I have three children aged five, three and very nearly one. Between my first two children I have twenty two months. Between my second and my third there is two and a half years. The smaller gap was hard work. As in “please someone come and save me from this fiery pit of poke your own eyes out, insane, crazy hard, reality” hard.
Leaving the house was nearly impossible. Occasionally when I had my husband on hand to child wrangle I would attempt to go out. It took hours to leave the house due to putting on shoes, coats, gathering double buggy, change bag, snacks. Then inevitably when we got to our destination someone would need a wee, a feed, or be in the middle of a tantrum. I remember one particular trip to (why god why) the January sales with a two month old and a two year old. It was horrid, we bought nothing, and on the way back to the car a look passed between my husband and I that said wordlessly “what on earth have we let ourselves in for”.
Time passed and things got easier but we vowed that next time we would leave a bigger gap. Ideally a three year gap as this seemed far more sensible. Now I’m not good at maths and ultimately got my timing wrong and started trying for baby number three too early. Upon seeing the second line on the stick I realised my youngest would actually only be two and a half when baby was born. oops. So once again I had two in nappies and was pushing a double buggy.
However six months older is a lot at that age and this gap was easier. It felt less like I had two babies, and consequently less like my head would explode on a daily basis. I have my three fabulous children and they will all grow up close in age. I’m hoping that the graft of the early years will pay off when I have a five, seven and nine year old. I’m hoping they will play together as a little gang, and subsequently have sibling support for the rest of their lives.
Experts say that the ideal gap is less than one year (though seriously who has the energy to erm procreate that quickly) or more than four. The theory is that under one your child will not notice any difference and over four and your child can understand and talk about a future sibling.
Conceiving less than a year (again, really ?) after giving birth or more than five years after can result in low birthweight or early babies. This means that four years is officially the ideal spacing between children. I have a close friend who has this gap and it seems to have worked well for her. Her eldest got her full attention during his preschool years and started school months after her baby arrived. Consequentially baby now gets her attention when her eldest is at school. Good for her and her family.
Personally I think the ideal gap is whatever works for you and your family. Consider your career, financial commitments, desire to have another child and do what feels right.
i agree about how a small age gap is hard work but i have been reassured by mums who did a similar thing and whose children are now oder, that the hard work does indeed pay off as they get on well, have similar interests and play well together. however, unlike you i could never ever cope with more than 2 children. two is most definitely enough for me!! xx
Its funny but I don’t really find three much harder than two. Can’t wait for the easier part.
I am on the other end of the scale my kids are 8 years apart. It works for us really well even if the gap was due more to life events than choice.
Currently Amy is 13.5 and Jake is almost 5. both had the pre school years with lots of one to one and Jake is a wonderful distraction to Amy’s worst teenageisms and young enough and cuddly enough to ease my broody pangs. On a good day Amy is funny, clever and brilliant company which is a nice distraction from 5 year old chatter.
The other night we went out for a meal, just down the road, clutching our mobiles closely, Amy babysat wonderfully and loved earning some cash. I see some good years ahead 🙂
Glad the family dynamic has worked out so well for you.
My friend is currently expecting baby number 2 with a 54 week age gap. I have no idea how I would cope in that situation
I would imagine gin would feature highly.
That’s a lovely photo.
I can confirm that seven years is TOO LONG. There are four years between me and my sister, and that has always worked quite well, mainly becasue I am fairly childish and didn’t mind playing Sylvanian Families when I was 13.
I was still playing barbies at twelve. My sister and I are eleven years apart and that was definatly too long.
Hmmm interesting, I go through phases of wanting another baby and then change my mind and am happy to wait a bit. Strangely enough I would have happily got pregnant again in the first year, I think as I was so in baby mode that it wouldn’t have made much difference….so I say! It’s when I started getting full nights sleep that I started to change my mind! I think both have their advantages, and your hard work will have definitely paid of in a few years when, like you say, they can all play together 🙂 x
Yes your right, I think whatever gap you end up with it will work out fine.
absolutely fabulous and informative post. Love it.
Given that Aaron is 22 nearly 23 months I think the gap will be 4 for us; great to hear that that worked for your friend.
My son is 22 months now, I couldn’t imagine having a newborn at the same time!
I am keen to have a second and I’ve been thinking when my son is around age 4-5 is the right time for us. Any longer and I’ll be closer to 40 than I’d like, any shorter and I’d miss enjoying my son in his early years.
I must admit I’ve been feeling broody lately, but I certainly won’t be conceiving before my son is weaned off the breast.
Love this post! I have 28 months between the first two (but three school years, which has always felt weird) and 29 months between second and third, so pretty consistent! My boys, the eldest two are very close, but throwing my daughter into the mix made life hard. There are 4 3/4 years between eldest and youngest and they don’t get on at all, so I have to put up with constant battles. He cuts her no slack at all for being nearly five years younger than him. (They are 13, 10 and 8 now!)
I know two families of three boys with 4-5 year age gaps every time and it seems to work well, although in one family the boys still fight physically, despite the big size and age difference.