Reasons To Have That Third Baby (deciding to have a third child)

When is the best time to have another child?

Some couples prefer to wait at least several years. That way, your other kids get plenty of individual attention from you and are old enough to comprehend how another child will change things. Others see a benefit to having children close together so they can be playmates – and so you won’t be raising small children for years and years.

Here’s what some BabyCenter moms have to say:

  • “My two boys are three and a half years apart, and I think that spacing is great,” says Susan, an executive at a publishing company. “Since my older son was out of diapers by the time the younger one was born, I could fall in love with the idea of having a baby again. And they’re clearly in different social and developmental arenas, so I don’t see a lot of sibling rivalry. They really enjoy each other.”
  • “My three oldest children are about a year and a half apart, and though it was tough when they were all babies, in many ways it was great,” says Barbara, a geriatric therapist. “They really amused each other and have stayed very close. I’m one of four children myself, and I really wanted to recreate that big family feeling.”
  • “My first two are three and a half years apart. That gave me time with the firstborn alone,” says Janet, an advertising copywriter who is pregnant with her third child. “I think the older the child the better because they’re that much more independent and can mentally and emotionally handle the baby.
  • “In some ways, I wish there was a bigger age gap between my second child and the new baby – they’re only two years apart. I’m dreading having two in diapers at the same time. And I’m worried about the physical challenge of having two who need so much time.”

How many kids should we have?How many kids should you have? See what other parents think.

Why Do I Want Another Child?

Reasons may run the gamut from wanting a sibling for your child, to simply loving to raise children. Consider what you know of yourself, your view of family life, your own upbringing – the countless reasons of the heart. If it’s the amazing experiences of pregnancy and childbirth you miss, remember that your commitment only begins with these and continues long after the baby’s arrival. If you’re considering another child due to pressure from your parents, in-laws, other relations or friends, tune their voices out for a bit and listen only to those of yourself and your mate. This decision must come from the two people who know your situation best, and who will have to live the day-to-day realities of another child.

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You Want to Travel

This is simple: travelling is expensive and the cost is usually based per person. The more people you have in your family, the more it will cost to travel.

How to Move Forward

If travelling is a priority for your family, calculate how many kids you can realistically afford to travel with and factor that number into your desired family-size.

Got the itch to travel? Calculating how many kids you can trek through airport security, busy crowds and long lines is something to seriously consider before adding more children to your family.

Sacha Verheij via Unsplash

You Really Want to Lose Weight or Just Take Your Body Back

For most women, breastfeeding equates weight loss. In my case, it was the exact opposite, and breastfeeding my daughters caused me to pack on a good twenty pounds each time around. I got to the point where I wanted my body back more than I wanted another baby.

How to Move Forward

If you're feeling ready to take back your body and move on from the days of stretch marks and extra baby-weight, that's a totally valid reason to consider your family complete.

How Will Life Change, and Are We Ready For That Change?

Since you already have a baby, you know how much time a new baby demands in his first few years. A second (or third or ninth) is no different and will tug at your hours along with his siblings. While you shouldn’t base a major life decision on the next 24 months, you do need to remember that one year follows another: each year builds on the one previous. So make a realistic assessment of how this will change your lives both now and in the future that follows.

I needed to answer why I want to have another baby

The best way to know if you should have another is to know why you want another baby. Here are not so great reasons to have another:

You keep saying “I just want to have a baby”

Let’s be honest for a second mamas, we will always want another baby. There is nothing more precious than welcoming a baby into this world. Nothing sweeter than holding your newborn. Having just one more baby won’t cure anyone of wanting more baby cuddles.

Therefore, you will be sad when it is your last baby. And that’s okay. It does not mean you need to have another baby.

You want to keep up with the Jones’

Once you start having kids, everyone in your life seems to also do the same thing. All of your friends are people who also have little ones and therefore are also trying to complete their family. After everyone has their second, some will go on to have more.

Don’t feel like you have to have another baby just because everyone else is. You might feel like you are missing out, or if they made that decision, then it is obviously a good one. The best thing for you to do is to look at your family’s needs and life and decide what is best for you.

You want a specific gender

Some people try until they have one of each. This did not matter to us at all. We only have girls. I think people expect us to try for a third just because we don’t have a boy yet. I think not only does that send a horrible message to our daughters but also isn’t a good decision for our family.

Before we had our second, we talked about gender. And we both realized that after having our first, we just wanted a healthy baby. We knew we would be happy if the second was a girl or a boy. I also think there are a lot of advantages to having the same gender and very few focus on that.

You need a spare

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you this. The idea behind this is that if (God forbid) one of your children dies, then your other child will still have a sibling. As most of you know from your own sibling relationships, you can’t just replace one sibling with another. Each relationship is unique.

Additionally, you could have three kids for this reason and two might grow so far apart they don’t even speak as adults. How much help will that do if they are the only two left? Personally, I would rather invest the extra time I would have spent on baby three and use it to work on my two kids’ relationship with each other.

Tips

  • Take as much time as you need to decide if you are ready to start a family. Do not put pressure on yourself to make a decision by a certain deadline.

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3. Emotional

As I mentioned above, part of holistic decision making is also letting our feelings and desires speak when it comes to having more children. Tune in and have a listen!  This area of our being creates so much beauty and dimension in the human experience. 

This is also where it can get interesting because emotions and feelings are not as quantifiable as some of the above aspects and they can shift and change with more fluidity.  This doesn’t make them less important, it just means it helps to know how to skillfully relate to your emotions. A way to understand how to make emotionally healthy decisions is as follows: view your emotions and desires as a slice of a larger pie, the pie being you as a holistic human being: physical/mental/emotional/spiritual/etc. 

Our emotions are a valid piece of the whole, but they are not the entirety.  

I think the best tip I can give in this area is not to make a decision, either to have more children or not, out of the emotion of fear or avoidance of negative feelings themselves.  For example, “I’m afraid I’ll feel sad one day that I don’t have a baby anymore.”

The beauty of integrated decision making is that if you have considered all the areas we’re discussing and happen to net a “no” on more babies, you can say “It’s ok” if I experience a feeling of sadness once in a while about that. Try that on, and see what it’s like to accept, rather than avoid, negative emotions. 

Feelings come and go, and it’s most important to feel confident in the process you used to make your decision.

Source: @stephanieh_photography for @stripesandwhimsy

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Why I Stopped at Two Kids

Emilia Lewis I am a wife, teacher, and mother to two awesome girls. I write about what I am passionate, which is sharing my experiences, failures, and successes on everything from family, marriage and motherhood to home improvement, DIY house projects and home making. I also always enjoy sharing with my readers tips I learn about selfcare, beauty and skin care for women. Let this space be a resource for you to pursue your very best day.

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What’s the best time to have another baby?

This is totally a personal decision that you have to discuss with your family. Every family’s situation is unique.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to what the best time is for another baby:

Stay in the trenches: One logic is the “get it all done in one short block of time.”  This would be a vote for having kids very close together (think Irish twins or 2 under 2). While it’s tough in the beginning because you will have two very young children who are fully dependent on you, they will be the best of friends and have each other as a playmate for those essential early years of life.

Staying in a similar stage is helpful with remembering how to care for a baby and not getting used to having some your time back yet.

Wait it out: The second stance is more along the lines of “let’s wait until our current children are more self-sufficient and can even help out with a baby a little.” This definitely makes it easier on parents to have an extra hand and not two completely dependent children. However, once you’re out of the “baby stage,” it’s tough to go back to being up all night and changing diapers.

Age gaps

You’ll also want to consider how close in age you want your children. Do you want them to have siblings that are close in age and can be more like a buddy? Or do you want them further apart so one can be more of a mentor to the other? 

Again, this is a personal decision based on how you handled parenting your first child. I love having my children 14 months apart because now that they are 2 and 3, they keep each other busy and entertained at all times. On the other hand, they still like all the same toys so they tend to fight and bicker more!

How many children do you ultimately want?

Lastly, think about how many children you want total. You don’t need to know an exact number, but if you want a large family, you’ll probably want to get started on trying for another sooner rather than later. 

This makes it more sensible to start having another baby quickly. If you only plan on having two, you have more wiggle room. However, you could also want to keep them close in age because they’ll only have one another.

Is it Time to Have Another Baby Checklist

If you’re a visual person and need some extra guidance on having another baby, I made a checklist for you:

Medical 

  • I feel like my body can carry another baby
  • My provider is comfortable with me having another pregnancy 
    • I am within a safe time-frame (considering my own medical history) to have another baby
    • My previous pregnancies did not pose a risk that would make another pregnancy unsafe 
    • I am at a healthy age to carry a baby to term

Emotional

  • I feel emotionally prepared to handle another pregnancy
  • I feel emotionally prepared to handle another birth
  • I feel emotionally prepared to handle the newborn stage 
  • I feel emotionally prepared to have another child to raise 
  • My partner feels emotionally prepared and ready to handle all of the above and to be the support system through it all. 
  • My children feel emotionally prepared for a sibling (if they are at an age where they understand this). 

Logistical 

  • I have space for a new baby
  • We have a plan for where the baby will sleep and where we will put their things
  • My work schedule can accommodate a new baby (or will be able to when the time comes)
  • I have time to care for another baby
  • I have an adequate support system to handle the newborn stage
  • I have a plan for practical needs such as meals for my family
  • My car is able to hold another car seat (or we are able to purchase a car with adequate space). 

Financial 

  • I have medical insurance that will support another pregnancy, child birth and follow-up care for myself and baby
  • My family has adequate income to support the short-term financial expenses required to care for a child (diapers, baby gear, food)
  • My family has adequate income to support the long term financial expenses required to care for a child (living arrangements, school, extracurricular activities)

Timing 

  • My current children are currently at an age where I would want them to have a younger sibling.
  • I would not feel detrimentally overwhelmed by having another baby right now
  • Having a baby right now would not negatively impact the plans my partner and I have for retirement 
  • Having a baby right now would not negatively impact the plans my partner and I have for travel
  • Having a baby right now would not negatively impact the plans my partner and I have for downsizing

General 

  • I want to have another baby 
  • My partner wants to have another baby
  • My children want to have another sibling 

What does the research say?

In terms of the children’s relationships with their parents, sibling rivalry, and their own self-esteem, Jeannie Kidwell, a former professor of family studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, says the best time to have another baby is either when your first is younger than 1 or older than 4. Babies who aren’t yet 1 don’t have a sense of their exclusive status, so they’re less apt to resent a newcomer, she says. And children older than 4 have had time to enjoy attention from Mommy and Daddy – plus, they’re now involved in activities of their own.

When it comes to the health of your baby, waiting two or three years before you get pregnant again may tip the odds somewhat in your baby’s favor.

Studies suggest that getting pregnant within 18 months after your first child is born can make it more likely that your second child will be born early, underweight, or smaller than usual for the number of months he was in the womb.

Research also suggests that if you get pregnant within 12 months of giving birth, you may be at higher risk of placental abruption and, if you previously had a c-section, placenta previa.

If all this sounds confusing, let’s put it in perspective. Researchers don’t know for sure why waiting a short time between pregnancies raises certain risks, but they have some ideas.

One is that the mother’s body needs time to replenish vitamins and nutrients before giving birth again. So whether you’re pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or want to wait, see your doctor early to get the right care and advice, eat a balanced diet, take prenatal vitamins with folic acid, and keep your body as healthy as you can.

So waiting longer is the way to go, right? Maybe.

It turns out that waiting more than five years to have your second child is also less than ideal. Some studies show that low birth weight, preterm birth, and smaller size are more likely in babies whose moms let five years or more pass before they get pregnant, and the mothers are at higher risk of developing preeclampsia

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