Advanced search

Mumsnet hasn't checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can't diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.

What's the ideal gap for 2nd time around?

(18 Posts)
mines Mon 22-Apr-02 15:33:58

What do people think is the ideal gap between children?

2 months after having my ds and swearing 'never again' to all who would listen, I am having to listen to the little voice inside me which is saying 'well...maybe'.

I'm giving it thought now because the mirena coil looks like a good contraceptive option for me but my GP recommends fitting it for a minimum of three years (purely for financial reasons).

Obviously I could just fib and say I have no intentions of having another baby in the short term but I would rather get my thoughts straight first!

What is people's experience?

sister Mon 22-Apr-02 15:51:50

When my son was 6 months old and not even sitting up I found out I was pregnant with my second!!
I went in to shock at the time because my son was not even sitting up!!
When my daughter was born my son was 17 months old. Their was no reaction when I brought my daughter home and completely no jealousy because he was too young. It never bothered him when I fed my daughter.
They are now really good friends. My son is 3 and 1/2 and my daughter is just over 2. They play together really well and look out for each other. They look after each other which is really sweet and their friendship makes my live a lot easier.
I went through a hard patch for the first year when they were both in nappies and I had a short period where I found it difficult to take them out on my own because they were too heavy for me to push the double buggie, but now it is great and they love the same things. So taking them to Tweenies show etc is a joy for both of them.
I'd highly recommend having them close together.

SueDonim Mon 22-Apr-02 16:58:13

I've read that less than about 18mths or more than 3 years is best. As Sister said, below 18mths and they are too young to notice. Over 3, they are looking to be more independent and less needy of you. My smallest gap is 4.5yrs, the largest 9yrs and curiously, the only one I've had jealousy problems with is my youngest!!!

AimeesMum Mon 22-Apr-02 17:09:23

I was just wonderng what people thought about the age gap between the first and second child.I did post this message in Parenting, but a reply told me you were discussing this here... My husband and I are 21/20 and have a daughter of 18 months. I have commitments at collge until next June, and we were thinking about trying for a second child later this year, so that he or she would be born next summer, which will make our daughter almost 3.
I thought it was better to wait a little before having a second child, as I wouldn't like to rush in to it, as I'd like to have my daughter out of nappies first.
I do know a couple who are four and a half months pregnant,and their first child is only 5 and a half months old.
I don't want to have another child at the wrong time, any ideas?

Eulalia Mon 22-Apr-02 19:28:54

I've just had my 2nd baby (6 days ago!) and my son is 33 months. This seems to have worked out very well. He isn't toilet trained (but boys are slower) but is already dressing himself and in general seems to be quite independent. This means that he doesn't want a lot of attention from me. Also because he is older he was able to understand that I was having a baby thus was more prepared for it.

I think some of it obviously depends upon the temperment of your child but this is my experience. I am still amazed at how well our son has accepted the new baby. Again because he is more able to do things he wants to help out with changing nappies - it is really cute.

Good luck and hope you conceive at the right time.

threeangels Mon 22-Apr-02 21:03:06

I have three children. They are 12, 9, and 17mo. I never planned on having a third until a month before i was pregnant. I liked having my first 3 years apart because it gave me a chance to get myself back to normal. I also did not want to chase two tiny ones around at the same time. I also wanted my first to be totally out of diapers and a little more independent. This was so i was able to spend a little more quality time with each one when they were born. My second and third are exactly 8 years apart. I thought it would be hard starting over but it was actually easier to me. I was more then ready. Plus its great to see my older kids enjoying their little brother. I dont think there is any one age to seperate your children. I think it all depends on what you want and if you feel you can handle children closer in age.

mears Tue 23-Apr-02 09:09:26

I have 2 1/4 years between 1st and 2nd and think that was hellish. No. 1 was in the middle of the terrible two behaviour. When the baby was born number one was OK for 6 weeks then, when he realised the baby was staying, he behaved badly towards him most of the time. That has continued as they are now 15yrs and almost 13 yrs!!!!

There was 15months between no.2 and no.3. That was a fantastic space because they were both in nappies and no.2 still slept in the morning and afternoon. The new baby went in a sling initially and no.2 had the buggy or if dh and I were together we had 2 buggies - didn,t fancy a double one because they were so heavy. I also had a silver cross pram with the toddler seat attached.
There was 3 years between no.3 and no.4 ( had a miscarriage in between). That was also a good gap because no.3 had gone through the most uncooperative 2 year old stage and enjoyed helping with the baby.I had originally thought I would wait till they were all at school before having no.4 but in the end couldn't wait

I had always wanted 4 at least and knew that was the master plan. I would have had more but put my sensible head on and called it quits.

I definately agree that before 18 months and after 3 years is ideal.

Purp Sat 27-Apr-02 09:49:08

I think this is a really interesting topic and I hope it picks up again. DD is nearly seven months and we are wondering when to have another. My brain and body yell no way, give me time to recover, sleep, be me etc. But I can understand why people would want two of a similar age. Is there anyone out there with the three year age gap who could tell me if it is OK with regard to keeping them both amused, can they play together OK etc? Does the younger one just annoy the older one? I can see that it would be great when the younger one is a baby but what about when they are, say 2 and 5 or 4 and 7? Thanks.

Dixie Sat 27-Apr-02 10:14:25

I can't talk of age gap experience from a parent point of view but can from a sibling point of view if it helps...There is just over 3 years gap between myself & my brother (I'm eldest). I remeber very happy times of my childhood, playing with my brother, going off to the park & cinema when we were older. We were very very close & enjoyed the same kind of games & amusement. During our teens we got our own friends & there was a stage when I was a teenager & he was only ten that he became 'irrating' & got in the way...he subsequently felt left out for a while but when he went up to big secondary school & got his own new mates it seemed to even out. That distance between us may not have actually been down to the age gap maybe more that I was a girl & he was boy & into different things by then, who knows. However we are still very very close & still socialise with each other now out of actual friendship & wanting to rather than obligation due to family ties...if that makes sense.

So from my sibling experience the gap between us seemed to work & my mother always recalls us playing quite well together.

Azzie Sat 27-Apr-02 11:06:12

I have 2yrs 6 wks between my two. I couldn't wait any longer because I was scared that if no.1 got too easy to deal with then I would never face starting all over again. In contrast to Mears experience, I've not had substantial problems at all. Ds has been very good with his sister from the word go (I think that because he had just moved out of the babyroom at nursery we were lucky that he had a very clear idea of what not to do to small babies!). Dd has worshiped him from the word go, and they play really well together most of the time. As I type they are in his bedroom playing tigers together and building a den with the duvets. One thing that has been really good about the gap is that ds doesn't remember life without his sister at all - he can remember a few events that happened before she was born, but in his memory she was there as well.

AimeesMum Sat 27-Apr-02 20:50:14

I had a cesarian with my first daughter,Aimée, 18 months, so this affected my choice as to when to have another baby,for the medical, and emotional reasons. I am returning to college this year (I'm a young mum of 20), to do a year course, and are hoping to get pregnant later this year, to have a baby early next summer.This would make my first born about 2 and a half. I am also planning to start university next year, to train as a midwife. Financially it might be best to wait until after I have completed uni, and worked for one or two years...but this would make Aimée eight or so, and like Azzie said, the fear of starting again after such a long time since the baby years is rather off putting. Also, after working so hard to get a career..would I want to give it up to stay at home for at least 3 months, after only working one or two years? Also having to cope with the lack of! lol! My husband I really want two or three children also.
For us I think having our babies 2 and a half years apart, will give us the chance to do everything we want,and what's best for our kids, after they've been born. Whether or not Aimée will like the new baby is a different matter! lol! Currently she loves babies, so fingers crossed it will stay like that! lol!

KMG Sun 28-Apr-02 18:21:06

If you're thinking of a second, are pregnant, or just embarking on life with two, I would recommend reading Abrams: Three shoes, one sock, and no hairbrush!

Age gaps - Swings and roundabouts. Our gap is 22 months, (two boys) maybe that's why I have no desire to have another! The first nine months were easy - much easier than I expected, even though I had them both at home full time for 18 months. The older one couldn't take too much responsibility, but it did give him a push to start doing more for himself, and there was never any jealousy. BUT the tough time was 9 months in, for about a year. When the baby is mobile, but the toddler isn't old enough to be understanding/tolerant of the baby wrecking his trainset/jigsaw, or whatever! They were dreadful squabblers for a while.

But now they are very close, and play nicely together, though of course they fight too. But I hope they will be good friends and playmates.

If you have a larger gap, dealing with the baby is easier, especially if the older one is out at playgroup or nursery already. BUT second time around MOST people find the baby no problem anyway - after the first few weeks a little baby really isn't that demanding, when you've been through it all before.

We always wanted two close in age. It makes life easier when you're planning days out, or holiday - it's not impossible to please everyone! Also it means you can de-clutter much easily, as clothes and toys are grown out of relatively quickly!

MalmoMum Mon 29-Apr-02 04:09:12

KMG, nice to hear your experience. Looks like I shall have a similar gap to you so nice to hear some encouragement. I shall try to be aware when the crunch period happens, memory cells permitting.

jenny2998 Mon 29-Apr-02 21:07:48

I don't think there is an "ideal" agae gap. It varies from child-ti-child and family-to-family. My parents always thought they'd got it right with me and my sister - exactly 2 years, but we have never got on, because we are VERY different, about as different as we could be, and that has always caused a lot of friction.

My son was 2years 7months when his sister arrived and he absolutely adores her. There were very few problems, but then he was always a very easy child - the terrible two's never happened with him! A year on,she worships him and he adores her. There are problems, but only day to day things that I guess everyone goes through. For my next child I am planning roughly a two year gap, and maybe less for number four....but that's a little way off yet

Jaybee Tue 30-Apr-02 12:13:48

For various reasons we have three years, three months between our two and now they are older ds is 8 and dd 5, they get on really well (most of the time anyway). When dd was born, ds was old enough to understand what was going on, he could take himself to the loo and was pretty good at amusing himself while I had to sort out a new baby. I did initially want them closer together but now I am glad the age difference is how it is. Saying that my friend has just had twins and her ds is only 19 months old and she seems to be coping ok!!!

Queenie Fri 03-May-02 11:43:08

My dd will be 23 months when 2nd baby is born and expect it to be hard at first although this pregnancy was planned. My DH is 40 this year and I will be 37 just after abby born so this was a big factor to us. My sister has a 3.5 year gap and although her DS is only 3 months there have been no problems with her DD who is at pre-school and has her own group of friends. She is more interested in my DD who is 18 months. I don't think there is an ideal age gap as it depends on the child/ren. Another neice of mine is 4 and has just been presented with a baby sister who she ignores because she is a child who doesn't seem able to share anything and likes being the "little girl" where other children like being "big". I just tell myself it may be hard for a short while with a small gap but it won't last forever - my mum had 18 months between my sister and me and said it was easy, but then she is superhuman!!

sister Fri 03-May-02 11:59:45

Your dd must be just hitting the terrible twos so I think this will make things difficult. I've got 14 months between my two which meant it was easy at the beginning but is quite difficult at the moment because they compete for my attention and my dd is 2 1/4 so she is a terrible 2s expert

susanmt Sun 05-May-02 01:44:17

I think you end up making the best of the gap you have. My ds was born 3 days before dd's 2nd birthday, and it has been perfect. She is a terrible 2 at the moment and tantrums over everything except him. SHe loves him and 'protects' him from all the visitors! DH wanted a smaller gap as there is only 16 months between him and his brother, I think you like what you know. But 2 years has worked out really well for us.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: