Ideal Spacing of Siblings - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The only children debate got me thinking about those of us who have chosen to have more than one. What age gap do you think works best? I've read that more than 4 years is too much for developing a close bond. I don't think that's true. I also think that having one child is as valid of a choice as is having more than one or having none.

I have a friend who is due in a week and a half who is *hoping* to be pregnant sometime between July and October (at the latest). I think she is crazy for planning them so close together.

My daughters are 2.5 years apart which I think is great. I think a space of about 2 - 3 years is nice. I am probably biased though because my siblings and myself are all spaced about that. lol

However, having said that, I also don't like the idea of having more than 2 under the age of 5. So, even though I'd like to have 2 more (if things work out), I will wait till my youngest is 4 to think about trying and then would hope to have another one 2.5 years after that.

That's my plan in theory and who knows what life holds in store!

Anyone else's thoughts?

Peace.
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#2 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 12:36 AM
 
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I've heard that ideal spacing is about 3 years. That being said, DH and I are going to shoot for 2 years. If we'd met a little sooner, I'd probably want our children 2.5-3years apart. However, we want 4-5 kids and I don't want to be having them to far into my 30s.
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#3 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 12:42 AM
 
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My personal favorite is about 3 yrs. I have some that are 18 months apart and that was too close for me. Some are 2 years apart and that's good too. My oldest two are 5 years apart but are very, very close. That was too much time to go without any kids in between, though. I want to have my next baby about three years from now. That would make ds3 a little over 3. I think you can reason with them better at that age.

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#4 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 12:43 AM
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My kids are 5 years apart and it works really well for us. Between 4 and 6 years apart is ideal, IMHO.
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#5 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just a post-script. My sister has a four month old and my dd who is 19 months is totally into him. I think she would love a younger sibling right now, but it's not going to happen. So, in terms of some children, I feel that 18 to 24 months would be a great gap. But, I like over two for me because they're a little more independent (not much) but that way I don't feel like the youngest is getting usurped out of being a baby. (My personal feelings, I don't necessarily think it has to be true!)

Peace.
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#6 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 01:09 AM
 
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Ours are 3.5 years apart.

Ds was/is a high needs child and I think if we had them closer, he would not have adjusted as well as he did.

I would love to have another, much closer in age to dd. But, alas, dh cannot be convinced.
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#7 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 01:35 AM
 
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My kids are 4 years apart and they are playing great together right now! I like this thread because I always thought that they were too far apart. Thanks you all reasure me (and the fact that they are playing so nicely right now )

Jula
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#8 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 02:56 AM
 
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we're going for 2.5 years. my siblings and i are *very* close together (my brother and I are 10 months apart) and i think it made me miserable as a result. how could i feel loved as an individual when my mother didn't even have a lap when i was 6 months old? not only that, but my brother always felt that he was competing with me, because he was trying to make up that 10 months that he never could, so he was miserable about it too. I think people who plan their kids that close together haven't really thought it through. it's just not fair, and i speak from experience.

that said, if i got pregnant right now (ds is 5 months old) i would be very disappointed. i think that i'd have to work extra hard and probably be medicated not to take that disappointment out on my kids, but i would find a way to do it without making dc #2 feel like a mistake. *sigh* i'm working very hard to not be put in that position.

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#9 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 10:49 AM
 
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Well the differences in my family are 11 months then 13 years then 3 years.
I am the oldest and closest to the one 14 years younger, if he is going to call and talk to someone it is me, and when he gets a little older (he is 10 right now) I am sure that I will confide more in him. The same with the other two, they are 16 years apart and very close, when my brother started dating his girlfriend 4 or 5 years ago she became very friendly with the youngest. A couple years later she told us it was because she knew that if Beth (my baby sister) didn't like her she wasn't going to be around for very long. I always felt it was kind of like Little Women, how the 2 older girls were close to one of the 2 younger girls.

But none of us are particularly close to the sibing near in age to us. I am not close to my brother who is 11 months younger. I don't even know his phone number and haven't talked or seen him since last October. Its not that we hate each other, I'll be back in town in June and see him and he'll be glad to see us, we just don't really have anything to say to each other.

So I vote for more than 10 years
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#10 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 10:53 AM
 
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For me ideal spacing is 12 months to 18 months apart. I had my three girls in just over 2 1/2 years and I love it. They are so close, they are really each other's best friends. My siblings and I (5 of us) were all born in roughly the same spacing and we're all still very close. But having closely spaced babies doesn't work for everyone I think.

I don't think there is one "ideal" that will fit ALL families as far as spacing goes!
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#11 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 11:44 AM
 
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every family is different. My younger brother and I are 2 years and 6 days apart and were soooooo close growing up. My neighbor and her sister are about 14 years apart and are very close now. SInce I have such positive memories of my childhood with my brother I am planning on having my kids anywhere from 18 mos to 2.5 yrs apart, just depending on what is happening in my life when it is time to have another.

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#12 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 11:45 AM
 
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You said it Lucina. The answer that I gave was "ideal for who?" My brother and I are 13 months apart and that was just fine for us. My DD's are 17 months apart. Certainly it was hard in the begining, but DD's are very, very close. Once the little one was 2, things were very, very easy. The girls played well together and they are just so much fun to be with espec now that they are 6 and almost 8.

But I know for some moms and kids different spacing is better.
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#13 of 26 Old 04-16-2003, 11:50 AM
 
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My daughter is 10 years older than my son.
My son will be 4 years old when the next little one arrives..... I really wanted my kids a little closer in age. My sisters girls are 4 years apart, and she says it has worked wonderfully for them.

Chelly
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#14 of 26 Old 04-17-2003, 01:46 AM
 
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Although i can't speak from experience (i only have 1 ds at the moment), i'd have to say about 3 years apart. my ds is 12 months old and we plan to wait until he turns 2 to ttc - of course, that is until i get worried we might have problems with ttc ( which is about once a week)!!!!!
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#15 of 26 Old 04-17-2003, 03:10 AM
 
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I think that 3-4 years is good because the older child has a better understanding and is a bit more self suffcient.

And for your friend, is she planning on nursing? Doesn't she remember the sore nipples? Just as she is getting the hang of it again she would be getting the first trimester sore nipples.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#16 of 26 Old 04-17-2003, 05:46 AM
 
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I love 4 years apart!

In my family (growing up) we were four years apart (me, 4 years later my sister, 4 years later my brother) and it worked out so well. We played, were very close, not much sibling rivalry, etc. And you don't have to pay for more than one college education at a time! I liked the fact that my siblings and I didn't have to compete for the same things - spots on sports teams, chairs in band, homecoming court, friends, boyfriends, whatever. I know winning and losing is something everyone must learn but it was nice not to have to compete with them.

I think the spacing of your own family (growing up) and your perception of it as good or bad makes the majority of many people's decisions on how to space their own kids.

Dd1 and dd2 are four years apart - just like my sister and me. But then we screwed up our four year plan (boy did we surprise everyone) by expecting #3 when dd2 is only 2 and 3/4 years old. We'll see how that goes.... But during childhood I was much closer to my sister (not sure if it was that we were both girls or that 8 years apart was a lot - between my brother and me) but now I am very close to both of them. I just feel that my sister and I had more of a shared childhood. By the time my brother was running around and talking, I was really into my friends and going out of the house to ride bikes or go swimming or stuff that he was too little to do.

I also think that spacing kids four years apart is easier on the parents - emotionally, physically, financially. I understand that parents of closely spaced kids have it harder early on but that they say it is easier after that. Maybe so. I myself liked having the time in between kids to sleep, not change diapers, have the freedom of going out while dd was with a sitter. I adore the baby stage but it is challenging and I don't know that I personally could do it year after year after year if I spaced my kids closely. I also think that for me I would have a hard time perceiving it as fair to the child - I like having the individual time with the first one - then when the first one is in school, you have individual time with the second one.

There are lots of variables to consider....
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#17 of 26 Old 04-17-2003, 04:59 PM
 
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My two are 21.5 months apart and I do NOT like this age spacing. My son is still too much of a baby and the changes in mama (postpartum hormones and stress and no sleep!) were too difficult for him to deal with. He is just now starting to rebond with me. I find it way too difficult and plan to wait to have number 3 until Olivia is 3-4 years old. Elijah will be 5.5 or so and Olivia would be 3.5 and I think that would be much easier. I am only just turning 24 in June so even though I want 5, 3.5 years apart will be fine. That would put me 27, 30 and 34 when I have my next 3 children.

Shawna, married to Michael, mommy to Elijah 1/18/01, Olivia 11/9/02, and Eliana 1/22/06
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#18 of 26 Old 04-18-2003, 09:19 PM
 
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i say 2-3 1/2 years. my two dd's are 2years2months apart and it was a little too close. i would have liked it closer to 3 years apart, which is what my brother and i are. i have several older step siblings, and while i got along with them well, i never ever had the same close companionship that i have with my brother. we could relate to each other better because we experienced things more in the same way.
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#19 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 01:48 AM
 
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I grew up as the 3rd child in a family of 7. I had the best childhood. My parents were ap, and we were a very close family (still are.) All seven of my parents children are spaced about 2 years and 9 months apart. For us, it worked beautifully!
The only exception in our family was when my mom miscarried. So, there are two that are nearly 4 years apart and the do are not close, at all. Right now one is almost 13 and the other just turned 9. They really don't get along. That 9 year old, however, is only just over 2 years older than the baby (6 year old) and from birth they have been the best of friends. The always want to be together, they get along better than I have ever seen children get along!

This is just how the children came in our family, and it worked out wonderfully. It was just natural. Taking in consideration of extended breastfeeding, family bed, etc. Soon after my mother's fertility returned, and in some cases before she new it did, she got pregnant, and that naturally spaced her children!

I've seen this work in many cases. I know some people who's fertility returned earlier, and their children are spaced closer and it works great for them. When things are done naturally they will work out beatifully.

All of that said, I've found that children that are close friends and spaced close together. I think 2.5 it pretty good (it's what I'm shooting for!)
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#20 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 02:16 AM
 
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Our kids will be just shy of 4 years apart and I THINK this will be good for us...

My 3 year old is a feisty, spirited child and is still nursing - the thought of having had a baby before now makes me think I would have had a hard time. I always thought I would like kids about 2-3 years apart, but my body (and my baby) weren't ready.

My siblings and I were VERY close (3 in 3 years) and that wasn't really so great growing up and we are only semi-close now. I'm close to my sister who is 4 years younger than me.
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#21 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 11:06 PM
 
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my girls are 21 mos and 22 mos apart respectively. i love the just about 2 year spacing though i would like one more and might try for a 3 year gap this time.

we'll see...

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#22 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 11:17 PM
 
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I started ttc when Soleil was 18 mts...I was thinking 2.5 yrs would be great....anyway, I just got pg 24 wks ago, Soleil will be four a month before my due date. I now am happy that it worked out this way. Soleil has been asking for a sibling, she is completely comfortable in her knowledge of our love for her. She's had us alone for all this time, we are so bonded, and yet all ready to expand our family.
This is Soleil's last summer as our only child, and I've planned a million adventures, that I hope she'll never forget!!!! (a mothering convention one of them if possible!!!)

Peace,

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#23 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 11:31 PM
 
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Well I just had my first one at the ripe old age of 36 (on my hospital discharge form they wrote "AMA" under 'complications' - ADVANCED MATERNAL AGE!) I'd like to have 3 kids so I can't wait long. Will try again when dd is 9 months but I am worried that I'll miss out on an important time in her life. Ideally if I had the time, I'd like to wait 3 years. In my family I had a sibling who was 10 months younger and everyone thought we were twins. Used to fight like cat and dog but we were close. Another sibling was 22 years older - can't recommend that , felt like an aunt more than a sister.
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#24 of 26 Old 04-22-2003, 11:43 PM
 
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I forgot to mention that age (mom's and dad's) does make a difference...I was 24 when Soleil was born, and am now 28 for this birth. Although I thought I would be working on my third by now, I'm okay with the change. But had I been older...not sure how that would've worked out. Dh is going to be 39 in June..and he's not sure if he wants anymore, as his energy is dwindling...(not imo)...

Peace,

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#25 of 26 Old 04-23-2003, 12:07 AM
 
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We will start TTC next August. Baby #2 will (hopefully) be born when Chase is 3 1/2. I'd rather have them exactly 3 years apart, or a little less, but I refuse to be pregnant during Louisiana summer ever again, so I had to coordinate the seasons, and that's how it ended up.

I think 3 years will be ideal for our family. For one thing, Chase has always needed lots and lots of one-on-one attention, so I don't know that I could conceivably even take care of him & another baby while he is still this young. Secondly, I like the idea of them being in different stages in school -- for example, it will be nice not to have to pay for two proms in one year...things like that. Yet they will be close enough in age that they can still relate to one another and find common interests, hopefully. (My sister and I are 6 years apart and totally did not understand each other growing up, although we are very close these days.)

We are planning on having 3-4 children and want to be done by 30 (we are both 20 now), so the 3rd and 4th may have to be a little closer in age )
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#26 of 26 Old 04-23-2003, 12:17 AM
 
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Ok, I'm an only who wanted to have two kids. I thought at first that 4-5 years would be great. Then I had #1!! I realized that I wanted to just get on with it and have all the babying done at once and all the toddlering, etc. My two dds are 25 1/2 months apart. Two years has been great for us. I could not have had kids any closer than 18-19 mo because I didn't start menstrating again until dd was 9 mo old!!
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