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Anyone had a new baby when DC1 is aged 4 to 5...?

(38 Posts)
mankymummymoo Thu 05-Nov-09 09:19:27

Have found out Im PG, bit of a shock to say the least and circumstances very far from ideal.

I already have a lovely DS who is 4.

Does anyone have any experience of having two with this age gap?

I have a friend who is struggling really badly with a newborn and a 2.5yr old and I'm really scared I wont be able to cope, especially as I may well be on my own.

DS is very chilled out and we are really close, Im also worried about the affect it has on him.

Any thoughts/advice would be very gratefully received...

luciemule Thu 05-Nov-09 09:27:08

We left 3 years and from the first child's point of view, it wasn't a good time and had we left it until she was at school, I think she would have had less jealousy. However, we didn't want that gap for when they were older as we felt they might bot be close. That said, my DH and his younger sister are 5 yrs apart and they are really close. They tend to be more mature if there's a bigger gap and you get to spend quality time with the older child in the evenings, rather than putting say two small toddlers to bed together etc. Other than that, I think a very small gap can work well and that was the option we had planned for but I had bad pnd so didn't want another so soon.
For your DS, another sibling (although unplanned) will be lovely. It generally will make them less slefish and although he find it hard at first, he's old enough now to interact a bit with you about the new baby and help you make choices about the nursery/toys etc. You;ll be fine

handbagqueen Thu 05-Nov-09 09:30:43

I had my DD2 when DD1 was 4.5yrs.
I found it easier than my friends who had a toddler and a baby.

I didn't have a great pregnancy so it helped that DD1 was at preschool so I had a few hours in the morning to get more sleep. Also she was pretty good at playing on her own so if I felt rough she would understand and amuse herself for 30mins while I rested.

DD1 was pretty self sufficient at that age and 2 months after DD2 was born started school full time. This meant I got plenty of time with DD2 (a bit like when you have your first) and DD1 was so busy with school and making new friends she had other things to think about. I did make sure that DD1 had plenty of after school activities and friends over to play, so she is really busy.

A couple of things that I think helped were:
1. DD1 is a real daddy's girl so we made sure Daddy spent lots of time with her when DD2 was little so she didn't feel she was losing him.

2. We got her really involved in looking after DD2 so she felt very responsible.

3. We bought her a special present (it was something she had been asking for for ages) from DD2.

They both get on a treat and love each other to bits. DD1 still looks after DD2 and DD2 looks up to her big sister.

From my perspective I feel DD2 has had the attention I gave DD1 as a baby so she has her own friends from the baby groups we go to and has a packed daytime schedule.

Congratulation on your pregnancy, I hope it goes well for you.

MamaG Thu 05-Nov-09 09:31:44

I had DS1 when DD was 4.5, and I had DS2 when DS1 was 4.5 so yes, I've done it twice

I relaly like this age gap (obviously grin) as they are old enough to understand that the baby needs extra attentino while they're tiny, old enough to be a bit helpful (fetching nappies etc), old enough to do go to bed at a decent hour and sleep ALL NIGHT, to brush their own teeth and eat and get dressed etc. I particularly enjoyed having older DC at school, so I could devote time to baby without feeling guilty and THEN not feel guilty when baby got a bit ignored, frankly, when odler DC got home from school as he'd had me all to himself all day IYKWIM.

Congratulations, it will be lovely for your DS to have asibling. When DS2 was born (a year ago today ), DS1 (then 4.5) was SO excited and it's been so lovely to see him develop and change, being so protective and loving towards the baby.

Sorry, am rambling,

I had nearly 5 years between mine and while some days are a struggle most days she is wonderful with her sister. Because she was older there wasnt any of the hitting sister, she understood when we explained about being careful with baby and becuase she was at school I had time alone with Lo to bond and therefore got to spend a good amount of time with both of them
Congratulations btw

mankymummymoo Thu 05-Nov-09 09:36:09

Thank you so much for your replies, thats so reassuring. Age gap in terms of my life (selfish emoticon) is not ideal but no way could I have coped with another DC before now - I think when they hit 4 everything just becomes so easy...

DS is so caring, he already "looks after" anyone in his class who is sad. I thought the same, special time for DS, making DS feel special by being a helper (he loves this).

One thing I am worried about though is because DS and I have been so close and its been just the two of us, I'm scared I wouldnt love the new baby as much as DS - especially if its a boy, would I end up comparing them? DS is so lovely..., I dont want to have to share my love, ie. have to love DS less to make room for another baby.

Not sure if Im making any sense !

Bramshott Thu 05-Nov-09 09:39:47

DD1 was 4yrs 3m when DD2 came along, and as others have said - I found it a brilliant age gap!! They are now 6 and 2 and are starting to play together really well.

Because DD could understand properly about the baby, we didn't have too many toddler-style tantrums, although she did say "mummy, we didn't realise that having a baby would be this much work did we!". DD1 started school when DD2 was 6 months old, so I rarely have to pay for childcare for two, which is great. They are both at different stages so they get quite a lot of individual attention - DD2 during the day when DD1 is at school, and DD1 at night as she stays up a bit later. I really can't think of any downsides!

Anonniemouse Thu 05-Nov-09 09:39:55

Sounds cheesy but the love doubles so there is more than enough to go round. My DS was born when DD was 4.8 years and had had 5 days in reception.

Has worked very well for us, I'm sure I wouldn't have coped with a smaller gap. Mine get on pretty well considering the age gap. I have 5 school years between them that does mean they will never be in the same school due to our system here. But it was lovely when DS started school as I have made another lot of good friends.

Bramshott Thu 05-Nov-09 09:41:00

Oh, and your worries about "making space" in your relationship with DS for the new baby - I think everyone feels like that, I certainly did! Once the new baby is here, they will fit right in, and your love will stretch to accomodate the new arrival!

mankymummymoo Thu 05-Nov-09 09:42:42

Maybe I can do this after all then... am crying now - bloody hormones.

I know DS would love a brother or sister, he already has imaginary ones !

Wilts Thu 05-Nov-09 09:46:10

I have almost 6 years between my two. It worked really well when Ds2 was a baby, I liked the routine of still doing the school run etc, but appreciated that Ds1 was reasonably self sufficient which made life easier in those early days

Please don't worry about having enough love, you willgrin I have two boys and they couldn't be more different.

there is always room for more love and you will love this one as much as your ds. My 2 girls are completely different in many ways but love them both to bits.
We took dd1 to scans so she could see baby and helped her choose a present for the baby and then had a pressie for her from the baby too
Lots of friends brought baby pressies and stuff for her too, so she thought it was great.

Bramshott Thu 05-Nov-09 10:02:58

You CAN do this MMM!

sunnydelight Thu 05-Nov-09 10:42:32

There's 5.5 years between DS1 and DS2 and 4.5 years between DS2 and DD and, like MamaG I think it's a great gap. Unless I'm delusional and just haven't noticed it there's no jealousy between my kids and they have been old enough to get excited about having a new sibling and to help when they come along - it's fab. They are now 6, 10 and 16 and get on really well together and do things in different combinations - the boys play playstation together and the younger two play some bizarre mix of dolls and soldiers that can go on for hours.

Your capacity for love just expands as you have more kids, it's not a question of dividing the love you currently have! Enjoy.

ShrinkingViolet Thu 05-Nov-09 11:04:22

I've done this twice (4.5 year gap, then 4 year gap), and i have to say there have been very few downsides (DD3 has been dragged along to all her big sisters activities, and it can sometimes be tricky finding days out which suit everyone). All three DDs are very close, in different combinations and together, and we were commmentign the other day that it's as though DD3 has three mummies (which comes in handy when there's telling-off needed, as I don't always have to be the bad guy, sometimes DD1 will do it for me, before I've even drawn breath wink).
It was great when each of them were babies, as I had the whole school day to coo over the new baby, and the older one(s) didn't feel left out.

anniemac Thu 05-Nov-09 11:19:49

Message withdrawn

ki28 Thu 05-Nov-09 12:13:46

hi, congrats!

My son turned 5 the month after my daughter was born. And its been fab! he loves her. He was allowed to change her bum and help bath her wen e wanted,though it stopped after he got bored. And while i was pregnant we in forced new house rules ie, he has a cupboard that he can reach with his own snacks in,if i was busy(just the snacks for the day and we refilled it each day) but this once again stoppped once he got used to her being about. plus he got presents from people wen she was born for him too. He thought that she came with the presents and the presents were for becoming a big bro. Also we gave gave him some big bro new chores. just simple thing that he did anyway but made a bigger deal of them. and just used some extra positive praise. good luck x

ginnny Thu 05-Nov-09 12:18:21

Congratulations!!
4 years is a great age gap imo. Ds1 was 3.5 when I had ds2 and I got to have 1-1 quality time with them both.
I was single when I had ds2 as well and it seemed a lot easier than when I had ds1.
You'll cope!

DandyDazzler Thu 05-Nov-09 12:18:28

OP, it'll be great!

DD was 4yrs 3 months when DS was born in May of this year.

She'd wanted a sibling and had imaginery ones. We did plan a big gap.

Like you, I was worried about not loving the second child as much when I had such a close bond with DD. Funnily enough, I was thinking this morning about how much I love both of them. DD is very funny, bright and fiercely independent, also stroppy. DS (6 months) is just such a happy, smiley, singing baby. We all enjoy having a baby in the house.

Postives:

- you'll have nearly 5 years parenting experience under your belt, which comes in handy even when you're going 'back' to having a small baby

- your eldest will be at school, meaning you have the schoolday to spend with your dc2. This allows you to go nap when they do, go to watch with baby films, playgroups, go for a long walk with your pram and your headphones on.

- much as it may seem a chore, having to do the school run has been a bonus because, unlike with your first child, you have to leave the house by 9am. So you're dressed and out and can go on to do other things if you wish. With DD, I just couldnt get my act together to leave the house early.

- you can focus on your older child after school, and will appreciate having a child who talks by 3:30pm.

-according to a pyschoanalyst friend of mine, a 4/5 year gap is the ideal

- the older child has a clear place as the eldest child, the one that does things first.

-don't underestimate how much your eldest child helps, just by being a whirlwind of energy for your dc2 to stare at, by singing and 'reading' to dc2, by being able to fetch you muslin cloths in a throwing-up emergency, etc.

-your dc1 will enterntain and make your dc2 laugh like no one else can, and your heart will melt when you see them beaming away at eachother, completely in love.

I can do a few negatives too, if you like, for balance wink

LynetteScavo Thu 05-Nov-09 12:24:31

It's a great age gap...soo much easier than a 2 year age gap!

We have had some problems with jealousy..not at first, but as time went on. DS1 was a very much worshipedchild, then ofcourse he hadd to share us when he had a sibling.

I actually felt guilty geting PG with DS2...I really believed I wouldn't love DS2 as much as DS1...I felt so bad brining a chld into hte world that I was going to love less. But gues what...a mums love stretches to envelope all chldren. smile

3l15a8eth Thu 05-Nov-09 12:36:56

We have a 4 year and it is working reallly well. Both are girls younger one turned 4 last saturday. They play together which means 8 year old still plays. It has it draw backs finding thing for the both in the holidays but swapping children with friends and play dates ect seams to keep everyone happy most of the time

anniemac Thu 05-Nov-09 13:04:54

Message withdrawn

NorbertDentressangle Thu 05-Nov-09 13:08:30

There are 4.5 yrs between my DD and DS and I have to agree with all the positives that people have already mentioned.

Its been a great age gap IME.

cleanandclothed Thu 05-Nov-09 13:11:59

There are 4 and 5 year age gaps between me and my sisters. It hasn't caused any problems and I know my mum quite liked it because she could give the new one lots of attention because the others were at school, and for the older ones their routine is not turned quite so upside down my the new baby.

fircone Thu 05-Nov-09 13:18:33

I have an exact five-year gap.

The dcs get on brilliantly. Ds loved his little sister the moment he set eyes on her and although they do scrap at times I know they are incredibly close.

I was really ill throughout pregnancy and, like someone said earlier, it's a godsend to be able to do the school run and then collapse into bed until 3 o'clock!

Also, and this is a BIG bonus, you have more time to devote to child no. 2. I was happy to read all the same books, do the same puzzles, watch the same videos, that I had experienced with ds. Now, if I had had a two-year gap I'm sure I couldn't have been arsed to read Alfie books or watch Tweenies with any enthusiasm.

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