When is the Best Time to Have a Second Child?
Guest Post By Marc Courtiol
So you are thinking of having a second child. During this time, as your first child begins to grow up and the effects of pregnancy and childbirth are fading, it is natural to start considering when to give your little one a sibling. Of course, only you and your partner can determine when is the best time for your family, but there are some important considerations to take into account.
Here are a few of the key issues:
- Can you handle it physically, mentally, and emotionally? You probably well remember how draining it can be as parents to go through a pregnancy and the early months of a child’s life. The second time around, everything will be a little more difficult, as you will have your first child to take care of through it all.
- Are you financially ready for a second child?
- Are you ready to accept any career setbacks that may result from having a second child?
- Will you have time for a second child? If having one child to care for already takes up much of your time, think about how busy you will be with two children at different ages.
1-2 years apart
While the conventional wisdom holds that it is easier to have multiple children if they are spaced apart by at least a couple of years, there are some considerable advantages to having that second child soon rather than later—for instance:
- Having children close to the same helps simplify your schedule. Especially if your two children have similar interests, you will have fewer things to juggle.
- Children close to the same age will be instant lifelong companions for each other.
- You do not have to go through the difficult steps of baby-preparation all over again. Your house will be baby-proof already, and you can deal with all the baby-related issues all at once.
- Your first child will likely have an easier time adjusting to the new arrival than if he or she were older.
- You will enter the post-child stage of your life at a younger age. This may not mean much now, but you will be thankful later on.
Most of the disadvantages of having children so close together are rather obvious. Caring for two babies at once can be rather exhausting, and this stress and fatigue can take a tool on all aspects of life. There are also some maternal health issues associated with having two children close together, so talk to your doctor before making your decision.
2-5 years apart
Having children a few years apart is easier in many ways, but of course there are some advantages. Here are some of the good things about having your second child two to five years after your first:
- You will have plenty of time to bond with your first child before the second arrives.
- Your first child will have the opportunity to get all the attention for a while.
- Your older child will have the ability to play on his or her own, freeing you up to take care of the baby.
- Many items you used with your first child can be reused for your second.
- There are fewer health risks for mothers who have a second child in this interval.
One of the biggest disadvantages to having a second child in this timeframe is that your first is likely to feel jealous. He or she has had a few years to be the baby of the family, and the disruption of the status quo may lead to anger and resentment. Beyond that, having multiple children at different ages can lead to some scheduling headaches for the parents.
More than 5 years
Most parents choose to have their second child within five years of the first, but there are some good things about waiting longer. It gives you the opportunity to give both children plenty of attention in their early lives, it reduces sibling rivalry, and it gives you the opportunity to get yourself into a good financial position before having your second child. Plus, many parents find that the experience gained from raising a child for five years or more gives them considerable wisdom and perspective that help with the second child.
The main disadvantage of waiting this long is that it is almost like having a first child all over again. You will likely have to buy many of the baby’s items and clothing all over again, and as the children grow up, they will be more like two only children than siblings. Meanwhile, there are some important health considerations for the mother. Talk to your doctor about what a long gap between pregnancies may mean for your body.
About Marc Courtiol: Marc Courtiol is an accomplished health researcher in the field of natural wellness. A graduate from Cornell, Marc is a contributing author for several online journal sites and believes in the many uses of gripe water. Marc is a regular contributor to the online site, Baby Care Journals.