just had my first baby, but my husband is already starting to talk about #2.
First off - I come from a big family. I have 6 older siblings. In addition to my brother and five sisters, my parents also did foster care for mentally and physically handicapped kids. There were always two or three 'extra' kids around that were usually helpless as infants. Despite everyone in my family's insistence that I got more attention than anyone else, I grew up feeling ignored and largely unknown by my family members. We were spread out in age (15 years gap between eldest and youngest). I always swore I'd never do that to my kids. I wanted children in an abstract way, but was happy to adopt. My husband *really* wanted at least one of his own.
We rushed into having Logan because the timing was right money/job wise. The timing is still good for us to have another right away (hubby is stuck in a rural job where I can't work full time, so I'm a SAHM). I had a right crappy pregnancy, and am really not looking forward to doing it again. I also don't want to stay home taking care of Logan for 2-4 year then have to stay home with #2 for 2-4 years, and wrack up an 8 year SAHM stint, because that'd make me completely nutty. Some women are built for it - I am NOT.
For me - I'm happy with one baby. Honestly I never had "baby craving" to begin with, and felt no ticking of my biological clock.
For my husband - he wants three or four, and I think his interest in speeding this up has more to do with hoping he can get in a couple more before he quits his job and I start work. Never gonna happen, but I think he hopes I'll change my mind.
For Logan - I really feel like he needs a sibling. Someone to fight with, play with, share with, and grow up with... and someone to have as an ally/friend in his adult years if mom and dad are gone. Despite my childhood feelings about my siblings, have started to become closer to a couple of them (with so many to choose from, I guess I was bound to have something in common with at least one of them!) We're all so spread out in age though, that I never knew them really growing up. Also - he's unashamedly spoiled by my husbands family. He burps/farts/hums and the conversations stops so everyone can coo at him. He'll end up a real prick if he's the star his whole life. I've also seen too many 'only-child' families where the mom spends an excessive amount of time obsessing about her child well into their adult lives.
We are using attachment parenting, which admittedly is really tiring and difficult but I love the in-tune-ness that is developing with Logan. I absolutely adore my baby. He's a right pain in the arse some days, but he's the greatest thing ever. I love responding to him when he cries, and having nothing else in the world more important than him. At home he hardly ever cries, because I can hear his breathing change when he's getting upset and can respond before he even starts. At three months, we're totally in tune to each other. He gets everything from me, and I feel like he needs everything right now.
I feel like if I have another baby that bond will break. I will still love him, but I won't be able to take care of him as well. And the second baby won't get nearly as much of my focus and energy as he did. I'll have to put one child on hold to take care of the other, and they won't get as much from me. I don't have confidence that I'll be able to continue using Attachment Parenting with him and with a second child.
I'm getting conflicting advice... to wait til he's 3-4 years old and not as interested in Mommy time, or to have one immediately and get the "baby stuff" over with. But I love developing this closeness with him. I wish I'd had twins so I could do exactly that, because I'm really not made for staying home all the time. On the other hand, I know that I personally couldn't have been as attentive to two children at once. I don't want to lose my bond with Logan, or hurt him by doing it too soon... nor by doing it too late and having them so widely gapped that they have nothing in common.
Has anyone here ever used attachment parenting with two? How did it affect your relationship with your first? How could you spend time focusing on your little tiny bundle when you had an older child demanding your attention? Did you prefer one to the other?
I have 3 and have parented them all in the "attachment fashion" (whatever that is, lol).
Personally, I would not have wanted mine to be spread out so close, for that very reason. I breastfed my first for 2.5 years, my daughter for almost 3. I really would have been sad to wean them earlier than one (in my case the breastmilk all but dries up when I'm pregnant, I actually used that to wean my toddlers). Siblings who are close in age do tend to be closer emotionally, developmentally, etc. It's a choice you'll have to make.
Mine are spaced 32 mos. between the older two, and they are really, really close. It has something to do with their personalities though. They complement each other well and can spend hours playing together.
My youngest is 4 years younger than her sister and 7 years younger than her brother. I have a feeling that she will always be their "baby sister", a little pet perhaps but not as engaged in their daily play... I guess we'll see. They are crazy about her anyway though!
Also, for me it's easier this time around. I'm not sure if it's just because I have more experience as a mother, or because of the fact that my older ones are older, more independent, not breastfeeding, needing strollers, etc. I get more help out of them, real help. I think there is no magic answer, just what works out for you and your family.
SAHM to one moody son J (06-27-03), one super-girly daughter M (02-23-06) and welcome Sophie! (05-23-10) expecting fourth in July
We have two and are just as attached with the second as we were the first. DD1 was just 2 when we got pregnant with DD2 and the 'almost three year' spread has been really nice. (I had actually hoped to have them closer, but nature took it's course) DD1 has been willing to help and put her needs aside for the baby and has learned how to comfort her by watching DH and I. I am still nursing both.
I think that many women go through the 'how can I ever love a second the way that I love my first' when they are thinking about having a second child. It seems so impossible that you could share that love that you have, but when it happens it just works.
DD1 was 2.5 when her sister was born and, honestly, for the first couple of months it sometimes felt like DH and I had 'his and hers girls'. DD1 spent a TON of time with DH while I focused on the baby. But we also spent lots of time together. It was a great chance for DD1 to bond with her Papa in a new way and helped us ease into being a family of four.
It's true that sometimes one or the other has to wait a minute or two, but I don't think that our attachment or relationships have changed for the worse because of it. I definitely don't prefer one girl over the other.
Three months post partem is still so early into your parenting career! I wanted more than one child, and was hoping to space them around 2 years apart) but even I wasn't thinking of having another when DD1 was 3 months!
I'd say, don't rush. Maybe have some honest conversations with your husband and see how he really feels (instead of worrying about how you 'think' he feels) and let him know how you're feeling. Give it some time and the 'right' time will present itself.
Mama to two girls: 5/06 and 3/09
Yeah, I agree with the PP. Age spacing is a big issue for some folks and it can become so overwhelming sometimes. I say, just go with the flow but certainly don't rush it. We always knew that we would have two kids and the spacing to ideally be no more than 4 years apart. It worked out in our favor, but we didn't stress over it. We just waited for the right time to present itself and it did.
I'm super attached to DS2 just as I was with DS1 and really couldn't imagine having any more children right now, but DH jokes about it sometimes. But in all honesty, I think we're done.
Thanks for your opinions :) I really appreciate it.
Actually it made me realize that a big part of my worry is because I won't have anyone to help me with B1 when B2 comes along. My husband works about 90 hours or more every week, and I don't have family nearby.
I can see how it would be easier if he were around more.
You are in a right pickle! hehe - There seems to be aspects of both age gaps you would enjoy! I can only give you my perspective. We have a nearly 5 year (4 years and 7 months - some odd days! lol) age gap between my boys. I do consider myself an attachment parent and this is one of the main reason why we shot for a bigger age gap between our children - AP logistics! lol Some of my reasons/choices for wanting a bigger age gap may 'offend' other people but I want to make it clear right here and right now that my reasons fit MY family and whilst I believe there are some fundamental basic rights to every baby (breastmilk, no CIO, etc) - our age gap would not nessisarily be the same for every family because every family unit is different as is every child (and I by no means think you are wrong or 'bad' for your personal choices if they are different to ours - we are individuals!).
A small age gap would not suit us and our needs/desires/goals/aspirations. Logistically, not desiring to leave any of my children to cry, this could not work for us. I have been thankful for our larger age gap. My eldest son is able to understand and listen to me - a baby is not able to do this. I have yet to meet anyone with an age gap under the age of three who has not encountered, daily, both children crying with needs needing to be met. Some people are comfortable with this. After all, we all need to learn to prioritise and learn that other people have needs too. I feel my children will learn this in time without having to cry about it. My son is 5 and he knows this.
Then there are my own personal reasons. We have to consider ourselves and our abilities/temperment/personality = what we are and are not capable of. I know my limits. I could not tolerate two in nappies or two still waking in the night. (or me having to use parenting methods that mean I don't have two doing this, but those methods being something I would not normally do and/or am not comfortable with - like CIO). And don't forget about the pregnancy! Pregnancies are never the same! I never had morning sickness with my first or SPD - but I did with my second. I was thankful here for the larger age gap because I didn't have to carry my elder son (he was over 4!) and I could rest and nap when needed - he understood and was very helpful! If I had tried that with a two or under-year old...not possible! lol
I felt I should also consider the child I currently had as well and I feel this is something worth considering. After all, he is also a part of the family and having another child would probably affect him the most. His own capabilities/personality and temperment were also factors to consider (if they were any different - a slightly smaller age gap might have suited or slightly bigger). I felt he deserved 100% of me for the first few years of his life at least - which I felt were the most important years for him whilst his brain was developing and maturing.
I have one close friend with a very small age gap - 16 months. This suits her well and her children. But she has told me she is very lucky to have easy children (espeically her first). I have seem smaller age gaps not suit more people than suit though. Though there are a few aspects about her gap that I would not see fit for our own family. One is that her eldest weaned during pregnancy. I would not be happy about my child weaning before the age of two (and I certainly plan to breastfed much longer than that!) - naturally this would not happen. I like to give my children the opporunity to wean themselves and pregnancy affects most peoples breastmilk in one way or another - the taste and supply (not to mention those sore boobs regardless!). The other aspect is that the baby is often not held - because the baby has to be put down often to see to her toddler (sometimes this means the baby cries - there alone and unheld). This isn't the end of the world - but this would not suit us. I could avoid this situation - so I did by having a larger age gap. My babies are held continously in a sling for a good portion of their babyhood. If there was a need to have to put the baby down to see to my other child - this wouldn't work for us.
Of course twins (or more!) is something you can not predict or control. Neither are some 'accidents'! ...If I had ended up with a smaller age gap than desired, I would have dealt with it - we would be 'okay'. But I was planning - and my planning had no room for 'managing'. I have never wanted to just 'manage' and 'deal'. I have two lovely healthy boys and a wonderful gap between them. I am not just managing or dealing - we are doing great! I love it!
One thing I would never fall for is that 'if you have a close age gap, they will be best friends!'... this is simply not true. No matter what your choice in age gap - do not even consider this! You can not make your children friends or make them get alone and/or enjoy eachothers company. I know siblings that hate enough even now in their 30's ranging from 11 month - 2 year age gaps and siblings that love eachother and couldn't be closer with 10 year age gaps! There is no 'rule of thumb' or gurantee with that one! I do feel however that there is more that I could have potentially screwed up with with a smaller age gap - because I would have had two small babies/children that both had real immediate needs from me - and only one me!...There would be rivalry because of this. Two people - fighting for the same thing....be it a boob or just my individual attention. Of course my 5 year old still needs me - but his needs are very different from his brothers and his needs are no longer 'immediate' like when he was a baby. So I am able to meet both of their needs and still meet my needs as well.
Personally, I think a three year gap sounds good for you - or larger (large enough that your first child was in school for a year or two, you can 'refresh' your batteries by working full time during those years and then have another one?) - what you are after. Whilst you can control how 'small' the gap is you want, you can't control how big it will be though. It took us over a year to TTC with a handful of miscarriages in between. I didn't mind the gap being bigger (it is what I wanted) - but if I had actually wanted a small gap...I could not have planned for that! Only you can deicde what is right for you though! :)
I agree with the general sentiment thus far - and I personally would definitely NOT want an age gap smaller than 3 years. My baby is high needs / fussy and intense and very demanding. I can't imagine having a baby AND a toddler, let alone if one of them were high needs. What I hear from mamas with two kids close together (less than 3 years) is that sometimes, like it or not, you have to let one of them cry while you attend to the needs of the other one. It's the same reason I wouldn't put my baby in group day care if it could be avoided -because if two or more of the babies are crying at the same time, well, one of them is going to have to cry it out, at least for a short time. From around the age of three, kids are more independent and can understand and communicate much better, so those times where you can only manage the baby and the 3 year old as to wait, at least he can sort of get why and is not left only feeling abandoned not knowing why. Whereas a one or two year old only knows you aren't there for them and can't as easily understand that you are attending to the baby and will be there shortly.
Then again, that is just my personal opinion and what would work for me. I do know two friends with twins and they both are happy to get it done and over with at one time (one of them had trouble conceiving so that plays a role too). I also have a friend with girls one year apart, and a hubby who works in another city and gone all week, and she struggles sometimes but it is doable for her....although she has a nanny, so BIG difference there.
Also keep in mind if you spaced them 3 years apart and stayed home one year with the second one, that would only be 4 years total as a SAHM. From all the Attachment Parenting books I've read, it is recommended to stay at home at least one year if you can swing it, and three years being ideal, but even the Sears' Baby Book has a chapter on choosing good daycare. You can still be a good AP mama and have your baby or one, two or three year old in day care or with a babysitter sometimes. You don't have to feel like a bad mother if you need help. And there is lots of support here and other places from mamas practicing AP who also work or use childcare, even with small babies.
So yeah, I have a hard time here by myself with only one baby, no way I'm doing it again any time soon, lol! But really, only you can decide for yourself and feel what you could manage. Both situations work very beautifully for people, it all depends on so many factors. Good luck mama!
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
One thing I would never fall for is that 'if you have a close age gap, they will be best friends!'... this is simply not true. No matter what your choice in age gap - do not even consider this! You can not make your children friends or make them get alone and/or enjoy eachothers company. I know siblings that hate enough even now in their 30's ranging from 11 month - 2 year age gaps and siblings that love eachother and couldn't be closer with 10 year age gaps! There is no 'rule of thumb' or gurantee with that one!
This is so, so, so important!! I have had the same worry, that if I don't have my children close together in age they will never be friends, but now I have seen so many examples of the age gap being arbitrary, especially when the children get older. Sure, when the oldest is fifteen he might not want to play with a ten year old very much, but there's absolutely no guarantee that he'd want to play with a thirteen year old either! For my family, waiting until Cecilia (who is my only right now) is 3 or so is what we want to do for the sake of my sanity, and so that I can give the new baby the kind of attention that Cecilia has gotten herself.
bedsharing, knitting, toddler-nursing, nerdy, babywearing mama!
I think that is a very personal choice and different things work for different families. Our daughter will be one in January and we probably would try for another baby around her second birthday because we think a three years +/- age difference would work great for us. My brother and I are three and a half years apart and I think that was a good age difference all through childhood and teenager life. Of course you can't plan it exactly because of nature's part and I might start trying earlier just because it took a while to conceive my daughter but ideally I would give Olivia those three years before she is having a sibling. She is at such a fun age and I don't want to miss out on all the exciting developments and just want to give her my full attention. Personally I can't imagine being pregnant again already. I loved being pregnant but I would like to have at least a brief period where chances for good night's rest are a bit higher than right now. We don't have much support though as our families live far a way (Germany and Chicago) so we know it is all on us. I wouldn't want to have a nanny either. I always wanted to take care of my children myself and have them start pre school no earlier than when they are able to talk and tell me how they like it or what happens at pre school - so definitely not before three years old.
I can see where you are coming from. I had a similar upbringing except for the foster children. There are nine children in my family. I lost my mother when I was 9 yrs and my dad remarried later, so there are 6 step siblings. Fortunately not all of us lived together at the same time. Most of my older siblings were by then married. However I was the second to the youngest and felt the full brunt of the lack of closeness in our family. Even today as adults we see eachother yearly but none of us are very close relationship wise.
I always wanted a lot more time for and a close relationship with my children which is the main reason dh and I chose to have only two. I had thought I would space my children around 3 years. But my first ds was pretty high needs and very reserved and shy with other people. I also had to go back to work before I wanted to when he was 18 months and worked until he was 4 when I was pregnant with ds 2. If finances weren't an issue I may have had them closer to 3.5-4 yrs apart. But they are 4.5 years apart. In retrospect I'm glad I had some work experience in between, but for me that was important because I hadn't really worked much after school before I had ds1. In work related terms it doesn't matter too much because I've decided to go back to school next year anyway. I guess what I'm saying is you can try to plan, but sometimes life just happens and it all can work out.
I'm glad I had the chance to devote so much time solely to ds 1. He nursed until he was 3.5 yrs and we have a close relationship. He was able to be a lot more independent during my pregnancy and after his brother was here and I greatly appreciated it. Especially when I couldn't even manage to make him a sandwich at times. But his age hasn't really lessened his neediness. We've had a rough year with the 4's and I know getting used to another sibling has been a part of that. However, I still would not have changed the age gap. I think at any age you will have that sibling jealousy initially, it would just express itself differently.
Now that ds 2 is in kindergarten I feel like I do have the time to devote solely to ds 2. It is different with the second, time seems to fly faster. But I still feel like I can attachment parent with him and honsestly I feel just as close to him. If anything for me it is his independence which makes our relationship different. He's been a much more mellow baby than his older brother, so I think that plays into how often I'm holding him, lying down with him, etc. Although now at approaching 1 he's showing his needy side a bit more which I kind of appreciate....let's me know he needs me.
Don't worry too much about deciding right now. Obviously I would practice prevention until you feel more comfortable with any decision. But you go through so many stages with babies that your feelings may change or not. Even though we knew ABSOLUTELY we didn't want more than two, I found myself doubting after ds2 was born. It wasn't until he was about 3 months that I thought, "what the HE*& am I thinking of course we're done!" I wouldn't trust any postpartum hormonal thinking to determine a long term committment like another child.
A few thoughts to consider
Being a SAHM to a 2, 3, or 4-yr old is much different than being home with a newborn. You might actually find yourself enjoying that time at home with your child(ren).
I think that parents can play a big role in fostering strong relationships among siblings regardless of the age difference between the children.
You don't always get to choose how far apart your children are spaced. We were not happy with a five year age gap between our 2nd and 3rd but we had no choice in the matter and it's worked out great for us.
Grandpa was 1 of 14, Granny 1 of 8. They chose a different course and had only 1 child.
3 houses - 2 blocks in the old neighborhood = 1 eclectic/traditional tribe!
Just so you know, that whole "only child" thing is a MYTH. You may have some anecdotal evidence to suggest that the only children you know personally have been smothered, spoiled, and/or overprotected, but generally speaking the research shows that only children tend to grow up to be very well-adjusted high achievers, whose biggest problem generally tends to be perfectionism. Personally, I know some youngest children who are obnoxious, spoiled, smothered, etc. And some oldest...and some middle. ;) Anyone can be spoiled or smothered, not just only children. I have 2 now, but it took us 5 years before we decided to try for another one, and all that "only children are spoiled/smothered/overprotected/poor negotiators/whatever" stuff used to drive me CRAZY. It's not true. Really, it isn't. There's research on it. :) So if you only want one kid, don't feel like that one kid will be damaged by being an only child. He won't.
Now if you want two, all I can say is that I would not have felt like I was able to give my kids both the attention they needed if they had been closely spaced (probably less than three years apart). However, that is just me and doesn't really have anything to do with you, kwim? Everyone's different.
bedsharing, knitting, toddler-nursing, nerdy, babywearing mama!
The only thing that I will say about only children that is not a myth is this: I listened to a tear-jerking, heart-wrenching story on NPR recently where a woman in her fifties was talking about growing up as an only child. For the most part, she was fine with that, but as it happened, both of her parents died very close to one another, like within the span of a couple of months. The one thing that she kept talking about was that she was the only person who had tons of memories of her parents throughout the bulk of their lives. She had no one to talk to about those memories, as cousins and aunts and uncles weren't as close to her parents as she had been. That was her big regret. She wanted to have someone to share her experiences with, and to commemorate her parents' lives, and she didn't have anyone to do that with. For that reason alone, I would be very hesitant to stop at just one child. I wouldn't want her to feel that isolated and lonely in the event that my husband and I passed.
THIS! - It is the ONLY one unselfish reason why I wanted to have another baby. I did not want DS1 to be alone. They don't have to get on. They don't have to play together. They don't have to like or even love eachother for all I care.... But one day, both DH and I will be gone. We will be dead... and at that moment in life, even if they hate eachothers guts - they will have eachother and need eachother. I look after the elderly and there are a lot that are only children because of the war and circumstances then and if they too only had one child because of circumstances left by the war (these people are in their 90s! lol) - they don't really have much...anyone. Its lonely. I hate feeling so loney as the SAHM that I am - I would never wish this lonelyness on someone. I mean, if I only ever had DS1, sure he may have a wife and 5 children by the time we kill over (lol)...but there is no gurantee! And there still really is no one closer than a sibling - they will have gone through it all together so they can/will share those memories. Of course, there is also the possibility that one could still end up and 'only child' ( who wants to think about that though?!)...so better have more children! ;) lmao :p
Thank you guys SO much for these replies. They're spot-on with what I had been thinking about, and contemplating. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have spacing issues. And you're right about the close-ness factor by age... I'm closest to my eldest sister (15 years my senior) and regularly want to strangle my sister who is 4 years older.
Unfortunately, the decision for being a SAHM looks like it's not on the table anymore... My DH has been shielding me from the state of our finances during my pregnancy and the first few months of being with DS... which I'm both grateful and angry about.
Fortunately, I was able to get a job as a professor at a local university starting in March. I'm not happy about leaving him so soon (he'll be 7mo) but it's only about 22-25 hours a week and he'll be home with a nanny. I wish I could be home with him til he turns one, but if I don't jump on this job it's likely I'll have to be away from him for longer hours, or be unable to afford a nanny.
Thanks so much for the ideas though. I think 3+ years is a good idea!
It is fantastic you found a job situation so quickly and that will suit you! FWIW: DS just turned a year and I have been at work since he was 7 weeks old. We are pretty AP - we no longer co-sleep for the most part, but that is because DS seems to sleep great in his crib. If he didn't, he'd still be in bed wlith us - I still nurse him, etc. We are contemplating #2, because DS is so great and easy, and because in a way, at least for the first two, I would like to get all the pregnancy and nursing bits done, and then have a break. But it took 2 years to conceive DS, so it may take awhile for #2. We just aren't comfortable with withdrawl or hormonal bc (one of the reasons it took 2 years to conceive DS - I had come off of the shot), so I figure it is probably bound to happen anyway. We will see what happens. My main thing was nursing for the first year, and we have done that, so I am open to a new pregnancy whenever it should happen.
my sister and I are 6 1/2 years apart, and were not close growing up, and now at 29 (me) and 22 (her) we still are not. Some of it is age, some of it is personality. DH is an only child, and yes he is spoiled! and a total mama's boy, but that is ok, it means he can't complain if DS is one too! All this to say, it is about the family dynamic. I have known families of 10+ kids who are super close. and ones, like mine, of only 2 kids that aren't. Especially if your pregnancy was difficult I would give yourself at least a year before you try, 2-3 would be better.
Katrina - Mama to Gabriel 11/20/2009 and Norah 10/11/2011 and Theo03/11/2013- married to Wayne -
We have 2 kids and will be TTCing in 2012 for #3. I want 4-6 kids, but 3 years apart. I don't like having closely spaced kids, I like enjoying the baby and early toddler years with not being pregnant. We are AP and NP to both our kids. I would talk to your DH and tell him you feel you need more time. There shouldn't be rushing into things, especially if you're unsure.
Another one who really likes the 3 year age gap! I had originally hoped for two years, but for mostly financial reasons it was not an option and I am so glad it worked out this way. I got to nurse dd for 2.5 years, she was old enough to really enjoy the pregnancy and birth experience, and they actually play pretty nicely already at almost 9 months and 3 y. 8 months old :)
3+ years is my favorite as well. I've done 3y10m and exactly 2.5y, it really is so much easier when the older child really is a bit older. And my sister who is exactly 2 years younger then I, were never friends or playmates growing up, we couldn't stand each other. We still just tolerate each other today.
One more thought. You come from a large family and felt ignored at times. I am the oldest of 2, and feel that no one in my family knows me either, and my sister and I aren't close with our parents at all. It's all about how you treat you're kids.