What is the perfect age gap between babies?

5 Nov

When is the right time for baby #2? Are you the type of person who plans meticulously in advance or who grabs the bull by the horns and races ahead? Either way, you still have to decide when the right time to have your second baby is, unless of course you have a happy ‘accident’ or decide that you are going to stop at one.  But be prepared, as soon as your first arrives, friends and family will want to know…when are you having your second?? 

Drew Barrymore has confirmed her second pregnancyDrew Varrymore pregnant second time

If you are a member of any baby forums, a common thread you will see is asking the age old question: What is the perfect age gap between siblings?  Sorry to bust this on you, but there is no perfect age gap.   There are so many factors that come into play when figuring out how far apart to have your kids…some mums feel extremely broody right after their first, they can’t wait to have another.  Others have the mindset that they couldn’t possibly love another as much as their first and are really happy to take things slowly before having another baby.  Yet other mothers, are so shell-shocked at the experience of having just one, can’t imagine doing it all again with number two.

I was in the latter camp.  It took me 3 1/2 years before I felt ‘ready’ to tackle having another baby.  Funny enough, the age gap felt great for my family, and I eased into having two children (so much so that I went on to have a third!).  Friends I know found the first a breeze, and then when they had their second, had a real awakening!  Over the years I have met mums with age gaps under 12 months (!!) and over 5 years.  It really does depend on your circumstances.

It is a good exercise to imagine what it would be like with your babies at specific ages – here is a great read on sibling age gaps from BabyCentre.

older sibling kissing baby

Some factors to consider before having a second baby:

1)      How long do you want to be in the baby game? The closer together your kids are in age, the faster you will be through nappies, buggies, sleepless nights and the rest (well, maybe not the rest!).  The expression getting it “all over and done with” can be heard quite often when referring to the early stages of having kids.

2)      How will you and your partner cope with another baby? Chances are, if you are struggling now, a new baby won’t make things easier or bring you closer together.  If you are a strong unit, another baby should be a joy.

3)      Financially, another child is expensive! It sounds simple, but add in food, clothes, uniform, after school activities, holidaying with more than one child…it all starts to add up! Will you be able to go back to work after your 2nd? Childcare for two can be a lot more than for one, often making it too difficult for mums to get back to work.  Budgeting is important as being financially unstable is very stressful on its own, never mind with children.

4)      Picture it – a newborn screaming in the background to be fed, and a 2 year old throwing a tantrum just as you sit down to feed.  How will you cope with two children? Do you have help? Do you have babysitters / family around?  These things can make a difference in the long run.

5)      Fertility issues can unfortunately occur after your first child.  You may think that it will be easy to get pregnant again, but there are many mothers out there who really struggle second time around and are devastated at not getting pregnant easily the second time.  (Here is some helpful advice for those suffering with secondary infertility.)

All things being said, life is too short to plan everything out to the exact letter.  If you are feeling ready, have weighed up the options, and still are broody, then we say GO FOR IT!

Second child pregnant mum

What is your age gap and has it worked for you?  If you have had your first, are you thinking of your second yet or is that a long way off? 



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