Now that your precious baby’s gone from a bundle in your arms to a walking, you may be wondering if this is the right time to have a second child. While only you and your partner can decide the ideal time for spacing children in your family, the following questions may help you come up with the best scenario for you and your crew:
Do you find yourself longing for kids close in age so that they can be each other’s playmates?
Would you like to tackle another round of diapering days and sleepless nights sooner rather than later?
Would you prefer to space out your pregnancies so that you can enjoy each child’s little-kid stage without distractions?
Do you like the idea of spacing children far enough apart to minimize the risk of sibling rivalry and overly similar developmental stages (two toddlers in the house, say — or two teens)?
If you answered yes to the first two questions, you’re probably ready to get a jump on making baby number two. If you answered yes to the last two questions, you probably need to wait a bit longer before you start prepping for a second pregnancy. Of course there are other factors to keep in mind as you decide when to have a second child: your finances, child-care choices, work responsibilities, and the size of your home.
Whichever spacing scenario you choose comes with its shares of joys and pitfalls. For example, if you’ve got a duo in diapers, they’ll have a great time playing with each other when they hit the preschool years. Plus, you won’t have to hunt for different types of toys or activities to entertain them. Keep in mind, though, that closely spaced sibs can be exhausting and competitive. The early years are the most demanding of parenting — but, then again, they’re over relatively quickly (although it won’t seem like it at the time).
On the other hand, having your children further apart spaces out the physical labor and lets you focus on each individually. The flip side to spacing children by this plan is that the kids may be more reluctant playmates — and there’s no guarantee you’ll have fewer squabbles. You also spend more total years in active parenting — which may be a plus or a minus, depending on your future plans.
The best news: Whether your second pregnancy comes right on the heels of your first or several years later (or even a decade later), you’ll wind up happy that you added to your family.