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Mamas w/ close-spaced kiddos- penny for your thoughts

1385 Views 17 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Grace and Granola
New poster to this forum, but hoping there are some mamas here who can share stories/experiences.

I have a 9yo DS and a 9mo DD. That's a big age gap-- I adore their connection. It is amazing, honestly. But I don't have any experience in close-age DC.

I know there is at least one other little soul who wants to join our family. DP and I had talked of TTC when my fertility returned after DD's birth (not avoiding throughout pp, tho). Well- I'm now officially on my second ppaf. Pretty sure I O'd last cycle, too. We're officially TTC and we're excited, but a bit nervous...

We didn't expect it so soon! (I'm eco-bf'ing and seriously following the rules!) Personally, I'm taking it as a sign from the universe that it is time to invite number3 in, esp given some other medical issues of mine (longer story, but, bottom line, medically, this would be a good time for me to TTC)

I'm super excited about trying to have close-age sibs. But, in the back of my mind, I wonder what I'm getting into and would love to hear from moms who've BTDT.

Right now, the relationship between my kids couldn't be more perfect. Plus, for me, the age gap allows me to have one on one time with each of them w/o having to give up time with the other. I love that.

I was amazed at how easily DD joined our family, the joy she brings makes the work of a baby seem small. I'm wondering how number3 would adapt into that- like, would the work/financial load be SO much bigger that it would throw off the delicate work/joy balance?

Basically, my long winded (sorry!
) question is- this is un-charted territory for me what am I getting into TTC close-age sibs?
If we are successful this cycle, DD and NB would be about 19 months apart.

I would love to hear what you think are the pros and cons of close-age sibs.

Blessings and TIA
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Mine are 23 months apart. Both were unplanned, but certainly welcomed. I would not space them any closer than that.

My DS is a real handful. He is SN, and he had a really hard time adjusting. He is still adjusting, I think, and DD is almost 1!

I think the biggest thing that gets me with closely spaced kids (and I know they get more closely spaced than mine) is the sleep deprivation. My almost 3yo still gets up at least twice a night and DD is a pretty good sleeper, but she still wakes twice or so as well. My 3yo has given up his naps, which means that I get lots of 1-1 time with him while she sleeps, but she gets almost NO 1-1 time with me. I also had to wean him before I wanted to because I just could not make it through my pregnancy with the nipple pain, and because of supply problems with him, I was worried about the two sharing the milk.

Obviously, everything is dependent on your existing child and your family situaion, if you have enough support, etc., but I wouldn't do it. I really want another on now but whenever I think back to the first 6mo of DD's life, I feel like I can wait.
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My bio kids are 21 months apart, and I've got an adopted DS who is inbetween. So I have 4 kids, with only 3.5 years difference between the oldest and youngest. I love our close spacing! It gets loud, but I love that my kids always have someone to play with. Sure, they bicker occasionally, but they take care of each other and play together all of the time.

It was sometimes overwhelming when they were babies/toddlers, but I just got used to the chaos
And now that they're older, they entertain themselves incredibly well.
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Sorry, you asked for pros too!

I love the relationship my kids have now. They play with the same toys, they like the same games, DS is DD's idol. Seriously, she follows him around everywhere. If he were a totally normal, non-demanding 3yo (whatever that is
) they would completely just keep each other occupied all day. DS does not remember a time when he didn't have a sister, and I like that he didn't have time to develop a sense of "just me and him" before I had another.

I love that I have 2 very snuggly kids at once.

Some things about the toddler stage make it hard to have a baby around. They don't listen when you ask them to stop doing xyz, and sometimes you have your hands full with the other. They can't really self entertain for long periods. They don't understand not being rough with their sibling (or you while you're preggers!). You may be changing two sets of diapers and having much more laundry. They don't know how to ask for what they need or want from you, which leads to a lot of frustration. And your baby will likely be crawling and destroying everything right when your toddler is going through sharing struggles. BUT DS loves his sister fiercly, and at that age, he has been pretty adaptable.

I also love that I didn't have time to get to enjoying a diaper free, good sleeping, free time motherhood before I had to jump back in again. I'm just getting it all out of the way at once.
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I have an 8 year old DD who is my adopted stepdaughter and I have been taking care of her since she was 3......her mom is totally out of the picture.

DD1 was a surprise and she was born when my stepdaughter was 5 years old.

DD2 was a surprise (I'm Catholic
) and she was born 23 months after DD1.

I just have to let you know that your first child is going to be SUCH a help! It is sooooo nice to just have an extra set of hands around who can do something for themselves, help out getting the older one a cup of water, diapers, etc...

That being said - the nights you are on your own

18 months is pretty closely spaced - I bet it would be fun, but I am not sure I would be brave enough to do that on purpose!

I think the most important thing is to keep in mind that it will go by soooo fast, and to enjoy any moment you can while it lasts!

Also, for me, the laundry got OUT OF CONTROL when I added the third LO........sheesh! I hate laundry!! he he he
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I think I beat ya'll, Leo and Cata are 15 months apart
I had more pros than cons, now the cons:

DD1 was a very VERYYYY clingy baby and toddler, and adding a little competition into the picture was not the best thing to do during the first two months after DD2 was born.
Their sleeping schedule, OMG I barely had any sleep for 2 years.


They adore eachother, DD2 is totally in love with her big sister and DD1 loves being the role model for her.

And the rest of the pros are all related.

Then there's a 4 almost 5 year age gap between DD1 and DS and a 9 year gap between DD (who is also my stepdaughter but I adopted her) and DD1.
I think I'll do it again. DD2 was unplanned we never intended to have closed spaced children but I wouldn't have it anyother way I love it. And we want another child
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ATM I have a 21mo and a 1mo! I'm still totally "in the trenches" so to speak.

We had basically the same plan as you, we wanted "pretty close" in age, and thought we'd just not TTA when I was fertile again. I figured that might be a year. DD1 loves nursing. It only ended up being 9 months. Even then I remembered it took nearly a year of TTC for DD1. A couple cycles later, there we were.

I ended up taking More Milk 2 for my supply halfway through the pregnancy, because DD1 was not ready for my milk to "inexplicably" (to her anyway!) disappear. Tandem nursing is a lot harder than I expected it to be, and emotionally draining. DD1 wants to nurse every time DD2 nurses. Bed and naps are hard. When DD1 is going to sleep for the night, DD2 is waking up for a couple hours of playtime. They never nap at the same time either. Normal toddler things are really hard with a newborn. I went to pick up pictures with them yesterday. Wrestling a toddler into a carseat, working through a tantrum, picking up and carrying (while wearing baby) through the mall ... it's a LOT of work. Draining work.

If there was a bigger gap though, we'd be missing some great things. DD1 is talking but still signing too (more words and fewer signs every day though). Today she tried to hold her little sister's hand and teach her how to sign "I love you".
She was there for my labor and birth, and besides normal antsiness (needing to go out and run for a bit, etc) she was great. When we told her it was time to leave the hospital she got in the baby's face and said "Kay Tilda, come home!" as if she had to remind her to come with us.
Or I'll be wearing the baby and she thinks she needs to tell me "Mama, Tilda crying!", very concerned, like I didn't know. Too funny! The toddler view of the world applied to a newborn is really cute.

I think it's a trade-off really, the pros and cons. It's very hard right now, but in a few years, there's potential for a great friendship. I think it's good that my kids have that. My DH didn't since his half-siblings are 13 and 15 years older. I didn't either; my sister is 4 years younger but that's a wicked gap as far as sibling relationships IME. She was just old enough to think I was cool, but just young enough to be a burden if I let her tag along. I definitely wanted mine to be closer than that. I also like the thought that DD1 won't remember life before DD2 at all. They'll have always been together as far as they're concerned.
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Ours are 24 months apart. I LOVE that they are so close together. They absolutely love each other and entertain each other constantly. Plus I am kind of happy about getting all the baby stuff over with all at once! We planned to have them closely spaced and got pregnant as soon as my pp af returned. Now that it's a reality, I wouldn't want it any other way.
my 1st 2 are 25 months apart.. (next to will be 28 mo and i was planning on spacing them a bit further, but we got a surprise) we started TTC when our first was only 6 months old so i was all for close spacing.. i think a lot of the pros depends on the personality of the kids.. whcih is impossible to predict, obviously, my biggest 'con' is breastfeeding.. i strongly dislike breastfeeding during pregnancy and my milk supply drops dramatically around the end of the first trimester .. so i would much prefer to have baby be 18+ mo before getting pg, or at the very least 12 months.. as for pros.. there are too many to list.. and the PPs have mentioned all i can think of.. they are 21 mo and almost 4 now and their relationship seems to get better every day.. having them play together is just awesome
My kids are 21mo apart and are now 11mo and 32mo old. In my experience, this was a very difficult spacing to deal with in terms of the pregnancy and early babyhood. I got pregnant when my daughter was around a year old, just learning to walk and entering her toddler stage. The pregnancy made me feel very tired and worn out and I spent half the day laying down on a cushion in her play room while she tried to get me to play with her
. I was planning to nurse her for 2 years but after a few months being pregnant I felt I physically couldn't take it anymore not to mention a strong physical and emotional aversion to nursing her. I weaned her at 16mos
. When the baby was born, she was excited but also went through a lot of anger those first months. She would often kick him when he was a new born, sometimes punch him, and that turned to poking him in the eyes.

Whenever a stroller or baby carrier came out, there was a fight over who got to go in it. It was not uncommon in the early days for me to have the first one in a carrier on my back and the new born in a sling in the front. It is cute, but it gets old. And try nap time, nursing a little baby to sleep in a rocking chair while also finding a way to snuggle a 2 year old piled on there. The real challenge is to then stand up and carry two sleeping babies at the same time to put them on the bed with out waking them up. Or laying in bed nursing the baby and contorting yourself in an unnatural position to accommodate the other child who needs to snuggle. It is physically and emotionally draining to have two children at such demanding ages both in constant need of so much care and attention from you. I don't have any family near me, neither does DH, and I am a SAHM so we don't do daycare. It is just me non-stop day and night.

And poor DH is kind of on his own, he got very little attention, love, or care from me this first year because I have to focus all my energy (and even some energy I don't have) on these kids. When you roll into bed at night, forget it, you do not want another set of hands in need of you for anything. That is if you don't have DH, a 2 year old, and a baby all rolling around in the same bed with you. That can be tough if your relationship is not strong as a rock.

It is cute seeing them interact and now that they are a bit older, they always are together and play together. One advantage is that they have pretty much the same sleep schedules and when my oldest was still napping, they would always nap together so I had that much of a break. I love seeing her take care of him. Like now if we put him in the stroller she insist on pushing him everywhere. I think it will only get better the older they get. I sometimes think it is easier having them both together at this point because they entertain each other so well but then when one of them is away or sleeping I realize how peaceful and quiet things are.

The only other thing I can say is if you do it, make sure you have some good support in the form of a very helpful partner or some family members near by that can give you a break once in a while. I think you having that older daughter will be a huge advantage. She will probably be a great deal of help as you probably see with the baby you have now. All the best what ever you decide. I don't mean to be a downer, everyone has different preferences and situations, just want to bring to light some things for you to think about.
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Well sheesh... I am totally insane but am contemplating having one more. Soon. I think!
My kids are not that close in age, but I am. My sister was born 12 months and 9 days after me. I don't remember the early days, but I do remember growing up it was so awesome always having someone to play with, do a lot of things with (ears pierced, many of same friends, same schools, Girl Scouts, ballet lessons, etc.), and grow up with. My mom says the first year or two was hard, but beyond that she loved it as we played together well and kept each other entertained. We are still close and now my kids love it when Aunt Karen is around. So from a kid's perspective, it is awesome!
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I had three under the age of four. My first two are 2years4months apart, and that's a great spread. Then we started ttc #3 when dd2 was 6 months. We had fertility problems but got pg sooner than usual, when she was 9mo. DD3 was born a month early, so the last two are 17mo apart. It's hard at first, and 6 months later it can still be difficult. But you adjust, and I know that they will be so close! And I kinda like the idea of getting all the hard stuff done in a smaller piece of time!
Mine are 23 months apart, and I wouldn't have it any other way. They were intentionally spaced that way
You avoid a lot of the older sibling jealousy that way, I think. Not everything is roses, of course, as they fight over toys and DD1 hates passing along clothes that she has so recently worn that she still considers them "hers." But there's a lot of sisterly cuteness too! Being close in age, they share a "world" and it's nice to watch them when they cooperate. They're 4 and 6 now, and I do have to say that having them both in bed is making it a bit cramped around here! I think they may be more competitive, being closer in age, than children with more spacing. But that may be just me, since I don't have a competitive bone in my body, so I notice their competition more. You know, one draws me a picture, so the other quickly draws one for me. One wants to snuggle, so the other one comes and wants to snuggle (and fight over the prime space around mom LOL). But really, I wouldn't change a thing.

FTR, I have cousins who are 10 months apart. I remember my aunt darn near losing her mind! And my uncle running out for a vasectomy weeks after baby #2 was born. I mean, running! LOL

One more thing, with two closely spaced, when it's over, it's over, and it's hard to adjust. When the childish things are done, when BFing has ended, when they are in their own beds, it feels so sudden. At least for me because there will be no #3. Right now, I'm struggling with how to define myself now that I no longer cloth-diaper, barely babywear, and all are weaned. You just get a concentrated dose of babyhood and toddlerhood, and it seems to be over way too fast, and you're still jonesing for more LOL.
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2,3 and 4 are all 16 months apart surprises.It was a little overwhelming in the beginning and there isn't much advice for mamas with two babies at once its mostly for twins or 2 year olds.I was exhausted because I'd spend all night going back and forth from baby to baby.The good thing is that my kids are all very close to each other and we can plan activities that they can all do more easily.They play well because they are interested in similar things.Its fun to watch them talking to each other.When one grows out of a stage there is another ready to enter that stage, I just spent the last 4 years stepping over the contents of my kitchen cabinets while cooking dinner.

It is joyful, noisy, delicious chaos and I am so glad I wasn't involved in the planning.
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My children are DS - 4 1/2, DS 20 months and DD 8 months and I am pretty sure I am pg
DS#2 was our only planned one and the other 2 (or 3) were surprises. DS#1 is mild asbergers and is a handful, but helpful. The spacing between him and DS#2 was harder for me than the closer spacing. I found that DS#1 was liking all the mama time and was old enough to realize the change when his brother arrived but too young to truly understand sharing mama.
DS2 and DD have been so much easier. I just do everything at the same time. If I change 1 I change the other (except of course in those early days when you feel like you change every 10 mins). While the boys eat lunch I nurse. My biggest piece of advice is get them on a similar nap schedule asap. All 3 of my smalls go down for afternoon nap between 1-130 which gives me 2 1/2-3 hrs of quiet. I can either get work done, nap myself or just enjoy a little r and r.
If I am pg now I will have 4 under the age of 5 and 3 that are 2 1/2 and younger. I am so excited though. DS2 and DD will be such wonderful friends and DD and the next one as well. I wish my 1st 2 were closer but it wasn't an option at the time.
Good luck and don't fret. It will be a little crazy in the beginning but you will find your groove and love it!!
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My two boys are 17 months apart. It was not planned that way!

I'll just say that it was incredibly hard at the beginning because ds2 had "colic" or what have you and cried for 9 hours per day for the first few months of life, plus he was not a good sleeper until he was 2. It took a long time for me to recover from that, like a year!

Now at ages 3 and 4, it is really quite good. They bicker alot, but they always have a buddy to play with. Since they are both boys, they can share clothes which cuts that budget. I also think I haven't had the need to enroll them in different classes and activities because we are never at a loss for something to do because they are pretty much on the same page, they have a buddy, no need for extras. Another budget and time saver.

All in all, yes it's hard in some ways...but I think the pros outweigh the cons.
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