Having Two Kids CLOSE together? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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If your Hi ladies!
DS is 6 weeks and we decided not to get birth control. We're not trying right now but we're not preventing either.

If your LO are less than 18 months apart...
Was it planned?
Were you EBF?
If you EBF, did you continue after you got pregnant? Why or why not?
did you have any complications as a result?
How did your family/friends react?
How well do your kids get along?
What are the pros and cons?

I want to stretch out DS feedings to encourage ovulation but I'm scared I'll dry up when I become pregnant.

Any experience/advice is appreciated!


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#2 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 12:54 PM
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My kids are not that close in age.  For me, and I was exclusively breastfeeding them, I could not have gotten pregnant even if I had wanted to before 1 year postpartum, which is when my period returned.  But even then, I wasn't consistently ovulating for another 1-2 months.  My second and third babies are 1 year 11 months apart in age, and I think that was the closest possible for me.  Since we conceived after my third AF postpartum, and I'm pretty sure I didn't ovulate the first 2 cycles since I charted my temps and there was no thermal shift.


On a personal note, however, I would never want kids to be that close in age.  Even 2 years' difference is really stressful for me, especially when i am exclusively breastfeeding.  After my third baby was born I was completely overwhelmed, with a four year old and a almost-two year old and a newborn.  It seemed WAY too much.  I hate to wean my babies early, too (for me, early means 2 years old!).  And I'm not sure I'm up for tandem nursing!


However, I know that some moms manage it that way!  It can be super difficult.  I have a friend whose first 3 kids are all 18 months apart in age.  For me, that is CRAZY.  I think she felt that way, too!  I've heard that postpartum depression is more likely when the babies are close together.  Makes sense to me.  Just my humble thoughts :)

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#3 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 01:19 PM
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at 6 weeks your DS is still so little. Much to little IMO to space feedings.

I would say if you are nursing your little guy on demand your body will let you know when it is ready.

Even if you cut back his nursing enough to force your body to ovulate you may have a leuteal phase defect that would make maintaining a pregnancy hard if not impossible. I have understand not preventing but to activly try is different.


That said I have nursed through 2 pregnancies and it can be done. My milk did dry up at around 7 weeks and small amounts of colustrum started around 24 weeks. Nothing near enough to feed a small baby.


My DD was 15 mos when I became pregnant with DS1  and DS1 was 28 mos when I got pregnant with DS2

Both times ovulation returned but with a short leuteal phase for several cycles.

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#4 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 01:36 PM
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Just saw this on new posts. My kids are farther apart than that, but I can tell you my experiences breastfeeding, perhaps as a little cautionary tale. I got pregnant with DS2 when DS1 was about 19 months old (lactational amenorrhea is great!). My supply decreased, nursing became incredibly painful (imagine being stabbed in the nipple with a stiletto knife every time baby nurses), then supply dwindled to almost nothing. It was very painful nursing through that pregnancy (I kept it up for bonding and because I knew that tandeming would be beneficial for the kids' relationship), DS1 was certainly not going to get all his nourishment from milk because I wasn't producing an adequate volume by about month 4 of the pregnancy, so I would be hesitant to do this with a baby when you hope to do exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months (as opposed to the other EBF, extended breastfeeding, which is also a possible goal with closely spaced nurslings). Tandem nursing might also result in the closeness you are perhaps desiring without having the kids born less than 18 months apart -- it was a good experience for me (though I never expected I would do it prior to the second pregnancy and DS1 not weaning when the milk supply went down).


I will grant you, I was 35 when I was pregnant the second time, so maybe this decrease in supply would be less of an issue for a younger woman. However, I would be completely unwilling to sacrifice my infant baby's milk supply just to have close child spacing. That milk is so important for your LO's immune function, brain growth, gut flora colonization, hormones, and things we probably don't even realize yet. So, I would not cut down on nursing sessions or length, and I wouldn't want to get pregnant again before baby was at least a year old, just because of the milk supply issue.


Also, in many cultures where extended breastfeeding is the norm, child spacing seems to be naturally about 2 1/2 or 3 years apart, indicating that a woman's body perhaps likes to devote its resources to the child on the ground before starting to sustain a second babe in utero. I think it's nice for the mother's body to rest and heal fully from the stresses of one pregnancy, rebuild stores of calcium, iron, other nutrients that have been depleted by that pregnancy before hurtling into another one. It's a luxury only to have one baby who needs your attention. A 3 year old has some (small) concept of what "I'll be with you in a minute" means, and a 16 month old does not (and they can get themselves in trouble faster than you can say "clogged toilet," "5 lbs. of rice all over the floor," or "faceplant into the fireplace.") For your health and sanity, I'd advocate for more distance unless you have a pressing reason to go for closer spacing (like, you know you will have surgery to remove your uterus and the ginormous fibroid tumor as soon as the last baby is born, and you know you need to get this done in the next two years, something like that.)


That's my unsolicited two cents, anyway.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#5 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 01:59 PM
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I have two who are 14 months apart. It was not prevented, I was EBF, I continued to BF throughout the pregnancy, but had to supplement with more foods as the pregnancy progressed (the older one switched to solids earlier than my other kids- maybe as a result of being more hungry, maybe it was just who he is.)


The kids are absolutely amazing playmates, but jealousy can be a problem once in a while.  Fiends/family were fairly supportive, but most assumed it was an oops. 


I love the spacing, but I would stretch it a bit further if I had it to do over.  We actually discovered that I was pregnant when we started to gear up to TTC (expecting that to take a while) so it was a touch early, though we knew it was possible and weren't preventing it- certainly. 


I would not space your child's feedings at all at this point.  Nurse on demand for now- your fertility will return eventually, and back to back pregnancies are hard on a Mom's body. (I developed adenomyosis, the OB thinks it may have been related to the back to back pregnancies and not having enough healing time- it encourages scarring and tissue growth in the wrong places.)


Also, 6 weeks old is a very easy time in babyhood.  You will be seeing a very different picture when you look at a young toddler and a newborn who both need you right now.  Also, these two were my second and third.  I was already pretty good at juggling kids needs.  If they had been the first and second it would have been overwhelming and I would not have managed well emotionally. I needed the perspective of 'this too shall pass' that really only comes with having older kids. 

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#6 of 9 Old 04-12-2011, 06:03 AM
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my dd2 and ds1 are 12.5 months apart.  my pregnancy with him was not prevented at all, we figured if it happens, it happens.  I got pregnant with dd1 right away, then dd2 took 7 months, it was really hard for me to keep getting my period every month.  I had an emergency c/s with dd1 and because I was not getting pregnant I truly believed I must have been damaged during the c/s, so my thoughts on pregnancy changed. I realized how hard it can be to not get pregnant, so I just decided that for us, whenever it happens, it was meant to happen. I was exclusively pumping with dd2 from Jan when she was born until sometime in April.  My period came back when I stopped and I got pregnant right after that.  I had no complications with ds1 pregnancy, other than about 1/2 way through I started getting very sore when I would stand or walk for a long period of time.  I think probably because my muscles were not as strong as they would have been if I had waited longer to get pregnant. The last 8 or so weeks were tough, because I felt like I had been pregnant for 2 years, and was really looking forward to not being pregnant anymore.   I think family and friends all thought it was an oops pregnancy.  dd2 is almost 15 months and ds1 will be 10 weeks tomorrow and so far everything is great.  It is not as hard as I was planning on it being, I think probably because ds is a pretty easy baby, and my girls were really hard, they both cried all the time.  If he was like they were it would be very hard I'm sure, so I got lucky.  I just try to stay very organized and plan ahead so that way I don't get overwhelmed with them while dh is at work.  I feel a little like I took aways dd2 baby time, but she loves having a little baby around, so it doesn't really seem to bother her. 

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#7 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 03:00 PM
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DS and DD are 17 months apart

Was it planned? Most definitely not! I was fresh into a divorce and had been dating DP for only 2 months.
Were you EBF? DS was 8 months old and eating some solids but I was still EBF as much as I could have been and pumping at work
If you EBF, did you continue after you got pregnant? Why or why not? I kept nursing him until 9.5 months when he lost interest (he was never much of a comfort nurser) and pumped until my supply dwindled to a few drops. I did have to introduce formula because of his age and concerns about his growth (bottom 2%), he didn't care at all but it was a very sad day for me. I probably could have encouraged him to keep nursing but followed his lead instead.
did you have any complications as a result? DD's pregnancy was a lot harder than DS's, it was a lot of demand on my body's stores that hadn't completely refreshed themselves. I stopped working at 34 weeks because I was just too physically and mentally burned out (a lot of that was the divorce though)
How did your family/friends react? They were horrified. More so by the fact that my kids have different fathers than the fact that they're close in age. They got used to it and are now asking when DP and I are having #3. The other sibling sets in my family are all exactly 14 months apart so a 17 month gap doesn't seem that close.
How well do your kids get along? Amazingly well! Very little jealousy except for those horrible times when both are upset and need mama and I can only attend to one. DS isn't always gentle with DD but I attribute that to his age, they love playing with each other.
What are the pros and cons? I can't really speak to this because I haven't had kids with a bigger gap, KWIM? One of the hardest things for me was figuring out what to do with the baby while I was trying to get DS to sleep.

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#8 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 03:13 PM
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I think you've gotten some great responses from the pp's.  I don't have two kids spaced that close together, but when #3 is born, #2 will only be 22 months old.  I would NOT have planned it this way.  It was a big oops.  Now I'm in the throws of m/s with a 15 month old who does not understand.  He wants to nurse all the time and it is SO SO painful.  So painful I want to cry and wean him.  But it would break my heart to wean him at only 15 months.  He also wakes up at night 3-4 times and the sleep deprivation that is ordinarily bad is now just plain awful.  I am not capable of being a very good mom right now and I'm feeling really guilty about robbing him of his babyhood by wishing that that he would wean, STTN, and potty train all before this new baby arrives.  I really enjoyed being able to be totally present with my first through all of these milestones, letting her reach them in her own time.  Now, I know plenty of people love closely spaced children, but I really think that some important things are greatly affected by close spacing.  And as a pp mentioned, a 6 week old is not the same at all as mobile toddler.  Life with two is no easy feat and life with two under two is a special kind of challenge.  It's definitely something that I would think through very carefully, especially since this is your first and he is just so young.

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#9 of 9 Old 04-13-2011, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Rdefined View Post

If your Hi ladies!
DS is 6 weeks and we decided not to get birth control. We're not trying right now but we're not preventing either.

If your LO are less than 18 months apart...
Was it planned?
Were you EBF?
If you EBF, did you continue after you got pregnant? Why or why not?
did you have any complications as a result?
How did your family/friends react?
How well do your kids get along?
What are the pros and cons?

I want to stretch out DS feedings to encourage ovulation but I'm scared I'll dry up when I become pregnant.

Any experience/advice is appreciated!


My older 2 are 17 months apart. We started talkign about kid #2 when our baby was 8 months old. We talked about getting things prepared and maybe starting to try for another in about a year. I guess I got pregnant that week! My son was co-sleeping and I had not had my period yet although I did have a bit of spotting. He was nibbling on some solids more for entertainment than nutrition and nursing frequently. But around that time he did start sleeping for 5-6 hr stretches at night.

I tandem nursed the two of them and got my period back when my youngest was about a year old.  I got pregnant again when my son was 3 1/2 and my daughter was 2. My son weaned when I was 6 months pregnant and I tandem nursed the girls until the older one weaned at 4 1/2 and then the younger one weaned when she was 4. I nursed from January 2001 until April 2009 with July 2002-Nov 2004 and Feb 2005-Jan 2008 tandem nursing years. 


Unofficial data says that nursing through a pregnancy often makes a pregnancy last longer. I know it certainly doesn't cause pre-term labor or you wouldn't have gotten pregnant in the first place! Nipples get super tender though and it's really a labor of love to nurse while pregnant some days. Baby #1 was born 5 days past edd, Baby #2 born 10 days past edd and Baby #3 born 11 days past edd. They were all born at home and healthy weights, good Apgars, etc.


It's hard to say if tandem nursing had any impact on their sibling relationship since I don't have anything to compare it to. It wasn't a big or small deal with my family and friends as they would ahve all done the same had their body and family worked out that way. My sister in law strongly encouraged her little ones to wean around age 2 and her three children are each 3 years apart.  She didn't really nurse during her pregnancies as they had already cut back drastically when she got pregnant and the nipple sensitivity and nausea were too much for her and that encouraged weaning. 


Drink lots of water, eat oatmeal for breakfast, snack on nuts, don't let your blood sugar dip too much and rest when the babies rest. This all keeps your milk supply up and your hormone levels functioning well. It was nice to prop myself in bed and put them each in a ring sling and latch them on while we both drifted to sleep for a nap.  But I definitely needed the post-partum doula who helped me after the births!


If given the choice to do it that way again, I might say no because I felt like a touched out twitchy tailed mama cat a lot of the time. But I also like how all three children are in elementary school now and done with nursing and done with diapers and my family is growing up. So maybe I would do it that way again. 


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