My dd is now 22 months...dh graduated from grad school and is having a harder time finding a job than we thought, he says he cannot even think about having another baby until he has a stable job, so it looks like our kids will be closer to 3 years apart or possibly more.
this makes me a little sad that my kids won't be as close in age as I have always wanted, but I know a lot of people love the 3 year spacing...so please tell me all the good things about having kids 3-4 years apart so i can be patient and feel better about this!
Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12)
3 years has worked out well for us. When DD was born, DS had started Montessori, so he was exploring a new, exciting world at exactly the moment I had less time and attention for him. He was old enough to understand my explanations about the new baby. He was independent enough that I didn't feel guilty about divided attentions. I think the extra maturity helped create a lovely relationship between them.
We've never had sibling rivalry problems. They played together really well when they were younger. Now that he is 17 and she is 14, he takes her to all-ages concerts and she hangs out sometimes with him and his friends. He spends less time with her friends, in part because they are giggly girls and some of them have pretty obvious, somewhat embarrassing crushes on him.
There were practical advantages too. DS was out of diapers so we didn't have that extra work (or cost, if you are buying diapers) when the second baby arrived. It was nice to be able to ask him to get dressed or put on his coat while I bundled the baby up to go outside - rather than having to wrestle 2 infants/toddlers into clothes and coats.
Regarding mixed race/cultures and support and age spreads, I'm from a mixed ethnicity family and I'm not sure it matters. I have older siblings with a fairly large gap in ages and younger siblings with a fairly small gap in ages. I don't think it mattered one way or the other for us all. I've never thought about it before though.
We had a lot less issues with jealousy with ds1; none, really until ds2 started playing with his toys, than I've heard moms with younger older siblings posting about. The older kid(s) were able to help a lot more than a young toddler would have been.
I really can't imagine having kids any closer together, I always am amazed at women who choose to have them close together, tbh. I think I'd go insane. I love this spacing
mom to all boys B: 08/01, C: 07/05 , N: 03/09 , M: 01/12 and far too many lost ones
They are now 4 and 1 and I can say it is a beautiful relationship they have. DD is big enough to help with somethings, DS adores her. He has been walking since 10 months and follows her around and tries to run. The balance is much better than the friends I've seen with the 2 year spacing, but seriously when DD was 19 months, we were thinking we weren't even going to have another kid because she was soooooooo much work. Her toddler years were pretty bad, she was a runner. IDK how I could have ever gone anywhere with 2 kids at that time.
This spacing is wonderful for our family. We planned it that way, DH and I knew toddlers were just plain hard.
My baby girl is more than 4.5 years younger than my second, and I feel a little bad for her because they are so inseparable and she is so separate. But I'm also looking forward to getting more time with her alone.
I <3 that DS is potty trained, has the verbal skills to communicate his needs, can meet some of his needs on his own (get a snack from the fridge, go to the bathroom by himself, entertain himself while I shower/get dressed), and he's at the age now where he really WANTS to be helpful and in alot of way he actually IS helpful. He puts away his laundry, picks up dirty clothes, puts them in the laundry room, knows how the work the TV remote ( ), brings clothes out of the dryer, picks up the mail, lets the dogs in/out and in/out of their kennels, the list of things he has learned to do after the age of 2 is loooong.
Also he's started making the transition from being very mommy focused to being very daddy focused. Which means that he's thrilled to have "daddy time" leaving me more time to take care of myself/the baby when she arrives. I think the transition occurs regardless of gender at about this time. A year ago he was still very close to me (daddy was fun but mommy was the center of everything, now it's daddy is a blast and mommy will still be here later)
DS also has the ability now to verbalize his feelings so I'm hopeful that we can talk about how he feels mad/sad/angry and what he can do about it (when the jealousy pops up).
They're far enough apart that they're in very different developmental stages, so they're not "competing". At the same time, they're close enough that they share play interests. They play together, laugh together, but aren't so similar in development that they're in each other's spaces. I love the spacing!
Our kids are very close, and there are a lot of things that I really like about it. Honestly though, my belief is that three to four years is probably the most natural gap for our species.
::::: Married for ten years to my good man :. Mama to my sweet and funny boy and my lovely little girl
My sister and I are 3 1/4 yrs apart and have always been close.
On the flip side I'm glad that they're not farther apart in age. Well, I do think it would have been easier for me and dd at first if she had been older when he was born, BUT the 3 yr spacing allowed them to still be close enough to be able to really get on the same wavelength re. playing etc. Dd is still young enough to dig all the silly, running around, goofy humour, etc type of playing that ds is into (at age 3... well, he'll be 3 in a week). Dd's best friend is 2 yrs older than her (he's almost 8) and he isn't able to get down to ds's level iykwim (he's more of a junior babysitter to ds). So if I had waited two more years before having ds they would have had that same age difference between them, perhaps making it less likely that they would be able to play "on the same level" .
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
Ds1 and Ds2 are nearly 3 years apart. No need for tandem nursing, Ds1 weaned right before I got pregnant (when he was about 2 years old). He was much more able to understand "ok, give mommy a minute and let me finish this" where at 18 months, it's very difficult for a child to understand that. He *loves* being a big brother where DD really had no concept of that fact (she'd point to ds1 and say "baby", but otherwise had little interest - but she was also a child that wasn't interested in dolls). Ds1 wasn't a great sleeper and is sort of a difficult child so it's good that we had some extra time for him to mature (but I realize this depends on the child). Mostly, though, I was more able to enjoy my pregnancy because I wasn't chasing a tiny person - my older kids were much more self-sufficient (able to sit and do a project for a while or would play on their own or whatever), and I haven't had to carry two babies around all the time, like I did with the first two. There's only been a few times that Ds1 has asked me to carry him while I was carrying Ds2.
I dunno... it's a very different experience, and of course there's pros and cons to each distance, but I'm really happier with the wider spacing. FWIW, Dh's siblings are all 3 years apart, and they're relationships are much closer with each other than I am with my sister who is about 2 yrs age difference.
Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise (1/06), Oliver Matthew (7/07) and Avery Michael (3/10)
Wading slowly and nervously into this homeschooling thing.
I do really enjoy being with just my dd for now, and she is still a baby in so many ways - still bf, still in diapers, can't fall asleep on her own, still waking up to bf, very attached to mama, etc.
And while our dd was a surprise and things turned out fine, my dh was so stressed because he was about to start grad school and we had no idea how we would afford to have a baby. it would be really nice to actually have him feel ready and be financially more stable when we start ttc.
This thread is really encouraging...it seems like almost everyone I know who had a baby within a few months of my dd either has another baby already or is pregnant, and my family has been asking for about a year when we will be having #2 (my mom had my sister and I 18 months apart, and my sister's kids are 19 months apart).
I'd love to hear some more experiences!
Loving wife to DH and mama to DD (11/08) and DS (2/12)
Liking the responses so far!
For me, a closer age gap would mean it would be harder. As it is, DD1 is aware DD2 is her sister snd she's very gentle, loving and protective.
DD2 loves her big sister and smiles and laughs at her a lot. It sometimes seems they're already playing together, although DD2 is 3 months old.
My brother and I were eight years apart in age. No fights or sibling rivalry, and we got along incredibly well. Aside from my DH, I have always thought of my brother as my best friend, and we are still very close. DH and I's second child will be born when our first is 6, mostly because of my great experience with a big gap (and his not-so-great experience with a one-year gap between himself and his sister).
I would have gone crazy trying to take care of a newborn and a young toddler (under 3 y/o for sure) at the same time! Oh my goodness. I cannot even imagine what that would be like. At 3 or 4, a child can really feel like a "big brother" or "big sister" and even help out a bit to care for his/her younger sibling, which I think can be a great bonding experience. The younger child gets a protector and advisor, while the older gets to feel admired and gets someone to mentor.
BTW, my eight-years-older brother and I did things together all the time growing up, too, and even worked at the same company and lived as roommates when we were in our 20s!
I have had time alone with each one. So much time when they were babies and their older siblings where playing, napping, or whatever, to get to know each kid. I have also done preschool once the older kiddos were of age/maturity for a few years and have had the opportunity for the sweet one-on-one time you normally have only with your first child.
Don't count on anyone playing with anyone else until baby is at least two, other than Mama-directed play. Even then your older won't be happy with what the baby wants to do most of the time, but soon enough you will hear: "baby, come play cars/legos/dolls with me" and you will know baby has been accepted into the pack of older kids. And they will LOVE it.
DS1 was potty-trained, sleeping through the night, weaned and in pre-school when DS2 was born. There has been basically no jealousy, there's lots of love both ways. DS1 understands and communicates really well, and he is at the age where being a "big boy" is really important to him. He likes feeling bigger than his little brother.
Physically, emotionally, mentally and financially we weren't able to do a closer spacing. I was worried that the sibling relationship would suffer, but honestly I think those relationships are more dependent on personalities than on spacing.
GL to you!
Now he's in full time kindergarten and I have all day at home with baby dd... we go to playgroups and swimming lessons and we can be at home for her naps, without having to worry about ds's activities.
They get along great because they're not sharing the same toys. When the baby bugs ds sometimes, he can just go to his room, close the door and play by himself for a while. He's a great helper too...
Good luck with your decision
My husband is younger than his brother by 3 years, and they were very close as young kids and again starting in high school (similar to what I'm seeing in my own children). He and his older brother lived together during college and grad school, and later in life, for about 10 years our families both lived in the same town and they were the best of friends. They probably saw or talked to each other almost every day and would hang out together when they both had free time. They moved across the country several months ago, and I see the hole that this has left in my husband's life. He misses him a lot, even though they talk on the phone at least once a week and facebook each other regularly. He's 40 years old and he misses his brother terribly!!!
So I'd say, yes, three years is fine. In my experience there is about a 3-4 year time period where developmentally they are just too far apart, but once the youngest hits middle school, they reconnect and continue to seek out and enjoy each others' company.
My brother is 2 yr. 3 mos. younger than me, and we HATED each other growing up. Adding him to our family was incredibly traumatic for me (my first memory). Although we're close now, and he lived with me and Huz for a while after he finished college, there's no guarantee that kids close in age will get along. I think the best age gap is the one that works best for all of the members of the family.