Adding an “ours” baby to our blended family and how we plan to transition during summer visitation

When we started trying and planning for baby #4, we assumed it would be pretty quick like our last pregnancies. But after almost a year of no luck, I started to doubt and really struggled to understand why we felt like there was another baby for our family but it just wasn’t happening. 


So I was shocked and excited when we finally took a positive pregnancy test! But I quickly realized that I was due the same week all of the kids get out of school for summer and when we would usually begin our visitation with Elle. Essentially I’d be going from staying at home by myself all day to having 4 kids at home all at once- all the time. Ahhh! 


Giving birth, having a newborn, and adjusting to postpartum is hard enough but add to that a huge schedule change for Carter and Clare plus Elle traveling across the country and adjusting to our family rules and dynamic which has always been a challenge by itself...

It’s been overwhelming to plan and process the upcoming challenges and changes for our family!


So we’re implementing a few different tools and techniques to ease the transition for everyone. 

It was a really hard decision, but we are waiting until July to get Elle Kade and giving her back at the beginning of August. We won’t have her for the entire summer this year, but we decided that focusing on quality time instead of having extra days would be more special for her this year. The first week she’s here, Carter and Clare are staying in Utah with family so she’ll be able to adjust to the new baby by herself. 


And instead of planning a fun summer vacation with our family this year, we decided to surprise them with a trip to see Elle Kade in Florida a few weeks ago! We really wanted to enjoy the most of our quality time before the baby gets here and create memories together at the best time for everyone. We still want to take a quick trip once the baby is here but really wanted to make sure that we had a special experience together before that happens. 


As a mom, I can feel my focus shift from one child’s needs to another. So I really want to plan special experiences with each of them to help adjust to a new routine. Clare is already jealous of the new baby so we are trying to make all of our kids feel special during the transition. We’ll be taking each sibling out individually for a special “date night” once the baby gets here to make them feel special and give them an opportunity to share their feelings during the adjustment. Learning their love languages and filling their individual needs is such an important part of parenting! 

We have also created an established routine which we will stick to throughout the process of bringing baby home. Every night before bed, they know exactly what to expect: brush teeth, read books and scriptures, etc. The more consistency kids have, the better they will adjust to any changes. 

And are focused on setting boundaries and structure for positive reinforcement to create predictability during a typically unpredictable time. We have a bucket of rewards for them to earn using a sticker chart for good behavior. Kids like to test their limits and providing clear expectations and enforcing them goes a long way!

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I’m sure we’ll have plenty of challenges that we can’t plan for, but knowing that we have the tools and resources to adjust has helped calm my anxiety so much. And we are all so excited for the changes happening for our family this summer! 

Ashley Hansen