Hi, my husband and I need help considering a third baby. We have a 5 year old son and a 3 year old daughter who co-sleep with us. This was not our original intention, but after 8 months of sleeping in 15 minute blocks (our son nursed multiple times an hour), I brought him into bed with us on Christmas Eve at my in-laws (after carting his bassinet there with us), and I laid him on my chest and we slept for 2 hours straight for the first time. After returning home, we realized that he and I needed to be together in order for either one of us to sleep. (FYI - he only took brief naps and those were usually on my chest as well.) Our son had barely survived his birth (the NICU doctors called him a miracle baby since after two weeks of intensive care, he immediately turned around and was released 100% healthy) so we were extremely cautious about every decision we made, but we decided to go against the norm and have him co-sleep with us. It was the best decision we could have made! It was wonderful having him in bed with us (between us). Two years later when our daughter was born, we didn't even question it, we brought her right into bed with us (on the other side of me). We had a king bed, but decided to have one custom made two feet wider than a king, so that gave us all lots of room. I love falling asleep with my son on one arm and my daughter on the other (and my husband's feet touching mine!). My husband and I have learned to find our own private time together and everything seems perfect. Our children are sleeping a little better (although our son still wakes up every few hours, but I enjoy the time to cuddle him and nurse him back to sleep... Yes, I'm still nursing both of our children - I've tandem nursed them since the day our daughter was born and it is the most wonderful experience in the world.) Our home seems so perfect, but now we're considering having another baby and I don't know how to handle cuddling the two we already have all night and the new baby. I don't want to move either one of our children as we (and they) love where we all sleep. I could put the new baby in our bassinet beside our bed, but that is easier to say than to do (I know I'll want him/her in bed with us too!). I'm not sure if having another baby is the best thing to do for our family. My husband thinks we're complete, but would welcome a third child if I was 100% percent sure it was what I wanted. I'm 39 and my husband is 45, and after recently talking to our OB doctor, we are aware of the risks and willing to still go forth. I would love to have you tell me "yes, have a baby, three children are wonderful," or "no, don't have a baby, it will wreck your night time cuddles/nursing with your other two children and also take all of your time away from them during the day," but I know you cannot do that. Is there any advice you could offer though? Or insight? I am a stay-at-home mom and adore every moment with our two children. I can't imagine not having another baby (after our son, I declared I wanted a dozen!) While I know that is not realistic, I can't help but wonder if we should have another baby. We need to decide quickly, since our ages are in issue. Any advice you could give would be HUGELY appreciated. Thank you so very, very much, Karen
It’s a big decision and although the risks go up for women over 40, you still have lots of time to make that decision! I personally have found that the children’s temperament have more to do with parenting them all adequately, than their age gap or genders. When an additional child to our family was spirited/high need, they took up way more energy and attention than the more easy-going children. But the easy going children didn’t seem to mind (being they were so easy-going!) It worried me more. Having said that, with more than two children, sometimes you run out of hands and arms, but it all works out. You could all still cuddle and sleep in the same bed at night. You have a huge bed that would accommodate everyone. I would advise you to put the mattresses on the floor and have everyone sleep on one side of you (maybe the children could alternate who gets to sleep right next to you for the night) and the new baby on the other side, so she doesn’t get bonked or too heated from the children. I’m confident that you know what you need and what decision is best for your family. Just remember that family love is like a flame that lights a row of candles. Lighting subsequent candles from the first doesn’t diminish the flame’s intensity or beauty. Love is like that too. You will not love all your children equally, but uniquely.
Best wishes on your decision,
Author, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery”