We have some exciting news in the Malpi household that we’d been waiting to share with our friends and family since before lockdown.

We finally gave up on trying to tell everyone in person and went digital to let those closest to us know that mummy’s weight gain was not purely down to lockdown snacking but slightly more localised than that.

Mini Malpi number four is due to make its appearance in September 2020!

What a year to be making an entrance into as if 2020 wasn’t going to be unforgettable enough!

It’s been an interesting time to be pregnant.  I feel so much for those who are experiencing everything for the first time.  But, whilst it’s not a new experience for us, I do also feel for my husband who is missing out on all the scans in what will be our last time enjoying this prenatal period.  (We’re only going for a fifth if he carries it next time and apparently he’s not terribly keen on the idea…)

Obviously we understand the importance of keeping everyone involved as safe as possible – with a medically vulnerable 3-year-old and a pregnant mummy in our household we’ve been trying to stay hidden away as much as possible for the last few months – and it is also yet another reason to be hugely thankful for the NHS and those that work within it.

One of the best pieces of advice I received when Faith was very young and I was still trying to work out exactly what it meant going from two to three children was to keep it simple.  Sadly not my forte but I still often refer to it in my mind on days when I’ve particularly overcomplicated things or even just on the normal 100th pre-lockdown day in a row I’d spent driving round in circles dropping off and picking up everyone else.

But what will life with four be like?  Who to ask but those who are already in the throes of dealing their own quartets?

Jemma, who writes at Thimble & Twig, says “We have four and absolutely love it – my hardest time was genuinely 0-1!!!!  Top tip is to spend lots of time outside – the kids seem to be play better together when outside and to do one load of washing a day!  Oh and slow cooker meals are a lifesaver!”

Rachel, who writes at Coffee, Cake, Kids, also has a top tip to share: “We have four. It’s… interesting.  It’s noisy.  It’s chaos.  It’s expensive and it’s bloody brilliant.  I adore my little tribe.  Top tip: get your comebacks ready because the comments you get having a big family come from every angle. ‘Yes, I do know how babies are made’ is something I found myself repeating a lot in the early days!”

And Big Family Organised Chaos’s Mandi has often experienced such comments too: “Yes we do have a TV is also common!!!”

My husband’s comeback to that is that its having a TV that distracted the minis long enough for their sibling to be thought of in the first place, but we should definitely listen to Mandi whose tribe doesn’t stop at just four.

“We have seven and I’d say the biggest life challenge was going from one child to two, after that adding an extra one just seemed easy!” she says.  “Finding a vehicle to transport them all was tricky and logistics of all the different nurseries, schools, colleges (and now uni) is a minefield, but lockdown has been amazing having all seven together and I’ve genuinely loved every minute as they’ve all helped each other.”

Deborah, from Country and Heart and Home, also didn’t stop at four and recommends using a buddy system.  “We had six and it was always easier on trips when the kids would buddy up.  Usually an older one with a younger on days out etc.  The bonds between them all are amazing to see.”

Katie, from Mum’s Family Fun, also has advice about trips away: “Trying to find accommodation when going away anywhere was either impossible or cost an absolute fortune.  We discovered Air BnB and it opened up a whole new world to us.  I definitely recommend it for family trips.  There’s places on there to suit all your needs.  It’s brilliant.”

Unsurprisingly the comments large families receive aren’t always just about simply the numbers of children as Eddie of Yorkie… Not Just For Dads knows.

I’m a stay at home dad.  Between me and my partner we have five girls.  Four at home with us and my eldest daughter at weekends and extra time in the school holidays,” he explains.

Having been asked multiple times, including via his social media, about what it’s like being dad in a large family and living with daughters he decided to write a whole post in answer to his commenters.  “Is it difficult?” he writes.  “Absolutely.  Being practically the only male in the house other than an attempt to make up the man numbers by the way of pets, doesn’t really count does it?”  In Question for Dad – How do you find it and manage with 5 Daughters, Eddie clearly has to think about the question to start with, it is after all his norm, but then he’s also quite honest about how much the thought of their teenage years terrifies him…

If your family size adds up to more than 2.4 how do you cope?  If you have any tips and useful tricks please share them in the comments below!