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Should We Have Another Baby?

How to decide how many children to have. A mother of 4 shares her journey.

Should We Have Another Baby?

Before I had been discharged from the hospital, probably before I had delivered one of the twins’ placentas, Aunt Sue said to me, “you’re done now, right?” I gazed at her, uncomprehending. A few weeks later she mentioned that opting to get her tubes tied after her second child was the best decision she had ever made. “You have a boy and a girl,” she went on, “you’re done now, right?”

“No! We’ve always wanted four kids.” (In a 1 bedroom NYC apartment, up 4 flights of stairs, with 2 cents between us, so, no plan is perfect.) A few years on found us in NYC nirvana, a ground floor apartment with a back garden, weighing the pros and cons of trying for our next baby. The cons list was several pages long while the pros featured four words: but they’re so cute!

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We struggled with the decision for a year. We consulting family and friends, in vain -- no one can tell another if, when, or how many when it comes to children. The biological imperative wasn’t overly helpful either. It doesn't make a strong argument that the world needs more people, but neither is it specific about how many it needs me to produce. Studies show that number of siblings does not make a child more content, smarter or better socialized. Only a happy family can. In the end, with no other real excuse, we have children for fun.

How many? Assuming our bodies have not already made the decision, instincts tell us what will work at a given point in life. The hard part is silencing the narrative of shoulds, shouldn'ts, guilt and expectation long enough to hear what our instincts have to say. What makes you and your household happy? Will a new baby enhance that? There is no right and wrong. If you are privileged enough to put practicalities aside, your gut will tell you, and you will always be right. So we closed our eyes, shut out public opinion, and said, one more.

Soon enough we found ourselves with almost-four-year-old twins and a baby on the way. Our first OBGYN appointment confirmed that only one was involved, and the three month wait to tell the world was on. We suffered through an interminable hour before the need to break the news to big sister and brother became overwhelming. As it happened, the only two people we had not consulted about whether to have a baby had been happily preparing for her arrival for some time – complete with name and estimated time of arrival – and were brooking no argument with their plans.

Fine. Now, what to explain and how? We told them that the baby would grow in my uterus, from a seed mommy and daddy planted there, and showed them where that would take place on my belly. Ever practical, all they wanted to know was how she would get out. “Through the birth canal,” I replied, examining them closely for signs of curiosity regarding means of egress. No, they were pleased, secure in the knowledge that she would be rowing out in a boat. I fretted for seven months about whether they would ask further questions of someone who would tell them something either inaccurate or terrifying. I went so far as to make sure that my best friend would rush over the moment I felt my first Braxton Hicks contraction, just in case this new development sparked keener interest.

All my worries went by the wayside when the kids picked their little sister up from the hospital and the question of whose baby she was took precedence. The twins were shocked to find that I wasn't giving her to them LITERALLY. We came to an uneasy understanding, and our youngest grew up with four attentive parents instead of two.

They've done a superb job raising each other. Through the usual thick and thin – terrible twos, ferocious fours, tortured tweens, the sweetness of a best friend added to the family, and the truly deranged, four-at-the-same-time teen years – all four have gone on to fulfill our wildest dreams by continuing to enjoy and depend on one and other.

I will tell you this, though, while our decision was based on instinct, I am absolutely sure that my instincts had surveyed our surroundings. If we had stayed in our old apartment, if we did not lived next door to a blended family with six older kids, if we did not have dear friends within walking distance, if I did not have a wise best friend with grown children to consult, if we had not already happened upon a magical daycare center, and if my employer did not allow job-sharing, my gut might have said something very different. The mind may put aside practicalities, but the gut senses all. So, in the case of if, when and how many, it really is always right.

Photography by Lindsey Belle.

 

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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