'Best' age spacing - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 41 Old 05-26-2010, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My friend (and neighbor) is now pregnant. Our lo's are only 10 weeks apart and now I have the baby bug.... Dh is not ready yet, but he also doesn't want to wait too long because of his age (he's 35 and I'm only 27). Financially it would probably be better for us to wait about a year before trying, but then we go back and forth because there is no 'perfect' time to have a baby. So mamas, do have advice on age spacing? Just looking for your opinions on likes and dislikes about two under two or more like a 3-4 year age gap.
Just a side note: I'm about a year from grad with phd in biology, so that also has an influence on our decision... My mom watches ds now, so we do have help

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#2 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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My sons are hours from being exactly two years apart (now 32m & 8m). Love it. The oldest is an awesome big brother. Little one adores big brother.

I think it has a lot more to do with your child's temperment than age though.. A child could be 8 but if they don't do well with sharing attention with other kids, its not going to be fun.

Amy~ Crunchy mummy to Dane (9-15-07) & Kai (9-14-09)
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#3 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 12:44 AM
 
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Short answer: there is no perfect age. For one thing, how well you all cope with an additional child depends heavily on your circumstances and personalities, and with the new child's personality. It's quite unpredictable!
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#4 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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We are happy with the 2-year age gap. Four kids, each spaced 23-25 months apart, purposely.

That said, I definitely see the benefits of waiting 3-4+ years in between babies. I don't think there is a wrong way to do it. I just happened to want another one right around their first birthday. It worked out well - and they are now 3, 5, 7, and 9 (1 girl; 3 boys).

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#5 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 07:56 AM
 
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I just happened to want another one right around their first birthday.
I am in awe of that mentality.

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#6 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 08:19 AM
 
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Short answer: there is no perfect age. For one thing, how well you all cope with an additional child depends heavily on your circumstances and personalities, and with the new child's personality. It's quite unpredictable!
this is pretty much what i was going to say, you are never going to know what it will be like until you do it either way small or big gap.
i have the following age gaps
22 mths between 1-2
16 mths between 2-3
and 33 mths between.

Becky, sahm to angel.gif25/04/2000 Chloe 12/04/2002 Cameron 19/02/2004 Caitlin 28/06/2005 angel.gif24/07/2006 and Caden 14/03/2008

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#7 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 08:25 AM
 
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We love our age gap of 2 yrs 5 months. The boys will be 2 years apart in school so they will share a lot of the same experiences. However, I found the first year extremely difficult, since DS1 was still so little and they both needed so much of me. I am absolutely in awe of parents who space their LO's even closer in age!

On a side note, I'm also about a year away from finishing my PhD, and I've been that way since DS2 was born. I would HIGHLY recommend finishing before having your next one because it is amazing how much more work 2 are than 1 in the first two years! (Now that they are 5 and almost-3, it is actually easier to have 2 because they play together really well and amuse each other all the time). I'm only just now getting back to my dissertation again...

Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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#8 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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my girls are 3 years apart and I love it. Its perfict for us.

There is no perfict time though, it all depends on the parents, and the family.

Kimberly : momma to Karrigan Kayla : and wife of Kevin
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#9 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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#10 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 09:24 AM
 
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My boys are almost exactly 14 months apart. We did not plan it this way, but I wouldnt have it any other way. It works for us, both my boys will be toddlers around the same time and into the childhood years around the same time. Its sorta like having twins, I just didnt have infants at the same time.
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#11 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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I agree with PPs that it depends alot on tempraments - yours and your children's.
I struggle alot with needing me-time and lacking patience.
Plus I didn't want to tandem nurse and DS was very gently weaned at 26 months.
My DH wanted a closer spacing but DS was/is very high needs. He will be 3 shortly after I give birth this summer and I couldn't be happier with the gap.
He's really excited to be a brother and is much more independent than he was 6 months ago.

I have 2 good friends with 2 under 2 and they both wanted to just get the baby/toddler years out of the way. They are both way more zen than me though!!

Emma - Welsh Wife to DH and Mummy to DS, Lloyd 13/08/07 and Cerys 15/07/10
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#12 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 10:06 AM
 
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My boys are 4 years and 7 months apart.

I love it. So far! - Little man is only 5 weeks.

But here is what I love:

1). I think breastfeeding is very very important. I think my children deserve at least 2 years of breastfeeding. Pregnancy can (not always - but the statistics are slim) interfer with this by interfering with milk supply and just general hormones and stuff. So - I would not choose to fall pregnant before this time. I personally would even go further - as I plan to child-led-wean.

1B). My body and my health. Very important too. Pregnancy and childbirth takes a lot of you. So does breastfeeding. I would like to think that it is important to give your body time to heal and replenish itself so that you can give your next child all that you can without compromising on anything (health is very important!)

2). During pregnancy, my son was older. It was VERY nice! I could have an afternoon nap - and I needed that! He was old enough to understand a lot. Like how mummy couldn't walk as fast anymore or how mummy really couldn't life him up and carry him. He had outgrown the need for that too. He also could understand more about the actual pregnancy and was very invovled in that - understanding a lot and looking forward to a lot of it! And, at the time - in th case of an emergency (as did happen with me) - he was old enough to cope with mummy being in hospital for a week. All very helpful and nice given his age!

3). Same with the pregnancy = same early days with a baby! I can still nap with baby if I need it! He is still only four so he is not perfect but he grasps the idea of patience and realises he will have to wait if I have just layed down to feed his brother, etc. He can help me a bit around the house. At his age we can talk about things, etc. All very helpful!

4). Just his general self given age - he sleeps through the night, he uses the toilet, he can wait 10 minutes for breakfast. He generally does not need me 100% right-this-very minute. A much younger child would. This is just practical helpful for all of us!

So far it is going great! Really - me having a baby hasn't changed him at all. He loves his brother - gives him kisses all the time! He also hates his brother (and he can freely tell me this) cause he is noisey and annoying - apparently! lol But thats great he can talk with me about this kind of stuff! - At two, he wouldn't have. He wasn't even talking then! I also like that each of my children will have had some quality individual time with me. Their needs are very different and I can meet these. They wont' ever be fighting for the same thing when it comes to their basic needs and place in the family. (toys will be another issue - but not till little H is crawling! lmao!)

One thing I will say is - don't plan an age gap based on making your children friends/best buds. You can't gurantee that no matter what the gap (I mention this because a lot of people have small age gaps banking on this...don't set yourself up for heartache!). If my boys turn out to be great friends - thats fab! If they dont - then its not the end of the world either! DS1 is older so already has his own interests, activities, and friends, etc - So he won't be missing out if DS2 has a different plan/path in life that isn't as paralel to his. At the end of the day, they are siblings though and this will really matter when we kick the bucket really! lol

You could consider your temperment the most think. Kinda consider your childs (as this plays on yours) - but since you will be dealing with them and meeting their needs the most - your temperment matters the most here. Mostly because its all well and good to consider your first childs temperment - but you will just have NO idea what your second childs temperment is going to be (so don't yet know how compatable those are)! DS1 and DS2 could not be any more different when it comes to how they are as babies! lol DS1 was much more placid and chilled and really didn't care...you could put him down to sleep. DS2 on the other hand really needs me - including a lot of help to get to sleep which is then usually on me (can we say a bit more high needs? lol). None of that really matters though - its my temperment here that does because I have to take care of these two! My temperment says I am glad only one of these little guys needs me at one time - thank god for the larger age gap!

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#13 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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I completely agree with Ann.

Mine are 4 years 3 months apart. I never wanted that gap. Before having kids, I wanted them 2 years apart. Once my oldest was born, I knew I couldn't handle them that close together. Add to that some infertility issues and we ended up with a 4 year gap. I love it now and it works for us, but I couldn't have seen that until we got here.
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#14 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 10:55 AM
 
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I think that what is "best" differs for everyone.

I have a friend who planned her babies very close together - about 15 months apart. I thought she was crazy, but didn't say that, of course! For awhile, she told me it was crazy. She seemed exhausted, distracted, always off-balance. Then, when her boys were about 3 and 4 years old, I saw the beauty of the small age gap. She was done with nursing, diapers, strollers - all the baby stuff. The family seemed really cohesive. The boys could attend the same extra-curricular groups. Generally, there seemed to be less running around, easier organization etc. with 2 kids close in age.

We have a 3 year age gap and I like it. The older one was entering a period of independence when his baby sister was born. Not only did he not need me as much, he didn't want me to be with him always. He was developing his own friendships and social network. He wanted to dress himself, feed himself, etc. It made the transition from caring for 1 child to 2 much easier, I think. They "play" together quite well, although now that they are 17 and 14 y.o., that means that they share music and books (and occasionally clothes!) and he takes her with him sometimes to listen to bands he likes. They have a good relationship.

I had my first after the first year of law school and took the next year off to be with him. (Law school wouldn't agree to part-time schedule, but that's another story!). I returned to a combined Law/MBA program and had my second just after finishing exams in my final year and graduating. I've always said it's easier to combine motherhood and university than motherhood and a job. Most profs are fairly flexible about assignments or substituting a paper for an exam when family demands interfere. It's much harder to explain to a boss or a client why deliverables that they have been counting on aren't on-schedule. Perhaps you are continuing in the ivory tower of academics after you finish your PhD, but if you intend on moving into industry, you may want to think about it a little. Particularly if you are somewhere with lousy maternity/parental leave benefits.
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#15 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 11:02 AM
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My sons are 3 yrs. apart and we love it. They are best friends and have been since my littler boy started crawling at 5 mos. old (and was adored even before that). They are only 2 grades apart in school. They learned to read together, they play everything together, my younger son learned to ride a 2-wheeler without trainers the summer after my oldest and just generally keeps up pretty well.
I would NOT want 2 under 2 ever. I would lose my mind. One kid in diapers is enough! My oldest was potty trained before I conceived again. He was also able to make himself a snack or PBJ, he could swim (we spent that summer in the pool!), he was understanding when I needed to rest. He was helpful when his brother was born.

I'm having my third (and last) this summer, a few weeks before my boys start 2nd grade and kindergarten. I know there's no way she'll be a part of my boys' little club, but they are so excited to have a little sister and she'll have great, if slightly distant, big brothers. My mom is in a similar situation-- her brothers are 7 and 10 years older-- and she always adored her biggest brother and they are very close as adults. I definitely think there's a difference when the kids are 5+ years apart, but I don't think the difference between 2 and 3 is a big one for long, and is good for the parents.

Also, my littlest boy is graduating preschool tomorrow and I am so glad to have another baby on the way! I feel like the baby/toddler/preschool years are a treasure and I'm glad I spaced my children so that I can really enjoy them and not have them flash by all at once.
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#16 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 11:47 AM
 
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I think I'm going to enjoy this age space (7 years 10 months) more than the last two (4 years 1 month). DD1 will be almost 12 years older than the baby and dd2 will be almost 8 years older. They are going to be tons of help and I'm hoping the baby will curb some of their fighting! They wouldn't want to upset the baby, now would they?
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#17 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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We have a 3 year gap, I can say in many ways it is awesome, BUT being pregnant with DS while DD was a CRAZY 2 year old sucked big time. IDK though if it would have mattered if it was earlier, she was just crazy once mobility was with her. She is finally mellowing now at almost 4. Now DS is very mobile and active, the last few weeks have been a bit more difficult for us due to his mobility and teething. I wouldn't change our spacing, it is great for us, DD can do things with DS, although she sometimes does the wrong thing(like try to feed him), mostly it has been wonderful. She never had any issues when he was born, we really involved her and she knew we were having a baby, so jealousy never really manifested itself. She's loved her brother since before he was born, she used to talk to my belly and say, "Hi baby I'm your big sister, I love you." Awwwww so cute.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#18 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Tatermom: that's my fear... The perpetual 'one more year', so that's why we are leaning toward after I graduate. That also doubles my motive, once I see my friend's tummy expanding I'll be motivated to get done!!!
Oilyoxenfree: yes, my plan is to stay in academia, mostly for the flexibility. I am hoping to teach at a small college or university where there will be no lab to run and no pressure to get funding. I used to think I wanted to change the world, one experiment at a time, but since I have become a mama my aspirations have changed dramatically!!!
I love hearing all of your responses! It is so fun to hear about other's family dynamics!!

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#19 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's loved her brother since before he was born, she used to talk to my belly and say, "Hi baby I'm your big sister, I love you." Awwwww so cute.
sooo sweet!

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#20 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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Oilyoxenfree: yes, my plan is to stay in academia, mostly for the flexibility. I am hoping to teach at a small college or university where there will be no lab to run and no pressure to get funding. I used to think I wanted to change the world, one experiment at a time, but since I have become a mama my aspirations have changed dramatically!!!
You are changing the world! Every moment that you mother your children, inspire your students, explore with research, you are making a contribution.

I know academia can be as demanding as private industry for balancing personal and professional lives. I just found more flexibility as a student and I appreciated it during my pregnancies and when I had small children.
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#21 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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Ours will be 27 months apart.

I'll let you know how it works out for us.

Our DS is very easy and soon after the baby gets here, we'll be living in a multi-generational situation, sort of. (Same property, different houses)

My mother is a homemaker so Grandma will always be right across the yard in case I need some quiet time or a nice nap.

We are VERY blessed for this. If we didn't have family so close by and this weren't the plan...I'm not sure if we would have been as eager to have another one so quickly.

I definitely agree that circumstances, each child's disposition and a whole slew of other details really are what it all depends on. So it's a crapshoot.

Wife to a bearded dude.
Mama to DS [05/21/08] & DD [09/16/10] 43 weeks 1 day!
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#22 of 41 Old 05-27-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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I have a 5 year gap between 1 and 2 and 27 months between 2 and 3. For me, the bigger gap was a lot easier, things that were harder with the smaller gap: 2 in diapers, tandem nursing (not as fun as it sounded), #2 started night waking again after baby came- so I was getting even less sleep than most with a new baby, carrying 2 kids out of a store is impossible for me, dealing with toddler tantrums while holding a baby is insane. None the less, I am getting through all of it, and I can see that 2 and 3 are going to have a wonderful sibling relationship as they get older.

Laura, Mama to Mya 7/02, Ian 6/07 and Anna 8/09
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#23 of 41 Old 05-28-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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I think I'm going to enjoy this age space (7 years 10 months) more than the last two (4 years 1 month). DD1 will be almost 12 years older than the baby and dd2 will be almost 8 years older. They are going to be tons of help and I'm hoping the baby will curb some of their fighting! They wouldn't want to upset the baby, now would they?
ITA - If I were allowed to do it again (cause DH doesn't want more than two! hehe)...then I certainly wouldn't shoot for a smaller age gap. I would go for the same or even larger! I think 6+ years would be ideal next time around. I like an easy life! hehe

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#24 of 41 Old 05-28-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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My boys are almost 6 years apart. A big reason for this is because we honestly weren't sure we wanted anymore!(we obviously decided to have more ) The next gap is just shy of 2 years. It worked out great because of the temperament of both children. The 6 year gap has worked well for the older 2, but the oldest does, on occasion, lament the fact that his closest aged-sibling is so much younger. The gap between my youngest 2 is bit over 4 years. This has been good because of the temperament of my youngest. She's <ahem> a bit high-needs(much like my first was). We are leaving the door open for one more, but I have no idea when or if that will happen.

So I have no advice, but to say that it just kind of depends on the family and the child/children. You and your husband will make the choice that is right for your family. Yeah, I'm helpful like that.
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#25 of 41 Old 05-29-2010, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are changing the world! Every moment that you mother your children, inspire your students, explore with research, you are making a contribution.

I know academia can be as demanding as private industry for balancing personal and professional lives. I just found more flexibility as a student and I appreciated it during my pregnancies and when I had small children.
Thank you for this post. I have had a very unproductive week at school, but your post really lifted my spirits!

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#26 of 41 Old 05-30-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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we have a 4 year gap and so far I love it. I echo a lot of what Ann said. DD1 is old enough to do so much on her own - potty, dress, get snacks and drinks, play independently. I can trust her to be alone in the house while I am nursing down the baby in another room and even while I nap with the baby in another room and she watches a movie.
She is helpful with her sister - she will rock her in the bouncy chair for me while I am getting ready in the morning or cooking dinner. I can trust her not to hurt DD2 while I go pee or change the laundry. Just yesterday I was talking with a mom whose boys are around 2 yrs apart. And she was telling me of when her 2nd son was a newborn and she left him on the couch in the living room with the older one to go pee. She was gone less than a minute and when she came back her older son was sitting on her newborn holding a toy screwdriver and getting ready to poke him in the face! I could not deal with that.
DD2 was also great during the pregnancy - she was older and understood more, was really excited and loved witnessing the birth. She'll be home with the baby for 1.5 years then she'll be in school all day and the baby will have all my attention and we'll be able to be home for naps and such because DD1 will be in school.
And I wanted to savor each child as a baby, not get through it as quick as possible. For us the spacing is perfect.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#27 of 41 Old 05-30-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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For me, i prefer no more than 3 years apart, but not less than 2 yrs. Mainly because i like the idea of the kids playing together, and that is one of the best parts about having siblings. Temperament is not the only issue when is comes to siblings getting along, of course age plays into it as well. I come from a big family with a laot of siblings, and thats my norm.

Having said that, its not necessary to compromise ideals such as child led weaning. Although i would not want to be pregnant and nursing a child under 18mths.

I like the way my 2 are spaced, ....2yrs8mths apart.
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#28 of 41 Old 05-30-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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my first 2 are 6.5 years apart. we changed our minds about a second child and when i was pg i wished i had them closer but ds2 was a very high needs baby and very explosive as a toddler so i'm glad i didnt have them closer together. dd is 4.5 years younger than ds2. if i got pg now i wouldnt mind though
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#29 of 41 Old 05-30-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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My sons are four years apart and I love it. DS1 was done with diapers, independent, had started preschool -- I was no longer his whole world. It was nice to be able to set him up with some snacks, some toys, a video and then lay there being sick on the couch during the first part of my pregnancy.

When the baby came it was "our" baby and he helped with getting out diapers, entertaining the baby. He also had his other interests so it wasn't devastating to him that I wasn't as available as before.

Now DS2 has just turned two and I'm thinking about #3, but this is the absolute earliest I'd want to even think about it! DH is finishing grad school this year and the tentative plan is to try again when he's done.

mama to Joey (1/04) and Teddy (4/08) :
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#30 of 41 Old 06-13-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ann_of_loxley View Post
My boys are 4 years and 7 months apart.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
I completely agree with Ann. Mine are 4 years 3 months apart.
Quote:
Originally Posted by OTMomma View Post
I have a 5 year gap between 1 and 2 and 27 months between 2 and 3. For me, the bigger gap was a lot easier,
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopy5386 View Post
we have a 4 year gap and so far I love it.

I know this thread is a bit old, but I just wanted to thank the above mamas (and the ones I missed) for posting their responses. DS is 3 years old and it will be about 2 more years before we have another. I never wanted a 5-year gap between children, but it just worked out that way. It's so nice to see that I'm not the only one and that extra spacing has such great advantages. There's lots of people IRL who are pregnant right now with smaller gaps, and it's tough to deal with. We need to wait until we're at a point where we're I can be a SAHM again, since there is no way I would leave an infant behind while I work. On the bright side, I know that by waiting until we're really ready, I'll be able to give our next child the same amount of attention that DS is getting right now.

Again, thanks for your posts. You are so encouraging.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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