If you know you will have more than one child, deciding on when to have your second baby is a big decision. This is a dilemma that many couples grapple with all the time. The choice to have another baby should ideally be easy and a personal one, but there are many times when even with a plan, women find themselves getting unplanned pregnancies. It is something you both should decide together, based on your family needs and lifestyle.
So, before having more children, it is important to understand and recognize the problems and pleasures each child will bring to your family life. On the other hand, it is said that there is seldom an ideal time to have a child. If you wait for the perfect time to have a baby, you would probably end up with two instead of five. Here’s an overview of child spacing to help you as you look forward to your next baby.
Allowing Time Between Children
Having children consecutively (within a year) puts a lot of strain and tension on your body and mind. Most of the time, in these cases, miscarriages, low birth weight, and premature births are likely to happen. More specifically, the mother’s health may be affected during this time because of the high demands and attention the second baby will need. Therefore, doctors suggest that you wait at least 18 to 23 months after a full-term birth before conceiving again.
Child spacing has a lot to do with your family situation, including parenting problems. Some considerations have to do with the temperament of the children while others deal with the developmental needs of children at different ages.
Two, Three or Four Years
If your baby is a very high-need infant who requires a lot of time and energy from you, additional child space is a good idea. A two or three-year gap between your first infant and next child avoids any parent burnout. This also allows you to fulfill the needs of your first-born before a competitor arrives on the scene.
Many parents with children three to four years apart feel they can give each child more individualized attention. When there is a bigger gap the older sibling is more able to take care of the younger sibling. Older siblings can revisit their baby years while younger children, who always love to do what their older siblings do, can play and learn with the older children.
There are other advantages to spacing children farther apart. Along with getting to know one child before another arrives, it gives you time to regain your pre-pregnancy body as well as rediscover yourself before becoming consumed with another newborn.
Having Children Close Together
If your baby is easy, then closer spacing works well because an in-house playmate is available to keep your children engaged. Some mothers feel that closely spaced siblings bond deeply. They can attend school together, be each other’s playmates and grow up very closely. And what more, most mothers agree there is less sibling rivalry (such a relief….phew).
For you moms, the years that you will spend in “baby mode” are consolidated as you’re already set up for diapers and baby-proofing. Furthermore, your adjustment to baby-time is in place and you are experienced enough with diapers and crying babies. The rhythm is established and things continue to tick along without having to readjust too much when your new baby arrives.
But spacing your children close together has its drawbacks as well. Children in the first three years of their lives have relatively high needs in terms of attention and care. Babies and toddlers need constant supervision and the responsibilities are round-the-clock. However, you ease the load by seeking support from your peers. Family, friends, resources like parenting groups and quality childcare are all available for mothers with busy lives.
Whatever the case, close together or spaced far apart, to have children is a blessing no matter how many and when you have them.