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Thoughts After the First Baby vs. the Fourth Baby (and Beyond)

Around Baby #4, it seems like a switch flips inside you, too. You are now an expert at parenting babies, and you act accordingly.
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Smiling mother holding baby
Smiling mother holding baby

Having a big family, I've noticed that Baby #4 is the tipping point.

At this point society revokes your "normal large family" card and you have to register for a special "freakishly huge" license, but that's not what I'm talking about.

Around Baby #4, it seems like a switch flips inside you, too. You are now an expert at parenting babies, and you act accordingly.

Here are just a few ways things are different with your first baby than they are with your fourth (and fifth and sixth):

First baby: "Are they really just letting us walk out of the hospital with this tiny person??"

Fourth baby: "Who watches the discharge video before they go home, anyway? It's like 20 minutes long!"

* * *

First baby: "We had the baby's name chosen and the crib bedding monogrammed by the second trimester."

Fourth baby: "That nurse has come to our room asking for the birth certificate form four times now! We have to think of something!"

* * *

First baby: "I've spent the last couple of weeks researching the most educational toys for newborns and here's a list of the top ten I definitely want on our baby registry."

Fourth baby: "You know what's stimulating to newborns? Being awake."

* * *

First baby: "I just love getting personalized stuff for the baby!"

Fourth baby:
"It's okay if his bibs say 'Little Miss Sunshine' on them, isn't it? What about these towels with his brother's name on them?"

* * *

First baby:
"Why didn't anyone tell me breastfeeding was this HARD?!"


Fourth baby:
*nursing while bathing two older siblings and making a phone call*

* * *

First baby: "We had the baby last Friday! Did you get our photo birth announcements in the mail yet?"

Fourth baby: "Honey, it's been two months. Can you just put something on Facebook?"

* * *

First baby: "The baby's going to start crawling soon so we need to anchor the furniture to the walls, put up a baby gate, cover all the outlets, and install locks on the low cabinets and the toilet seats."

Fourth baby: "Well, it's not like the stairs aren't carpeted."

* * *

First baby: "Sorry sweetie, that pacifier fell on the floor. It's yucky now."

Fourth baby: *look left and right, wait 5 minutes before you pop it back in baby's mouth*

* * *

First baby: "We look forward to bathtime every night as part of the bedtime routine!"

Fourth baby: "If I clean the spit-up out of the baby's chins with a wipe at the next diaper change, she should be good to go for another 2 or 3 days."

* * *

First baby: "Ooh, that's right in the middle of naptime. We'll have to reschedule."

Fourth baby: "Whenever is fine, she'll just sleep in the car."

* * *

First baby: "Is everything in the diaper bag? Diapers, wipes, rash cream, changing pad, receiving blankets, burp cloths, two extra outfits, a hat, nasal aspirator, gas drops, pacifiers, snacks, teething rings, toys, hand sanitizer, nursing cover..."

Fourth baby: "Boobs? Check. Diaper? Let me throw one in my purse real quick and we'll go."

* * *

First baby: "After months of coaxing, she's finally mobile! Luckily for you there's a video of it on YouTube and 600 pictures on my blog."

Fourth baby: "Do you know anyone who needs a bunch of pants in size 6 months? We're switching to dresses because they discourage early crawling."

* * *

First baby:
"'...and they all lived happily ever after. The End.' Want to read it again?"

Fourth baby: "Once upon a ti-- you kids stop yelling up there!! Once up-- I said don't jump on that, you're going to break it! Once upon a -- that's it, I'm coming up there and everyone is getting a time out!!"

See what I mean? Maybe you're more relaxed after you get to number four, or maybe you don't have as much free time or free brain cells as you used to. But it's probably a little bit of both.

Jenny Evans is a writer, a perfectionist, a night owl and a Mormon mom of six who makes jokes at her own expense and blogs about her messy life with a houseful of kids at Unremarkable Files.

You can also visit her on Facebook.