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Big gap vs little gap

(23 Posts)
Bibiboo Sat 18-Jun-05 13:15:29

Can I just have some comments on which you think is best - a big age gap between children or a little one?
My dd is 8mo and we're considering another baby soon - well, I am v v broody. So far we've got
Babies will be v close in age
All nappies, potty training, etc finished with a a few short years
I want another baby and not sure I can hold out

We could be better off financially
We don't have a lot of room for another baby
We can't afford to move house
Waiting would mean we could have a few holidays in the meantime etc without me being pg or having a small baby.


Gillian76 Sat 18-Jun-05 13:25:03

We were in exactly the same position Bibiboo. Our DDs are 18 months apart. It was hard when they were very small, but a bit easier now. We also have a DS and there are 21 months between DD2 and DS. It's really up to you. You have to work out if the pros outweigh the cons. Everyone is different

Pruni Sat 18-Jun-05 13:57:54

Message withdrawn

jenkel Sat 18-Jun-05 14:50:51

Another one here with an 18 month gap with 2 dd's. It was hard at first, I now look at my friend who have a child my older daughters age (3) and a small baby now and they seem to be having a lot more easier time than what I had. But then saying that we are having a wonderful time now as they are really close and play together, mainly with the same toys but not sure how long this will last for. So I would say the advantages for us were, play together, same toys, seem really close. Disadvantages were the hard work for the 1st 6 months and it really was.

Moomin Sat 18-Jun-05 14:57:32

If you read the 'THree shoes, one sock and no hairbrush' book (or whatver its called) about having a second child, all the official research done into stress etc seems to say that there is less stress/sibling rivalry etc. involved if the age gap is 3 yrs or more. Having said that, it's down to how you cope as parents - some people like to get it all out of the way in one big lump, others like to stagger it so it feels like one baby at a time. It all depends on you.

NotQuiteCockney Sat 18-Jun-05 14:59:35

We have a three-year gap, and although it will be some time before my DSes play together well, I've been really happy with a big gap. If the older sibling is significantly older, it's easier to ask them to help, easier to get them to be patient while you deal with the baby, or whatever. A 3-year-old goes bonkers significantly less often than a 2-year-old.

I know people doing very well with small gaps, it can be done, it just looks like hard work to me.

stitch Sat 18-Jun-05 16:25:36

have a big gap and a little gap. depends on how you handle it. little gap is harder work physically, for example two lots of nappies to change at the same time etc. but is easier when the younger one is about 1.5. big gap is easier initially, as one baby ata time, etc. the younger ones first year is easier to manage with help from the older one. but is imo harder later on as two completely separate sets of things for them to be organised. for example, how can you dooo controlled crying when the older one has sats in the morning?

MaloryTowers Sat 18-Jun-05 18:00:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tallulah Sun 19-Jun-05 10:15:14

When I had mine I was convinced that anything over 2 years who be disastrous (I've no idea why!). We knew we wanted at least 3 and that we wanted to get it all over with quickly so we had an 18 mth gap between 1 & 2, then exactly 2 years between 2 & 3, and 2 years 1 week between 3 & 4.

It was very hard in the early days, and I didn't feel that we actually enjoyed any of them because of the sheer hard work in getting through the days.

Funnily enough we found the worst gap was 3.5 to 4 years. DD never got on with DS2 (3.5 years gap) although she was always fine with the other two, and DS1 didn't really get on with DS3 (4 years gap). The best gap was the 5.5 years between the first and the last.

Having said that, it is down to personalities. DD & DS2 are very alike and rub eachother up the wrong way.

We have seen the benefits since they've been older. When you go out to somewhere like Alton Towers and they are 11, 13, 15 & 16 they can all go on the same rides and no-one gets left out. We can all sit and play board games at home together- that sort of thing.

The drawback we have now is one at uni, one doing A levels, one doing GCSEs- the stress in the house is rising again Next year we could have 2 at uni....

mandyc66 Sun 19-Jun-05 11:04:38

I think its upto you. I have smallish age gap between first three then a huge on before number for (new husband too) then 5 came 20 months after. I couldnt get pregnant much before they were one
I think if you have 4 or 5 years between you could get a bit of jelousy from the older child who is used to having you all to themselves. A plus for close is you have everything you can get toddler group over in one fell swoop. You will always worry about finances however big the gap!!!

ghosty Sun 19-Jun-05 11:37:26

I have a 4 year 2 month gap between my two.
Sometimes I think it is great but more often I wish it was a smaller gap.
The pros:
Older child out of nappies, past toddler tantrums, eats anything, can feed himself, dry at night etc etc
Baby gets lots of one to one when older child is at school.
Older child is generally 'sensible' with the baby ... keeps lego etc out of reach, can keep an eye on the baby when you go to the loo, can do his own thing when you are feeding the baby.
Older child is also able to play appropriately with the baby.
The cons:
I often find that I don't do the things with DD that I used to do with DS ... like swimming lessons and playgroups because I find them so mind numbingly boring ... sort of 'Been there, done that' type thing. I loved all of that with DS but it was more the novelty value I think. Now poor DD doesn't get the mother/baby swimming lessons because I can't think of anything worse than singing ring a ring a rosies in the water for 20 minutes then the hassle of getting her dressed afterwards .... I sound like a terrible mum don't I?
I really think that if I had a 2 year gap then I would still have been in 'baby' mode.

Don't get me wrong, I adore DD and have enjoyed her first year and a half much more than I did DS's but sometimes the gap between them seems so huge that I wonder if they will ever have much in common. They love eachother dearly but they are at such different stages that I find it hard work switching from 5 and a half year old mode to 16 month old mode IYSWIM?

Also, fitting DD into DS' busy school schedule can be hard work too ... I often have to get her up from her nap to get him from school and dash off to swimming lessons or soccer practice ... now she is walking she enjoys these things more as she can run around but then I now never get a chance to watch DS swim or score a goal as I am too busy chasing after DD!

If I could turn the clock back I would have a 2yr/2.5yr gap I think ... I know the first year is tough but most of my friends with that kind of gap now have a 5 year old and a 3 year old and they can do sooo much more together as a family. I found DD's first year particularly restrictive in terms of what we could do as a family as DS had such different needs and interests.

emeraldefmach Sun 19-Jun-05 18:27:23

I've done the three-year gap twice. Mine are now 11,8 and 5.It suited us. Enjoyed all stages, none of it was a blur. On the whole, had lots of time for each new arrival. Would do it all again that way. Highly recommended!!

mandyc66 Sun 19-Jun-05 19:14:41

there is 3 years between me and my older brother and then my next one too therefore 6 betweem me and my eldest brother. He left home to join the army at 16 and I was only 10 so I didnt have him around as Ii grew up

mandyc66 Sun 19-Jun-05 19:15:35

The other thing too think about is yoour own age. How old will you be when your child is 10,15.20

aloha Sun 19-Jun-05 19:51:48

Ghosty - I think all second time mothers do less with their kids, regardless of gap. The first time round you do it to meet other the time no2 comes along you already have lots of mummy friends! Also, you aren't dementedly worried about their 'development' etc. I don't think ds really benefitted much from all that sodding baby yoga/swimming etc. it was all for ME! DD isn't suffering IMO. She much prefers to watch ds running around like a loon.
I think closeness later on has nothing to do with age gap. Reading in Heat about a BB contestant who was seven when her brother was born talking about how close they are. The Holioaks cricketing brothers (I think) - one of them was on Desert Island Discs talking about how absolutely inseparable they were - six year gap. And Tim Henman was saying the other day how he had an 18month gap between him and his brother and wanted a bigger gap between his own kids as he fought with his brother so much.... I seem to notice all these things after so many MN 'how big should a gap be?" threads! Anyway, I think it has very little bearing on anything tbh, except for me personally, I think a smaller gap would have been exhausting and unenjoyable.

nooka Sun 19-Jun-05 20:20:11

I have a 16mth gap between my two, so I was already pregnant when ds was 8mths! It was an accident . It was very hard for the first two years, I'd say, but that's really because I'm not great with babies, and dd was quite demanding (ds was a pretty easy baby - hence time for an accident!).

On the plus side, we had no sibling rivalry, as ds didn't really notice dd ariving, and has now forgotten what it was like without her. It was also quite a cheap option, as we already had a nanny, so no extra costs for the first few years. Much more complicated when ds started school, but dd goes there in Sept so that will make life easier again.

The best thing is that they are very close and spend most of the time playing together, so parenting is much easier now. We never have to worry about ds hurting dd as they are pretty much the same size. They also like to do the same things, and have pretty much the same access to things now (holiday clubs etc). We did have a double buggy for a while, followed by buggy board, and two lots of nappies etc. But then we also got rid of all of the baby stuff at once.

I have a four year gap between me and my nearest sister, and didn't have anything in common from when she went to big school until we both had kids at the same point, so I really didn't want a big gap. On the other hand my dh has a five year gap to his nearest sister and they were close as kids.

I have heard that a two - three year gap is the hardest (hitting terrible two's I guess), and I think that it also really depends if you are just going to have the two, or if you are going to have a bigger family.

It's horses for courses really. I'd recommend just seeing what happens, then you won't feel that if it doesn't work out perfectly you are to blame!

Milliways Sun 19-Jun-05 20:24:16

I once read "how tired do you want to be for how long?"

Do you do a sprint, get your breath & do it again, or run a marathon?

wishingchair Mon 20-Jun-05 13:25:33

Couldn't have said it better than milliways!!

We went through all of this last year when dd was 18 months, decided a 2.5 year gap was what we wanted, hey presto got pg, would be 2.5 years exactly ... then sadly lost the baby half way through. We're only now getting to the point of trying again and dd will be at least 3 + 4 months so guess what I'm trying to say is you really can't micro-manage it. If you get your heart set on a certain age gap then something like that happens, it takes quite a lot of readjusting. You have to go with the flow somewhat. Good luck!

NomDePlume Mon 20-Jun-05 13:30:33

Hi Bibiboo.

I have 2 DSs, who are 13 & 11.5 (18 months age gap exactly) and an almost 3 year old DD. We've found that when things are good between the boys, they are great, they get on well and everythings rosy. But the fact is that most of the time they don't get on and the result is always exhausting, irritating and blood-pressure soaring. Whereas things are always lovely between them and their little sister, who they have a 10 and 8 year age gap with respectively. For me, a big gap is preferable.

struts50 Mon 20-Jun-05 13:40:39

I'm having the same dilema -DS is 11 weeks old and I already want another - just depends on the c section scar for me. DS took 10 yrs to conceive so might not be able to - hence trying so quickly - that and my age

I think there are pros and cons to every age gap - just go for it.

Fimbo Mon 20-Jun-05 13:42:46

I have an age gap of 5.5yrs between my two. My dd (the eldest) was a dream baby, whilst my ds is the opposite!! The age gap works for us because my ds wants me all to himself and won't let his sister have a look in. Luckily because of her age she just accepts it and later when he is in bed she has "mummy and daddy time", when we make a fuss of her, read stories, play games etc without her brother butting in etc etc.

ninah Mon 20-Jun-05 13:47:32

There are so many imponderables, plus you don't always get what you plan for! I was banking on a 2 year gap but now up and running for 3, so glad to hear all the positive comments about that. You'll never know the other side of the coin. A lot depends on the children's personalities as well as your own. I remember really resenting my sister coming along when I was 6, on the other hand dss and ds have a 12 year gap and are great.

katierocket Mon 20-Jun-05 13:53:46

bibioo - I do think so much of it is personality. I have 3 brothers and sisters and probably get on best with my second brother who is 7 years older than me. That being said I think the 'standard' gap is around 2 years and i'm sure when they're younger that gap is good as tehy can play with each other quite well. A word of warning though - we wanted a 3 year gap but after a year of trying is more likely to be 5 years so don't automatically assume you'll get what you want!

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