Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

When and how did you know you were ready??

Our son is 20 months old and my husband and I have been going back and forth on if we want another child. I'm on the fence about it most of the time until recently I started thinking about it more and more. I have reservations about having another because i feel like I wouldn't be able to give my son full attention all the time, it would be harder for date nights to happen having to make arrangement for 2 children instead of 1, and I really am so in love with my son that I don't want to miss a single moment with him.. On the other hand I would love to be pregnant again and having another little one so that my son has a best friend for life.. My concern is waiting too long and having them too far apart in age. Dumb question but do you think 3.5 years apart in age is too much of a gap for them to want to play together and when did you know that you wanted another child and how did you know

Re: When and how did you know you were ready??

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    My DD was about 3.5 when DS was born. I think it was a pretty good age. She was old enough to be able to play independently or read books while I was nursing or tending to her brother. She loved helping me pick out diapers, burp cloths or running to get a paci for me. They are getting to the point now where they are fighting and bickering, but there are times where they can play really well together. DD is quite the mother hen, so poor DS can't get away with anything!
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    My LOs are 19.5 mos apart. We weren't quite planning to have them that close together. But I enjoy the spacing. It was hard for me to transition to 2 kids and not giving DD all my attention but she barely noticed. The transition was pretty painless for her. Now my kids are 3.5 and 2 and are BFF and play (and fight) all day.

    I don't think there's a right or wrong age difference that's okay. I think having a sibling is wonderful and the age gap is sort of irrelevant in the long run. Yes, it's harder to go on dates and yes my LOs get less 1 on 1 time. But they have each other and that more than makes up for it. Good luck with your decision.
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    I have a sister that is less than 2 years younger than me, and I have no memories without her. Having a sibling is so ingrained in me that it was never a question that we wanted two kids. For me, a sibling is the person or people who will be there with you for the majority of your life and have similar experiences growing up in the same house. So I wanted to give DS a close sibling regardless of the fact that it would be hard on me while they are young, and they will be about 21 months apart.

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    BFP #4 natural mc 3/19/2014 5w6d 
    BFP #5 4/27/2014 EDD 12/24/2014 --IT'S A GIRL!

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    Well we decided after ds was born not to use bc of any form.  I breastfed ds 1 exclusively, but I pumped the first 6 weeks because he wasn't interested in latching on.  Because I didn't pump at night, I got my period back right away and ds 2 was conceived when ds 1 was 8 months old.  DS 2 breastfed A LOT so I didn't get my period back until he was 16 months old and he's now 20 months old and 3 isn't on the way yet.  I wanted a close age gap, but I'll tell you what most people with 2 under 2 will.  2 under 2 was ROUGH the first year, but I wouldn't do it differently if I could due to their closeness and it's pretty smooth sailing these days.  I, like you, like to devote my every second of attention to my babies, so I had a really hard time dealing with the fact  I couldn't do that anymore, but ds is fine anyway.  So to answer you question I don't know when or how I was ready, I just let nature takes its course.  I really wanted 1 and 2 to be super close, but ideally 17 months was too close looking back.  Ds is now 20 months and I'm still thinking he is too young to be a big brother.  He still nurses A LOT and I'm hoping he'll self wean before I get pregnant again.  I do not want to wean him until he is ready.  That being said, I'm kind of hoping he is about 3 when the next one is born because ds 1 got a lot more reasonable when he turned 3, so I think I could handle a 3 year age gap better.  I just want ds 2 to be at least 2 before I get pregnant.  And as far a 3.5 year age gap, I do not think that is too big of an age difference to be close.  My niece and I were 3.25 years apart and we were very best friends growing up.   We always felt the same age-ish and played with the same things and like the same stuff and my mom babysat for her so we spent A LOT of time together. 

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    we don't have much in common b/c i enjoy time away from my kids (i'm very ok missing moments here and there) and i'm not a fan of being pregnant, despite three easy pregnancies in a short period of time, but figured i'd give my two cents anyway. 

    based on experience of friends, your kids can still be close and play together, but they will likely be into different things the further apart they are, and the playing "together" is less likely.  i love the gap b/w my first two (16 months) and watching them share and play is a joy. my nephew is 4.5 years older than his infant brother and watching him coo over his brother is adorable, but i expect they will have a very different relationship than my sons, at least growing up.

    it can be a good thing for your son that he won't get your full attention all the time. just a thought.

    i can't fathom date night will be much different. most babysitters i know charge the same for up to 2 kids, but maybe things are different by you.

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    My younger brother and I are 2 years apart and while we played together through maybe 5th grade (for me, 3rd for him) after that he had his friends and I had mine.  We also went to different highschools and had different after school activities but we're still close in that he's my brother and we'd do anything for each other in a pinch.

    DH and I were just talking about spacing last night.  DD is almost 20 months and is a hand full!  We were originally planning to try for #2 in Jan 2016 so he/she would be born when DD was 3.5yrs but last night we were talking about pushing it even one more year and making them 4.5yrs apart.  For us the pros are financial stability, they'll have separate identities, DD will be able to "help" more with a new baby if she's older.  Also, the cost of daycare in our area is insane and I want to see if I can get further in my career before having #2 so as to have a higher salary and better maternity leave benefits.

    For what it's worth we have friends who spaced their LOs about 14 months apart and it's working well for them.  They knew once they had their 1st that they wanted to get started on #2 right away.
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    My girls are 4 years and 11 months apart and for us, it was perfect. Our primary reason for the spacing the way we did, was to only have 1 child in daycare at a time.  Our girls definitely love each other, enjoy being together and as the little one has gotten older, they play more together.  Obviously with their age difference, they won't share the exact interests or friends as time goes on, but the benefit of having a sibling, the bond they share, that's always going to be there.

    My brother and I are 3.5 years apart and I do remember playing together often as young children, but not so much as we got older and we're not all that close now.

    I also just attended the wedding of a close friend and she has a sister who is five years younger than she is, and they are the very best of friends at 22 and 27.
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    As far as age gap goes, I think it has more to do with the circumstances of growing up than age when it comes to closeness. Look at the NPR Car Talk brothers who were super close and born 15 years apart. Vs me and my sister who are 19 months apart and barely speak to each other.

    About being ready, it is all up to you and your husband's personal preferences/career choices/ financial goals/ etc. As to when to TFAS.

    I'm pretty sure that it's generally recommended ( ) to wait18+ months between pregnancies to lower health risks for you and the baby, but obviously many people have babies earlier with no issues.

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    My oldest daughter was 7 months old when I got pregnant (by surprise) with our youngest daughter. They are about 17 months apart! I was super worried about it. I didn't know if I would be able to handle it, but in the end it has been a blessing. Don't get me wrong, it is incredibly challenging at times. However, they play so well together and I never had to worry about my oldest being jealous. I don't think she even remembers what it was like without her sister.

    That being said, my husband and I are currently thinking about having a third. Ideally, I'd like to wait to give birth until my oldest is about four years old and my youngest is around 2.5 years.  We will see though. These terrible twos are killing me.... It might end up being even longer. 

    Oh, and don't worry about missing things with your son. The more children you have the more your ability to love grows! I don't feel like I've missed out on anything with my oldest. In fact, we have made some wonderful memories together as a family of four. All around it's just been a blessing to have another baby! 

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    I think 2.5-3.5 years difference is the perfect age gap.  Our DD1 was 2y9m when DD2 was born and I have zero complaints.  DD1 was old enough to talk, walk, potty trained, sleeping in a real bed, able and willing to help out and able to sit long enough to watch a show or something while I was nursing the baby.  She adores her baby sister and can't remember what life was like before she came along.

    We're not planning on having any more kids, but if we were, I'd stick with the same age gap.
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    My two are 3.5 years apart and they totally play together. The gap is perfect for our family and if we have a third we want to plan them about 3-4 years apart, too. 
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    After my husband deployed, and I spent the first year of our son's life doing all the nighttime feedings, etc, I realized I'm not a fan of being mom to a newborn.  I know it'd be different with him home, but even so...I'm not willing to gamble on feeling differently.  Since we can't conceive, we have to factor in the cost of another adoption, plus the wait time, and the emotional toll of years of waiting, home study, etc.  It seemed like a really easy thing to say one and done.  

    And then I told my hubby how I felt, and we talked about it at length and he agreed, and all of a sudden, I was having massive regrets about never having another child.  I think you always wonder about the path not taken, but at the end of the day, knowing how much we love our son and how complete he makes our family feel, and knowing that another adoption would most likely put me in my early forties before it was the unlikely event we do ever adopt again, it will most likely not be a newborn.  
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