2 year spacing vs. 3 year spacing? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 04-14-2011, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In your opnion, which is best?  

I'm leaning towards two year, but I keep seeing people on here that are more fond of the 3 year age gap. 

All of my friends with kids have 2 year spacings, so I just kinda thought that was the norm. 

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#2 of 20 Old 04-15-2011, 04:02 AM
 
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I always intended to have a two year spacing. My brother and I are 22 months apart and I thought that was just great!

 

But I didn't get my first period back until DD1 was 20 months!  There went that plan!

 

DD2 was born when her sister was 3 months shy of 3 years.  It has been really great. Really.  DD1 was big enough to walk and do some things on her own when the baby was born. She was excited and happy to share her 'milks'. She was able to understand 'not now, but in just a minute when baby naps'.

 

Now at 2 and almost 5 they are getting along really well. They'll play together or DD1 will read them both a story.  They wrestle and tickle each other and are just generally sweet together. (with the expected sibling issues from time to time)

 

Every age spacing will have its ups and downs, but we've been really happy with our 33month spacing.


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#3 of 20 Old 04-15-2011, 09:59 AM
 
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My two are almost exactly 3 years apart.  When I was pg with ds, dd was 2.5 and she could understand if I needed to rest or if I wasn't feeling well.  At 3, she was able to understand that the baby needed to nurse or I needed to change him.  She was already potty trained, so I only had one in diapers.  She was falling asleep on her own and STTN so I only had one child to parent to sleep and only one child's night wakings to deal with.  And she was already weaned, so I didn't have to tandem nurse.  Now that ds is 15 months and dd is nearly 4.5, they get along really well and I see that things will get better and better as he gets tougher and more active.  One of the difficulties of this spacing is that 3 years old can really be a challenging age for kids.  My dd is spirited and age 3 was definitely difficult, so dealing with her behavior issues and a newborn was not the easiest.  I had a lot of people tell me if she had been 4 things would have been SO much easier.  Then I had others say if she had only been 2, her behavior would have been easier to deal with, but then you would likely have all the other things: diapers, nursing, night wakings, etc.

 

I'm pg now with #3... a big oops... and my youngest 2 will only be 22 months apart.  I'm in the throws of m/s and my 15 month old doesn't understand.  He wants to nurse all the time and it's so painful.  His night wakings are killing me.  This is tough and not what I would have chosen.  I'm having feelings of guilt about what it's going to do to him- force him out of the baby role before he's ready.  Sigh...

 

So, as the pp said, every age spacing has it's pros and cons.  I think, in the end, for the kids either one is great.  My advice would be to focus on how the spacing will affect how you parent your kiddos and decide what makes the most sense for you.


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#4 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 12:09 AM
 
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Everyone is different and I 100% believe there is NO right age for everyone. It's a very personal choice and depends on many factors.

 

My 1st and 2nd are 3 1/2 yrs apart and my 2nd and 3rd are 2 1/2 yrs apart. I want to wait until my 3rd is 3 before I get pregnant again. 

 

For me personally, I like the bigger age gap because I feel it gives me more time to baby my baby. I am not rushing my two year old to grow up because of his sibling (he still breastfeeds, climbs in bed with me in the morning, etc.) but I miss out on time with him because I need to take care of my 5 month old. I know I'm not as patient with him as I would be if he were the baby and I didn't have another person to take care of. These are my shortcomings and I'm not saying everyone is this way, but it's just been a very rough transition for me and I have guilt about it. 

 

I know 2 yrs apart is the norm but I don't really know why. Two is a very challenging age. I think I'd almost prefer closer than two years rather than exactly two years.... My Mom had all of us 5 1/2 years apart. I know that's a huge gap and it's definitely bigger than I want for my kids, but I will say that she had it easy in a lot of ways! All of us were totally ready and excited for the next baby, we were old enough to go potty on our own, grab a snack if we were hungry and entertain ourselves for a little while so she could rest and tend to the baby. We grew up playing really well together and now as adults, we're still close! We're all vacationing together at the end of the month. My older sister and I were pregnant together last year and it was so special. 

 

I agree with PP that there are pros and cons to every gap. I think honestly facing how the age gap will affect everyone in the family is the best way to decide. 

 

Good luck to you mama!! 


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#5 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 12:29 AM
 
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For me I wanted 4yrs at least between but preferably 5 ended up with 4y12d couldnt have turned out more perfect for me. My dd was able to nurse until we weaned without fear of me loosing my milk while pg and she was old enough when ds was born to be a help instead of another baby to care for.

 
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#6 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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My three kids are alll roughly two years apart. it kept me very busy when they were little but it worked well. Our whole life revolved around babies and toddlers for a few years and it was busy but really fun too. As my kids got older, being close in age made playing together easier. They have always been very close. Now my youngest is 11 and my oldest is almost 15 and the gap is pretty wide between those two developmentally but they still have things they love to do together.

 

My dh came from a family where the 4 kids were all 3-4 years apart. MIL says it was "so much easier" on her than what she saw happening for me and she liked having them all at distinct stages as they grew up. dh said it always felt like there was never anyone to play with even in a family with 4 kids because no one liked to play or do the same things at the same time. As adults they do not have close relationships. They care about each other but have very little contact or interest in one another's lives. My cousins who grew up in a family with 4 kids born in 6 years are all extremely close and have very supportive friendly relationships as adults. That is something we hope for for our kids.

 

 

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#7 of 20 Old 04-17-2011, 11:29 AM
 
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 I should add that my ds weaned at 15 months. My first dd continued to nurse throughout my pregnancy with her sister and then weaned 2 years later. Youngest dd nursed until she was 4.

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#8 of 20 Old 04-20-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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I prefer more space (though my almost 5 year space was out of necessity) because of my parenting style. I don't buy the close-ness arguement of the smaller age gap really though. I think personality, environment, etc. have more to do with how adult relationships turn out. My brother and I are 13 months apart and do not have a close relationship, but my sister and I are 4 1/2 years apart and we are fairly close.


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#9 of 20 Old 04-20-2011, 11:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post

My three kids are alll roughly two years apart. it kept me very busy when they were little but it worked well. Our whole life revolved around babies and toddlers for a few years and it was busy but really fun too. As my kids got older, being close in age made playing together easier. They have always been very close. Now my youngest is 11 and my oldest is almost 15 and the gap is pretty wide between those two developmentally but they still have things they love to do together.

 

My dh came from a family where the 4 kids were all 3-4 years apart. MIL says it was "so much easier" on her than what she saw happening for me and she liked having them all at distinct stages as they grew up. dh said it always felt like there was never anyone to play with even in a family with 4 kids because no one liked to play or do the same things at the same time. As adults they do not have close relationships. They care about each other but have very little contact or interest in one another's lives. My cousins who grew up in a family with 4 kids born in 6 years are all extremely close and have very supportive friendly relationships as adults. That is something we hope for for our kids.

 

 

 

 



But that could be for a number of reasons. It would probably still be this way regardless of age difference. I'm not just going off of my family's outcome of a big age gap and close relationships. I know a lot of people and I've asked around and found all sorts of answers. There are so many things that determine how close siblings will be as adults and age gaps often have very little to do with it. I think the family environment in general and how much importance is placed on being together, etc. can effect closeness as much as, if not more than, how many years are between the kids. 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ShwarmaQueen View Post

I prefer more space (though my almost 5 year space was out of necessity) because of my parenting style. I don't buy the close-ness arguement of the smaller age gap really though. I think personality, environment, etc. have more to do with how adult relationships turn out. My brother and I are 13 months apart and do not have a close relationship, but my sister and I are 4 1/2 years apart and we are fairly close.

100% agree! My husband and his siblings all care a great deal for each other and are close but his brothers that are 22 months apart aren't particularly close and certainly don't have a closer bond that his brothers who are 3 1/2 years apart. That's why I think what's best for everyone in the family is the best answer to the age gap question.
 

 


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#10 of 20 Old 04-25-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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I don't think I could deal with having newborn right now (DD is 25 months). DD is still really needy, but I can see that transition. She's starting to want to do more things herself, daddy can read her to sleep rather than her nursing, stuff like that. I also wanted to make sure to nurse until DD was 2 and pregnancy can dry up your milk. I can see where smaller gaps could be fun for friends, but I can also see how it would be REALLY hectic. My friend's DD is best friends with mine and they're 20 months apart. I know it would be different with siblings, but when I watch the two of them I feel DEAD at the end of the day. Constant arguing over toys and running like crazy and when one starts screaming, the other one does too. DD is also very much in a mimicking age, so when friend's DD does something that an almost 4 year old can handle like climbing on a railing or something, it's REALLY hard to convince DD that she can't do it too because she'll fall. 


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#11 of 20 Old 04-26-2011, 05:41 PM
 
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Three year, no contest. My youngest two will be 20m apart - it's way too soon. 


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#12 of 20 Old 05-07-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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Loving my 3 year spread so far!

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#13 of 20 Old 05-10-2011, 06:48 PM
 
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I've thought about this a lot too.  I only have my DD so no experience yet.  I think there are a lot of positive aspects of a 3 year gap and if I was in my early 20's I'd probably aim for that.  But given my age (in my early 30s) and my desire for 2 or 3 more kids, I'm leaning towards a 2 year gap.  And I may not conceive as easily this time, so perhaps the gap will be larger than 2 years.  

 

 


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#14 of 20 Old 05-10-2011, 08:18 PM
 
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I'm new around here, but had to reply since I have experience with both2 and 3 year spacings. My oldest son and his brother are only 23 months apart. It was supposed to be exactly two years but #2 arrived 4 weeks early. We didn't really plan to have our kids quite that close and I didn't realize at the time how needy a two year old still is. But, due to fertility issues we never prevented a pregnancy  well you get what you get. I have to admit that the first two years were tough. I had two in diapers, and my 2 year old just couldn't understand that I needed to breaks to take care of the baby. Now my boys are the best of friends and they really look out for each other. They are able to do some activities together and yet are still far enough apart that they have their own separate friends etc... I also didn't have to drag #2 to a bunch of #1's activities or school because neither were really old enough to participate. After the first 18 months or so they played with many of the same toys, and read the same books and I could engage both of them at their own level simultaneously. We moved through things as a group making it easy on everyone. I also think that it helps that #1 doesn't really remember NOT having a brother. I do however worry about #2 being constantly compared to his brother as they get older.

 

DD was born when #2 was 3years and 3months. Again, this wasn't our plan, but just the way it turned out. The immediate newborn/ infant period was so much easier. Partially because my boys could entertain each other/themselves while I took care of the baby, but also because they understood that DD needed me. DD is now 17 months and I find it difficult to include her in the games/books/toys that my boys are playing with. She doesn't have the atttention span to read books with us and is unable to build legos and such. Unfortunatley that has led me to group my boys activities together frequently and then play with my DD separately.  In addition, I have to drag her to school/sports activities, practices and games. It's hard for her and hard for me.  I constantly feel like somebody is not getting the attention they need. Much of that is just part of mothering 3 kids I'm sure, but I can't help to think that it would be easier if DD was a bit bigger and able to participate in more of the activities with us.

 

I agree with the PP that adult sibling relationships have more to do with the environment and individual personalities than with the spacing. Case in point, my DH has 3 younger sisters all roughly two years apart and he is by far closer to the youngest who is six years younger than him. On the other hand, his oldest sister is only 18 months younger and you couldn't find two people who are more different if you tried. They rarely talk to each other.

 

In my experience, there are pros and cons to both and I think that at different stages one can be easier than the other. Where we are right now (ages 6, 4 and 1), I prefer the two year spacing. A year ago, I preferred the three year gap. Who knows how the dynamics will change over the years and if it will really make a difference in the long run. Every child and every family is beautifully unique. There is no one size fits all approach and what works for one family my not work at all for another and that is what makes life intersting.


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#15 of 20 Old 05-10-2011, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here.

 

First, I want to say that I appreciate everyone's thoughtful responses.  It has given me a lot to think about.

 

For the time being, I think we've decided to go with a 3 year gap.  

 

2 years was just always "the plan." Everyone I know with kids, has a 2 year age gap.  ...but we all know how laughable our plans can be sometimes.  :)  I thought I wanted 4 kids, and I wanted to have them be born before I hit 35 to lower the risk of downs syndrome.(in comes the 2 year spacing)  Now I'm not so sure that I can handle 4 kids and still be the kind of mom/person that I want to be.  So now I'm thinking 2...possibly 3.....with the three year age gap.  My sister and I are 3 years apart, so in that sense it does feel kind of normal to me.  For me, the clincher was reading about how a 3 year gap is physically healthy for mom and baby and lowers the risk of all kinds of complications/prematurity/etc..  I know there are plenty that have have had kids closer than 3 years apart and were just fine, but I'm just saying, that's what the studies show, and it makes sense.  Especially for me, right now, pregnancy and not sleeping through the night for a year kinda ransacked me.  My iron, vit. D, adrenal and thyroid function are all low. ...and I still have a 3 finger diastasis recti.  

On another note, I feel like my life is just starting to see some balance as I'm getting more into painting and selling my work.  I was sick the 1st 14 weeks of my pregnancy, so with that, plus a toddler, my painting (and life outside mothering) would probably get pushed way way aside.

Also, my husband's job might be changing and we might be moving this summer.  I'd rather not move while pregnant again.  

 

Those are just some reasons.  Overall, we feel at peace about it.  ...and maybe will reevaluate at 2.5 year gap after summer is over.

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#16 of 20 Old 05-13-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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I realize I'm a bit late, but I'd like to chime in with an advantage to a 2 or 3 year gap.. that is, no one talks about the non-advantage to a 2.5 year gap ROTFLMAO.gif. DS was 29.5 months when DD arrived. Although things are going really well with us (now 33 mo & 3.5 mo), I often wished (especially in the early weeks) that DS had been a bit younger OR older. At 2, he was crazy and independent, but not quite to the degree that he is now. I swear he is a faster runner than I am (& I'm a runner!). Keeping up with him & a newborn would have been much easier around 2. He'll be 3 in August, & we're now pretty close to full toilet independence. Potty learning with DS while taking care of DD (especially since I use EC with DD) means I've been like jog.gif since the moment she was born. I pretty much live running with one child (or both) to the bathroom! ROTFLMAO.gif If I were pregnant now & DD arriving as he turns 3, my newborn experience with her would be quite different. DS is calming down (um, sort of, haha) and speaking well and sleeping better and all sorts of things. He is able to understand when mom just really needs a minute. For the next baby we have decided we're either going to start trying right as DD turns 1 or wait until she is nearly 3. I can handle 2 infants, but the one infant and one toddler in explosive transition has been bonkers! The one advantage I can say about the 2.5 year gap was that DS was really able to grasp pregnancy, enjoy the kicking of DD in my belly, anticipate her arrival, etc..

 

 

As for the closeness of siblings, ehhhhh. I don't know how much age has to do with it. My siblings and I are 28, 24, 22(me), & 17. My oldest brother is pretty much AWOL with all of us, my 24 y/o brother is relatively close with both me AND my little sister, and my little sister (4.5 years from me) and I are extremely close. I will say she drove me nuts as a child but by the time she was 10 she was the apple of my eye joy.gif. My brother has always been very good to me (2.5 years from me) and I see a similar relationship forming between DS & DD (as children, anyway). 


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#17 of 20 Old 05-19-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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My kids are all 4-4.5 years apart and I have liked this spacing although I can see how it really is quite far apart as the kids get into school.  My oldest is in grade 4 and my middle one is in preschool.  They are very excited about next year though since my oldest may get to be the big buddie for his little brother when he starts kindergarten.  They enjoy playing together and have a lot of fun.  Both of them are thrilled about their youngest brother.  I think a 3 year spacing would be really nice too.  I was never ready to be pregnant again until my kids hit about age 3 so that is what we did.  My sister and I are 3.5 years apart and have always been very close.  I don't think kids spaced further apart means they won't be close.  My kids have lots of fun and my youngest at 13 months are already starting to join in.  Of course, we are going to be paying for university forever when the time comes, lol. 

 

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#18 of 20 Old 05-20-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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I'm due in a few weeks with baby number two - DD will be three years, three months when he's born.

 

Obviously I don't know how it'll turn out with a baby, but I'm DEFINITELY glad this pregnancy didn't happen earlier. I was way, way sicker this go-round than last time; pretty much bedridden for a good six weeks or so, and only semi-functional for the rest of the pregnancy. (Just starting to feel a bit more human now, at 37 weeks - except I just caught a wicked cold. Grrr.) If DD had been constantly nursing or needier, it would have been so much harder.

 

As it is, during this pregnancy she's down to one nursing session (in the evening) - brief and just one side, so despite the pain of BFing with pregnancy hormones, it's not too onerous - she's potty-trained during the day and dry 9 out of 10 nights as well - she sleeps in her own bed in our room, and comes into bed with us in the morning (although we're still working out the kinks there, I admit) - and she's become way, WAY better at entertaining herself.

 

She's still not exactly Miss Super Adult von Responsible, or able to make me a cup of raspberry leaf tea - but hey! It's pretty good. And she's incredibly excited about the baby - watches birth videos with me, talks about the tiny clothes I'm sewing/knitting, asks semi-"deep" questions like "Does the baby got skin?" and "What's the baby's name in you tummy?" and "Does the baby wear clothes when he comes out?"... it's pretty awesome! Not sure if we'll have her there for the birth or not, but she's only juuuuusssst able to sleep without us (sleeping in our bed with Gran - we did a trial run last week when DH and I went away for a night)... a few months ago she wouldn't have coped. So DH can stay with me and the new baby at the birthing centre for two nights - yay!

 

Next time, I might be tempted to go for even a slightly longer age gap. We would have this time, but were planning around a holiday this December and various other random factors! Boys are supposed to develop/mature slightly later than girls on average, and I'd rather have Baby 2 be at least as "with it" as DD currently is when Baby 3 comes along - so! But we'll see. Life sometimes has other plans, and all that.

 

Initially I wanted to have all my kids spaced close together, for the "closeness" reason PPs mentioned, but I'm no longer worried about that. I have sisters very close in age to me, and sisters miles apart - and I'm currently closest to the one who's 9 years younger than me! It evens out in the long run. But mostly, I went for a longer spacing because:

 

-I didn't feel I could AP the way I wanted to with a smaller spacing, without going totally insane

-DD's birth was traumatic and I needed a lot of time to process it and get up the courage to do it again

-I wanted DD to reach a certain level of independence before throwing another helpless human into the mix

-I read a bunch of stuff about nutrition, and wanted to give my body time to properly recover from childbirth and pregnancy, and build up nutrient stores for the next pregnancy

 

In other words, I pretty much felt the longer spacing was plain ol' necessary for my mental and physical health in the short term, and let the chips fall where they may in terms of sibling dynamics - KWIM?


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#19 of 20 Old 05-27-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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Interesting thread. Most people I know IRL have a two year spread. I've always assumed the larger age gap on MDC was nursing related.

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#20 of 20 Old 06-03-2011, 04:55 PM
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Mine are two years and five days apart and I love this gap. It was definitely challenging in the beginning and I kind of feel like my second child's (DS) early days are a total blur. But I love how close my kids are- they have so much fun playing together. DD really didn't experience any jealousy when DS was born and it was so easy to be home with the two of them when DS was an infant- I wasn't trekking out to preschool drop-off and pick-up, I didn't feel the need to have my older child in a bunch of classes/activities, which I liked b/c I'm not someone who enjoys a lot of running around with a newborn. Little things like not having to worry about the baby choking on small toys (that kids 3+ often have) were nice. I can read them a lot of the same books, they like similar activities. If we go for a third it will be about a 3 year difference, and I almost wish I could turn back time for another two year gap!

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