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Do you have a small age gap between children?

(64 Posts)
Benjy Wed 15-Jul-09 08:25:35

DD was conceived with fertility treatment and born in July 2008. I was told that I am unable to conceive naturally but did exactly that when DD was 4 months old. He is due in 4-5 weeks time.

DD turned 1 at the weekend. She is now in a routine of sorts. She has one daytime nap, although the timing of this varies: sometimes she sleeps in the morning; other times from 12.30ish - 2.30. She has a bedtime routine (bath, story, bottle and cuddle) and is in her cot for about 7.30-8. We have set meal times. Other than that each day is flexible.

Any advice would be appreciated, particularly around getting DC2 into a routine. I was entirely led by DD for a long time and didn't start a bedtime routine until around 7 months. She would fall asleep in the living room with us and then I would move her to her crib. I would like to get DC2 in his crib at a similiar time as DD goes to bed, even though he will obviously wake a few times for feeds. At what point is this realistic and how should I settle him?

Another issue is that DD is very clingy. She always has been. For the first 6 weeks I held her almost constantly because she would cry if I tried to put her down and would only stop if she was picked up again. She hated slings. Am very worried about how I'll cope with DD's clinginess if DC2 also turns out to be like this. Not only will she not let me out of her sight, she becomes very distressed if she can see me but there is what she considers to be too much physical distance between us, say if I'm at one end of the room and she's at the other! On some days it is so bad that if I'm out of touching distance, she starts to cry. I worry a lot about how I can meet the demands of another baby when she is like this.

Would also be good to hear how others coped in general with a small age gap especially in the early months. We have no close friends or family nearby so I have no help other than my DH, who works long hours.

4andnotout Wed 15-Jul-09 08:31:53

I have 13 months between my dd3 and dd4 who are now 8mo and 21mo.

My advice would be to try and get in a routine with the new baby asap as it reall does make things easier. Also priorotise (sp) what really needs doing, a few toys on the floor is not the end of the world for instance.

My other gaps are 3.3yrs and 2.6yrs and the 13 month gap has been the easiest so far (and left me hankering for another grin)

Gateau Wed 15-Jul-09 09:24:27

Hi Benjy,
I've seen your other thread and realise you are quite worried about DC2 coming along. Understandable: I have DC2 arriving in Oct/Nov and although my age gap is not the same as yours, I too am very concerned I will be able to cope.
Sorry, I can't offer any advice, not having been there with two DCs yet, but I just wanted you to know - from talking to other more experienced Mums- that every age gap has its difficulties which are far outweighed by plenty of wonderful moments. Remember we are not the first to have two DCs - and we will cope.
All the very best; try to enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

Benjy Wed 15-Jul-09 09:43:58

Thank you. I am very worried, mainly about how it will affect DD. She is still a baby herself and has always been high-needs. I worry that the new baby will mean I don't have the time to give to her that she needs and I'll have to adjust my way of parenting in a way that doesn't feel right for me and that I never would have chosen to do if I had had more control over the age gap and waited until DD was older, if that makes any sense.

Benjy Wed 15-Jul-09 09:48:25

I tend to feel better when I have plans in place, which is why I've asked for help getting DC2 into a routine, particularly around getting them both into a similiar bedtime routine.

Also wondering what to do with the two of them during the daytime. I imagine DD will constantly be prodding and disturbing DC2!

Chaotica Wed 15-Jul-09 09:51:38

There used to be a 2 under 2 support thread for people like you. (It became 2 or more preschoolers support thread as our dcs grew up.)

You'll be OK, especially once the first few weeks are over. Remember, you're succeeding if both are out of danger and doing well if they're not screaming for something. smile Prioritizing is the key as 4andnotout says - in the first weeks it feels more like A&E triage than a life, but it does get better.

Get a sling and put the LO in it (fingers crossed he likes it - if not, try another one). And put the youngest to bed later than your DD (are you going to bf? it is a good way to keep the littlest quiet while you read stories and the like).

(I have a lazy 17m between mine.)

Good luck smile

midnightexpress Wed 15-Jul-09 09:53:08

OK, first thing is to say that the small gap is great. My two are 2.6 and 3.8 now and they play together and are a right little team. You don't get the initial jealousy thing so much when the older child is so small I think. Your DD will be fine, I'm sure, and soon won't be able to imagine life without her wee brother. I'd try to keep to her routine as much as you can more than worrying abut ds's routine too much, especially in the first few weeks.

Do you have any opportunity to get help, at least for the first few weeks? I have 14 months between my two and had CS both times so the first few weeks were quite tough, but I was lucky to be able to get a nanny part time for the first few weeks to help with lifting ds1 (we don't have family nearby). Any help you can get, welcome it wth open arms.

TeaMonster Wed 15-Jul-09 09:55:38

I have a 15 mon th gap between my two boys and they are now 3 and 4 and I have to say dont worry about how it will effect DD. She is still a ababy and will not remember a time with out number 2.

I think it is imporatant to make the new baby slot in to what you already do with the first.

I am really organised, but I have to be to ensure we get out

Top tips:

Get clothes out the night before in a box and bring down
Keep nappies etc in a container that DD can bring to you
Bath them together, use a bath support for the baby - get the baby dry and dressed in the bathroom before dressing DD
Go out to toddler groups - people will hold the baby whilst you play with DD
get out as much as you can
Make loads of meals and freeze
Be prepared for the worst - It can only get better
Use a travel cot with a net over the top - to prevent DD "giving" throwing her toys at the new baby

We would pop DS2 into a travel cot or crib whenever DS1 had a sleep and try to sleep myself. Tehy eventually had the same sleep routine - bliss.

It will be fine - it is lovley to have them close together

BlueberryPancake Wed 15-Jul-09 13:10:48

I just stick to what I was doing with DS1 and made DS2 work around it. DS1 was sleeping in the afternoon and tried to have DS2 sleep at same time, that was only possible really if I'd take them both in the double buggy and they'd both fall asleep together, then I'd get home and transfer them to cot and go to sleep myslef. Also I learned to breastfeed in all positions, including standing up cooking lunch!!

Evening were hit and miss for a long time as DS2 was always hungry when it was bathtime/bedtime for oldest. So DH would take over at that time, or I'd give DS1 a bath in the morning. We dind't do same bedtime until DS2 was about 5 months old. Then I'd put them both in the bath, take DS2 out first, dress him, breastfeed him whilst sitting on the loo (!!) and supervising DS1 in the bath. Then DS2 out of the bath, read stories together, bedtime at the same time.

What worked great for me is that DS2 was a very easy baby to put down during the day. I'd just give him a feed, put him in his cot with a dummy, and he'd fall asleep on his own.

I'm very much a go with the flow person, and I don't feel confortable in a 'routine' and it worked fine as long as you don't stress out about things.

Also, DS2 slept in our bedroom and/or in our bed for a long time, as it made BF easier.

Fennel Wed 15-Jul-09 13:15:28

I had a 17 month gap and then a 2yr8m gap and we didn't find the small gap any harder. In some ways it's easier, you can treat them both as babies, both have naps (get them napping in sync if you possibly can). You can take them both to the same activities and they won't get bored. They will entertain each other from the start.

It was tiring but really, from hearing about people with bigger gaps, I don't think it was that much worse. And we never had sibling jealousy with the new baby, I have heard that's typical with a small gap. I think having them close together they tend to accept the new baby more easily.

susiey Wed 15-Jul-09 14:11:37

I found with number 2 dummies to be a life saver as I often found dc2 wanted something at time i was busy with dd1 so stuck in a dummy and it meant he could wait a while for his feed
also a mobile on his cot used to keep hime occupied forages if I needed to do something one with lights on it as well

also like someone said keep the routine you have with you daughter and let you new baby join in.

my ds was always bathed with her but in a plastic bath support dressed in the bathroom given a dummy while we got dd out of the bath but the feeding on the loo idea is genius!

my ds was so much more easy to get into a routine I guess because we already had one and in the nd all his feeds ended up at a meal or snacktime so he just slotted in

TamTam29 Wed 15-Jul-09 14:32:06

I have a 21 month gap, and it has been easier than I expected. (although both mine have been "good" babies)I am not an organised person and like to "go with the flow" but we have always had strong bedtime routine with DS1.

DS1 is too young to really know what is going on still and in his eyes DS2 tends to just lay around not doing very much except get fed by mummy once in a while!

I just have to watch him as he tends to headbut his brother trying to kiss him or attempting to pick him up.

The hardest bit so far for me is the mornings as i am tired from getting up to feed DS2 but unable to lie in. Then it is a bit of a convayer belt with nappies, feeding dressing etc.

My HV said to deal with oldest first as a newborns needs are so basic. She also said to say things like "child 2, you will just have to wait a little longer, I am doing child 1's tea" "I will pick you up in a minute, me and child one are just finishing our game" That way child 1 doesnt feel sidelined but child 2 doesnt really know what is going on anyway!

I sometimes have to give DS1 a little brest feed to take the edge of his hunger and a dummy until I am able to feed him properly, but this is rare and I dont let him wait long (sort out DS1 dinner that sort of thing)

Cbeebies is my lifesaver (DH thinks the tv goes off after breakfast wink

And so to was DH having 2 weeks annual leave on top of his paternity leave. - if DP can get any extra time off during first 3 months I would highly reccomend it. My Mum also has been having DS1 overnight once a week, do you have anyone that could have DC1 for you overnight! Or my babygroup friends book there older one into day nursery or playgroup for a session/day to get bit of a break. (DS1 will be going to preschool when he turns two in september)

Wishing you the best of luck!!

Frasersmum123 Wed 15-Jul-09 14:44:54

I have an 18 month gap, but DS has SN so it has been like having two smaller children, as DS cant do alot for himself.

My main thing would be to dont have too high expectations, in the first few weeks I barely did any housework, apart from washing, hoovering and loading the dishwasher. Then after about 6 weeks a routine was key, getting them to do things in synch, like changing nappied one after the other etc. Accept any help offered because in the future people wont be as keen and you will wish you took them up on the offer.

Yes, CBeebies is a lifesaver

missjules Wed 15-Jul-09 15:05:28

my gap isn't as small as you - 24 months - but many of your concerns still apply... DVDs were brilliant, I got a great bath support from mothercare which wasn't expensive and was made of soft towelling. I also got lent a boucy chair with music, flashing lights and a vibrate button (for the baby, not me!) that was a complete life saver as DS1 would happily sit in it and wait while I dealt with DD1 (elder child). I made sure i had sets of clothes, wipes, nappies etc in the bathroom, living room etc so always had them to hand.
I agree don't try to do much in early weeks - your DD will be happy just hanging out with you. My new baby also 'gave' DD a doll that she could bath, feed etc which she loved. She has never felt overly jealous of the baby and never remembers a time when he wasn't there. Don't feel guilty about ignoring the little one either, he will be getting so much from having an older sibling to watch etc. DS laughs and laughs at DD in a way he doesn't with anyone else.
good luck x

twoluvlykids Wed 15-Jul-09 16:24:55

there's some good advice for you here. I have a 14 month age gap. It was very hard work. for the first couple months I had a trainee nanny on her summer break, she came 2/3 times a week. she was helpful.if you can, get the new baby into a routine asap. I also found a playpen was essential - park the baby in there to give DD some quality play time.

mine are now 15 and 14 y o.

best of friends, worst of enemies.good luck - you'll survive - I did

Nemoandthefishes Wed 15-Jul-09 16:30:21

hi
congrates
it will all be fine and work out. I have 4 children who are 5,3,2 and 4wks old so gaps were 2.2yrs,12mths and 2.5yrs We have just started to get the 4wk old into a bedtime routine and she goes at 7pm like the others[apart from the 5yr old when he has football training] I concentrate o getting the others in to bed and settled before I concentrate on dd3 so if it means she is in a sling attached or lying in her cot then thats what happens. Just try not to stress about it and go with the flo a little.

chosenone Wed 15-Jul-09 16:45:10

Hiya 22 months between my two but my close friend has 14 months so saw that close hand. When the newborn comes along it will feed and sleep a lot so you can still tend to your DD, I had books piled up next to my BF area so baby fed and I looked at books with DS. I had a bedside cot which was a lifesaver! Do nappies at same time!

I put newborn in pram out of the way of older one then had a baby swing as did my friend with smaller gap, then play pen. Read bedtime stories together and then do bedtime together it means you'll prob be upstairs feeding at regular intervals but its a good routine both my babies went up at 7 ish from 6 weeks old and fed 2/3 times until morning.

Get out and about so invest in a good double buggy, I had a big clumsy tandem, awful! Phil and Ted or out n about nipper probably the best. There will be times when you're just keeping your head above water and times when alls fine but it will get easier and easier and they'll be so similar in age it will make toddler activities easy. I've done soft play most weeks and use C beebies and DVD's. Try and enjoy it as it'll fly by, congratulations smile

mama2leah Wed 15-Jul-09 17:05:05

oh my days i could of written this myself, my dd is going to be a yr end of july and im due beginning of august, im worried about the same things as you, and will add this thread to my watch list.

MagNacarta Wed 15-Jul-09 17:25:10

I have 11 months between my younger two, so I had a 3yr old, an 11 month and a newborn ds. When I was pg for the third time I couldn't imagine what it would be like with another baby, my mind wouldn't even allow me to think of it.

I made sure that ds had naps at the same time as dd, which was a complete life saver - it bought me a little breathing space. It wasn't as difficult as you might think, I'd put ds in a playpen so I knew he was safe and then take dd up to bed. Kept the same bedtime routine for her and then came downstairs and fed ds to sleep. I'd be lying if I said he adapted straight away, but it really didn't take long - I think because I was determinded that they had to sleep at the same time it made it easier. I didn't have any problems getting him to sleep by himself, I just waited untill he was a little older and gradually got him used to not be fed to sleep.

My biggest problem was our buggy, which was a three wheeler side by side dd2 would grab ds's arm and bite him. So, I'd strongly recommed you don't get one where they can get at each other.

They are now 7 & 6 and although they argue, they also play together a lot, she obviously doesn't remember life without him and there's no rivalry.

Colonelcupcake Wed 15-Jul-09 19:42:07

Hi,

I have almost a 1 yr gap between my two aged 1.7 and 2.7 at the moment, my eldest wasn't overly interested in the new baby for a while, he would look and sometimes poke him but otherwise he was fine.

My eldest was a very demanding baby and number two ended up with reflux so it was hard for the first 6 weeks or so but I was lucky as I had plenty of support from my MIL who is great as she occupied the older one while I sorted out the younger one.

A lot of the time ds2 was in a sling and I just got on with things and he basically had to fit in around the existing routine doing BLW with ds2 also made it a lot easier (not that he gave me any choice as he refused to be spoon fed) but in hindsight it was easier as it meant I could sit down and chill for a while

ellenjames Wed 15-Jul-09 19:46:22

i have 3 under 5. DD, 4.1m, DS1 2.11 and ds2 15weeks. I found the age gap of 14 months so much easier than the gap of the 'normal' 2and half years! Everything will be fine, good luck xx

spongebrainmaternitypants Wed 15-Jul-09 19:49:27

Benjy, nothing to offer in the way of advice but just wanted to say congrats - I'm in the same boat! grin

5 years of IF, m/c and IVF, DS born June 08, told we couldn't conceive naturally, DS2 due in October. We will have a slightly larger gap of 16 mths but like you I am also nervous about 'coping' so this thread, and all the positive stories, have really helped smile.

Good luck x

qumps Wed 15-Jul-09 19:58:49

I have a 19 month gap with ds2 now 7mo. I spent my whole pregnancy worrying that I was ruining ds1's life as I would have no time for him when the baby was born. Well he never let that happen! In the 1st few weeks I spent all my time with ds1 as you forget how little a baby actually does. Agree with whoever advised a sling, it's essential as you can carry on playing but giving the baby the contact they need.
It is hard work (esp as ds1 angel baby, ds2 NEVER sleeps) but it is so lovely to see them now playing together and they already have such a strong bond.I am def considering doing it all again soon for no 3!
Only other advice is I managed to get ds1 able to do stairs on his own before baby arrived as I knew I wouldn't be able to carry 2. I also became obsessed with routine as ds1 was a gina baby. Ds2 had other ideas though and when I eventually let it go he and I were much happier.
Good luck and enjoy.

girlsyearapart Wed 15-Jul-09 20:06:50

Hi I've got a year and three days between my two dd's. The thing i found REALLY annoying -even when inhospital having dd2- was people assuming that dd2 was unplanned. Well she wasn't so there! Do you get that too?
It was hard at the beginning as dd1 was not walking very confidently and had to carry her as well as dd2 in car seat. Had a rubbish one behind the other buggy that was like a tank to push and (after swearing I wouldn't) I got a 2nd hand Phil and Teds. Soooo much easier. Another lifesaver was the car seat for dd2 that clips in and out of base. The plus side with the 2nd is that you generally know what you're doing and are more confident. Don't sweat over the small stuff and try to organise things as much as you can. We got dd2 into a routine asap and nowe at 10 and 22mo they both go to bed at 7pm and (generally) sleep through. It is tough when you have a demanding toddler and a baby waking you up through the night but it does pass and you will soon realise it was the best thing you ever did!
I have friends who I met at baby groups with dd1 and they are jealous that I've already done the sibling thing! Don't worry about dc1 s reaction at this age they don't get jealous like the larger age gaps. After a few weeks they won't remember life as an only child. Don't forget to pack a present 'from the baby' for dc1 in the hospital bag. Good luck you will be fine.

midnightexpress Wed 15-Jul-09 20:13:14

OH one other thing that might be worth exploring is Surestart. I don't know what exactly the criteria are for getting help, but I have a friend who had a DS of 18 months and then had twins and they sent her a lady who just came once a week so that they could all go out together to the park, as it was just really hard for her to get them all out together on her own for a while.

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