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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to make this a poll, but I'm still pretty inept at this (sigh), so I'll just ask: What is the age difference between your children?<br><br>
I am pregnant with #2, and dd will be 2 weeks shy of 2yrs old when this one is expected to be born. We were hoping for closer to a 3 yr difference, but weren't really that adamatly avoiding the possibility of a sooner conception. My first post-partum period came when dd was 12 months old, so we were a little careful those first couple of months after that because we didn't want them to be *less* than 2 years apart. I am happy with the child-spacing we will have, and feel that it is probably a very natural age difference. After reading "Breastfeeding and Natural Childspacing," I found that lactaction ammenorrhea for ecological breastfeeding is 14.5 months on average and that with no contraception babies are usually spaced about 2 years apart.<br><br>
So even though this seems very natural to me, I have found myself being constantly asked to justify such a close age difference, as others see it. And I've been totally bombarded with this, "You're in for it now." attitude. "You just wait. It's going to be really tough." That's all I hear! I honestly feel like I'm being judged. Like people think that you really *shouldn't* have your kids that close together or you're just an irresponsible parent. They automatically assume it was just a horrible accident and give you this condemning attitude.<br><br>
I get the feeling that this comes more from people who are used to chemical/hormonal/barrier birth control (which I really abhor) and can't understand why you just didn't use a condom, and also who have had to be "in charge" of their babies (ie. letting them CIO, not holding them too much) which I think probably made babyhood difficult for them. Thus they are in no hurry to do that all over again and can't see why anyone would.<br><br>
I don't know; maybe I'm just naive, maybe it will be hard with two little ones. But my heart tells me everything happens for a reason and that everything will work out just fine.<br><br>
Anyone else?
 

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This is only my own uneducated opinion here...<br><br>
But unless the people harassing you have children of that age difference, please smile, nod, and totally ignore them.<br><br>
The difference between my daughter and her brothers is just at 19 mos, and we have had FAR FAR less "adjustment" problems, even with twins, than almost everyone I know who has kids 3 years apart. After a couple of weeks, it was like Fiona forgot there ever was another way. No, it's not easy. I will not lie to you--in my experience (and almost everyone else I know of similar situations) the first 6 weeks is sheer hell...on *you*. It is very hard to paradigm shift from "only" to "multiple".<br><br>
Please be sure to have as much help as you can (and if possible, an "Exclusive" person for your oldest) for the first couple of weeks. It is worth taking a financial sacrifice for (if you can swing your partner to stay home). But now, at the 3 month mark, I can honestly say I am SO glad that the babies arrived *before* my daughter started in on toddler contrariness, since now I am freed up enough to give her the individual attention she needs as she's moving through that stage!<br><br>
When people make thoughtless comments to me regarding the spacing of the kids, I tell them that we planned having our kids less than 2 years apart. That tends to shut them up rather quickly. I don't justify (unless I feel like it, or want to talk about my personal reasons why if I'm feeling chatty), and if someone prys beyond that, I tell them straight out that they're being rude.<br><br>
But still, get used to comments. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> You'll get even more once the baby's here. And if family members act all concerned, then ask them when they want to come over to help! That'll proably shut them up faster than anything.
 

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Well, I won't have a choice as to whether to space mine as I am not starting till I am 33 and want 3 or 4 kids (even 3 might be expecting too much of my mid thirties body). I will have to begin trying as soon as AF returns. But, honestly, I lOVE the two year spacing and would have shot for that had I had a choice. It is what me and my brother are (23 months apart), and it worked really well for us growing up.<br><br>
There is no way to predict what kind of temperment kids you will have. Two high spirited kids might be a handful. But one of ,my friends who is in a wheelchair (ms) and has two VERY spirted kids 11 months apart said she wouldn't have done it any other way, that it was great having them both in diapers at once and thus both done with diapers at once.<br><br>
So like anything in parenting, what works for one mother is unthinkable for another.<br><br>
Sometimes I think people just say stuff to have something to say. To try to make some kind of empathetic connection. They probably thought they were being sympathetic rather than condemning?
 

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My children are 20 months apart, and I think it's a perfect age difference. DH and I started trying for #2 when Harrison was 10 months old - we knew from the start we wanted our children close in age.<br><br>
From my experience, siblings who are close in age usually have a close relationship. My two younger sisters are just 17 months apart and have always been close, and were the best of friends growing up. DH and his sister are 22 months apart, and have always been very close. I'm hoping for the same with my kids!<br><br>
Another reason for wanting my kids close in age is purely selfish LOL! I want to get all the diaper changing and no sleeping done with all at once, instead of spreading it out!<br><br>
Granted, there are days that I question my sanity. Isabella is only 7 weeks old so this is all still pretty new to us. However, when Harrison runs over to give his sister kisses, or insists on sharing his toys with her, and she gives him a gummy grin, it makes it all worthwhile!<br><br>
Don't listen to anyone! Only you and your DH know what is right for your family!
 

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My first two are 2 yrs 2 m apart. Our 3rd baby will be 18 months apart from #2. I am happy with the spacing and ignore people's rude, intrusive comments.
 

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3 yrs between the first two, then 8 yrs later #3 came along.<br><br>
I love it and wouldnt change a thing.<br><br>
all my kids are very close to each other, and although my oldest is now 16 and my youngest is 5, the two of them are very close, and my two older kids absolutely adore their "baby" brother.<br><br>
I dont necessarily believe that kids close in age are closer and those far apart are distant. i jusy think that each child and each family is different. ive heard horror stories of babies born close in age, and the same for kids born farther apart.<br><br>
And as much as i love having three kids, there is no way that i could have handled 3 kids under the age of five. I would have stuck my head in the oven.
 

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Well I am the lone voice here. Mine are 21.5 months apart and I would never have them this close again. I feel that my son was forced to grow up way to fast. because of the way I parent I feel this age gap is just too close. I want more but am using condoms for contraception and will be planning them 3-4 years apart (I am only 24 so I have time!).
 

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My DC are two years and a week apart. I love it! DS is too young to remember life without DD. They play together all the time and keep each other occupied. DS gets *very* excited whenever DD reaches a new milestone (going on the potty<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"> ) and I think they will stay very close in life.<br><br>
On the other hand, I have seen people wait longer on purpose and it did not go as well... DC #1 was older and had a very good memory of what life was like before the baby when they were the only one, there is too big of an age difference between the two for them to really be friends or playmates, and mom has a harder time keeping both happy/occupied because the DC are on such different levels.<br><br><br>
I know larger spacing sometimes might be out of one's control, but I think letting nature take it's course is the best way!<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with you, Faith, about letting nature take its course. I guess I am just surprised at the number of people who think it's just not good to have kids 2 years apart. I mean, the way I look at it, if you breastfeed the way nature intended, your fertility will return only once your body is ready to have another baby. If it were so unnatural and such a bad idea to have children 2 years apart, then why would nature have designed our bodies to be ready to conceive at approximately these intervals assuming no contraception is used (after all we invented contraception; not mother nature)?<br><br>
I mean nothing against those who have a larger spacing between their children. I think you have to do what's best for your family, and there's absolutely nothing wrong, IMO with waiting a little while before having another child.<br><br>
But I think some parents get so caught up in trying to plan everything so meticulously. And then they come down on people who just go with the flow. As many of you pointed out, there are pros and cons to different age differences between children and that is also effected by the temperments of the individual children. I just think it's silly to be judgemental about another family's idea of good child spacing.<br><br>
It seems like our society's idea of good child spacing is 3 to 4 years apart. But this makes me wonder, though, if other cultures that don't have access to reliable birth control or modern parenting philosophies have a different idea of good child spacing, or at least would not criticize parents whose children were spaced closer than the 3 years apart.
 

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Hmm,<br><br>
I have had a different experience in that I feel like the odd one out for not having my kids 2 years or less apart. I didn't realize that parents who closely space their children feel criticism. Most of the moms I know have more closely spaced kids.<br><br>
My children will be 3 years apart. We are adopting our second, and believe that he or she will be joining our family this fall, soon after our first turns three. When our younger child turns two, big brother will be going to school.<br><br>
I have never felt like one way was better than the other - I think it is when the parents feel ready that matters.<br><br>
L.
 

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My kids are 15 months apart and husband I and I planned to have our children close together.<br><br>
Sometimes days were hard when they were smaller, but it was also so much fun. I look back on those years as times that I was totally busy--changing diapers, bf, nights with hardly any sleep, etc. Now that my kids are 10 and 11, taking care of them is easier.<br><br>
What bothers me is that people tell you that "you're in for it now" and dumb commentary like that. I hate that kind of thing. I used to get that too.<br>
I would never try to freak a fellow mama out like that. People need to be more supportive and positive!<br><br>
Have fun having your closely-spaced babes. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Ours are 3 1/2 years apart by design. I have 17 nieces and nephews and from my observation of family dynamics, I found this preferable for us. I couldn't stand having them closely spaced, but that's me and my family, not yours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Exactly, EFmom! If only everyone could respect others' family spacing. What works for one family may not work for another. I recognize that, as Tigerchild said, there will be an adjustment period from going from one child to two. And I do have lots of willing helpers for those first weeks. My sister lives with us, and was really helpful when dd was a newborn. Also both dh and my mom plan to take some time off work to help out. I think once we make the adjustment, things will be fine. Thanks for the encouragement everyone!
 

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Many people seem to have rude comments no matter what you do, so I would ignore that. Like other posters here have mentioned, I think that there is no "right" spacing, just whatever works best for your family.<br><br>
We plan on TTC another baby, and ds will be a few months over 3 when the next baby is born (if all goes according to plan). To be honest, I would have liked to have had them closer together, but knew that I just would not be good at mothering 2 kids under the age of 3. Ds is very high energy, still wakes at night (even though he is nightweaned), and I just feel like it would not have been optimal for us to have another one any sooner. But again, that's us. And I'm sure that if I had gotten pregnant sooner, it would all have worked out fine. My neighbor's 2nd baby was born when her first was 18 months old, and it's going just fine. But I don't handle the craziness of motherhood as gracefully as some other moms do.<br><br>
Having kids are hard work no matter what the spacing. Seems to me there are pros and cons to each scenario, and that how difficult it is is probably going to depend more on the personalities of the children rather than how far apart they are.
 

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Well it's not true that
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">if you breastfeed the way nature intended, your fertility will return only once your body is ready to have another baby</td>
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, if that was the case I would have children 13 months apart and at that point my body was no where near ready to deal with another child, nor was my mind. That was with an exclusively breastfed child who exclusively coslept and nursed freely on demand day and night (and day and night and day and night, whew!).<br><br>
I also think there is a lot to be said for having children farther apart, I am hoping to have another when my first is 3.5 or older. He is 26 months now and still such a baby I feel I would be cheating him if I had another at this point. My brother and I were 22 months apart and were not close.<br><br>
But if that feels right to you then go for it and who cares what the rest of them think. I am currently getting flack for not being pregnant again yet from all the moms I know.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">if you breastfeed the way nature intended, your fertility will return only once your body is ready to have another baby</td>
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Disagreeing as well with this. My sister, age 33 was breastfeeding exclusively and on demand and had not even had her first post pardum period when she conceived my second nephew. they are 13 months 14 days apart.<br><br>
Anyway, back to the op. My two daughters are 10 1/2 years apart. I was divorced and remarried during that time. My oldest is turning 14 next month and my toddler just turned 3. No real plan there to space them so far apart. I simply was a single mama for years till i met the man i was sposed to spend the rest of my life with and we decided to try to see if G-d would bless us with another.<br><br>
When Zoey was 2 we began to ttc our last. I gave birth to a son 6 weeks ago so the little ones are 35 months apart.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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My boys are 5 years apart. i want DS#1 to have a babyhood of his own and grow at his own pace. When I felt ready to have another, we started ttc and succeeded on the first try, so I have no doubt that i would/could have conceieved earlier if we had chosen.<br><br>
I will admit that it has been an adjustment and the two boys don't always like each other. They have very diffferent personalities. But they do love each other and are learning to share and live together.<br><br>
I don't think there is any "perfect" age spacing, just what works for people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Colorful~Mama</i><br><b>Disagreeing as well with this. My sister, age 33 was breastfeeding exclusively and on demand and had not even had her first post pardum period when she conceived my second nephew. they are 13 months 14 days apart.<br></b></td>
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I knew someone would call me on this... Just to clarify, I do realize there are exceptions to this. I am going more on the average of 14.5 months, as studied in "Breastfeeding and Natural Childspacing." Many factors can effect this. I'm not saying that your sister's was not a case of true nursing as "nature intended", colorful~mama, but just simply breastfeeding exclusively and on demand is not the whole equation to what I meant by what "nature intended." Sheila Kippley found with the women she studied that there were other important factors besides exclusive, on-demand breastfeeding. She also found that pacifier use and nightnursing had a big effect on return of fertility. If a baby slept for a long stretch of time at night (or even during the day), fertility usually returned sooner. In fact, she found that infertility returned in some women who had become fertile earlier than expected when they started co-sleeping or nursing more frequently at night. Same thing with pacifier use. It was the *frequency* of nursings that held back fertility more than any other factor. Sometimes with pacifier use, the baby no longer needs to nurse as frequently because they are having their comfort sucking needs met not at the breast but by the pacifier. And yes you can be fertile before getting a "warning period," but those who are familiar with NFP methods can often recognize the change in cervical mucus indicating the return of fertility. As I said there are exceptions, even with all the "natural" factors in place (exclusive breastfeeding, nursing on demand, night nursing, no pacifier use), but they are the exceptions rather than the rule... After all, no birth control method, except abstinence is 100% effective.
 

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Again, my son nursed day and night on demand, which meant, for him, every 45 minutes to 1 hour, yes, all day and all night long. He did not sleep longer than one hour until he was almost a year.<br><br>
He has never had a bottle, or a pacifier, ever. My period returned at 4 months post-partum, and I was ovulating. (I also do NFP).<br><br>
Please do not insinuate that those of us who had early returning fertility are not breastfeeding "as nature intended". It is unfair and undermining to mothers who are trying their best and following all the "dictates" of natural parenting.<br><br>
For the record, my son is still nursing at 26 months. Morning, night, and times inbetween. This might not have happened had I gotten pregnant again when my fertility returned. I am glad to be able to give him this gift.
 
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