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Child Spacing

My husband and I have two children, 3.5 and 1, and we're going back and forth over when to try for our third (and last). To be honest, it's me that's so torn. Husband is so flexible, he'll start ASAP if that's what I want. The problem is, my head and heart want two different things. My heart says to try ASAP (January at the earliest), my head says to wait half a year more. There are pros and cons to both.

For those of you with multiple children, what is the spacing and what have been the pros and cons for you? If you could do it over again, or if you could have had an "ideal" spacing, what would you have done, or what would you choose?



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
With ours (15, 12, 12, and 6) the spacing between #4 and the others actually worked out the best. There was no rivalry and they hardly ever fight with her because she's so much younger, LOL. Tho (and I know you can't control having multiples) it's been pretty awesome having #2 and #3 be 12 minutes apart. They're best friends. :-D I wish I'd had them either closer or further from the eldest though because she was definitely quite jealous and is just a little too much older to be a very good playmate for the most part when they were all younger.
Nov. 29th, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! What you said about being jealous is one con to the 2.5 year spacing between my boys. The oldest isn't jealous, per say, but he's not great at sharing because he's old enough to remember life when everything was for him and him alone. He's also hitting a difficult IT WAS MINE FIRST phase right as my 1-year-old is in the height of the "grab everything" phase.

Nov. 29th, 2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
My oldest is nearly 6, second nearly 4 and third is 3 months. The spacing was what we chose both times for solid reasons, but I prefer the spacing between my first and second. They are really close, play together and while it was difficult to have a new toddler while pregnant, at #2's birth, the spacing was optimal to my mind.

#2 and #3 were spaced in part because #1 would be in public school and out of childcare when #3 started. Other reasons were that handling two young ones was hard. At 5, my oldest is pretty independent.

If we did it over again, it would be the same choices for the same reasons. 3 in child care is really pricey. The downside is that the baby is quite a bit younger than his next sibling. We may have a fourth. If we do, the spacing will be the 2 year spacing, not the 3.5.
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
my kids are 10.5 years apart and it was ideal for us. the oldest was already into her own stuff (dance, scouts, soccer) and there has never been any sibling rivalry or fighting. (well, maybe NOW, when they both like the same hoodie and claim it as theirs haha). They both got the benefit of being "only" children so to speak with the additional benefit of having a sibling. I got to enjoy the baby/toddler years with both without feeling I was short-changing either. They did not "play" together as kids, obviously, but they have a very strong bond and turn to each other. (they are 17 and 28 now) They both went to daycare/preschool/were in activities from a young age, so having a sibling to play with wasn't all that big of a deal anyway.

Nov. 29th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
Mine were 18 months apart and it worked well. The older was able to walk and talk and be a little independent and even of some 'help' with the newest. They were still close enough to be friends and play together once the younger was walking and talking. As grownups, they are still pretty close.
Nov. 29th, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
Can I friend you? I had two 15 months apart, and need some encouragement getting through the toddler years!
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
My son is 5 and is in kindergarten. I'm pregnant with our second, due in March. The spacing wasn't really intentional, cause my first is from a previous marriage, and I never knew when or if I'd even have another kid. But, now that I AM pregnant, i'm seeing that the spacing will be good. I have the first kid in public school, out of expensive daycare, and it frees up my time and money for kiddo #2. I was able to give proper attention to my oldest, and now I'll be able to focus on my next one easily. plus, being 5 years apart, their interest in toys will be different, so I won't have to worrying about sharing as much.
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
5 years is what I have in mind (my 1 and only is only 4 months now). I'm an only child and really want to be able to give my daughter a lot of 1 on 1 attention I had. Im hoping by the time she is 5ish she will be in school ans have her own little social life. Also by then she probably won't let me baby her anymore and I know I'm going to miss it!
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:24 pm (UTC)
Don't worry about that! My son still likes to be babied, lol. He's really independent, but he still has plenty of moments of still waiting my attention. But, the independence is great, cause he does a lot on his own, so I only have to do every little thing for one kid, lol. We've been working a little harder at doing things by himself, because of the impending baby, but he really enjoys feeling more grown up.

But, at night he still loves his blanket and he still loves his mama. :)
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
My daughter will be 3.5 when our son is born in March. I think this will be great for us. I just didnt want 2 in diapers and my daughter will have been reliably potty trained for a year by then.
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
This is our planned spacing, too. Of course, we just had #1... :)
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:17 pm (UTC)
My first two are 29 months apart and my second and third are 28.5 months apart. We hadn't planned for quite so large a gap between the first two but due to a loss that's what we ended up with and we liked it so much we specifically tried for it the second time. (We're 4 for 4 on getting pregnant the first month we try, I know a lot of people aren't so fertile and would be happy with any spacing they can get). Our three boys are now 19 months, almost 4 (on Saturday!) and 6.5. So far I like the spacing ok, but if I could go back and thought I could handle it I would try to space the second two closer together. By the time my middle boy was 18 months old he and my oldest were so close because they just had each other to play with all day...now they still have each other and can exclude the littlest if they want and 4 and 6.5 are a lot closer mentally than 1.5 and 4. I hope it gets better as they get older and Ollie can talk more, but right now I think they enjoy games like "Ollie is a monster run away from him and never let him get near us" more than he does :-p. They really love him, I haven't seen really any rivalry or jealousy between any of the 3 of them, and the three of them play together quite a bit, it's just that I never see Ben and Ollie play and exclude Tim or Timmy and Ollie play and exclude Benji. I think if he had come along and was more than a lump before Tim really started talking (at 2.5) Ben would think of them as 'my little/baby brothers' instead of 'my little brother and the baby'.
Nov. 29th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
I also weaned and finished potty training while pregnant twice, so it would have been nice to have the pregnant/breastfeeding/both stretch a little bit shorter...I'm in the homestretch now though...74 months straight behind me and only ~5 still to go!
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:08 pm (UTC)
My stepdaughters are 2 years and 3 months apart. That makes them just barely 6 and almost 4. DH and I are trying for our own, which would make the youngest be at least 3.5 years younger than the middle if we got pregnant this cycle (unlikely, but that is another story).

I like spacing of about 2-3 years. I think maybe 2.5 is ideal for me. At that spacing, you get the potty training, the high supervision ages, etc, out of the way quicker. Also, it is a great separation for ages so that they can play together for most of their childhood but without the competition for friends and things that happens more if they are less than 2 years apart.

In fact, it makes me sad that my kid will probably be 4 or more years younger than my youngest step daughter. :(
Nov. 29th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
I have: 5.5 year old, almost 4 year old, 1.5 year old and due any second with another.

There's a 2.5 year gap between the 4 and 1.5 year old. The two year old was potty trained by the time the new baby came, so I only had one in diapers. He's in his own room (4 year old) but in a couple months will be sharing with the 1.5 year old, so naps will be done with for him, and it's not too early an age to drop them. I like the spacing best between them so far.
Nov. 29th, 2012 06:30 pm (UTC)
I know this doesn't work for everyone, but 5 years between my two was the most amazing spacing ever. I'm so glad it took so long, my first son is now almost 8 and my second son is going to be 9 months and its awesome. Of course, we had that ability with having the first at 20/21, but just my 2 cents...LOVE the spacing.
Nov. 29th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
8? Good Lord, me and my awesome typing skills. He's almost 6.
Nov. 29th, 2012 06:37 pm (UTC)
I'm in my first trimester with our second and when its born it'll be 6 years younger than my first. I have a friend who has hers spaced four years apart and she really loves it - only one kid in diapers at a time! If we go for a third, I'm not even thinking about it until the second one is three years old. I want one in diapers at a time and I like that my older one can help around the house, keep his room clean, etc without me having to do it for him.
Nov. 29th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
Mine are 6, almost 5 and 8 months.

The first two are 18 months apart and I absolutely love it most days. They can do the same activities, are interested in similar things and play together without much trouble.

It's a bit hard to tell with the youngest yet, but the older two are both really great with her. They play with her, help out a lot, etc. I imagine it will be more challenging when she's a toddler and starts wanting to do everything they are doing. :)
Nov. 29th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking that that kind of spacing would be nice if we can swing it - do you mind if I friend you? I need encouragement from moms who've been through the toddler years with two close together! :)
Nov. 29th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Of course! :)
Nov. 30th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC)
I don't think spacing matters ALL that much :) my sisters and I are all 3.5 years apart (I'm the oldest, so when my youngest sis was born we were 7, 3.5, and nb). My mom had 4 miscarriages though and that is just the spacing she ended up with.. we had fun growing up, but didn't really "play" together. We are close now but I did things like drive my sisters around, etc. rather than really play with them.

My kids are much closer. Our first 2 are 13 months apart, and we liked the close spacing so much we had #3 17 months later (so 3 babies in 30 months). Our #4 would have been 16 months apart, but we lost her to an umbilical cord accident. :( We had #5 Sept 1st and right now my kids are: just turned 5, almost 4, 2.5, and 3 months.

The benefits of the closer spacing: no sibling rivalry (they were too little to notice/care!) and they all play together SO well. I was able to breastfeed throughout my pregnancies so that part was ok too. Right now my 3 big kids have so much fun together and are just a little playgroup all on their own. This takes a lot of pressure off of me to "entertain" them. Most days our tv never even turns on. :) Tons of fun!

With the 2.5 year spacing I noticed a lot more jealousy :( I totally think my 2.5 year old got used to being the baby for so long and then felt a little booted out. She LOVES her new baby sister, but has had some acting out issues. I feel like she was old enough to "get it" whereas the others really weren't/didn't care. I remeber feeling jealous about the new babies too and my mom has stories about me acting out. So, in my mind a closer spacing is easier.. but my sisters and I are still close to this day. I think the best advice is to get the book Siblings Without Rivalry and start reading it!!
Nov. 30th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
Hate to bring this up, but it's a reality for more women than you might think.

I would have loved to have had a closer spacing than the 3 years we ended up with, but we had a miscarriage between #1 and #2, and even though it was at 10 weeks, and my body healed rather quickly so we were able to get pregnant again only 3 months after the miscarriage, it shifted our "planning" by more than 6 months.

I would say listen to your heart. You may not get pregnant right away, you may (God forbid) have a miscarriage, you may have a baby born very early. As my mother says "We plan - God laughs".
Nov. 30th, 2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
My first two are 3 yrs. apart and my third is close to 5 yrs. younger than my second.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the spacing between my younger two (a 2nd grader and a 2 yr. old). I would wait longer to have a second if I did it over-- 4-5 years is my ideal spacing.
Having two little ones was a huge adjustment for me-- the first 6 months of my second son's life were the hardest of my life.. My daughter was just born fitting into our family. It was so easy, I would have a third kid 100 times over if I could. My kids are all very close. The three of them literally sleep in a big pile together at night despite having their own beds. My middle child started kindergarten when she was 3 weeks old so we've always had one-on-one time, despite her being the third child. The boys have always been helpful, they pour E her cereal in the morning, read to her at night, put her shoes on when we're in a rush, and so on. Plus, I love having kids in the house and having another 5 years with her after the boys leave is definitely a pro to me. If you're looking forward to having an empty nest, that might not be something you want.
Dec. 1st, 2012 04:54 pm (UTC)
I have two girls, 2 and 4 years old. I like the spacing because they are close enough to be friends and like a lot of the same things. They share clothes. They will be in the same school at the same time, mostly, which is awesome so I don't have to run all over the place to get them there.
I'm very close to being done with diapers forever. I don't know if I could get done with diapers for both and then start alll over again. (obviously the 4 year old is done with diapers but you know what I mean. Once I get diapers out of my house for good, that's it!)
My sister in law has a 9 year old boy and is pregnant with a little girl.
She is so stressed out because he pretty much has no interest in it, and is actually a little disappointed he won't be an only anymore. He is old enough to remember clearly what it was like to have mom all to himself.
(his feelings might change when the baby actually comes!) But he will be in high school while baby is still very young... this is totally totally just my opinion, lots of people love having their kids spaced years and years apart. I just remember my mom telling me that when her youngest sister was born, she was already in high school, and didn't feel as much like a sister as a babysitter or aunt or something. She was thinking about college and moving out and it sucked she had to leave her baby sister to pretty much grow up with her out of the house.
ON the other hand, older siblings can prove to be super helpful with new little ones, which probably makes it a lot less hectic and stressful and overwhelming than having two littles (or more) at once! I really think it just depends on how you feel! And sometimes you can try to plan these things out, but really they happen in their own time. Whether they are close in age or spaced out by lots of years, your family will adjust and it will all be normal to you after a little while!
good luck!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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