3Rd Child, Age Difference- the OPPOSITE Problem!

Updated on July 15, 2013
A.F. asks from Kirkland, WA
17 answers

Hello all!

So I am currently pregnant with our 3rd child and am concerned about the age difference with my 3. I have searched everywhere, but all I can find are questions regarding having had two kids close in age first, followed by a third years later. Well, ours is the opposite situation. Our oldest two (both girls) are 4.5 years apart, due to secondary infertility, and we are now unexpectedly pregnant again. Our oldest will have just tuned 6 when this next baby arrives, and our current youngest will be just under two. Has anyone else had similar age gaps between their kiddos? I am still very much in shock about this pregnancy. I am scared about having two so close together now, scared about having 3 kids period and how that will effect the dynamic of our family, but most of all I am scared about ruining the relationship between our two daughters :(. I worry that my oldest will feel left out with the youngest two being so close in age, and I worry about finding activities for us all do together as a family that all three will enjoy.
I have been visiting this site for years and have just now joined in order to (hopefully) get some reassurance from you awesome mamas! Any and all advice or feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!

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answers from Boise on

This is only an issue if you over think it. I am 41, my sister is 34, my other sister is 22 and my brother is 19. My kids are 22, 21, 21, 19, 11, 9, 6, and 3. Age has never been an issue, for me and my sibling or for my own children.

Things will change, things will be different, but they don't have ti be negatives.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We have 5 and I never thought to worry at all. 15 months apart or 15 years...doesn't matter. Congrats!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

pregnancy hormones making you worry about Life!

The dynamics will change, but you will find that Life will be good. :)

& with that older child in school, you will also find that friends/peers will factor hugely into the equation. More sleep-overs, more need for privacy, & a whole lot more extra-curricular activities! Not so much at age 6, but within 2 years or so.....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It will work out. Friends are about to become a huge part of your oldest life and she will probably be glad your middle child will have someone else to play with. Your oldest will also probably love being a second mommy to her younger siblings if you make her feel important and like a great helper. Seriously, this is not an issue. Don't borrow trouble.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You have NO idea how your daughters' relationship will be going forward, with or without a third child, it really doesn't matter. So many things factor into what ultimately makes siblings close, and usually developmental stages and individual temperaments have a lot more to do with it than sex, spacing and birth order.
My son was six when my second daughter was born, and my older daughter was three and a half. For a few years my older two got along best, then my younger two, and now (at 20, 17 and 14) it's the oldest and youngest who are closest!
Don't spend precious time worrying about things you can't control anyway.
And I'm not sure what you mean by "day to day dynamics" everything falls into place. Your baby joins your family, your older kids continue to play with each other and their friends and go to school, you still go to the park and go swimming and see friends and do chores and do everything else a family does together. Other than adding a new baby to the mix (and being tired a lot in the beginning) nothing really changes. You keep taking care of your kids and they keep growing.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My husbands family is like this, he is the oldest at 32, brother at 24, and sister at 22. My husband and his brother got along up until my husband started dating, since then him and his sister are closer and have been for the last 12-13 years.

It all depends on personality not just age difference and gender like a few of the other posts had said. My husband and his sister both have the same happy go lucky attitudes and let things slide. While his brother likes to yell, scream, and hold onto things.

Everything will come together and they will all have their fights and makeup times. Good luck and congrats!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Don't worry about it. Seriously. You will have a helpful 6 year old, and a terrible two. You will find activities.....

And adding a third isn't all that bad. My experience has been great thus far! ;-) Just take it one day at a time.....Also, I highly recommend waking baby every 3 hours during the day to feed. Really encourage day feeding, and then baby should be sleeping good by 5 weeks.

Any problem you have will be manageable. Don't let the pregnancy hormones get you down. This child is a blessing, so enjoy it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

My kids are 25, 23, 14, and 12. Ya know what, there is no dynamics defined by the age gaps or how the gaps are laid out!

I am more than willing to bet the house that even if you find someone with the same age gaps, and they tell you how their family dynamics are you will find your are not the same.

I know this because I personally know three other families with the same gaps as we have and none of us have the same family dynamics.

So if you want to know how yours will play out, wait about ten years, you should have a good idea by then.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

I only have 2, but my daughter and son are 6 years apart, like your oldest and soon-to-be. Mine get a long great, she was well and truly done being the baby and has been a great help. She was able to understand and adjust wonderfully. She's become a second little momma. :)

Now as for your middle and soon-to-be being so close..I'm not sure. Other mom's with two littles close in age my be able to shed some light on that.

Advice for you: just keep an eye on them all, watch for the signs that someone needs a little more love on any given day. Maybe set up a date day for the older girls individually, leave baby with daddy for an hour. Keep communication open with your oldest.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

My older brother is 3 yrs older then me & my little brother 15 months younger, we got along great growing up. I just wish we lived closer, one is in AZ & the other is in FL but we're going to visit him in less then 2 wks!



answers from Eugene on

Don't worry so much! Your children will all be fine. You will be fine. I have 3 children. Oldest is 16 and the other two are 6 and 5. (The youngest 2 are 15 months apart.) My third was also a surprise and I was concerned about having 2 so close together. I say this with total honesty: I would absolutely do it all over again. The oldest is looked up to by the younger ones and he gets a kick out of teaching them.
And for what it's worth, my youngest is the sweetest, most loving, doll of a child. I can't imagine not having her as part of our family.
Also, we've gone camping, to the coast, to the zoo, etc as a family and everyone has a good time. There's always things that every age level can enjoy. Plus, it's neat to see each child's individual take on everything we do.

So....relax, enjoy your pregnancy and be assured that everything will be fine!!


answers from Chicago on

Some kids can be closer in age and not get along. Still others like my girls (9.5 years apart) can be separated by age but get along great. You are overthinking this. It is what it is and they will get along or not. You never know, but your oldest might bond more with your youngest instead of feeling left out. You just can't know these things in advance.

You will find plenty of activities if you have fun as a family and enjoy doing things together. My kids loved silly things like going to the beach and spending a day on a road trip to see family. Life is what you make of it. You are blessed to be having another. Don't let negativity ruin your journey.


answers from Boston on

Stop worrying. You're still in shock about the pregnancy - that happens to so many of us who have dealt with infertility. We think we'll have kids with no problem. Then we face infertility realize how "off" we were. Then we think we'll never get pregnant, or never get pregnant again. Then an unexpected pregnancy occurs, and we're "off" again. It affects our view of ourselves, and then it permeates our view of our family life and our confidence and many other things.

Kids adapt to whatever reality they are presented with, if the parents are calm and confident. Siblings are not the same as friends. My stepkids were 16 and 13 when our son was born - far too big a difference to be playmates, but they had a relationship based on this age difference. My neighbors have 3 kids exactly 2 years apart, and others have kids 4, 7 and 12, and another family has kids 7, 9 and 13. There's no magic formula for getting along and having things in common.

Your 2 year old is not going to have any more in common with the new baby than the oldest is. You'll find different activities, or you'll do things like museums with something for everyone. The oldest can help with the middle one in the kiddie section, and the baby can be in a Snugli-type carrier. The middle one can just look at the animals in the zoo while the older one reads the descriptions and discusses it with you. Everyone can go to the beach - the oldest one swims, the middle one stays in the shallow area, the baby naps in a beach tent. The older two build a sand castle with the older one designing more and doing the detail work, and the middle child doing the moat and the trenches. Little kids admire the older's expertise, older ones get to experience the pleasure of little kids' toys (things they are too "cool" to play with except in the context of entertaining the little sibling).

Big one pushes the stroller, middle one stands on the back, baby sleeps. Over time, the oldest will be able to help you watch the baby (sometimes as a good family member, sometimes for pay). The oldest will get rewards in being the first one old enough to sit in the front seat of the car or get a learner's permit. The oldest sometimes has to adjust to younger kids, but also always gets new stuff and never hand-me-downs - it's okay to point that out if she gets snooty at some point.

Sometimes you just get a babysitter, or split up Mom and Dad. That's okay. You get to have special time with each child and recognize their differences.

It all works out. There is no perfect set-up where no one gets their nose out of joint and there's no arguing. There's no predetermined age breakdown where they all get along perfectly either.

There was room in your family for Baby #1 - you and your husband adjusted and, no matter how wanted that child was, your relationship changed. Somehow, you managed to incorporate Child #2, and everyone adjusted. The "only child" maybe loved it, maybe didn't, but it worked out and you now have a "family dynamic" that seems perfect. You'll adjust again with Baby #3 who, like all kids, brings new joys and new frustrations and a new personality. All 3 kids will find friends their own age and many fun activities, just as you and their father enjoy family time but also your own adult friends.

Learning to adjust as a child and make room for different people (ages, personalities, needs) is a great skill for learning to socialize in the teen years and the college years and the adult years. Kids are resilient. You are not throwing them for a loop by having a 3rd baby - you are building family and memories and abilities.


answers from Dover on

There are just over 15 years between my two...in some ways they are both like "only" children but the age difference was actually great because I was able to focus on my son fully before I had my daughter. Now my son is grown and I cna focus on my daughter. I feel ike I am a different mom for each...some is because of the difference between the two, some is because I have already learned what worked or didn't and can do it differently, and I have grown a lot as a person.

I would not worry about the age gap at all.


answers from Richland on

I am the third in a family with that kind of age difference. My brother is only 14 months older than me, but my sister is 4.5 years older than me. She was resentful most of her life, but what I see is that as not only the oldest child but also the oldest grandchild she had huge expectations piled on her by the adults and eventually by herself. She was required to help all the time and was not allowed to just be one of the kids. Our familial situation was unique and I'm sure that came in to play, too, but I really do think she needed less responsibility at such a young age and more opportunity to play and be a kid.
There are five of us, by the way, and now that we are all adults we are super tight. I hope that encourages you.



answers from Washington DC on

It will be what it will be. They may get along based on personality or age or all of the above. I wouldn't worry about something you haven't even seen yet. And if I wrangled up some family vacations with kids that were 1, 15 and 19 you can figure out something with kids under 6. Know when to get another hand, know when to get a sitter, know when to make each age group take one for the team for the other age. It'll work out.



answers from Dallas on

Congratulations! I know that there are a million things running through your head but worry, doesn't help anything. Mostly what I have seen is people who never knew what joy a 3rd could bring. Maybe it's a boy! That means the first two still have a lot in common.
My two boys were 3 1/2 yrs apart and 4 in school. By the time the oldest is in middle school, it's like the youngest don't exit anymore! Now you will have two to play together.

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