Child Spacing

Planning to have more children and deciding when to have them is a big decision. It is something that a couple should decide together, basing it on their family needs and lifestyle. Raising two or three children is a big responsibility and it affects a woman, her partner and the rest of the family. So, before having more children, it is important to understand and recognize the problems and pleasures each child will bring to family life. One the other side of the equation, it is said that there is seldom an ideal time for having a child. If couples waited for the perfect time to have a baby, they would probably end up with two instead of five.

Allowing Time Between Children

Having children one after another (within a year) puts a lot of strain and tension on the mother. Most of the time, in these cases, miscarriages, low birth weight, and premature births are likely to happen. The mother's health may also be affected during this time because of the high demands and attention the second baby will need. Therefore, doctors suggest that women wait at least 18 to 23 months after a full-term birth before conceiving again.

Child spacing varies from family to family. A lot has to do with the family situation, including parental issues. Some considerations have to do with the temperament of the children while others deal with developmental needs of children at different ages. All of these aspects enter into the spacing decision.

Two, Three or Four Years Can Be Good

Additionally, if the baby is a very high-need infant who requires a lot of time and energy from the mother, additional space is a good idea. A two or three year gap between a high need infant and another child avoids parent burnout and allows time for the needs of the infant to be fulfilled before a competitor arrives on the scene. Parents with children three to four years apart feel that they can give each child more individualized attention. When there is a bigger gap the older sibling is more able to take care of the younger sibling. This may make the older child feel important. Older siblings can revisit younger types of play while younger children, who always love to do what their older siblings do, can play and learn with the older children.

There are other advantages to spacing children farther apart. Along with getting to know one child before another arrives, it allows time for a woman to regain her pre-pregnancy body as well as rediscovering herself before becoming consumed with another newborn.

Having Children Close Together

If the baby is easy, then closer spacing works well because an in-house playmate is available. Some mothers feel that closely spaced children bond deeply and therefore, see a benefit to spacing children close together. Many feel that they can attend the same preschool, be each other's playmates and grow up very close. And, they all agree that there is less sibling rivalry. The years that a woman is in "baby mode" are consolidated since she's already set up for diapers, baby-proofing - and the adjustment to baby-time is already in place. The rhythm is established in the home and things continue to tick along without having to readjust too much when a new baby arrives.

But spacing your children close together has its drawbacks as well. Children in the first three years of their lives have relatively high needs in terms of attention and care. Babies and toddlers need constant supervision and the responsibilities are round-the-clock. The good news is that there are many kinds of support available to ease the workload of a having children close together. Family, friends, resources like parenting groups and quality childcare are all available for mothers with busy lives.

Whatever the case - close together or spaced far apart - to have children is a blessing no matter how many and when you have them. 


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