Differences between 16-18 month old and a 2.5-3 year old?

(66 Posts)
folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 12:24:17

So long story short, my baby is almost 7 months now and I think I want to TTC no 2 next month. Depending on how long it takes to get pregnant, my DD would be around 16-18 months old when baby arrives (if my maths is right?).

Option 2 is to wait and get pregnant in a couple of years and have a newborn and a 3ish year old.

I don't really know any 16-18 month old babies so can't imagine what they are like at that age- I'm guessing toddling around but not very verbal.

I want to be able to picture what life will look like if I did get pregnant quickly so I can think about whether it would work practically.

I'm keen for advice on what might be different or better about waiting until DD is 3ish so I can decide whether to proceed with TTC next month or whether to wait until next year or the year after.

Any thoughts on what I need to consider before I have a long think? And physical practicalities for me are all considered already- I have had lots of testing done and have the green light from the fertility doc to proceed.


OP’s posts: |
AppropriateAdult Mon 24-Aug-20 12:30:29

I think a 3-year gap will almost definitely be much easier for you; 18 months is a hectic age when they still need constant supervision, whereas by 3 they’re starting to develop a bit of sense, can often play alone for a good while, are likely to be toilet trained and in nursery, etc. 18 months - 2 years is also peak time for jealousy, I think. There are 3.5 and 3 years between my three, and I’m glad of it.
Possible drawbacks are that it drags out the baby years a bit longer, and the kids may not play together as well as they would if they were closer in age (although my 6 and 3yo are good buddies at the moment and have great fun together). But on balance, I would vote for the bigger gap.

rottiemum88 Mon 24-Aug-20 12:32:07

DS is 19 months and still needs constant attention/supervision. I'm not planning on any more DC, but if I was I'd certainly be waiting until he was a bit older

BeMorePacific Mon 24-Aug-20 12:32:36

I am going for a bigger age gap (4years) which I’m sure will be a pain in the arse as they get older. But I found ages 2-3 pretty difficult, so I’m glad I didn’t have another baby in the mix. If you are a SAHP go for bigger age gap. If you have childcare a small age gap would be manageable xx

DelurkingAJ Mon 24-Aug-20 12:34:43

People I know who’ve had them close together say the benefits are that you have less time at the baby stage and that they can play better together and do the same activities.

Cons seem to be having two in nappies, sibling jealousy and a complete stall on your career as you don’t get fully back in before you’re off again.

folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 12:35:49

Thanks for responses so far @BeMorePacific would keep DD in nursery 1 day a week probably and some family support plus DP part time so would be looking at 2-3 days a week on my own with both

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Subordinateclause Mon 24-Aug-20 12:41:56

I know a couple of people with a 18m ish age gap and tbh it looks hellish! I found age 1 to 2 much, much harder than looking after a baby up to age 1 and can't imagine having two under age 2. I have a sister 3 years younger than me and we got on really well throughout childhood.


UnalliterativeGeorge Mon 24-Aug-20 12:42:05

I have a 17 month gap. Downsides - don't remember much of the first year with DC2, two in nappies seemed to last forever. Plus sides - they're both interested in the same things now (almost 4 and 5) so days out they'll both enjoy is a doddle, no more nappies, buggy etc all at once!

If you have a good toddler group nearby then it's doable. We used to go to a music group and a stay and play which occupied the bigger one and tired him out a bit! Tiring though!

ScarMatty Mon 24-Aug-20 12:45:29

DS is 20 months and honestly when he was 18 months there is no way I could have personally coped with a newborn,
Teething, sleep regression and a general new found amazement at the world and being curious meant I was physically drained.
We have just started TTC with the hope that when the next child arrives, DS can go to nursery for 2-3 days a week.

I know the benefits are that you get the baby phase out of the way quickly and they might be best friends forever, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice any more of myself or my relationship for that.

I also think the benefit is that a 3/4 can get them self a drink/snack/colour in etc whereas a younger child cannot

BeMorePacific Mon 24-Aug-20 12:55:54

@folklord if I’d had support I’d have liked a smaller age gap. But I was a SAHP, with no help from family. So with your set up, I’d say go for it 😍

folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 13:14:18

This is really interesting, thanks for all the responses.

I am a bit mad considering this by the sounds of the replies!

My main drivers at the moment are:
- gut feeling 🙄
- house is all set up for babies so almost feels like slotting in another would work (but reading these responses sounds less likely!)
- just love the baby stage and would happily stay in it for longer and double (but oblivious to what's to come!)

I fear I am overestimating my capabilities 😬

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m0therofdragons Mon 24-Aug-20 13:20:29

I had a planned gap of 3.5 years... pregnancy 2 was twins! I’ve stopped stressing so much. Twins were a blessing during lockdown as they had a playmate grin

folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 13:26:28

@m0therofdragons ah in my heart I would love twins (head is another story!) I am in awe of parents of twins- esp in lockdown! Serious respect for you

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ScarMatty Mon 24-Aug-20 13:30:29


If you'd have asked me when DS was under 8 months I would've jumped at the opportunity to have another. The baby stage was easy and I thrived on it,
It was a whole different ball game when DS hit 1.

I also really enjoy making sure DS has 1-2-1 attention for those really important first few years and I'm aware this wouldn't be as possible with a baby also

Although of course this is only my personal experience and everyone is different.

Sunshinegirl82 Mon 24-Aug-20 13:33:40

I have a 16 month old and a 4 year old (2 year, 10 month gap). I also love the baby stage but the early toddler stage is HARD.

My 16 month old is on a seemingly permanent mission to cause himself injury (he needs complete and constant supervision) and although he has a few individual words he throws numerous tantrums a day because he's frustrated he can't communicate.

Eldest is now fairly easy and will entertain himself, listen and watch tv for half an hour! When I just have him on his own everything feels so easy!

Also, do you plan to go back to work after DC2? Have you factored in the cost of childcare for 2 and the timing of the free hours?

Flynn2019 Mon 24-Aug-20 13:35:37

I currently have a 17 month old and I am 3 months pregnant. DC2 is due a few days before DC1's birthday. At first I wasn't bothered by the age difference and have absolutely accepted that it will be difficult. My DS is such a wild boy though that I think I have under estimated how hard it will be. However, I still don't regret the decision and can't wait to bring our next little bundle home, just in time for the terrible 2's. I am laughing on the outside but inside I am not! The way I look at it though, is so many people before me will have 2 young children, with an even younger age gap and have managed. I have been dreadfully ill with this pregnancy and finding that more difficult to deal with than the prospect of 2 potentially under 2. If you feel its right go for it. U will get by whatever u decide x

folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 13:47:39

@ScarMatty that is my biggest worry really, that at the moment DD is going through an easy phase (but 3-5 month stage was AWFUL so I'm not completely rose tinted) but that it is likely to end up a whole lot harder once she is mobile!

121 attention is an interesting one. DD gets an incredible amount of attention from both me and DP as we are home all day every day and been in lockdown for most of her life. A second baby realistically would not get that same level of attention. But what I would have is a lot of access to help from friends and family so I think either way both children would be getting a lot of attention just it would look a bit different for second baby.

@Sunshinegirl82 DD has a very quiet and calm personality but definitely knows what she wants- I can only imagine the tantrums she'll be having 😬 she is really interested in everything around her though so I'm hoping she would take some interest in a new baby. But that's the kind of naivety I'm worried I have!
Nursery costs is a good point- that is some maths I need to do! We've saved a lot for babies and have relatively good jobs though so I'm reasonably confident that if we had to pay full nursery fees for 2 for a while then we could manage this

@Flynn2019 congratulations! Sounds like exciting, crazy times ahead!

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HarrietM87 Mon 24-Aug-20 13:47:52

Like other pps I found 1-2 completely exhausting and SO much harder than 0-1. DS needed constant attention and was really active and mobile but with no common sense so needed supervision at all times. The start of lockdown (when he was 20 months) was an absolute nightmare. But he’s been getting gradually easier and easier since turning 2. He’s potty trained, speech is excellent, and can play by himself. DC2 is due when he’s 2.5 and I think that will be a nice gap.

folklord Mon 24-Aug-20 13:51:52

@HarrietM87 that does sound like a nice gap!
Lots of responses from people with active boys!
I can't imagine DD being active- she can't even roll yet 😂 we have a very small house and in some ways that makes it easier as downstairs there is only one room- this is a plus in the sense of it being easier to keep my eyes on DD when home with both but a minus in terms of having space.

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sw1999999 Mon 24-Aug-20 13:52:42

17 month gap here- lots of friends have had similar age gaps.
I think it was easier - although oldest was a late walker so wasn't walking when DC2 was born.
Could both go in a double buggy, napped at similar times, Could go to same playgroups etc. Bath time together etc etc. Now they're older it's easier for days out, holidays etc.
2 school years between them- pleased about that.

Footlooseandfancy Mon 24-Aug-20 13:54:57

My DD couldn't walk till nearly 18 months - I can't imagine having a new baby or being heavily pregnant with a late walker (though I know two mum's that managed it). We're having a 3yo age gap and that suits us - DD is increasingly independent so I'm at least getting to sit and have a rest for a few minutes during the day. She's potty training, plays well, can help dress herself, helps with chores, all of which is making being pregnant by a lot easier than I thought.

Merename Mon 24-Aug-20 13:58:31

This decision, like anything kid related, completely depends on the child. For me, 0-1 child was so challenging and such a terrible shock! So 1-2 was a piece of piss. My first child was much harder than my second and as such you could not have paid me to have a second sooner than we did, almost 3 yr gap. However, many people I know had an easy first child and a small gap and it worked. There are pros and cons to each. You’ve had some good advice here, but whatever you do, you’ll manage!! It’s a shame you can’t get to a toddlers group just now to get a sense of 16-18month stage. Personally I would not want another baby then but it can work for many people.

Temple29 Mon 24-Aug-20 13:58:36

I have a 16 month old OP and due baby number 2 in 2 weeks time. I’m fully aware that running around after a toddler while caring for a newborn will be tough but I also have a friend who keeps putting off having a second because her child is very temperamental and still doesn’t sleep well (age 3).

I think it depends on the child you have and how you feel you could cope yourself. I’m excited for them to grow up together and I don’t think any age gap is perfect.

DS was 8 months old when I got pregnant with this baby and we planned it that way. I worried about being pregnant with a toddler to run after but it’s been fine and DS is very active. If anything I think it’s kept me fit and healthy and the pregnancy has flown by.

Will update once baby is here if you would like!

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 24-Aug-20 13:59:44

Currently pregnant with DD2- DD1 is 3, she’s potty trained, never uses a buggy, sleeps in a proper bed, very verbal, in nursery! I will have a years mat leave before she starts school, so we get her final year at home (around nursery) and I will only pay 1 set of nursery fees at a time.
I always say 1-2 yrs old was the hardest of times for me, so much energy, little communication, never played or sat; just climbed stairs. I honestly wouldn’t do it by choice.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Mon 24-Aug-20 14:01:19

i can't imagine DD being active- she can't even roll yet sorry means little. My DD was so beautifully placid in her first year- now even nursery say she doesn’t sit still- my neighbours used to comment they never heard her cry,
Pretty sure they hear her tantrums now though hmm

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