Tell me good things about 3 year spacing between kids - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I have always wanted my kids to be close in age. I was 18 months younger than my sister and we did things together all the time growing up. My ideal would have been to have them 2 years apart. My husband and I are from different countries and races, so I always thought it would be helpful to have siblings close in age so that they would always have sometime who could understand what it is like to be mixed race and from 2 different cultures and they could support each other.

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 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) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#2 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 04:20 PM
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Babies/Toddlers who are 2 years apart always seemed stressful to me.

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.
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#3 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 04:26 PM
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I have nearly 4 years between each of my kids (3y 11mths & 3y 8mths) & I think it's a great spacing. The older one is more able to understand, to help. They're out of the clingy toddler stage, usually out of diapers so you only have to deal with one in diapers. My oldest was weaned when I got pregnant, my middle weaned easily during pregnancy because he was old enough to understand when I told him that it hurt. And I didn't feel guilty for him weaning, he was over 3 by then. I never had to worry about my milk drying up and leaving an under 2 with no milk (2 is my minimum age to stop breastfeeding).

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

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#4 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 04:31 PM
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my two are 3 yr 3 months apart and I LOVE the spacing. My oldest was still young enough to want to play with him yet old enough to help as well. They get along great and while they are only 5 and 2 they have an amazing bond to one another. This next will be 2 weeks shy of 3 yrs difference from my now youngest. Elijah is getting old enough to be excited about the baby and want to know whats going on and I love that!

Melanie, SAHM to Kyley Grace (5)  Elijah Franklin (2) and Asher John (March 17th)
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#5 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 04:41 PM
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My kids are 3 yrs 3weeks apart, for us it is perfect. DD was a nightmare, train-wreck of a toddler, BUT as a 3 year old she developed into a beautiful, wonderful little girl and big sister. She was totally potty trained at 20 months, so that was a great thing too. We never skipped a beat when DS was born, DD didn't get jealous, she was proud. I've seen the jealousy factor way more with this smaller spacing, the older child seems more put out(at least from what I've seen).

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.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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#6 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 05:12 PM
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There's a 3 yr. gap between my oldest and middle child. I love it. My first was out of diapers and sleeping through the night before I got pregnant. He was also able to get himself a snack, and I didn't feel terrible about letting him watch TV occasionally when I was exhausted during pregnancy because he was over 2. He was helpful when his brother was born, would grab me a diaper or a glass of water, etc. They tandem nursed until they weaned together (it was actually the little one's idea). They moved to their own room together at 5 and 2 and still share a room (with bunk beds). They have played together great since my littlest started crawling at 5 mos. Now that they are older they fight some but are still best friends.
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.
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#7 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 05:54 PM
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There is a 3 year and 3 day age gap between my son and my daughter... and like you, I originally wanted them to be close in age but infertility kind of made that impossible even though we started trying again right away after DS... However, I have found it to be a completely awesome age gap thus far. He is about to be 7 and she is about to be 4 and he was SUCH a wonderful help when she was a baby... he was old enough that he could actually HELP by getting me things, keeping an eye on her when I went to the other room or whatever and well, she has ALWAYS thought he is the definition of cool. They are now the best of friends and play together incredibly well. It's nice NOW because I can leave him in the front yard with her for a few minutes when I need to run in the house or whatever. We had a 6 month space between diapers too so that was nice that it wasn't continuous years of diapers. We also didn't have the jealousy issue as at 3, DS was wanting more independence so wasn't really all that upset over the fact that I was spending so much time taking care of DD. We are TTC again and there will more then likely be atleast 5 years between DD and the next one... not so sure how that one will go as my sister and I were 5 years apart and HATED each other during childhood... eek.

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#8 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 06:07 PM
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DS will be 3 1/2 when DD arrives (see siggy). At first I thought the spacing would be too far apart, that they wouldn't have a close sibling relationship. The realization finally hit that the sibling bond will be there regardless of the age gap (2 or 3 years). It's more about the experiences they have together rather than the age gap.

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).

wife to DH, Mama to DS "Bug" (09/07), and DD "Sprout" (01/11). 
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#9 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 06:13 PM
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There's a 3 year gap with our kids and I love it. Our son was old enough when dd was born that he had a modicum of patience. He could cognitively understand that mommy was busy and he had a modicum of self restraint.

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!

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#10 of 26 Old 09-23-2010, 06:54 PM
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There are good things about every age spacing. Whenever spacing threads come up people seem mostly happy with what they have, even if it wasn't what they planned.

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.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#11 of 26 Old 09-24-2010, 03:58 AM
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For all sorts of reasons, I love the 3.5 year gap between our kids! I don't know how it will be when they are older, but it is great now.

::::: Married for ten years to my good man :. Mama to my sweet and funny boy and my lovely little girl

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#12 of 26 Old 09-24-2010, 01:00 PM
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My dd#1 was 24 monthes when I became pregnant with dd#2, so they are 2 3/4 years apart. My oldest was very ready for a new baby, some of the nice things were that she was old enough to mind well by the time the baby came, she had been potty trained for a year, she could help with little things (like please get mommy a diaper or can you get mommy's water from the fridge), she could entertain herself for half an hour to an hour at a time. She was also young enough that she still napped during the day (this was GREAT for a tired mommy and new baby!). It was a very nice spacing, since then I have had babies 2 yrs apart and also 2 1/2 yrs apart. The 2 yrs apart was a little difficult, as the older lo is still so young. My girls are in the 3rd grade and K now and everyone at school tells me how cute it is that they are best friends! Although at home they sure know how to fight too
My sister and I are 3 1/4 yrs apart and have always been close.
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#13 of 26 Old 09-24-2010, 05:56 PM
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My kids are almost exactly 3 years apart and I'm very happy about the spacing. There is no way I could have coped with them any closer together. By the time ds was born dd was a) completely potty trained, b) able to fall asleep by herself, and c) able to entertain herself for a decent amount of time. If he had have come along a year earlier none of these things would have applied. I found life with a newborn/baby and toddler/preschooler hard enough (ds was a high-needs baby and dd had quite a bit of trouble adjusting to being a big sister). I can't imagine dealing with it any sooner than it happened, iykwim.

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

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#14 of 26 Old 09-24-2010, 06:05 PM
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My first two are 18 months apart, and while they now are able to play together, I feel like it was WAY too close and was extremely hard on my body. I suffered from either PPD or adrenal fatigue (um, or both?) after ds1's birth... it was just a really difficult time. And DD was still such a baby, looking back, I feel like I missed a lot of her baby-hood. I also had difficulty with tandem nursing, but felt like I needed to because she was still so young.

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.

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#15 of 26 Old 09-25-2010, 11:18 AM
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My kids are 2 3/4 years apart and are the best of friends. DS was three when DD came home at nine months (they're both adopted.) I actually consider them to be pretty close in age and wouldn't have wanted them to be any closer in age. Yes they fight sometimes, but they are best buddies and love to play together.
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#16 of 26 Old 09-25-2010, 02:06 PM
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It took dh and I soooo long to get pregnant with our ds that we started trying for #2 when he was 8 months. Well, I didn't get a positive till our son was almost 3! And you know what? I am just enjoying the heck out of my son right now. I am glad that I have had 3.5 years to be mommy to only him. Plus, there are 4 years between myself and my younger sister, and then 4 years between her and my youngest sister. And we are, and always have been, as close as can be.


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#17 of 26 Old 09-25-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses! I am really feeling so much better about this, I need to bookmark this page and come back to it when I am getting impatient or getting baby fever!

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 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) and expecting another little boy (4/15)
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#18 of 26 Old 09-25-2010, 07:17 PM
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3 year difference here!

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.
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#19 of 26 Old 09-26-2010, 05:55 AM
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I can't say much about 3-year gaps, specifically, but as far as having kids a bit further apart:

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!

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#20 of 26 Old 09-26-2010, 07:03 AM
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I kind of think no matter what page we are all on we will find the positives in our chosen/or chosen for us spacing! I have three kids, each roughly three years apart and, like you always wanted closely aged babies (in my case no less than no years between each). For a number of reasons that didn't happen here, and I could not be more pleased.

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.
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#21 of 26 Old 09-26-2010, 07:11 AM
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double post
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#22 of 26 Old 09-26-2010, 07:22 AM
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My boys are about 3 years 8 months apart and it's a great spacing for us.

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!
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#23 of 26 Old 09-26-2010, 02:16 PM
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We will probably also have a 3 year gap, and I too would have preferred a smaller gap. What I do find comforting is that both DH and I have about a 3 year difference with our own sibling and we are both really extremely close to our sibling. It sound like a huge gap when comparing a newborn to a 3 year old but my sister and I played and bonded and supported each other, and were definitely closer than a lot of our friends who had siblings closer in age. Now at 20 and 23 the gap isn`t even really there anymore. We are both married and DD will have a cousing 18 months younger than her

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#24 of 26 Old 09-27-2010, 04:40 PM
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we have a 4 and 1/2 year gap between ds and dd... it wasn't planned that way but it works great for us. Ds was an avid nurser and a poor sleeper when he was little... we managed to CLW when he was 4. Tandem nursing would have been difficult for me and I'm glad he was a full-term nurser.
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


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#25 of 26 Old 09-28-2010, 02:46 PM
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My daughters are three years apart, and it's awesome. Starting when the youngest was about a year old, they played together very, very well. When the oldest turned 11, she started to outgrow "playing", and by the time she was 12 or 13, while they were friendly to each other, they were just at such different developmental ages, they weren't really friends who hung out. Now that they are 15 and 12, they are growing closer again, have similar interests, and have started doing things together again (independent of us). As in, my oldest daughter was going to ride her bike downtown to go shoe shopping, and completely unbidden she asked her sister if she wanted to go with her. That sort of thing.

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.
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#26 of 26 Old 09-29-2010, 04:10 PM
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Hey OP, we're in the same position. I always thought my kids would be close in age, but with DD approaching two and being terrible (and wonderful, too, of course), we're now looking at more of a 3-4 year age gap. And that's fine, because it is what will work for our whole family (not just me).

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.

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