23 answers

How Far Apart in Age Is Good for Moms and Kids (And Dads Too)?

My son is 8 1/2 months old and my husband and I want to have 3 or 4 kids. I am 24 now and don't want to keep having kids into my mid or late 30's (no offense to anyone who has I just want to be done at a young age) and my husband is almost 29 and worries about not being able to play with his youngest if our kids are really far apart in age.

Physically I am back to normal (even weight a little less if thats not really strange) and feel emotionally ready to get pregnant soon; I have a few races this summer but would like to get pregnant is August. This would put my kids almost 2 1/2 years apart.

Just wondering if I should try to have my children closer or further apart in age. I am looking for any advice or suggestions.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son and daughter are 16 months apart. We love it! We are hoping to get pregnant again sometime next year - making it about a 3 year gap between the 2 youngest.

Whatever feels right to you, is probably what is right for you!

We like 2 years apart at my house.

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MIne are 3 years and 3 months apart. That worked out great for us. Though a part of me had a hard time with going "backwards" to babyhood.
I liked the age gap because I could trust my daughter to sit at the table and eat if I had to nurse the baby or change him. She could grab me a burpcloth, book, etc. when I was sitting and nursing. Only had one in diapers. I had alone time with the baby when oldest was in preschool. The baby sat in the bumbo seat on the kitchen table while my daughter and I did arts and crafts.
I think your patience level is a good determining factor instead of your age. Can you handle the fact the baby might be screaming while you're toilet training a 2 year old? Or the 2 year old is crying because he doesn't understand why you stopped playing to get the baby.
As far as whether or not they become friends or play well together when older, my opinion is that it depends on their personalities, not the age gap.

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I'm not really answering your question - just a quick comment. I had to laugh when I read about your concerns about having kids in your thirties. Please let me ease your fears a little. I had my first when I was 34 and my husband was 42. (Married late.) While the sleep deprivation part of early child rearing was probably harder on us "old folks", the truth is that being an older parent can be an advantage. We have more patience, at least a little more wisdom, and substantially more income than we did in our twenties.

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There has been some research on this it makes sence, but as always follow your heart. The healthiest for the mothers body is to space them at least two years apart. The healthiest emotionally for children is 3~5 years apart. But they are going off of less sybling rivelry and feelings of security, both of which you can accomplish by other means then years. In my family growing up, the oldest and I were 17 months apart. That was really fun while we were little, but upon getting older it was hard because I had thought of her as an extention of myself for so long. And didn't have my own identity. I just followed what she said and did. So it was a hard transition for both of us to let go and be free. But we are great friends still. My other sisters and I are two years and 1 month apart and that seamed pretty good. Still close but not too close.
My kids 4 kids are 2yrs 2 month~ 2yrs 4month~ 2years 8months and we are thinking about a 5th and I might just stick with my accidental pattern of doubling the month:) 2yrs 16months. I can tell you I liked the first spacing, but the second was easier. And the third was the best so far. Its just a little nicer when the sybling is a little older then 2.5 when you have the next. They just understand better and listen a little better.
So that was really long, but hopefully helpful:) I too wanted to be a young mom. I wanted to have five and be done by the time I was 30. I will how ever still be done by 33 so I was off a few years but for my sanity its been worth it for me:)
Good luck

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Every family is different. Whatever is comfortable for you and your hubby will be right for you.

I had a daughter (now 7) and her dad got a vasectomy when she was only 4mos old... I KNEW I didn't want anymore with him... Even while I was pg.

My hubby now... He's 40 and we have a 2yr old son.

Whatever works for you will be right.

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I absolutely cracked up laughing reading this, and by no means should you take offense, its just I would of LOVED to have had my kids close together in age, it just didn't work out that way. My kids are 19 yrs apart, yes, years apart! I was 19 when I had my son, and (do the math) 38 when my daughter came along. (No there are none in between them and no we did not use any form of birth control). As for your husband being too old to play with kids if you wait awhile? My husband is 5 years older than I am, he didn't have a problem playing with our daughter, then or now! (Our daughter is now 20!) Whatever YOU decide, I'm sure it will be the right decision for you and your family...just take my lil bit of advice...don't wait 19 yrs between them! LOL Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

There are benefits both ways.

Close together, when you are done with diapers, you are done. When you are done with baby stuff, you're done. And you don't have one kid with "big kid toys" that everyone else wants but can't have!

Farther apart and it's easier in other ways. For instance, my 6 year old can really help out and be trusted quite a bit with the baby - my 2 year old wants to feel like he's helping (but it's not really that helpful:). Also, with a child in school all day + a baby, you coudl really give the baby "only child" kind of attention for a big chunk of the day.

I say just do what's right for you, do your best to help them get along, and call it good. All of the planning in the world goes out the door when we become parents anyway!

1 mom found this helpful

I liked having the first 2 very close in age because after the first year it gave them instant playmates. I too want to have a large family (4 or 5) and started a few years later than you. I got prego with #2 when #1 was 7 mos. Because I UNFORTUNATELY ended up with an emergency c-section with #2, I waited the recommended 18 mos (from my OB) to try to get prego with #3 so I can safely do a VBAC. #2 and #3 will be 2.5 years apart. I plan to then wait another 20 mos to try to get prego with #4 as well....we will then see about #5 :) I want to be done by 37- I am currently 32.

It seems hard early on with 2 under 2 but it pays off later :) believe me. (kids are currently 3 yrs 3 mos and turning 2 this Friday). I also do races (triathlons and running races) but I am going to have to skip on the one I love in June because it will be too close to my delivery. I also had to skip one on Sept 11 because it was a longer tri and I found out I was prego Sept 7. I do not believe in doing taxing triathlons while pregnant though I am extremely athletic, active and exercise almost daily.

Best wishes on whatever you decide!

Mine are close together (ranging 16mo-24mo apart), and I LOVE it that way! I can't imagine waiting years in between. My preference is actually about 18-20mo apart.... I did a lot of research and had some deep conversations with drs about their closeness as I was getting a ton of grief from family and friends about them being too close, "it will ruin your body", blah, blah, blah. The consensus from every source was that more than 9 mo in between delivery and the next pregnancy was ideal, but as long as I was in good health, taking care of myself, and recovering well from pregnancies, 6 months was perfectly fine! (though I never did get pregnant that quickly after delivery)

There are some great benefits that we have found in having ours close together, and I wouldn't choose it any other way! It has actually made me a more healthy person to have my kids this close, as I am making extra efforts to ensure that I am healthy enough to carry healthy pregnancies, nurse my babies, and still be in good health and well taken care of myself.
I am now in better shape and healthier than I ever was (became a triathlete after I had baby #7, on my way to marathons post baby 8!), and am loving our crazy kid-filled life!

Just a head's up-I was in race mode before my most recent pregnancy and it took a little longer to get pregnant-I had to drop the milage I was running each week and gain some weight to get pregnant, so it definitely altered our time frame-I too was hoping to get pregnant in July/August, and it didn't end up happening until December. :)

Whatever feels right to you, is probably what is right for you!

We like 2 years apart at my house.

I don't want that many kids, but had planned for 2.5 years. We ended up with 2. They are still young, so I don't know how their personalities will work with each other, but I like that separation. It is so personal, I'm not sure that anyone can really tell you what you should do.

I have kids 2 yrs apart and 3 yrs apart. Both of these work just fine.

I really wouldnt have them any closer together than that - for your own sanity! You do really need to be kind to your body and not DRAIN it by having years and years of sleep deprivation because you always have a baby on your breast or in your arms..

Well it too didn't want to have kids in my 30's (no offense it's just not for me) after I had my oldest son, I gave birth to his little brother when he was almost 2 1/2 and my daughter is due in March when he'll be 22 months old so I think thats a good age. I was told by my Dr that it's good to give your body two years to heal (again no offense to people who had them closer, I know alot choose to) but I think August is good for you.

Personally, it's up to you. I prefer more time between children, 4 years at least, but as you said you want them close. I think 2.5 years is good. Get one on to the potty before the new one arrives. Also allows for your older child to have a better grasp on language so you can "talk" to them about the changes and the baby.

I suggest starting as soon as you like and let nature take it's course, if you wait until 2 year and then start trying you could be trying for a while. Just a thought.

My kids are almost 3 years apart. They are now 5 1/2 and 2 1/2 and I've found this is a GREAT distance between them. They are close enough in age to play together and enjoy each other's company, but far enough apart that they do their own thing too. My oldest was mature enough to really be a big brother from the start and he understood what was happening (sort of) enough to catch on to my excitement about it. Because of the gap between them I was able to recover completely both physically AND emotionally between pregnancies. When I discussed pregnancy with my DR. between kids, she said that 2-3 years between pregnancies is what she recommends to her patients because it gives your pelvic muscles time to rest and recover and your complete body time to be ready for pregnancy again.
I like the fact that my oldest was not so dependant on me when I had #2 and has been such a big helper.
One thing to consider -- your son is at the age where he's starting to get a little more independant from you. That may trigger a desire in you to have more kids (not necessarily a bad thing) because you feel a little less needed by him.
As for your husband worrying about not being able to play with the youngest -- just keep physically fit and he'll be fine playing with kids until he's old. Really, it won't be that big of a deal. I've found that having kids is keeping me young.
Good luck to you!

The ideal spacing is different for everyone. I personally love the 2 year age mark. My brother and I are 3 years apart and although we grew close as we got older, during childhood, it just felt like the gap was just a little too much. My 4 kids are 22 month apart, 22 months apart, and 19 months apart.

Hi K.,
We have 4 children. The oldest is 20, then 14, then 13, and 8 all 4 are boys. I think the older 2 are too far apart but the middle 2 are too close together. I really enjoyed baby 4 because it was just the 2 of us at home. I would say 2.5 years is a good age gap. Good Luck in whatever decision you make.

I don't think there's any "right" answer. What I've observed, in general, is that the closer they are in age, the more it's short term pain for long term gain. It's harder when they're both young, but it (hopefully) pays off in that once they're old enough to play together, they entertain each other and have a friend for life. With bigger age gaps, I'm sure it's easier in the beginning, but there's the chance that they won't have as easy a time playing together when they get older.

You have to do what feels right for your family. My boys are 21 months apart, and for us it is perfect. They play together and have the same interest. My sister had her first, than waited 5 years for 2 and than only 2 for 3, and the younger 2 are much closer than they are with the older child, so from my experience closer is better. I knew a woman who was like you, she wanted 4 but did not want to spend forever having babies. He kids are all 10 months apart, and that is what works great for them. It really is all about personally what feels right.

My two are 3 years apart. I used to think I wanted them 2 years apart until my son turned two and I was glad we didn't have another one yet! At 3 they are a bit more independent which is nice.

One benefit to having them close in age is getting thru all the baby gear sooner and being able to sell/donate it so you no longer have to store it.

I also loved being close in age to my siblings. I am much closer with my brother who is three yrs older and sis who is 18 mos older than I am with my brothers who are 4 & 6 yrs younger.

My mom had me at 32 and she does now seem old to be playing with her grandkids, but then again, she has not done anything to stay healthy, so she has aged much more rapidly than someone as active as you are would.

Four kids space every two years or two and a half year is Very hard work but it is also very worth it as they often end up having instant playmates and you can often sign them all up at almost the same hour for swimming class and music class for instance.I have 7 ,5, 2, and a newborn in six weeks.And i actually prefer the two years spacing although it is harder at first.You do need to have a lots of energy with so many kids close in age .But you are young so it should be ok.I do wish i had started younger but i met my husband at 27 years old.I am 34 years old now and will be turning 35 two months after the baby 's birth. So this is my last baby for me.We ended up with two boys and two girls and it realy feels are family is complete.I will think about expenses too .Baby number four was her surprise and so she was not financially planned and this is our main struggle with so many young kids right now.Good luck on whatever your decide.

My son and daughter are 16 months apart. We love it! We are hoping to get pregnant again sometime next year - making it about a 3 year gap between the 2 youngest.

My kids are 20 months apart. I was 26 with my first one and 28 with my second while my husband is 8 years my sr. Now that my baby girl is 8.5 months old we are considering the next one. Don't get me wrong, some days I think I should check myself into an institution but I love having them so close. My husband originally had some of the same fears about being able to play with the kids when he is "old", but it hasn't been a problem. Ours weren't planned, actually we were trying to prevent but that wasn't in the cards and I am glad. I'll get through the diaper stage and be done, I didn't need to buy a new carseat or crib so we saved money that way. Whatever you choose will be right for you.

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