How far apart should you space your pregnancies? When you have a baby, catching baby fever is easy, and you’ll want another ASAP. So should you try again right away? Or is waiting longer before trying to conceive again the wiser choice?
There is something magical about holding a newborn and watching her explore her new world with her eyes, and then with her newfound limbs. It’s amazing and beautiful and heart-melting… and it can lead a mom to want to have a baby again. Right. Away.
For other moms, the magic of the first child makes them want to wait longer to conceive again so that they can shower their first-born with all the love and attention they can give.
So is it better to birth again quickly, or to wait longer? Is there an ideal age difference between children? Real moms weighed in.
About a year
Some moms love the idea of kids who are separated by just a year in school. The kids are in similar stages at the same time and may share an extra-special bond. That’s true for Tracee Wright and her brother. “My brother and I are 10-1/2 months apart. Growing up, it was great having someone close in age. We did most everything together and enjoyed it. He was my best friend and to this day we have a bond. I have good memories of us growing up together,” says Tracee of Weddings Done Wright LLC [weddingsdonewright.com].
The downside? You’re pregnant for two years without a break. And if you breastfeed, you could add even more time to your “my body is not my own” run.
The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that you wait at least one year to give your body a chance to recover from pregnancy.
Two to three years
Having kids two to three years apart lets them grow up together. They can play with the same group of kids and will be close in maturity and grade level.
Moms like Lisa Kanarek say that this is a really good spacing. Her own two sons are now ages 12 and 14. “My older son doesn’t remember his life before having a little brother. Most of the time, they get along, even though they have different interests — one is athletic and the other isn’t,” says Lisa.
The downside? You will likely be potty training while taking care of a newborn or infant. And you will likely spend at least four consecutive years changing diapers.
Four or more years
For moms like Leasa Maxx, marketing communications director for Maxx Marketing & Design [maxxmarketingdesign.com], having kids about five years apart is the ideal situation: She never had more than one child in daycare at a time.
“When our daughter was born, I realized that she would be entering daycare just as our son was leaving and starting full-day kindergarten — which presented a nice way to balance the budget. Long term, I could tell this would be a beneficial situation for us when starting their college careers as well,” says Leasa.
The downside? The older child may not develop as close a bond with the younger, although Leasa says that hers have.
10 or more years
Having kids with a large age gap can offer very special relationships with each child that you wouldn’t have if you had the kids closer together. “Aside from having a built-in babysitter, I feel as if I’m raising two ‘only’ children. My husband and I have been able to devote a great deal of one-on-one time to each child, without the other feeling excluded,” says Barbara Bangser.
The downside? It may be harder for the older child to accept a younger sibling after spending so much time as truly the only child.
Tell us: How far apart did you space your pregnancies? Comment below!
More on planning your family
- Are you ready for another baby?
- Preparing for another baby
- 10 Ways to increase your chances of conception