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5 Ways Third Babies Are a Gateway Drug

Having three kids seems to be the new two. Before I had my third baby, I was pretty sure three was going to be just plenty for us. In fact, I could probably have been happy with just two. But then almost the moment my third baby was born, I couldn't imagine not having one more.

Now I joke that the third baby is like a gateway drug. Once you have that third one, it's hard not to want one more.

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1. Third babies seem easier than your first or second.

Third babies tend to be pretty easy-going. I heard this from countless parents before I had my third, and it has definitely been true for us. You're also a little more laid-back by the time you have a third. You're not a newbie like you are with a first child, and you're not trying to learn how to juggle multiple children like you are with a second. Often, your first two are old enough to play together and be more independent as you care for a baby.

2. You know full well how fast that newborn stage flies by. And you're hoping it lasts as long as possible.

With this little girl, I've felt like I've been able to enjoy her and appreciate every stage more than I did with my older two. I don't feel the pressure for her to hit milestones or grow up faster. I just want to kiss her fat little cheeks and squeeze her as much as she'll tolerate.

3. After parenting three kids, you know it will all turn out OK.

You have enough experience to know for yourself that eventually they will sleep through the night and learn to eat without smearing applesauce on everything in a 5-foot radius, that your jeans will fit again, and someday you won't need a bag that can carry the equivalent of your entire kitchen.

4. You love seeing your older kids show affection and protect their new baby sibling.

With a third baby, they aren't disrupting your first child's only-childness, and it's not just you and your partner getting all googly-eyed over how cute and precious they are. By the time a third child comes around, they are joining a family, and there are four of you to exclaim over every new skill or, like my 5-year-old, heave a huge sigh and say, "Isn't she just the CUTEST baby in the whole world?"

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5. The idea of being done FOREVER is just hard to wrap your mind around.

To never have a snuggly little newborn again or see that very first smile just makes my heart break a little. Every time I look at my chunky little third baby, full of giggles and unbelievably loved by the rest of her family, I can't imagine not wanting to do it again.

So beware! If you're thinking about a third baby, just know that it is a slippery slope to a fourth child.

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