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Is There a Best Time for Baby #2?

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Notes from a New Mom: I have a 1-year-old daughter, and people love to share their thoughts about when I should have baby number two. Of course, they're all assuming there will be a baby number two .... In fact, just days after I delivered my baby, people were asking "Will you have another?"

pregnant woman

Actually, we would love to have another baby, God willing. And though I know I can only plan so much, I've been wondering: Is there a better or worse time to have child number two?

Example: My friend has a 3-year-old who has become an absolute nightmare since her little sister was born just a few weeks ago. She has hidden all of her sister's toys (not that the baby can play with them), has had temper tantrums and is just not the same kid she was pre-sister. This is probably all normal stuff, but ....

Someone told me the other day that it's best to have children close together, because then they aren't really aware of what's going on. They simply grow up together without being able to form a real opinion about it, let alone throw temper tantrums. It makes sense, in a way: If I gave birth right now, my daughter wouldn't really know what was going on, whereas in a few years ... watch out!

I think it's nice for siblings to be somewhat close in age, though having two toddlers running around might be quite a lot to handle. A 3- or 4-year-old could possibly help with the baby, and would be more able to take care of him/herself ....

Moms, what's your opinion? When did you have your second baby? Was it a good time?

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20 comments so far | Post a comment now
D October 1, 2010, 1:21 PM

I’m still waiting to figure that out! My first just turned 4 & there’s no 2nd in the near future. I turn 35 on Monday & I feel like I’m running out of time but hubby doens’t have a job right now so even maternity leave is out of the question. I used to want them back to back but it’s been wonderful to have these years with just one.

azmom1982 October 1, 2010, 1:56 PM

My daughters are 4 years apart and we are loving the age difference. They are now 5 & 1 and there hasn’t been any jealousy. Of course they still get annoyed with her each other sometimes. :) But I think with the bigger age difference, my older daughter looks at the baby as her baby too, instead of competition. She loves helping with her.
I know most people feel 1 1/2-2 years apart is best for siblings, but I could not even imagine being ready for another baby when my daughter was that age. I loved the time alone with her and I love the “space”.

Courtney October 1, 2010, 2:43 PM

me and my younger brother have nearly 3 years between us though my mom inicially wanted 5. but she got pregnant the month after I was born and miscarried at 10 weeks so she and my dad waited till I was two years old before she conceived again and had my brother 9 1/2 months later.

Linda Samuels October 1, 2010, 4:03 PM

Some things are difficult to plan, especially when it comes to having babies. I think you make it work whatever happens. We have two girls, two years apart. They were close from day one and still are, 18 years later. The sibling relationships can be nurtured (with parental help) no matter what the spacing is. Babies are a gift, whenever they arrive. As long as you look at them that way, it will all work out.

Tiffany October 1, 2010, 4:14 PM

I’m a stepmom of a five year old and we have only been married for one year, but everyone keeps asking when we are going to have more kids. It’s not the same as being able to time it if I had had my stepson. One of the major reasons why we have waited is because he is developmentally delayed and is seeing a speach therapist. So really we can barely afford to have him. I don’t know how people do it. I want to have kids of my own, but I have no idea when.

Jessabug October 1, 2010, 5:08 PM

So, ours are 2.5 years apart. And its good. But my youngest is 6 now, and we are seriously considering a third. So, we’ll have a large gap too.

Renae  October 1, 2010, 6:48 PM

I have one older brother and one younger one. My older one and I are 2 years apart, so we don’t really think about the age difference, we kinda just grew up together. My younger one and I are 9 years apart, and I have always loved the large age gap. I was so excited not to be the “baby” anymore and to finally have a younger sibling. He has taught me so much about life and kids, I’m really glad that we are so far apart in age. He’s my little buddy!

Devynn Fagre October 1, 2010, 7:10 PM

My children are five years apart and what a blessing. My older daughter does try to be mom a little too much though, but she loves being around her little brother!!! I have to say they both antagonize one eachother after awhile, and she does get annoyed with him following her around all the time. I tell her to be nice to her brother because she will move out of the house before him. lol…

Kori October 1, 2010, 8:53 PM

My kids are 8 years apart and I love it. There has been no real jealousy. My daughter is at school during the day so I can focus on the baby. We want to have another one and we are actually going to wait for a few years to give that space again.

Jess October 1, 2010, 9:46 PM

My oldest was almost 5 when we had our second. She walked and talked extremely early so that helped a little, but I wish he had a sibling closer in age to play with. Our third was born eighteen months after our second and our fourth is due eighteen months after our third. I like having the younger ones closer in age. My younger two get along well, have fun doing the same things, and are on very similar schedules. My oldest often complains of being lonely.

Stephanie Elliot October 1, 2010, 10:32 PM

When my first son was 9 months old we started trying again not thinking we would get pregnant so fast but we did! So my daughter arrived when my son was 18 months old. It was GREAT — and then my third, another boy, came along when my oldest was not yet four, and my daughter was exactly 2 years and 4 months old. So I had 3 under 4. Yes, it was hard, but I say when you’re down in the trenches, STAY THERE! Not to say “get it over with” but … GET IT OVER WITH. You’re already changing diapers and making bottles. But some moms might feel differently. My mom had three of us in a row, and then waited like 10 years to have my youngest brother and she REALLY enjoyed that time to focus on him. Of course, this is something every woman has to decide on what is right for her, but I cannot stand it when women matter-of-factly state they are planning it this way or that way. It absolutely CANNOT be planned by anyone but God. And there’s so much infertility, any woman who is blessed with a healthy pregnancy should be thankful no matter when it happens!

Becca October 2, 2010, 1:38 PM

My son was 2.5 when my daughter was born. She just turned 1 and he’s now 3.5, and we’ve started trying to conceive baby #3. We’ll have 3 kids 4 and under.

KS October 3, 2010, 10:11 AM

We had our second child when our oldest was three days shy of 5 years old. It turned out great. He is an awesome big brother and over the jealousy phase.

A year later we welcomed our third child. It turned out great. the older two children already had a strong bond and hung out with each other and played well. So when I was nursing or taking care of the newest edition they were entertained.

A year after that we welcomed our fourth child. It turned out great. All three boys played very well with one another and at that point whats one more child to the mix. He was a great baby and I had the whole baby routine down.

I think you see a trend. every time you anticipate welcoming a child to your family it’s wrought with concern and worry. Then after you have your child a few weeks later you can’t remember what your life was like without them. Whatever you decide is right for you is right for you. Good luck.

Steph October 3, 2010, 12:13 PM

I think the best timing between siblings is what works for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to any spacing, and there are no guarantees that your kids will be “close” if they’re 12 months apart, or 5 years apart. That’s generally more a matter of personality.

Carolyn October 3, 2010, 9:13 PM

I have a 4 1/2 year old and a 5-month-old and it’s been amazing so far. I’m sure things may change once the youngest is old enough to get into the oldest’s toys, but I am really loving the 4-year gap. My first just LOVES her baby sister, she’s so protective and loving toward her. And my youngest thinks her big sis hangs the moon. It’s wonderful.

SS October 4, 2010, 10:09 AM

My sister’s 3 year old was also very jealous and upset when her little brother arrived. We’re having ours 18 months apart (I’m pregnant with #2) not because of fear of jealousy but because of fertility issues (we don’t have much time left). I have friends with kids close in age like ours and they love it. You get diapers over with in one shot. You also get the sleep deprivation part over sooner. I don’t think I could handle sleeping through the night for a few years only to have to go back to not sleeping later on! I’d rather be “in the trenches” all at once. I like that my kids will be at similar developmental stages and will play together from the beginning. Of course they’ll fight, but that would happen no matter what the age difference. We might have a third and if we do it will also be soon after #2 is born. We’re fortunate that we can afford for me to stay home with them. Once they’re all in school all day I’ll go back to work part time. That aspect of it really helps. Ultimately, whatever feels right to you will be right!

Tammy October 4, 2010, 11:03 AM

I think there are pros and cons to having children close together. I wanted to wait until my first was at least in K until we even started trying. I think it is important to spend equal time with your children, and didn’t think that was possible having a toddler and getting pregnant again. I am now almost 7 months pregnant and my first just turned 7. I am excited to spend quality time with a new baby when he is at school and then family time when he is home. My sister and I are 6 years apart and are close. Yet, my husband and his sister are 6 years apart and are not close at all. I think it is all about family dynamics and not age differences.

donna October 5, 2010, 2:59 AM

Growing up -my sister & I never got along - still don’t have a closeness- my Mom always thought it was because we were too close together

I had my kids 4 years apart. I highly recommend it ! I did not have two in diapers at once ( a plus financially )
The oldest was going to preschool a few afternoons a week- so I had special time alone with the new baby. Now my daughters are 28 & 24 years old. They are close friends. Only now looking back do I truly appreciate that 4 year age difference. Only 1 in college at a time -made it SO much easier financially
only one in braces at a time - the list goes on and on. Based on having individual time for each child,and for financial reasons, I think 4 years apart is perfect.

Peachy October 7, 2010, 5:14 AM

My babies are 17 months apart. The little one is 9 weeks and the big one 19 months now. I’m loving it!! Having two “babies” is fantastic. My eldest is so excited every morning that the baby is still here and she loves to try and help her mummy. I am blessed to have babies that sleep through the night though, because without that I think I would be crazy!

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