But then we consider 3 years as dd will be older when I have the baby, and can therefore help out a bit more and be a little more independant. I think really, I worry about coping with a toddler and a newborn at the same time. Is it quite a challenge, or do you find it a lot easier than expected? What are your experiences with these age gaps, and which is prefered?
-They play together well and are very close.
-Since being close in age makes them more at the same "level", it is easier to do group activities.
-When ds was born, dd was still in diapers full time. When my second dd was born, ds was still in diapers, and dd was in diapers at night - so, lots and lots of diapers!
I'd also consider a few things - if your older child is still night-waking, you may be faced with having two night-waking children at once - would you be ok with that? If your older one is still nursing, ditto.
Whatever the spacing, there will likely be some adjustment problems. In my experience, the most difficulty I've had with sibling issues was after my third child was born - dd was 4, ds was 2, and dd had a lot more problems than ds did with the transition, even though she had been through it before when ds was born when she was 2. I think in some ways a 2yo is less likely to be jealous of a baby.
Of course since I have no experience with a three year age gap I can't really compare.
Honestly...it really doesn't matter how much or little space you have between them, it's hard to have kids. LOL
With my oldest...the struggle is keeping her stuff "intact" from the younger ones. She's still close to them and loves them very much, plays, etc. with them...but being that she's older she has things that they just couldn't handle without breaking, etc. So, there is a constant battle over that (which we just resolved by putting a real door lock on with a combination lock box on the door knob so only she--and my hubby and I--can open). It's kept the boys out of her room very well so far.
It's a bit harder with the boys because they are 18 months apart. The first 6 months were really hard...but they do play very well together and it's getting easier as time goes on.
So, either way you do it...you're still going to have the struggles, etc.
Though my 2nd child was planned, and I thought I wanted one right away, I freaked out when I got pregnant. The main thing that came up for me was that my DD was too young for me to have another child already, and she really needed all my attention then. It was really difficult for me being pregnant with an 19-28 month old. It was just exhausting. And I really, really, really felt like I was somehow cheating my daughter. And I have to say, looking at my DS now (who, as I mentioned, is the exact same age as DD was when he was born) and the amount of attention he requires, I just can't imagine throwing a newborn in the mix. Maybe that's because of the residual feelings I had when I was pregnant.
I also must say that I felt like crap for most of my 2nd pregnancy. I had morning sickness until 26 weeks. I puked whenever I changed my daughter's diaper. I just felt really bad physically and had little energy. I'm not telling you this because I think this would happen to you, but it might have everything to do with my feelings about having them that close together.
All that being said, DD was soooo excited about DS. She chose not to be in the room when he was born, but she came running in the moment she heard him crying, and was just extremely delighted and jubilant about the whole thing. She was very into me being pregnant and having a little baby, etc, etc. So, there wasn't really a problem with jealousy until later on. I do think having the baby retarded the process of getting her potty-trained, etc, but all that is not the end of the world.
We are very fortunate in that she has slept through the night since she was 3 weeks old. This is most likely due to the fact that I had to give her formula having failed to breastfeed. But with the next one I'm determined to successfully breastfeed, and I'm really looking forward to having the opportunity.
So I think we're just going to wait until next year to start ttc. We'll be better prepared, and we will have had more time to concentrate on our daughter. There will of course also be the bonus of only having to change one child's nappy!
Thanks everyone for all the help!
Three years apart seems like the sweet spot for keeping them close enough to be companions while retaining parental sanity and not shorting the older one on 'baby time.'
That said, I feel safer aiming for more like a 2-2.5 year separation because that leaves more time to have a third if we want it. (Or, better said, if I can ever convince my DH to want it )
Me, DH, DD1 (5/2009) and DD2 (10/2011). DS due 6/2015.
I'm not crunchy. I'm evidence-based.
Vaccines save lives.
Sarah ~ ds X 12/05 ~ dd E 3/08 ~ 7/12
The age gap is great, she is helpful and now that she is almost 4 it's great. 3 was pretty good for her, she was a bit less chaotic than 2. DS loves her and she is pretty good with him, I think if she was 2 almost 3 she'd be way rougher on him, she had little impulse control last year.
For us the 3 year gap is prefect.
They're close enough in age to play well together. In fact, they're upstairs right now, with ds pretending to be dd's dog. Part of this might be my kids' personalities, but since they're at different stages of development, they're not in competition so much.
I don't think that spacing as as much to do with siblings playing together as the personalities of the siblings.
Also what no one so far as mentioned, a 3 year gap between children is better physically for the mother. It gives her 2 years for her body to recover and replenish between pregnancies.
I did like the fact that DD1 could entertain herself and grab a snack or a drink when I was busy with the baby. Adjusting to a new baby was hard on all of us, though. Like pp said, *Having kids is hard!*
Body-wise, I think 3-4 year spacing is better on the health of the mother.
Both girls were potty trained by 2 so only 1 in diapers at a time. The girls love to play together, we'll see what happens when with the next one.
I never intended to space my kids this far apart, but:
- DD is currently 2 1/3. I can NOT imagine having a newborn to care for as well as her! She's not a "hard" toddler, but she still breastfeeds, including at night, cosleeps and is not toilet trained (the latter is probably because I'm lazy, not because she couldn't do it, but still). She's not ready to nightwean or sleep alone, and I don't fancy the thought of sleeping with a baby AND a toddler - and a husband - in a mere queen-sized bed.
- I'll tandem-nurse if I have to, but I'd like DD to be old enough that if I feel the need to wean during pregnancy, or if my milk dries up, it won't be such a disaster. I think it's 70% of women who lose their milk supply during pregnancy? I'd like to CLW but if we start TTC when DD turns 3, I won't feel too guilty abut weaning if I have to.
- I've been reading a lot of Traditional Foodsy stuff lately, and one thing that kept cropping up was that traditional cultures tend to space children to 4ish years, to enable the mother to recover her nutrient stores. My diet is OK but not great, and I'd like to do some aggressive nutrition before I TTC again. I'm the third closely-spaced child in my family (3 kids in under 4 years) and think I can see the results of Mum's nutrient depletion in her health and mine.
- I'm only 24 - had DD when I was 21 - so I still have plenty of time, in theory, to have several children with generous spacing.
- I love the idea of DD being a help rather than a hindrance when the new baby comes, being really curious and interested in the process of pregnancy and birth, etc.
Plus there are some shallower reasons - like, it's easier to ask people to babysit a baby and preschooler rather than a baby and toddler! And, in all honesty, we might TTC a few months sooner except that we're taking an overseas trip next March. And Disneyland doesn't let pregnant women ride the coasters.
I do feel twinges of guilt that DD won't have a super-close-in-age sibling, but then, in my experience it evens out in the end. I mosly fought with my close-in-age siblings growing up; now as a 24-year-old, I'm close with all of them, from the 28-year-old to the 15-year-old and 13-year-old. If I were starting my family in my late thirties I'd definitely space them closer, but as it is - I love DD dearly, but I find the whole process of pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery etc very taxing and I like having a bit of space to just be me between babies.
That said, I'll let you know how it turns out. Could be a disaster! And it definitely puts more pressure on us to TTC "efficiently" - I'd rather not have kids 5 or 6 years apart, so I'd start to feel pretty stressed if we didn't successfully conceive within the first few months of trying. As far as I know I have no fertility issues and I do chart, which increases our chances of conceiving early - but, you know. Something else to consider...
Arizona backwards is still Arizona! It's a palomino!
1. unless you are a rabbit, you can't really exactly plan if it is goíng to be 2 or 3 years, hence the first t in ttc
2. No matter what the age difference, it seems to me totally luck of the draw - sex of the siblings, personality of each one, personality of parents....
3. my 2 are 2 years + 1 month apart and it is FABULOUS. For us. First 6 months were H-E-double toothpicks - having a newborn and a toddler is just wafully overwhelming. But after the baby was able to interact with the toddler, then walk and talk and play.... it has only gotten better and better. They are now 5 and 3 and the best of friends, and have been for 2 years. In our case, DS was first, and his personality is reserved and mellow, and also very imaginative. DD is more intense, but because of her more daring personality, because she is a sibling and imo because she is a girl, she has sort of caught up with DS so they can play and interact together really well. They still have their own interests (DS is into nature and legos, DD into drawing) but I think if there had been more years, they would be into totally different things. I keep holding my breath, grateful they are so compatible, and hoping it doesn't end.
personal experience... i have a sister 18 mos younger than me and hated it... too much competition, bad personality mix, unresolved feelings of clinginess to my mom. my dh and his brother are 3 yrs apart and are much more relaxed in their relationship.
my career... financially we can't (don't want to) afford to have a second without me going back to work full time and getting that year of maternity leave (yay canada!), and emotionally i'm not willing to go back to work before dd is a least 1 yr old.
physical and emotional health... like PP's have mentioned, it's better for maternal health to space the babies out, and pregnancy was really unpleasant for me... i want to be feeling really healthy and stable and good before doing this again.
savouring the baby stage... i don't like the idea of "getting the hard part done." i want to savour all these stages for as long as possible and really enjoy this new little family before adding another to the mix. plus, dd has an easy going personality like her dad, i'm not really anticipating any really really terrible stages.
i think it's unwise to space kids close together solely for the purpose of playmates. personality has way more to do with enjoying each other than age... if they have the personalities to really like each other, they'll be friends no matter how close they are in age... if they have mismatched personalities, i think a close age spacing is more stressful for them and the parents.
I think it also depends on how much you enjoy the baby stage. Personally, I love having a baby. I don't want to get it out of the way, I want to savor it. I love nursing and cding and all those baby things. M
I feel I can't celebrate DS's babyhood or this new pregnancy properly. *sniff*
Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdad and mom to DS 24 months, and DD 8 months! .
So, I think it depends on your child.
For my family its perfect but as PPs have said I think that it is dependent on so many factors. I think closely spaced kids are easier for parents who can roll with the chaos that comes with that. I like having very closely spaced kids because it means that we travel as a pod (important in homeschooling IME) and because my kids connect as friends as well as siblings for their entire lives, which is important to me. I have friends with more widely spaced children and I think that it presents a lot of challenges for them once they are through the baby stage. And IME it is hard to savour the baby stage once you have more than one or two kids. Things are just different and busier in ways that are hard to foresee when you only have one kid.
Good luck ttc!
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha