Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

9 Signs Your Kids Are Ready For Baby No. 3

I knew having a second child would be a change, but I didn't expect the transition from one to two to be so brutal. My 3-year-old daughter regressed big time — throwing tantrums, refusing to sleep, having potty accidents. The postpartum period was so much worse with a newborn and a toddler, too. So, I agonized over the decision to have another baby, fearing the absolute worst. Turns out, it was much easier than I ever could've anticipated. I should have known, too, because looking back, my kids were trying to tell me they were ready for baby number three.

They started showing signs even before I started trying to get pregnant — asking me constantly when I was going to give them a younger sibling, practicing feeding, diapering, and holding a baby with their dolls and stuffed animals. And when I did get pregnant, they told everyone we met that they were going to have another sibling (which was awkward but, you know, also completely adorable). I might have had some doubts, but they were ready to be the best big brother and big sister around.

And when the baby did arrive, things were much easier than I initially anticipated. I think, in part, because my kids were older, independent, and could keep each other occupied while I tended to the baby's needs. And although there have been stumbles and falls along the way, growing our family ended up being the best thing ever.

So if you are thinking about adding a third baby to the fold, and wonder if it's time, be sure to look for these signs your kids are ready for baby number three:

They Are Relatively Independent

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

In my experience, one of the hardest things about growing your family is having to seemingly break yourself in pieces to give each of your kids the attention they deserve. It feels impossible, especially when one of them is a baby who literally needs you for everything. So I can safely say I'm very, very glad I waited to have my youngest child until my older kids were able to do things somewhat independently. It's still a balancing act, for sure, but way easier with older kids.

They Constantly Ask When You Are Having Another Baby

My son has been begging for a younger sibling since he could talk, so he was incredibly excited when I told him I was pregnant. Then I had his baby brother, and he was so disappointed at how boring babies can be.

They Are OK With The Idea

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While my son was super excited about my pregnancy, my daughter needed time to warm up to the idea of me having another baby. Fortunately, now that he's here, she has become a pretty awesome big sister to her youngest baby brother... at least when he doesn't mess with her stuff.

They Help Each Other

The best part about having more than one kid? When they can help each other. My kids looking out for one another was totally essential during the weeks after their baby brother arrived.

My daughter became so grown-up — helping her brother get snacks, read books, swing, and even learn how to use Netflix. Both of my older kids even helped me with their baby brother, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

They Sleep At Night

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

Bedtime with three kids is an exercise in patience, teamwork, and creativity. I highly suggest waiting until your older kids have a steady routine of falling and staying asleep before adding a baby to the mix. Plus, having kids sleep at night in their own damn beds makes it easier for you to work on making baby number three sleep through the night, too.

They Tell Everyone You Are Pregnant

Kids are pretty terrible at keeping secrets. So if you get pregnant and tell your kids, well, let's just say you won't have to make a formal birth announcement. Your excited children will tell everyone, from grandma to the stranger at the grocery store, for you. My kids were so excited about the prospect of a younger sibling, they actually told everyone I was pregnant before I actually was pregnant. Awkward.

They Play With Each Other

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

There is nothing more adorable than watching your kids play together. And when you are outnumbered by children, their ability to co-exist is a must. If you can feed a baby, change a baby, or just walk out of the room and trust that they will be fine, your life as a mom to three will be so much easier.

They Are Potty Trained

I don't know if I could've made it through the past couple of years if my older kids hadn't been potty trained before their younger brother was born. My personal rule is to only have one kid in diapers at a time. Diapers are expensive, and I will be so glad when I no longer have to wipe someone else's butt on the daily.

They Practice Being An Older Sibling

Courtesy of Steph Montgomery

My kids got lots of practice being older brothers and sisters before I brought their baby brother home. It makes me smile thinking about them babywearing their stuffed animals in baby carriers, and changing their dolls' diapers — a sure sign they were ready for baby number three to arrive.