What's the best age gap between baby 1 and 2?

(59 Posts)
AlmondFrangipani Sat 26-Oct-13 16:11:31

We have a DS whose 12 weeks old and whilst we're not ready yet by any means to have number 2 I wondered what people's views are? We always thought we would have them close together but sleep deprivation is putting me off!!

maillotjaune Sat 26-Oct-13 16:20:19

You will sleep again! It took all of mine 6 months to work up to 10-12 hours sleep at night but you're half way there and yours might be quicker smile

I don't think there's a right answer to that is there? I have 18 months between the first two and then 5 years (and yes, the third was planned!).

2 under 2 is hard work with nappies / sleep disturbance / double buggies if you have late / unwilling walkers BUT on the other hand they are easier to entertain together and an 18 month old (well, ours, anyway) doesn't experience the jealousy / feeling put out by the new arrival that they have to share their parents with.

And then the very young children stage is out of the way relatively quickly. Unless you do what we did...

theignored Sat 26-Oct-13 16:28:42

18months! Our oldest two, boy and girl are 18months apart. while it was hard work, having two in nappies etc its really paid off in that days out are easily planned to suit them both and they really play well together. also the consecutive school years is also handy.
our mistake was having child.no.3 after a three year age gap, really wish we'd cracked on and had him straight away. One of us always seems to be with the baby while the older two are off having fun, imo it would have been easier to have three close in age.
My advice would be to decide how many children you'd like and have them close as poss....if you think you can cope!

AlmondFrangipani Sat 26-Oct-13 16:53:44

We are only going to have 2 as I've got a kidney condition which means I can't have anymore. We were thinking 18 months. It's going to sound silly but that would mean a Jan/Feb baby and I really didn't want a baby at that time of the year. I guess it will have to be 15 month ish or 20 month ish gap instead (if it happens at the right time too)!!

pinkpiggy Sat 26-Oct-13 16:56:04

Agree 18 months is ideal. Hard work initially but you get the baby bit done and the DC are close in age

LittleSiouxieSue Sat 26-Oct-13 17:19:37

I wanted DD 2 to be settled at nursery and potty trained so we thought 2.5/3 years and luckily stuck to it! I would not have changed this as they are close but have very different personalities and aptitudes. People who had children close together expected them to do everything together, eg after school clubs, activities etc and did not seem to see their children as individuals. If one wanted ballet, they both did ballet if you see what I mean.

wonkylegs Sat 26-Oct-13 17:23:46

It depends on you really
I have a health condition too which meant that before we even considered no 2, no 1 needed to be pretty much independent.
This means if we have a 2nd child there will be a large gap but for us that's totally planned (as that's the only way I can physically have kids although i'm sure it will attract lots of accident questions)

JoinYourPlayfuckers Sat 26-Oct-13 17:25:39

I think closer to 2 years buys you a lot of extra time alone with your first baby and it's not such a grind when you have a toddler and a baby as it is when your toddler is very small.

I would definitely go for 20 months rather than 15 months.

My sister had 13 months and I had 22 months and god, my life in the very early years was a breeze compared to hers.

EatDessertFirst Sat 26-Oct-13 19:37:25

There is a week shy of 2 years between my DD5 and DS3. Best timing ever! DD was on her way out of nappies when DS was born and now they entertain each other.

Knowing now how my children are I think if my DD had been much older she would have been more jealous of her wee brother but at just two she was ecstatic to have a sibling. Now they are inseperable but hyper at the same time and I wouldn't have them any other way!

Sleep deprivation skews all normal perceptions, making even thinking about a second little one seem laughable impossible. When they start to do things for themselves (like sleeping through, weaning) the memory of those first three months will be non-exsistent.

Good luck!!

fortyplus Sat 26-Oct-13 19:39:54

When I was in hospital with ds1 I asked what was the shortest sensible gap till the next one and was told 18 months - gives your body time to recover. So mine are 18 months apart. It was very tough for about a year or so but brilliant ever since. They're 18 and 19 now smile

MirandaWest Sat 26-Oct-13 19:41:31

Mine are 22 months apart and tbh I never really had any problems when they were small. They're 9 and 8 now and still pretty much ok smile

jimijack Sat 26-Oct-13 19:44:17

10 years here,I have a 10 year old & a 10 month old.
Planned age gap was 5 years due to desperately shocking lack of sleep. (Ds 1 was 5 and at school before he slept through the night)

Ended up with fertility and 're occurring miscarriage issues.

Ds2 was a HUGE surprise & we are still in shock.

Just shows that plans can go to shit.

ChipAndSpud Sat 26-Oct-13 19:51:09

I originally wanted a two year gap, but I don't feel quite ready yet, I think we will start trying next year and have a 3 year age gap.

I'm hoping that DS will be walking a bit further by then and also talking better. Plus I'm looking forward to the free nursery hours when DS is three so that I can still continue to send him to nursery whilst in on maternity leave with the baby.

I don't think there is an ideal gap tbh, just whatever feels right for you and your family.

StickChildrenTwo Sat 26-Oct-13 19:51:52

I say the bigger gap the better (but I am a wimp!) ...I have a 4 year age gap and it's worked brilliantly for us.

I have a 22 mth gap and it is brilliant, a bit harder when they are small as you essentially have two babies.

But they are 6 & 7 now, best of friends, into the same stuff and it's fab! DS1 has never been jealous and now can't even remember a time before ds2

MadameJosephine Sat 26-Oct-13 19:58:48

16 years! Wasn't planned but my eldest tells me he liked having me all to himself before his sister arrived and now he's old enough to babysit smile

TippiShagpile Sat 26-Oct-13 20:00:57

I have a year between mine which was very hard at first but really easy after a couple of years. And they are best friends.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 26-Oct-13 20:03:29

6 years for me. Under no circumstances would I want TWO pre-schoolers ruining my best years. grin

Catnap26 Sat 26-Oct-13 20:03:41

Mine are 12 months apart.its been hard and it has certainly put me off having anymore (yet) but the way I c it is if I choose not to have anymore it will never be as hard as this again.i wouldn't recommend what I've done but I don't regret it.

marriedinwhiteisback Sat 26-Oct-13 20:09:00

The one that you get because only the blessed are actually able to plan it.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 26-Oct-13 20:11:20

Well quite!

MolotovCocktail Sat 26-Oct-13 20:21:21

I agree with married. I have a friend who actually planned 2 summer babies because she didn't think that birthday parties in winter were much fun hmm

I still remember the agonising 2 years it took to conceive dd2. There is no optimum gap. It all depends on lots of factors.

WhatABeautifulPussy Sat 26-Oct-13 20:30:46

I think you can plan a minimum age gap. 18 months would have killed me, but your DS may be much easier!

I think if you can't contemplate having a baby fairly imminently (because pregnancy with another child to consider is very different) then you're not really ready.

zipzap Sat 26-Oct-13 21:24:14

I was planning on an 18 month-ish gap and ended up with 3 years. I really don't like it - the dc are close enough to sort of play together but often they both want different things out of it and it can easily end in mayhem. Despite this they are close and genuinely fond of each other (they're 8&5).

There's 14 months between my dsis and me - I think my mum had it much easier despite a hard slog for the first year or so.

Dsis has 3 kids - 4 years between 1 & 2, 14 months between 2&3. She preferred the gap between the youngest 2 as being the easiest pair to deal with.

barleysugar Sat 26-Oct-13 21:27:54

17 months here! They are amazingly close now at ages 6 and 7 and they get even closer with time. They get treated just like twins to be honest, completely the same with everything.

filey1 Sun 27-Oct-13 01:40:51

Am planning a 3 year age gap. Have loved the time with DD1, just the three of us. Now can't wait to have another but I think any earlier would have been too much too soon.

WinterOfOurDiscontent Sun 27-Oct-13 04:14:29

21 months apart here. I'm not sure any age gap is ideal, it's down to what works for you and you're family IMO.

JeanBodel Sun 27-Oct-13 04:16:38

I have a 17 month gap between mine.

There was a time when I regretted it - when they were both in the terrible twos stage (ie terrible 18 months to 4 years old).

But they play so well together, they are best friends; and as others have said the same activity suits them both. I am really pleased I worked through that hard patch as it's plain sailing from here on in!

Fishandjam Sun 27-Oct-13 04:56:11

I wanted an 18 month gap; my body disagreed and I didn't get up the duff until much later. We ended up with a 2.5 year gap. Just as well, in hindsight, as otherwise I'd have been pregnant and most likely temporarily paralysed (badly herniated spinal disc).

JoandMax Sun 27-Oct-13 05:07:03

I have 20 months between my 2 and now they're 5 and 3.5 its great, they get on well and enjoy similar things.

The first year though was very very difficult - DS2 was very ill and spent lots of time in hospital, he needed so much of my time I felt horrendously guilty that DS1 was basically pushed out of the way and didn't get the attention he needed or deserved. On the plus side he was so young there was no jealously and he doesn't really remember that time.

We would of loved that gap again but due to DS2 we couldn't contemplate getting pregnant as it wouldn't have been fair on either DSes.

His problems mostly resolved when he was just over 2 years and we tried for a year for DC3 and no joy so have decided to just stick with what we have!

Jaynebxl Sun 27-Oct-13 05:09:15

19 months here and I wouldn't have wanted any bigger. It was really hard work but in some ways easier because I was still in baby mode with my first when my second came along. Now they are 7 and almost 6 and it is great. Holidays and days out are easier as they are both at a similar stage. And at home they are lovely company for each other when they're not beating each other up
I don't agree with the poster who said people with small age gaps don't treat them as individuals and just send them to the same activities. Not in our family or any I know. Mine have chosen their own activities and only 1 coincides.

I don't

Wuxiapian Sun 27-Oct-13 05:11:51

There will be just 13 months between DS2, 9 months and my baby due in March.

I am beginning to brick it...

Bakingtins Sun 27-Oct-13 05:18:03

What marriedinwhite said. The only thing you have control over is a minimum gap, and I personally would not want less than 2 yrs.

kidinasweetshop Sun 27-Oct-13 05:18:38

2 years 9 months gap has been brilliant for us so far. No jealousy and DC1 was potty trained and in big bed before baby arrived so all relatively easy which is good as I make non-sleepers!

LittleRobots Sun 27-Oct-13 05:20:21

Gosh I'm surprised at all those saying 18 months. My mother did 18 months and always suggested we avoided it! Too soon to really spend a lot of time getting to know the first one, expectation that they'll be playmates but too close in age to have defined older/younger roles, but not close enough to be on an equal footing.

We have 3 years and its perfect. Number one was able to understand what was happening, we were able to prime so no jealousy at the birth. Able to help out in small ways and enjoy having a baby, starting pre school so I got some one on one time with the baby during the week. They love playing together now.

I'd honestly recommend a similar gap for those in a position to choose, and think its ideal.

LittleRobots Sun 27-Oct-13 05:25:03

I agree kid! I really am glad of that chance to really bond with my first and get to know her as a person and to recover. I am baffled by those prefering smaller gaps!

Maybe people will always suggest what they have?

kidinasweetshop Sun 27-Oct-13 05:30:20

Yes Little Robots my mum did 15 months so I was keento avoid that!

rallytog1 Sun 27-Oct-13 09:02:43

My Mum went for an 18 month age gap after me. Unfortunately her dc2 turned out to be twins, so she had 3 children under 2. She did an amazing job but I remember her being very stressed a lot of the time. No WAY would I take that chance now, especially if twins may run in the family.

Fortunately the decision has been taken out of my hands, as my emcs for dd went a tad wrong (for me - fortunately she is fine) and the consultant recommended I should wait at least two years before becoming pregnant again. So the age gap for ours will hopefully be around three years.

BobaFetaCheese Sun 27-Oct-13 09:06:39

What ever you end up with you'll make it work/will end up being the best for you.

We've got 20months between ours, at the early stages (DS2 is the same age as your DC Almond) and it's much easier (most of the time) than I thought it would be.
However I'm just starting to toilet train DS1 & I can see how it would be so much easier if I could just focus on him

VelvetStrider Sun 27-Oct-13 09:12:30

I'd say 3-4 years is best imo. No need for a double buggy, only one at a time in nappies, but not so big an age gap that they have nothing in common.

What concerns me about smaller age gaps is that the second child's 'firsts' are not enjoyed as much. If you've done something just a year or so ago with DC1 then it's not fresh and exciting to do it again with DC2. If you space it out, then it's like doing things for the first time again.

ExcuseTypos Sun 27-Oct-13 09:17:52

We have a 3 year gap (not planned) and it worked brilliantly.

Dd1 was able to 'help', understood much more that the baby needed me sometimes, she was also at nursery a few mornings a week, out of nappies, talking etc etc.

They've always been friends and you only have one a university at a time, so you can afford to help them.

DoudousDoor Sun 27-Oct-13 09:20:36

There was 2.5 years between me and DB and we were very close until he left home and always played together and rarely argued!

We'll have 2.8 years between our 2. I wanted less but DS still isnt sleeping through aged 2.1, and I get debilitating migraines so could not have contemplated a smaller gap. We were lucky and got pregnant first month of trying each time.

I think it depends a lot of your children and not the age gap. I know 2 lads with an 18 month gap who cannot be left alone together as they try to kill each other and destroy the house.

Locketjuice Sun 27-Oct-13 09:22:42

I have 18 months between 1& 2 works really well smile

Mumof3xx Sun 27-Oct-13 09:24:47

We had 16 months between 1&2 then they were 4&5 years old when dc3 was born

Although it's lovely how close the older two are I feel I am really able to enjoy dc3 as a baby much more than when I had 1&2! As the older two are quite independent I get plenty of lovely one on one time with my little one

Abitannoyedatthis Sun 27-Oct-13 09:27:19

I think it depends on circumstances. There is 20m between me and my sister. We played together but fought and fought. We were also constantly compared at school and outside activities.

My girls have nearly three years between them - I think I originally aimed for two but started a new job. They are now teenagers but get on extremely well. DD1 also started nursery age 3 which gave me time alone with DD2.

On the downside it stretches paid childcare - kids in nappies etc over a longer time period.

mummy1973 Sun 27-Oct-13 09:29:28

What married said. Experience showed me that! Of course great to plan and dream but just be aware you don't always get what you wish for. Sorry to be maudling. You'll make it work whatever gap you have smile

lade Sun 27-Oct-13 09:36:19

I have two DDs and 3 years. I had wanted 2 years, but we ended up going for 3. For us it is perfect.

My eldest had her own babyhood (the eldest is forced to grow up when the second is born) was out of nappies, going to preschool, able to help, able to understand when DD2 was born. It wasn't difficult having DD2, because by that stage,DD1 slept, understood sometimes she needed to wait, could take herself to the toilet etc etc..

As for closeness, yes they are very close. They choose to play together at school, share friends and get on really well. But, I think how close children are is more down to personality than age. I have a friend with children not much more than a year or so apart. Despite being the same gender, they hate each other, I mean really hate as in they cannot be left alone together. My children share interests and hobbies, so they're very similar and have compatible personalities (ones a leader, one likes to follow). They're downstairs playing together right now. When at home, they play together all the time. I think though, that's just the luck of gender and temperament more than anything else.

hellsbells99 Sun 27-Oct-13 09:52:51

I have 2 DDs, now teenagers. Gap is 13 months. The 1st year was hard but otherwise it has been great. They have similar interests, help each other with homework and keep each other entertained. Woulc highly recommend a small gap!

MiaowTheCat Sun 27-Oct-13 13:28:18

11 months and I love it... hard for the first 3 months or so but you've not really got out of the baby grind part with number 1 so you're not suddenly hit with it being hard with number 2 again (you just do two nappy changes instead of one when you've got all the nappy stuff out), you haven't sold off all the baby stuff from number 1 yet and they really do interact with each other now with howls of giggles... plus you get everyone in the supermarket going on about how cute the pair of them are! Plus no real pressure for the eldest to "grow up" when the baby's born (I've always been really against this idea of getting the eldest to help fetching nappies and things - baggage from my own childhood there) and you're not at the level where toys from the eldest have little bits so you're desperately trying to stop the baby eating them either!

Bathtime resembles a small tidal wave of devastation though when they both discover splashing their sister at the same time (which is really fun to watch but slightly wet)

PennyJennyPie Sun 27-Oct-13 19:03:41

Just curious how people with smaller gaps manage their careers? If you take a year of with dc1 and have an 18 month gap, you will then be 3 months preg when returning and only work 6 months before the next mat leave?

I appreciate that this is not a concern for everyone, but would be good to hear thoughts?

Mumof3xx Sun 27-Oct-13 19:08:26

I had a 16 month gap with dc1&2

I went on mat leave at 7 months preg with dc1 and returned to work 23 months later when dc 2 was 5 months old and dc1 was 21 months. Although I didn't go back to the same job, I never intended to do so from when I went on my mat leave

Geckos48 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:08:58

2 years, its been amazing.

going for 3 years between the next two.

hellsbells99 Sun 27-Oct-13 19:46:20

I had 14 weeks off after DD1 was born and then went back initially 2 days a week - my husband had those 2 days off to look after her (he works shifts/weekends so we were able to sort it), and then upped it to 3 days a week. Had slightly longer off with DD2 - think it was about 5 months, again going back part-time with DH helping to cover and 1 day a week at nursery. I have only worked full-time for 2 months since they were born and the eldest is 16! I now work 2 very long days, 2 short days and Fridays off - and do a bit extra in the evenings and weekends if I need to.

lharris1985 Mon 28-Oct-13 17:10:48

I've just got one 6 month old but I'm already thinking about baby number 2 - we had always said 18 months between 1 and 2 as we want them to be friends as well as siblings!

LittleRobots Mon 28-Oct-13 18:49:18

Our 3year old gap was because we liked the idea of friends rather than rivals! They are such good buddies and love playing together. I am so glad they have that bond.

My brother and I were 18 months and it really didn't work. I guess its not just down to age gap but its certainly been a factor in us not trying too soon!

emmyloo2 Tue 29-Oct-13 05:11:02

I have 2.5 years between mine. It's a good gap but I do wonder whether we should have had a shorter gap just to get it over and done with. We are only having two and I found the first two years of my first's life, very hard. Now he is becoming quite a delight at almost 3 years of age and I find him really very easy to care for. However, we now have the 5 month old so I feel like I am now back to square 1 and am facing another 18 months before it becomes easier again - if that makes sense? However, I am not sure I would have had the mental strength to cope with two under two. It's a balancing act and I think it depends on how well you cope with babies. I don't cope well at all, so I needed a slightly bigger age gap. I was so scarred by my first that I originally wanted 4-5 years between them but I am so glad we didn't, because we really just want to get the baby stage over and done with so we can get on with life and start enjoying ourselves again. I have that now with my DS and so I just want my DD to grow up so she can be his age and they can play together....

I think I just rambled but I hope that made sense!

BigDomsWife Tue 29-Oct-13 16:28:25

Another bigger gap here that worked out superbly. 2.9 months between DD & DS. They love each other to bits, rarely fight, love to look after each other. There are 13 months between my Sister and me,we fought and have not spoken for a while. There were 3.5 years between my Brother & we never fought. . . ever! A majority of children we know who had less than 2 year between them cannot stand each other so we planned a bigger gap which worked out of us. Luckily!

Eletheomel Tue 29-Oct-13 18:05:29

I'm with earlier poster, just amazed and blessed to have two children, regardless of age gap - there was a time we didn't think we'd be able to have even one child.

In an ideal world I wanted a 2 year gap, but got 3.9 months instead. However, in all honesty the gap I've got has worked out better for me as I suffer very badly in pregnancy with morning sickness (sofa-ridden for 8 weeks) and DS1 was 3 at that point and could understand what was going on whereas an 18 month old wouldn't have understood why I couldn't play with him and my guilt would have been trebled.

It also means I'll only have to pay double childcare for 1 month as DS1 will be starting school shortly after my mattie leave ends, so financially it's much better. DS2 is only 5 months old so I have no idea if they'll get on or not, but to me that's all down to personalities not age gap - there are 10 years between me and my eldest sister and we are (and have always been) really close.

The age of your kids won't determine whether they get on or like the same things, so I would aim for a minimum age and then hope you're lucky enough to fall pregnant. Good luck with it all :-)

AveryJessup Tue 29-Oct-13 18:15:25

I'm envious of anyone who can plan it! A mother in a parenting group I belong to whose first DS is the same age nearly to the day as mine (2) said a year ago that she wasn't going to join our gym because she was planning to have her second as soon as possible. I thought 'hmm we'll see how that works out missus' as I know she is about 35 like me.

Went to a recent event and there she was, 3 month old DS2 in tow... oh well! Meanwhile I'm seeing my doctor to discuss starting a course of Clomid... (burning with envy...envy)

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