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What is the optimum age spacing betw. siblings? (Weigh your sanity/kids friendship/etc)

  • More than 5 years

    Votes: 12 8.8%
  • 4 years

    Votes: 23 16.8%
  • 3 years

    Votes: 65 47.4%
  • 2 years

    Votes: 33 24.1%
  • 1 year

    Votes: 4 2.9%
  • Less than 1 year

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you think is the optimum age spacing between siblings? (weighing your sanity, your kids' friendship, etc...). I x-posted this in Family Planning, but have only gotten 3 votes, so I thought I'd post here to see what y'all think


Before we had our dd, we thought (briefly) that we wanted twins since my dh is a twin and loves the close relationship with his brother. (His mom laughed out loud at us when we told her we wanted twins...and now we realize that we would have been in WAY over our heads!!)

So now, dh and I both would like our dd and second baby to be close together in age so that they will have a close relationship and be able to share play, etc, etc...but I just don't feel ready from MY end. I'm not CRAVING a baby like I was the first time around and I wonder how fair it is to #2 to plan to conceive when I'm not feeling super excited about the whole thing.

Plus I'm nervous that if we have 2 close together now, then when the dust settles and they're both over 4, I'll get a BIG baby craving again (I'm a baby craver at heart)...but we've always assumed that 2 was our limit....

I'd love to hear your thought processes!

decisions, decisions...

ps--sorry I'm missing the "5 years" option...I typed it in wrong and it won't let me edit it now...
 

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Hey Carlyle!

Yes, I may be stalking you haha. I was wondering where you went since you're not around the EC boards much anymore!

Anyway, I voted 3 years, if you want your kids to be friends. Ideally, for us, I would have wanted over 5 years, but that's because my siblings were much older than me and I really enjoyed having the perks of being an "only sibling" and having the perks of having siblings as well.

However, I completely understand how you feel. I NEEDED to have a baby with DS. I was completely heartbroken when it took awhile. And I'm not there yet for another. Unfortunately, DH is, and we just found out my dad has cancer last spring, and while things are going well, I want him to be able to enjoy at least one more grandchild for as long as he can. So, while I don't have that baby craving either, I have no doubt that once I get pregnant I'll be very excited and that things will be fine. I don't think I'll love the baby any less because I didn't spend a year crying over not getting pregnant quickly like I did with DS! I'm not totally sure I would ever get there, anyway, because I really wanted to be a mommy, and I am now, and I don't think the longing will ever be the same. I could probably just have DS and be happy with it. But when I picture my life, I see myself having more children, I just don't really see when they come into the picture lol.

I think my biggest worries about the process revolve around the fact that I'm a complete nutcase during pregnancy, thinking the baby will die at any time. Add that to the fact that DS was early and I'm terrified the next one will be earlier and need a hospital stay, and since I almost never leave DS, I would have to do that often, obviously, and that frightens me. But, I'm much thinner and healthier now than I was when I got pregnant with DS, so I'm going to hope that means I'll have a healthier pregnancy, and a full term baby!

I think about it sometimes, making a mental "for and against" list in my head, and aside from my pregnancy worries, my list is stacked with "for"! I'd really like that DS not really remember being an only child. I wasn't the first, so I don't know, but I bet it's really hard getting a sibling! I do worry about him weaning, but we'll work with that the best that we can. It would be nice for DS to have someone to play with in a few years. I often joke that he would really like having an older sibling...could we get him one of those? He really loves being around other children though, so I think he would love it. I'm not totally into the baby stage though, so for me, getting it done with for awhile is very tempting. I think that if I waited until I thought DS was truly ready for a sibling (okay, ready to be separated from me for awhile should bad things happen) by the time I got pregnant and had the baby, he would be out of that window, and thoroughly enjoying only child-dom.

But, we're planning on having two, and then taking a looong break and getting out of the baby stuff into the kid stuff, and then having two more. Well, that's the plan anyway! (Haha there's a benefit of having kids young, I've got the gift of time.) So it's not like once I have the next one I'm done.

Okay, so I'm rambling, but you wanted to know about the thought process, right? Lol. It's a tough decision! Which is why I'm like, this would be okay, so we'll leave it up to fate. You never know anyway, right? Could take a month to get pregnant, could take years. All the planning in the world...
 

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I said 4, though I wouldn't object to five or more. Mine are nearly 3.5 years apart, and if anything, I would want to have them spaced further, not closer.

I definitely would not want them any closer than 3 years apart, and that is too close, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hooray Lexmas! I'm so glad you responded!!! Thanks for typing that all out, it's great to hear your thought process. We must live next to each other in a parallel universe or something--there's so much similar stuff in our thinking (here and on the ec boards
) Plus I grew up in Rochester, so I know all about "lake effect snow" and the like. I would love to meet you in real life someday...

It took us 8 months to get pregnant (and it was scary and frustrating in a "what's WRONG with me" kind of a way). So that weighs into it too--like you said, could take a month, could take a year. It's so hard to decide!! (whine)

I love the idea of having 2, then a break, then having 2 more...but we've always had a vision of having just 2 kids. That's always been our "master plan" ha ha... I'm 33 now, which isn't old, but isn't young either (great age actually...can I just stay 33 for a long time?
). Plus our house is a 960 square foot 2-bedroom house with no attic, basement or garage for storage. But it's in an awesome intentional community (cohousing), and our neighbors are like extended family for my dd, so we're not moving. (as an aside, this is how we got our surrogate "big siblings" for our dd! I totally get how you want to get one of those, they're GREAT!
We have at least 6 girls between the ages of 7-11 in our neighborhood and they come by somewhat regularly asking to play with Nell. It's a Godsend!) Anyway...I think it's 2 for us.

I think I would be okay with trying to get pregnant again in November if I wasn't worried about a) milk supply/weaning (I'm convinced I will have no milk as soon as I get pregnant, and I'd love to let my dd, aka the boob girl, nurse as long as she wants) and b) getting to the point 4 years down the road where I'm totally totally craving another baby.

On the "remembering what it was like to be an only child" line of thought...my sister and I are 3.5 years apart and I was the oldest. I don't remember what it was like not having her there. I do remember her being born--she was c-section and I visited my mom in the hospital and tried to crawl over her belly to reach the cool buttons on the panel next to her bed. Yeouch! I definitely remember my mom being upset--but my 3.5 year old memory thought it was because I was trying to push the buttons...now I realize it was probably because I crawled on her incision! I also remember, very vaguely, feeling my sister kick inside my mom. That was cool. But I don't remember "life" without her. On the other hand, my sister got 4 years of being home with my parents after I was in college...granted, your teenage years aren't necessarily the time when you want lots of alone time with the fam, but still.

And I was a HORRIBLE pregnant woman. Nauseous. Exhausted (for the entire first 6 months). Moody. Yikes. I'm scared of being that again with the added responsibility of a child! But maybe it will be easier this time since I'm not working a stressful "office" job with deadlines. Maybe my dd will be an easier "boss" than my previous one. HAH!


My but this is scattered thinking. This has to qualify as my most rambly email to date. Ah well. Hopefully you will forgive. It's been helpful to type some of it out...I think it comes down to the milk supply and the baby craving. Maybe we will stop being super careful about birth control in November. Or maybe not. Yikes! Thanks for replying, it's good to hear your thoughts
 

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I voted three years. My first two are only two years apart, and that's too close, IMO. My second and third are almost three years apart, and it's better -- they can still play, but than three year span is much easier on the sanity.
 

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I think 3 years. That's how far apart my brother and I were, and I think it was just about right. We were close enough in age to be able to play together, but not close enough to have serious jealousy and conflicts. My mom wasn't dealing with two babies at once. And her body got a chance to recuperate between pregnancies.

It wasn't an issue with me and my brother, but I also think that there should be enough space between babies for the older to get his/her full share of breastfeeding, since some mamas dry up during pregnancy.

I had my twins when DD1 was 2 1/2 and I wish she could have been six months older and out of diapers.
 

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I voted two years. I like the idea of siblings close together, and honestly I don't mind the chaos.
I know, I'm pretty nuts. My mom had all three of us nearly exactly two years apart and while things were a little crazy when we were young, now that we are older I'm glad it went that way. My own two girls are 2 1/2 years apart but only because I wasn't intending on having a second child for a long time but got pregnant anyway, so things just worked out that way.
 

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I voted two years. I don't mind the chaos, I'm already tired from sleep deprivation and chasing a 14 month old right now, it can't get too much worse at this point
.

I know my MIL had DH and all of his siblings very close together. We're talking five kids in five years. No way could I do that! I also have a coworker who has four kids, the youngest two are only ten months apart. No way could I handle that either.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by transformed View Post
can I just say that having babies when you have a 2-3 yr old toddler SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. I have done it twice and it suuuuuuuuuuuucks.

Maybe it will rock when they are older but for now it suuuuuuuuuuuuucks.


Uh-oh... this is what we were planning. Although since #1 isn't even here yet, we have plenty of time to change our minds.

I said 3. I'm basically going on the fact that my sister and I are 4 years apart and never got along until we were adults. DH and his bro got along fabulously and were about 2.75 years apart. But I mostly think it depends on the family, of course.
 

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Mine are 16 months apart and I absolutely LOVE it. It was like taking care of twins and I felt it was so easy. Plus, they've always been extremely close. I can only speak of my experience, though.
 

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My girls were 16.5m apart in age, and, based on discussions I had with moms of twins, I had it just as hard or harder. I still had 2 babies at once, only they were at different developmental stages which made things harder in many ways. At least I didn't have to deal with 2 newborns simultaneously, or find some way to bring two pre-walkers from the car to the grocery store- but it was still a lot of work, and much of that time is a blur. I really missed out on the fun of DD2's babyhood.

I enjoyed DS' infancy a lot more because I wasn't overwhelmed with toddler care, and his big sisters were big enough to actually be helpful. I felt safe leaving newborn DS in his 5yo sister's capable hands long enough to go pee alone. I couldn't do that when the big sis was only 17mo!
(Certainly some 5yos wouldn't be safe doing that either, but mine was.)

OTOH, it was nice when they were in the 3-7 age range and played together, while DS seems to need to be entertained a lot more.

Close ages are no guarantees of sibs being best freinds as adults. My mom and aunt are 14 YEARS apart and the best of friends, while my brother is 14 months older than me and hardly ever talks to me. My daughters alternate between being great friends and hating each other. Socially, their close ages are a drawback, not an advantage. DD2 often feels left out when DD1 is with friends- girls who aren't far from her age and, in some cases, are actually closer in age to her than to DD1.
 

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i picked 4 years, having had the experience of a 3 year gap and also a 5 year gap. a 3 year gap again would mean getting pregnant shortly after the last babe's 2nd birthday, which imo feels too rushed. i was lucky that my 1st pottytrained early; i don't think i could have dealt with the stress of two in dipes, cloth or not


otoh, a 5 year gap means that i was able to be so far removed from "babyland" that i was miffed about having to re-learn everything from cloth diaper selection to the common-sense details of breastfeeding etc. also, if you want 4 kids, and have them each 5 years apart, that means you're taking over 20 years to have them all outgrow the diapering stage, for example!


my oldest and youngest are 8 years apart, and he is so caring towards her. my older two kids who are 3 years apart fight very often, but then they are very diff personalities so i think this has little to do with their respective ages.
 

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I said 2 years, but think 3 is good to.
We tried for 18 months between #2 and #3 and when she hit 18 months I was so thankful to not be dealing with a newborn! When she turned 2 i was preggo and felt ready for a new babe. After 3 though I feel like you are almost starting over, but that's just me
 

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Well, I have twins. I wanted my kids close together but I didn't expect them 1 minute apart.

If you want to know what I think really and truly, it's this: we struggle and struggle with these decisions. We want our family to be the best it can be, healthy, cared for, provided for, happy, harmonious, and as parents we want to be loving, giving, energetic and present always in our children's lives. We think about financial and emotional aspects and try to "plan" our family as we see fit. But I think the "birth control" era has really given us too much power. If I had it my way, I would put it in God's hands and let nature take it's course. Not to say that I would never practice "preventative" measures, but I do feel differently about bc than I used to. I think it's more responsibility than I am willing to take on!

Sorry to get so OT....but I want to have LOTS of kids relatively close together and DH is overwhelmed with two....
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
My mom and aunt are 14 YEARS apart and the best of friends.
Nice! My sister and I are 7 years apart and have been very close since she was 8 and I was 15. 14 years later, we are still the closest of friends.
 
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