2.5-3 yr Age Gap? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 08-28-2013, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! My daughter was almost 5 when I gave birth to me son, and it has been a really wonderful age gap. She was so helpful and involved in the pregnancy, there at the birth. I got to really focus on my son and him being a baby, I was able to nap with him when I needed it, DD was never violent (even accidentally hurting him), didn't have any regression. It was a really nice age gap. I really want three more, so it just really isn't feasible to keep waiting that long between them, although I'm only 26.

 

DS just turned two a few days ago. He is still nursing (which is really difficult during the week before my period as I get really uncomfortable and touched out) and bed sharing. We would be up for bed sharing with both. He is communicating well and a total sweetheart. I don't feel like he could understand the concept of pregnancy or anticipating a new baby right now, but of course he'll change so much during the course of a pregnancy and he may be able to really "get it" a lot more nearer the hypothetical due date. Anyhow, TTC is on my brain constantly and it is exhausting. We were talking about waiting until Jan/Feb, but part of me doesn't want to wait that long because if we do and it doesn't happen right away there are some big TTC Blackouts for the holiday season due dates, and I also don't want to risk a due date around the first of March (family stuff). 

 

I'm also thinking about "trying" for a girl. DH isn't DD's biodad and he would really like a daughter. I think it would be nice to aim for one now, because the longer it takes to have a daughter the less close in age she'll be to DD, who would be 7 when the baby was born if we got pregnant in the next six months. I figure using the methods to try and get a girl might make it take longer to TTC anyway.

 

Ultimately my question is, for those of you who had a new baby born when a sibling was close to or just turning 3, what did you like/dislike about it? Would you have done if differently if you could go back? Because all I know is a longer spacing I am a little nervous about the uncharted territory. 

 

(ET fix spelling mistake) 


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#2 of 16 Old 08-28-2013, 01:29 PM
 
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DS is 33 months old and we have a 12 week old DD. Just like any other age gaps, there are easier things and harder things about it. I am happy with it, but its a lot of work since DS is a rather intense kid. But tbe way he loves her is magical and I'm glad that they are close in age...although I don't know anything different!

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#3 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 11:38 AM
 
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To be a little more helpful in my answer, the hard part is that DS is still very much in need of my attention, so the demands on me are a lot more than they would e with an older child. He also still nurses a lot, which can be very physically draining. Then again because I am still nursing him, I have and "ace in the hole" to help him cope and its been an amazing way for him to bond with his sister. I think the biggest limitations of having kids that are close in age are our own limitations of just being one person. Even though we bed share I only have one set of hands. I can only pick up one kid at a time (typically) I can only change one diaper at a time, etc. Logistics that you expect to be challenging. I am 18 months older than one of my brothers and we were best frienemes...I can't imagine it any other way. I'm pretty sure that my two will be close, DS has transitioned amazingly well, and he adores the baby and can't wait until she is big enough to play. My other brother is 16 years younger and that was a neat experience as well. Again, I think that the biggest factor (besides our own mental resillience) for an appropriate age gap is going to be the personality of the child (ren) you already have...are they super attached and intense? The transition may be harder (that doesn't mean not worthwhile). If your kids are pretty independent and laid back the transition will probably be easier.
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#4 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your very thoughtful answer! Both my kids are very "easy" in my opinion. Malcolm wants to be with me a lot and nurses quite a bit, but he is generally very easy going and plays by himself a lot. He is in a stage where it can be hard to take him places, like stores and restaraunts, but I think that's to be expected to a point. My daughter is very helpful and is asking for another baby. She helps entertain her brother when I need it and they have some games they play together now.

Did you nurse through your pregnancy? I like that you said it was a bonding experience for your son, I hadn't looked at it that way. I thought it would be nice in those early days where you have so much milk to have a bigger kid able to help out, though!

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#5 of 16 Old 08-29-2013, 02:55 PM
 
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My two are 2 years 9 months apart.  For our family, it was ideal.  My DD was "easy".  She didn't exhibit any jealousy when her brother was born.  By that age she was out of diapers, weaned, and sleeping in her own bed.  Until his birth I was working three days a week.  She really loved her school so I kept her in those days because that had been her routine for so long.  I freely admit that I loved having that time alone with DS and felt so refreshed when she came home and on the days she didn't go to school.  

 

Another thing I like is that even though she is independent in so many ways that made the adjustment easier, they are also close enough in age that they enjoy most of the same things and activities (could also be temperment/personality.)  

 

My mom read that 3 years spacing is ideal so my brother and I are 2 years 51 weeks apart.  He is one of my best friends now but was a HORRIBLE older brother.  You just never know!

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#6 of 16 Old 09-02-2013, 07:35 PM
 
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Mine are 28 months apart and I think it is ideal. Not right on top of each other but close enough that they will always be playmates and have things in common. I am 3 1/2 years older than my middle brother and we were very distant growing up. I am 7 years older than my youngest brother and I didn't know him as a person until he was 19.

We might be trying for a third fairly soon and if do we will be looking to have a similar space.

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#7 of 16 Old 09-10-2013, 12:26 PM
 
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My kids are 2 yrs 9 months apart.  For the first three years it was too close for me!  My daughter was not into babies and having a brother pretty much ruined her life.  She still needed a lot of care and attention and I could no longer give her as much as she wanted (not that I could ever give as much as she wanted).  It was especially hard that she still wanted to be carried, and I really tried to stop doing that much during pregnancy after I had some bleeding.  She still needed help with shoes and coats and getting in and out of the car.  There is definitely something to be said for an older sibling that can put on their own shoes and wait safely by the car in the parking lot while you deal with getting the baby in or out.  She could sit in the seat at the grocery store and I could put the baby in a sling or the carseat in the basket of the cart, but then there isn't much room for groceries!  Now, at 6 and 3 1/2, they play with each other when there is no one else around to play with, and for as long as they can get along.  They're close enough in age that they can find things they both enjoy.  So that is nice.  

 

We plan on trying for #3 in a few months (has to be born after September 1 so it can at least be one of the older ones at school, if not at home) the gap will be much bigger.  I'll have so much more time alone with the baby while my older ones are in school, it's going to be much easier.  I hope :)


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#8 of 16 Old 09-10-2013, 01:13 PM
 
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I think you've gotten a lot of good, thoughtful responses here.

For me, my DD was unplanned, but a welcome and exciting adventure. Their birthdays fall 14 days shy of 3years apart, and are now ages 5 and 2.

DS has always been very attached and very insistent on parental care versus babysitters. He has never been to daycare or school. This posed a good bit of a challenge wiith the arrival of DD. Despite the challenges, they are a very close pair. They enjoy playing together most of the time, and it's exponentially easier with him out of toddlerhood and her being the active toddler she is. Both kids are quite spirited, but mostly everything runs smoothly.

I think most of your considerations need to be logistics of your physical ability and needs. Nursing, napping, school (or not) and the amount of support you have with childcare are the main things. If you think you'll go crazy trying to keep kids occupied quietly in order to genough rest for you and the newborn, you might wait a bit. If you plan to tandem nurse, consider the logistics and how you'll feel about all that nursing. Will the eldest be in school, or will she be around to help out? Are there close friends or family available to help?

My biggest challenges were regarding the list above. I tried weaning before DD's birth, but it didn't happen until just before she arrived. At about the same time, DS broke his leg and I was pretty much all alone with a kid in a huge cast and a giant baby belly followed by birth and newborn. DS got his cast off about 3 months after DD was born. Obviously, mine were unusual circumstances, but really highlighted my lack of preparation and resources.

Wishing you the best of luck with whatever you decide.
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#9 of 16 Old 09-11-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Did you nurse through your pregnancy? I like that you said it was a bonding experience for your son, I hadn't looked at it that way. I thought it would be nice in those early days where you have so much milk to have a bigger kid able to help out, though!

He did nurse through the entire pregnancy, slowing to just about 4x per day for the threeish wees my milk was gone, and picking back up enthusiastically once the colostrum came in.  (I had a ton of colostrum then, and could have, perhaps should have, pumped likely a few ounces per day).  Having him help out with engorgement was definitely a plus...although he keeps my supply at a level that DD has trouble dealing with at times - I had to designate each child a side, and DS's side is huge compared with DD's side.  It's SO worth it for us though.  The only times I had/have issues with it is if I am not eating enough or well enough.  Sharing Mom is not an easy concept for a toddler, and keeping that nursing connection has been so important for his transition.  He loves nursing with her, and will often hold her hand or pat her back.  And it's wonderful in those early newborn days for the three of us to just be able to curl up on the couch and doze off together, especially since I did not have a lot of support.  

 

We definitely have our good days and our hard days, but 9/10 times the hard days are because of my own limitations, and not directly because of DS/DD. 

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I think most of your considerations need to be logistics of your physical ability and needs. Nursing, napping, school (or not) and the amount of support you have with childcare are the main things. If you think you'll go crazy trying to keep kids occupied quietly in order to genough rest for you and the newborn, you might wait a bit. If you plan to tandem nurse, consider the logistics and how you'll feel about all that nursing. Will the eldest be in school, or will she be around to help out? Are there close friends or family available to help?

Wishing you the best of luck with whatever you decide.

This is exactly what I was trying to say above! I agree wholeheartedly.  There are some people who are just naturally able to balance everything even with lots of littles running around.  I have found out that it's not my forte.  I love my kids dearly, but balancing the needs of a baby and a toddler has not been my favorite thing, and I find myself being impatient with how helpless DD is, and I can't wait for her to get to the stage where she is more able to interact! I loved having one baby, but I can't really enjoy the baby stage while having a toddler because I'm feeling like I'm not able to meet his needs the way I would like to, so there is a lot of mommy guilt here because I never feel like I am able to get house work done, have enough fun with the toddler, enjoy the baby, AND take care of myself or have time to spend with DH.  I think my hormones are different this time around - last time I didn't worry so much about the balancing act, and this time it's bringing me down (not entirely, I am still very happy, there are just many more days I feel exhausted and unaccomplished than I anticipated).  OTOH we have also been battling food sensitivities and Lyme disease, so I know that factors into my mental state.  And I don't have a lot of support, and DD hates the car, so getting out can be overwhelming.  

 

Sorry to vent so much on your post!!  Having kids closer together is going to be harder in many ways than your first spacing, but it's also incredibly rewarding if you can slow down and smell the flowers.  


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#10 of 16 Old 09-11-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My kids are 2 yrs 9 months apart.  For the first three years it was too close for me!  My daughter was not into babies and having a brother pretty much ruined her life.  She still needed a lot of care and attention and I could no longer give her as much as she wanted (not that I could ever give as much as she wanted).  It was especially hard that she still wanted to be carried, and I really tried to stop doing that much during pregnancy after I had some bleeding.  She still needed help with shoes and coats and getting in and out of the car.  There is definitely something to be said for an older sibling that can put on their own shoes and wait safely by the car in the parking lot while you deal with getting the baby in or out.  She could sit in the seat at the grocery store and I could put the baby in a sling or the carseat in the basket of the cart, but then there isn't much room for groceries!  Now, at 6 and 3 1/2, they play with each other when there is no one else around to play with, and for as long as they can get along.  They're close enough in age that they can find things they both enjoy.  So that is nice.  

 

We plan on trying for #3 in a few months (has to be born after September 1 so it can at least be one of the older ones at school, if not at home) the gap will be much bigger.  I'll have so much more time alone with the baby while my older ones are in school, it's going to be much easier.  I hope :)

I totally understand what you're saying. I turned five a week before my sister was born and although I was excited it had some pretty far reaching consequences. I definitely was a kid that would have benefited from being an only child. Malcolm would be about three when the baby was born if we got pregnant right away (we can't start trying until October because of a medical issue that is clearing up) but he's in such a mama phase right now. I would think that would change in the next year, but if it didn't having a baby would be really difficult. At the same time, my older daughter is a fantastic help and is homeschooled, so she would probably be able to really make things easier (she's super excited about the idea of another baby.)

 

It would be fun if we end up in the same DDC! Thanks for taking the time to give me your thoughts.

 

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DS has always been very attached and very insistent on parental care versus babysitters. He has never been to daycare or school. This posed a good bit of a challenge wiith the arrival of DD. Despite the challenges, they are a very close pair. They enjoy playing together most of the time, and it's exponentially easier with him out of toddlerhood and her being the active toddler she is. Both kids are quite spirited, but mostly everything runs smoothly.

I think most of your considerations need to be logistics of your physical ability and needs. Nursing, napping, school (or not) and the amount of support you have with childcare are the main things. If you think you'll go crazy trying to keep kids occupied quietly in order to genough rest for you and the newborn, you might wait a bit. If you plan to tandem nurse, consider the logistics and how you'll feel about all that nursing. Will the eldest be in school, or will she be around to help out? Are there close friends or family available to help?

My biggest challenges were regarding the list above. I tried weaning before DD's birth, but it didn't happen until just before she arrived. At about the same time, DS broke his leg and I was pretty much all alone with a kid in a huge cast and a giant baby belly followed by birth and newborn. DS got his cast off about 3 months after DD was born. Obviously, mine were unusual circumstances, but really highlighted my lack of preparation and resources.

Wishing you the best of luck with whatever you decide.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! I don't really use babysitters either, we moved a year ago to a different state and I just tend not to trust people. My parents come down every few months and when they are here I get a nice break, but other than that I'm very content to be home with the kids. In fact, I don't really like to go out without them. I never have been willing to leave my babies the first year and a half of their life, but at this point DH takes them to the park or keeps them at home so I can go thrifting or to the library myself on weekends occasionally. He's always willing to, of course, but in general I'm a very quiet person and my kids both do well playing by themselves and we have a pretty quiet household. My DS has never been to day care of school, either, and I forsee some of the same challenges you've mentioned with your DS. My DD will be seven in November and is homeschooled. She's very mature and a huge help, although of course I wouldn't want to put too much on her. I actually think, if we had a new baby, maybe she could do a bit more with the baby than she did with DS. She's very into that right now and looking forward to helping the midwives and being at another birth. 

 

Ooh that was a jumbled mess! Your prompts were really helpful, I've been considering them all last evening. It's funny, the last few weeks when I have the kids outside or at the library or park I'm always looking for a third. I keep feeling like someone is missing.

 

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He did nurse through the entire pregnancy, slowing to just about 4x per day for the threeish wees my milk was gone, and picking back up enthusiastically once the colostrum came in.  (I had a ton of colostrum then, and could have, perhaps should have, pumped likely a few ounces per day).  Having him help out with engorgement was definitely a plus...although he keeps my supply at a level that DD has trouble dealing with at times - I had to designate each child a side, and DS's side is huge compared with DD's side.  It's SO worth it for us though.  The only times I had/have issues with it is if I am not eating enough or well enough.  Sharing Mom is not an easy concept for a toddler, and keeping that nursing connection has been so important for his transition.  He loves nursing with her, and will often hold her hand or pat her back.  And it's wonderful in those early newborn days for the three of us to just be able to curl up on the couch and doze off together, especially since I did not have a lot of support.  

 

We definitely have our good days and our hard days, but 9/10 times the hard days are because of my own limitations, and not directly because of DS/DD. 

This is exactly what I was trying to say above! I agree wholeheartedly.  There are some people who are just naturally able to balance everything even with lots of littles running around.  I have found out that it's not my forte.  I love my kids dearly, but balancing the needs of a baby and a toddler has not been my favorite thing, and I find myself being impatient with how helpless DD is, and I can't wait for her to get to the stage where she is more able to interact! I loved having one baby, but I can't really enjoy the baby stage while having a toddler because I'm feeling like I'm not able to meet his needs the way I would like to, so there is a lot of mommy guilt here because I never feel like I am able to get house work done, have enough fun with the toddler, enjoy the baby, AND take care of myself or have time to spend with DH.  I think my hormones are different this time around - last time I didn't worry so much about the balancing act, and this time it's bringing me down (not entirely, I am still very happy, there are just many more days I feel exhausted and unaccomplished than I anticipated).  OTOH we have also been battling food sensitivities and Lyme disease, so I know that factors into my mental state.  And I don't have a lot of support, and DD hates the car, so getting out can be overwhelming.  

 

Sorry to vent so much on your post!!  Having kids closer together is going to be harder in many ways than your first spacing, but it's also incredibly rewarding if you can slow down and smell the flowers.  

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences! Don't apologize :) As I said above, my DD is almost seven and really wanting a baby to help with. She is home schooled so we don't have a lot of get up and out of the house obligations. I think you hit on the head what I am worried about, though, taking something away from my toddler, my baby and myself (and probably DD and DH) by putting too much on my plate - not being about to enjoy my son's toddlerhood or baby's babyhood by having them too close together. There's no perfect way to tell, is there? I think ultimately our family has been at a really good, stable place for almost a year now, and in another year or so (depending on how quickly we could conceive) our DS will only have gotten older and, most likely, more independent. Even if he needs help with his shoes or waiting by the car DD will be able to pitch in. And she can hold and "mother" the baby (if she wants to) while I engage with DS. 

 

Thanks again for everyone's input! It really has helped me gain some clarity and make sure it isn't just my hormones pushing me to have another baby. Knowing different experiences and having help with things to consider has been invaluable. I definitely think once my pelvic rest is over in a few weeks we'll start TTC. I think we'll miss the fertile period this cycle, but after that... who knows?!

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#11 of 16 Old 09-18-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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Its interesting how everyone can perceive an age gap differently based on previous experiences.  When I think about a 3 year gap that sounds long to me!  But thats probably because my girls are exactly 2 years apart.  The hard parts about the 2 year gap were that DD1 was still in diapers, she still relied on me to rock her to sleep for her nap, and still needed help with things like putting on shoes and coats (she was not still nursing- she lost interest when my supply tanked during the pregnancy).  For the first 6 months I really felt like I was caring for two babies and was pretty overwhelmed.  But then between age 2.5 and 3 DD1 became SO independent.  And now at ages 3.5 and 1.5 they are wonderful playmates and mostly enjoy the same activities.  I am hoping for a 3 year gap next time.  However, I'm also in my thirties and thinking about the possibility of two more pregnancies and I don't want to assume that TTC will be as easy as it was when I was younger, so I think I might be open starting this winter (might lead to a 2 year 8 month gap).  Time will tell.  best wishes to you and your family.  


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#12 of 16 Old 09-18-2013, 03:53 PM
 
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My boys are three years and one month apart, and it was the perfect spacing for me.  My older son was potty trained, weaned, and able to play by himself if needed.  He was able to have his full "baby" cycle, and still have a brother that was close in age.  I wouldn't change a thing about their ages, and would never intentionally space my kids closer together.

 

 

Now I am going to have an almost 9 year spacing between my youngest and this new one.  That should be interesting.....


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#13 of 16 Old 09-18-2013, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My boys are three years and one month apart, and it was the perfect spacing for me.  My older son was potty trained, weaned, and able to play by himself if needed.  He was able to have his full "baby" cycle, and still have a brother that was close in age.  I wouldn't change a thing about their ages, and would never intentionally space my kids closer together.

 

 

Now I am going to have an almost 9 year spacing between my youngest and this new one.  That should be interesting.....

That is exactly what I want for all my kids. I think we are going to start TTC at the end of the year, which will give us a three year age gap at minimum. Thank you so much for your input! 

 

I think a nine year gap will be really cool. I just think it is really wonderful for older kids to have littles around, and vice versa. I'm looking forward to having babies/toddlers in the house when my older kids are teens, because I think having young siblings to care about and be around will give them a different outlook than teens surrounded by other teens, and I'm excited that when my youngest are teens they'll have adult siblings or possibly nieces and nephews around. The idea of different ages having something to offer each other is something I always really liked about Waldorf schools. I feel like I was so self involved as a teen, and I know that is normal to an extent, but I think having a very young one around would have really helped give me some perspective and happiness. 


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#14 of 16 Old 09-19-2013, 07:27 PM
 
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My older son was potty trained, weaned, and able to play by himself if needed.  He was able to have his full "baby" cycle, and still have a brother that was close in age. 

 

This is what I was trying to describe.  While a 3 year old will probably not be able to be quite as much of a helper as your 5 year old daughter was, I think that moat 3 year olds have achieved many steps towards independence that would make it easier to add a very dependent new baby to the family.  My 2 year old still felt like a baby to me when my 2nd daughter was born.  But now at age 3 she seems very much beyond the baby stage.  Mareseatoats you sound like a really thoughtful mama...I imagine you'll manage this transition to 3 children really well.  Best wishes!    


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#15 of 16 Old 09-29-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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My older daughter was 2 years and 10 months when her little sister was born and I love it. Now they're 4.5 and 1.5 and best friends. They still argue of course, but they play wonderfully together most of the time.

As for DD1, she did have a rough time after DD2 was born. I think it was mostly just her personality though. I think it would have been just as hard on her if she were 13 rather than 3. And she was old enough to really get the idea of pregnancy, just as you said your daughter was. She went with me to all my midwife appointments, talked with me all the time about the baby, and even came to the conclusion all on her own that SHE could one day have a baby come out of her vagina! She was present for her sister's birth and so proud to be the one to bring me water between contractions. We did have my mom come to watch her, but my labor was so fast that my mom got there right before I started pushing. I think she would have been fine without my mom there at all, though I doubt that would be the case with a long labor.

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#16 of 16 Old 09-29-2013, 01:35 PM
 
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My twins are 2 years 10 months younger than my big DD. I did have one in between, and honestly, I do have to say that DD was still a baby when my son was born. I had to stop nursing her before I wanted to (no more milk) and I had two in diapers. That was awful. 

 

With DD being almost 3 years older than the twins, it is almost a perfect age gap. 

 

We plan on ttc when the twins turn two :). 


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