pumping. This newborn experience feels light and happy and the biggest reason is because of how we’ve decided to feed Westley. It’s also really nice not to be stressed about feeding myself every 2 hours to keep up my milk supply like I did with the first kids. The Baby Brezza helps, too.
full review of the Baby Brezza coming soon –this is our favorite new baby product we have this time around! (we have the original but I wish we had the advanced)
5. Nursery both nights in the hospital:
Ben and I both came home from the hospital better rested this time than with either of my other two and ready to tackle parenthood round three. I had some guilt the first night and anxiety about being away from my baby BUT it was so painful to move (I pulled some ligaments during the final stage of delivery) that it took 5 – 10 minutes to get the baby each time he started crying anyway. This time we sent Westley to the nursery each evening and the second night Ben went home and slept in our bed for the last night of solid sleep in a couple of weeks.
6. Holding him through a nap, just because:
With my first two I did hold the baby through a nap but usually only because I was too tired to move or the baby was too fussy. In general I was so worried about creating bad habits that I always tried to put the baby down to sleep on their own. This time around I’m stressing less and holding the baby through a nap if I want to (mostly during those first two weeks … now that I have all three kids at home, he sleeps on his own).
7. Waking him up to eat before we go to bed:
I didn’t understand the dream feed concept for a long time with my first babies and we have been using it from the get-go. Unless he has eaten within the last hour, Ben and I always feed Westley before we go to bed, in an effort to get a longer stretch of sleep for ourselves before the next feed.
And speaking of bedtime routines, this time around we also let baby have some wake time late in the evenings. I really love the sweet moments snuggled in bed, usually watching Blue Bloods, eating popcorn, and chatting just the three of us. Sometime we’ll start Westley on a routine of staying asleep for feeds after 7pm but, for now, I’m focused on enjoying him.
8. Not talking to him 24/7:
The only parenting book I read before Lincoln (our first) was born was “Brain Rules for Baby” and I got two things out of it. First, that a baby’s brain can’t develop optimally if he feels unsafe and, while he can’t understand words at this age, he can understand tone. I realized one of the best things I could do for baby Lincoln was provide a loving environment which meant Ben and I could say anything./ disagree about anything BUT we had to do it in a kind and loving tone. There were many times you’d find one of us cooing to the baby in a soft voice “I am really sick of rocking you right now and with I could just go to sleep because I am so tired and would rather be in bed.” The second takeaway was that baby’s need to hear 38 words per minute for optimal brain development. I talked to Lincoln just about every waking second of the day, narrating everything we did, reading out loud, and talking through whatever I was thinking about …just to get more words in. It was exhausting. This time around I”m being okay with some silence, letting myself listen to music when driving in the car instead of narrating everything happening outside the window for baby, and cutting myself some slack. If Lincoln turns out to be the genius child, I’ll feel bad about this.
9. Worrying less about when he cries:
With my first, it felt like a judgement on my mothering each time my baby cried. This time, it is easier to remember that his cries are a way of communicating. Out of necessity and as a result of being the third child, there are sometimes when I can’t meet his needs right away and he spends a few minutes crying …. it bothers me much less this time around. For example, if he wakes up while I’m serving dinner, I’ll take the extra 90 seconds to get the big kids settled and eating before making a bottle and getting Westley… and not feel horrible about it like I did whenever Adelaide cried.
10. Using the Munchkin Latch bottle:
With our first two we used Dr. Browns and Playtex Nursers with drop-in liners. I didn’t love how many parts the Dr. Brown’s bottles had and really liked the drop-in liners on the Playtex bottles. This time around we’re trying the Munchkin Latch bottle and so far I have no complaints (and just bought the 8 ounce size). Westley has had fewer problems with gas than my first two and I’m seeing why I heard so many great things about the Munchkin bottle.
11. Asking for more help:
Whether it is accepting help from friends or asking Ben to take a turn with the baby, I am much better at accepting and asking for help this time around.
I remember feeling bad asking Ben for help, especially because last time around he had started a new position (with horrendous hours) the week Adelaide was born.
12. Set clear expectations /division of labor:
I find I’m happy when life meets or exceeds expectations …which means that setting expectations is crucial right now (according to “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids,” this is really important for having a happy marriage post kids).
Ben and I have gotten into a pretty good routine of who is responsible for what with the kids/ around the house for this stage and it is so helpful. With baby Westley, I take all night feedings/ wake-ups until 6 am (sometimes 5:30 am if I’m struggling) and Ben handles things after that until about 8:15 when he gets ready to leave for work. This means he gets up with the big kids between 7 and 7:30 and gets them fed. It also means I can count on a solid 2 hour stretch of sleep, no matter how hard the night was. On days we need to be out the door for preschool I’m up by 7:45 to pack lunches and get dressed. On other mornings, I usually sleep until 8:15.
On Saturdays Ben takes the big kids for an outing (park, beach, trampoline park, climbing gym) while I get the household under control or catch up on sleep while taking care of the baby.
There’s room for modification in this …. like on nights Westley is up every hour then Ben will take a night shift or on weekends when Ben has something scheduled for a Saturday I’ll take all the kids. Overall, though, having some expectations for who is going to do what has been really helpful.
We aren’t perfect at this but we are much better at this than we were with the first two kids.
13. Using pure wipes from the beginning (instead of waiting for a diaper rash to start):
I discovered Water Wipes a few months into life with my first baby and, due to the higher price, used them mainly when a diaper rash crept up. This time around we’re exclusively using Pampers Pure wipes and Water Wipes and have had no diaper rashes to date. I love how pure these wipes are and that the Water Wipes don’t dry out when you leave them open. I also feel good about using them to wipe my toddler’s faces and hands when we’re out and about.
14. Less bathing:
A bath was part of the nightly routine with baby #1 from two weeks of age. This baby is lucky if he gets bathed twice a week. Mostly this is because bedtime involves two other children right now but also because this BIG baby is killing my back and bending over a bath tub sounds so unappealing right now. It is also supposed to be good for newborn skin… but that isn’t why we’re doing it.
15. A dedicated white noise machine
We discovered the beauty of white noise a few weeks into life with baby #1 and we used it right away with baby #2 but this is the first time we have used a white noise machine and not just a white noise app on our phone or ipad. White noise is one of the cues we use to signal sleep and it is also soothing for babies and help them sleep better.