Preparing for Baby Number Four!

Woman holding baby shoes on her pregnant belly.

Preparing for Baby Number Four!

The other night, my husband and I took our neighbor out to dinner with us. We went to Panera and we were a loud and fun mess. We had an 8-year-old, 7-year-old, 4-year-old and 2-year-old with us and of course my enormous pregnant belly burgeoning out over my jeans. As always, my two-year-old was drawing attention by trying to take off all of his clothes and the other three were joking at the table.

I noticed others were looking at our *large* presence and smiling and then I heard a table of teen girls say, “When I get older, I want a big family like that.” I found myself getting ready to reply, “Oh, these aren’t ALL our kids.” Then I realized, “Wait a second, only one of these isn’t our child and we’re getting ready to have another, which means our family is going to be THIS BIG!”

And now as I am four weeks shy of my due date, I still cannot get over the fact that we are going to be THAT family. The huge one with kids dangling off the parents. And while I may not drive an extended van with a bumper sticker of stick cartoon parents followed by a parade of children, it is likely that in the next few years, a dozen donuts will be the perfect amount to feed our family instead of way too many. And that reality just gets me. 😉

But how do you prepare to become a family of 6? How do you prepare to be welcome a new baby into a big family? That has been a question of mine from the moment I saw a positive pregnancy test for the fourth time. Because I never thought this would be me. I truly thought I was done with three. So it’s been a hard reality to wrap my mind around.

preparing for baby #4

PROOF! See this Instagram photo from after my third son was born…

In some ways there is an easy answer. And the answer is this: “You have one at a time.” Because as I know good and well with three, you just figure things out day by day. And I imagine that is exactly how you do four. But the detail-oriented part of me wants to make sense of it all. And here are some of the things that I have wondered about from the beginning. (Feel free to answer any of them if you have four children. 🙂 )

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My Questions

How do I make time to have rich relationships with each one after the baby comes?

How do I balance the number of activities that come with more children?

How do I make sure the baby gets a strong bond with me when I’ll never be able to have the same amount of quality time with him than I did my first? Or second? Or third?

How do I care for a baby while getting three other little people out the door?

How will I be kind enough to raise the older ones when I’m sleep-deprived from an infant?

And here’s one of the most important…where will all of the groceries fit in the cart?

My Best Answer

And here is the answer I have come to for all of my questions after months of pondering:

I will do my best to meet the current needs of the moment and not worry about how perfectly executed my plan is.

You see, when you’re having your first, you have the advantage of focusing on the needs of one little person. Your world is them. Their coos, their cries and their sleep needs are all analyzed and responded to with immediate care. “Are they cold? Are they wet? Are they hungry?” The goal of most parents is to do things by the book. To do them perfectly. And that’s how it’s meant to be. That’s what being a first-time parent is. And that’s beautiful.

But that beautiful reality normally stops at one. Because after you have a second, you already have another little one’s needs to attend to in addition to baby. And by the third, you realize the value of flexibility and spontaneity. And you don’t count on things going just so to survive. You realize that things will never be just so. But they will still be soooo good and full of love. And that’s all that matters.

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preparing for baby

And that’s the mindset I’m embracing as I get ready to welcome my fourth son into this world. With my first son, everything was about his needs. With my fourth son, I know he will be as loved as my first, but his needs will join a family of needs from day one. And I have to trust, he will be all the better for it.

Preparing for baby number four seems to be less about the physical preparations, like the nursery and clothing, and more about the mental preparation about what adding in a fourth child into a family will realistically look like! These are the reflections I am focusing on.

I am okay that my honeymoon period of focusing on just him will end when I leave the hospital.

I am okay that even though I may have just delivered a baby, I will still want to make sure my mom knows the right way to get my oldest son to football practice or to make sure my husband knows that my second oldest son needs show-and-tell for preschool.

I am okay to know that I will be breastfeeding a baby while simultaneously trying to read a book to a toddler.

I am okay to know that I will likely be up with an infant and have a toddler wanting me to rock them to sleep.

I am aware that when my family tries to help give me a chance to sneak away and rest, my older boys will likely come seek me out.

I am okay to know there will likely be a moment where I have four children crying or whining at once.

I am okay to know that this little guy may be held just as much by his brothers as he is by me.

I am okay for imperfections in the transition. In fact, I expect them.

preparing for baby

And I am okay with ALL of the aforementioned realities combined. In fact, I am more than okay with them. I am just as elated for baby number #4’s arrival as I was for my first son!

Because at the end of the day, I may not have all of the answers to knowing how welcoming a new baby into a family will work, but I do know this. I love the idea of someone looking at our crazy and wild crew and saying, “When I grow up, I want to have a big family like that.”

Because I get to be a part of that big family they’re referring to. And I cannot think of a sweeter privilege.

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Cheers to 4 Weeks and Counting!

preparing for baby #4

About the Author /

Quinn is a wife, boy mom (x’s 4), blogger at Sanctification and Spitup, host of the Renew You Podcast and licensed marriage and family therapist. She loves to encourage others in relationships through her speaking, writing or podcast episodes.

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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kind feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
📷: @madiford2 via Twitter⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #funnypregnancy #momtobe #pregnancylife #thanksgiving #mamatobe #turkeymama #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #thirdtrimester #preggo #pregnancyhelp #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
📷: @emilyshapaka⁠
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#thanksgiving #happythanksgiving #family #grateful #thankful #babychick⁣ #mommychick #blessed #gratitude #happy #thankyou #happiness #givethanks #turkey #holiday #love #turkeyday #holidays #baby #babyturkey
Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #newmom #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17862516742586656 Pass the rolls. Baby rolls, bread rolls, all the rolls.⁠ 😍🍞👶 #thanksgivingjokes 😜⁠
📷: @divasunrisekiss⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #thanksgiving #toddler #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #toddlerlife #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommchick #rolls #babiesofig
Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #gratitude #thankful #mumlife #mommylife #mommychick #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #thanksgiving #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#flyingwithkids #travelwithkids #familytravel #travelingwithkids #kidsonplanes #travelpic #airplane #familyholiday #parenting #parenthood #firstflight #babytravels #motherhood #momlife #mumlife #mommychick #babychick #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣
Instagram post 17895768721417819 Who you gonna call?⁠ 🤣🤣🤣
📷: Martiza Elizabeth on FB
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17851960762699775 Sums up exactly how I feel during the holiday season . . . Wanting to do all the things to make Christmas magical, but also being so tired from adulting/parenting that sitting down and watching Hallmark Christmas movies sounds magical enough. ✨😂🎄🎅
But I still end up doing all the things for my baby. 🥰
(quote: @torturedbytoddlers)
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#christmas #holidays #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 18088282996121148 🤣⁠🤣🤣 Sexy Saturday night.⁠
📷: @debiandbebi⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17855413267630317 Truth. 🌊🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 17872798477499657 When your child refuses to eat anything but carbs. 😑 #passtherolls⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick #thanksgiving
Instagram post 17849308249732665 ❤️ The hardest and best work there is . . . raising the next generation of leaders and world changers. 💪⁠
📷: @fransandflora⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #raisethemright #parenting #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣ #parentlife #instakids
Instagram post 17850175066728361 You feel like you should be done, but you're not . . . 😳😫⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣ #pregnancy #pregnant #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #thirdtrimester #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy
Instagram post 17853710218663622 ⁠When you put her in everything pink and even pink hair ties but everyone still calls your baby a boy. 😒😂🤷‍♀️⁠
📷: @newmumshub⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17936649685321666 How many babies do you see?⁠ 😮⁠
📷: @danielmarquez33⁠
Repost: @maternity⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #mumlife #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #pregnancy #pregnant #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #preggo #maternity #expecting #mommytobe #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #mommychick
Instagram post 17851276954712844 When you're at the end of your pregnancy and you have to start answering the phone with "No, I'm not in labor." 🤦‍♀️😂⁠
📷: @chelsabryan⁠
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#pregnancy #pregnant #pregnancytip #momtobe #pregnancylife #mamatobe #firstpregnancy #momstruggles #momprobs #babybump #pregnancyjourney #bumpie #motherhood #thirdtrimester #preggo #maternity #motherhood #momlife #expecting #mumlife #mommytobe #momhumor #pregnantlife #babyontheway #inspirepregnancy #uniteinmotherhood #mommychick #babychick
Instagram post 17866700860543087 ❤️❤️❤️ Play is a love language for children.⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #parentig #letthembelittle #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17905061554388493 A little compassion can go a long way. ❤️ Here are some things that can help when in doubt ⁠what to do.⁠
📷: @healthline⁠
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#depression #postpartum #postpartumdepression #PPD #postpartummooddisorders #mentalhealth #selflove #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness #mindfulness #love #healing #positivity #babychick
Instagram post 17850784273708011 From fab to feral. 😹⁠ Love you, honey!⁠
📷: @mommymemejeans⁠
Repost: @onefunnymummy⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18004974676264288 Or try to open the door mid-pee⁠. 😑😑😑 Thanks, kid.⁠
📷: @aleeandria⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #mommychick #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18070428667166782 My nightly skincare routine. 🤣🤣 For real though . . . I need all the help I can get. #latherup⁠
📷: unknown⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣
Instagram post 17852873872664390 Harvesting colostrum . . . look at all of that liquid gold!⁠ 😍 If your baby comes early or you are already lactating before baby arrives, it’s great to hand express into a teaspoon and gather what you’ve collected into a syringe. #breastfeedingtip
📷: @boo.b.ltd
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#breastfeeding #motherhood #momlife #postpartum #nursing #momtobe #normalizebreastfeeding #newmom #mumlife #colostrum #liquidgold #breastmilk #motherhoodthroughinstagram #mommylife #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #mommychick #babychick⁣
Instagram post 18081663985089005 Do you SEE me struggling as I try to open the door?? Nope? Cool . . . just walk on by. 😑😫👿⁠
📷: @modernmomprobs⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
Instagram post 18113982706026763 Praying that all the babies sleep through the night! 🙏💤⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby⁠
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#motherhoodthroughinstagram #momlife #motherhood #momstruggles #momprobs #mumlife #mommylife #parenthood #motherhoodunplugged #realmoms #momstatus #thatmomlife #realmomlife #momsofinstagram #momhumor #motherhoodrising #ig_motherhood #uniteinmotherhood⁣ #babychick⁣ #mommychick
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