Benefits of a Small Age Gap Between Children
Have you wondered what it would be like having children close together? Are you dreaming of the future, maybe planning ahead. Or possibly you have already found yourself expecting your second child! If the latter is your case, then I would like to extend a HUGE congratulations to you 🙂
This post is intended to outline benefits of having a small age gap between children. I wanted to write this encouraging post because I myself am the mom to TWO under TWO…well I was. One of my girls is two now 😉
If you are looking to purposely have your children close together, or if you are hoping to space it out a bit. Either way, I highly recomend looking into the natural family planning method. This book, and this basal body thermometer have been extremely insightful and helpful for me. After reading this book I learned things about my body I never knew before!
B was born in September and part way through the following summer; before she was a year old, we found ourselves expecting again! We were extremely shocked, but equally as excited. We hadn’t planned to have babies so close in age; but even still these two were due to be almost exactly 18 months apart. Crazy and exciting times.
I had begun to look around, almost immediately after finding out in early July. I wanted to do some research, or find some encouragement from other moms who had similar age gaps! To be honest, I was freaking out a little. I kept doing the math…will it really be 18 months only? So close together, HOW am I going to do this?! My first baby will still be a baby when the new one comes! Then K decided to arrive a little early. But that’s another story…
Sadly, I actually didn’t find much that I found useful or made me feel any better. Quite a few of the things I read were negative… Once I started blogging, I knew I wanted to write this post, from a POSITIVE standpoint. No one needs to know how hard it is going to be some days to have two kiddos so close in age. I’m not trying to put blinders on anyone. Some days are TOUGH. Beautiful, and messy and a million other things at the same time. Positive affirmations are what momma’s need to hear, so this post was born!
To offer encouragement to anyone who is already expecting a second baby close on the heels of the first. Or encourage those who are looking into it, that for most families it is a beautiful journey to embark upon!
All opinions in this post are my own, and are not based off of scientific research, and as such should not be used to make medical decisions. Please consult my disclosure page for more information. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read our full disclosure policy for more information
What are some benefits to having a small age gap between babies?
Ultimately, the benefits are going to be as numerous as you make them! But, I want to share what has been in my experience the benefits so far. For reference my girls are currently Age 2 and 7.5 months (16.5 months apart)!
1. Diapers: Your changing diapers on one child anyways, may as well add a baby in there! But for real, its pretty true! We have a diaper changing lineup every morning lol. It’s like a fine tuned machine. The girls seem to be quite synchronized with their #2’s, so handy for mom!
2. Potty Training: Children learn by example, and when I start potty training K, B will likely still be needing help. So K will be able to do a bit of learning by example and will likely want to be potty trained sooner, so she can be like her big sister!
3. Clothes: I really lucked out here by having two girls so close together. Hello hand me downs! Still very much in style. If you have several children close together, chances are this will be applicable for you as well.
4. Life experiences: When you have babies close together, they are going to be going through similar stages of life relatively close together. When one is starting school the other won’t be far behind. If you take a vacation that appeals more to one age group, it can make it more fun for everyone because both kids will enjoy it equally as much, as they are at the same developmental stage.
5. Life long friendship: When kids are so close in age, they really do become great friends (I’m sure someone could argue against that, but lets just go with it)
B and K are truly inseparable. They love each other SO much. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the majority of what B currently remembers has K in it. K has been there for a LONG time in her memories, in relation to how long she wasn’t there when B was still a baby herself.
When one is napping and the other one is awake, they are lost and bored!
6. Busy: You are already quite busy with the first one, so truly you really do not notice adding another into the mix. You just become a little more busy, but with the same things! Your busy with diapers, learning, teaching how to eat, teaching how to share…all those similar things Mom’s help their children with when they are young. You can go through it all in the same shorter span when your children are close together.
7. Clutter: You house becomes a cluttered mess of baby stuff and toys after you have your first correct? It has been nice just staying in that ‘zone’ of a house full of baby stuff because I didn’t really get to put anything away for long before bringing it out again for K!
8. Housebound: I know this has a negative conotation. But hear me out. You are already somewhat tied down with your first baby because of nap schedules etc. So I found it easier to be still ‘in that stage’ when I introduced the next little schedule maker 🙂 I already had to stay home at certain times of the day for the older one, so it worked well to just adhere to another schedule while I was at it!
9. Vitality: Regardless of what age you were when you had your first. When a second comes along close behind, you won’t be that much older! So theoretically you will be more energetic….theoretically LOL
10. Sleep: If you are already up in the night with one kiddo, why not be up with two! Ha ha. On a serious note, I technically WAS used to getting a full nights sleep 99% of the time, before K came along. But this was technically easier for me to manage because I still had that precious time during the day when B napped, and baby allowing I could nap also. If B would have already been out of the napping stage, I don’t know what I would have done!
11. Career: If you had a career before having babies, or plan to return to your career. You can get back into it sooner if you have your children closer together. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone. But it can be seen as a benefit in some situations!
12. Costs: You probably are well aware of the fact that child car seats have limited shelf lives. They tend to expire after 6-10 years. Depending on the manufacturer, function etc. If you have your children closer together you will get more use out of your car seats.
My infant car seat has been occupied by a child for 20 out of the 25 months I have owned it! Same will be true for our rear facing convertible seat. These types of savings can also be applied to other baby gear, as you will get lots of use out of it right away while they are still in style and not outdated.
13. Not knowing any different: If these are your first two children; you will not know any differently! It is the same theory as when people say; if you are going to have twins, have them first. Like you can control that, but any who…. same principle. If baby 1 & 2 end up close together, and you have never experienced what it is like having a larger gap between kids, it will be all you know! Therefore, easier in a sense.
14. Shorter adjustment time: Meaning; shorter amount of time for the toddler to adjust to having a new baby around.
K was born a bit early so we stayed in hospital for 5 days. Big sister came back home after we had been home 1 night. B exhibited almost 0 jealous behaviors and didn’t until several months down the road once she became aware of what jealousy even is (they were still pretty minor) because she was already SO used to having a baby sister.
She adjusted super fast to having a new person around, I think because developmentally she just didn’t quite realize what everything meant. Worked out really well.
There are more benefits to having your children born close together. But it was all I could come up with at this time, so I will definitely be adding to it as life moves on!
What is the ‘perfect’ age gap between babies?
I really believe there is no ‘perfect’ gap between babies. There are so many factors that come into play for each individual family. Such as…
- What is your work life like?
- Do you have lots of family around to help you and support you?
- How do you and your husband feel about having two or more really young kids needing care at the same time?
The list can go on and on. Each family is different. Each situation is different.
The only thing that holds true despite ALL THESE factors is…YOUR MINDSET. The “perfect” age gap between two babies is whatever you deem it to be 🙂
If you think 14 months is perfect, then that’s fantastic! If you would rather have really large gaps of several years or more…that’s also fine!
No such thing as perfect, just whatever works best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY.
Medically speaking, what is the ideal gap between two pregnancies?
I am a Psychiatric Nurse. So I did not get a ton of training in Maternal/Fetal care. But I did learn enough to know, that much like I said above. No two pregnancies are alike, so therefore there is no “perfect” or “one size fits all” answer to this question.
From a medical standpoint, the ideal gap between pregnancies depends largely on
- What type of delivery you had with the first pregnancy
- If the first pregnancy came to term
- If there were any complications for mother or child during the first pregnancy
- Family history and other maternal health factors
- Possibility of Gestational Diabetes, or presence of such in the previous pregnancy.
- If the first pregnancy was a multiple pregnancy or not
- What kind of physical trauma your body sustained during delivery; c-section, forceps, episiotomy, vacuum, tearing, blood loss
- Maternal age at time of conception and delivery
So my best advice is definitely to talk to your health care provider when you are beginning to think about a subsequent pregnancy. They will better be able to guide you based off your medical history.
In our situation, I experienced a normal low trauma delivery for B. So there were not too many risk factors going into this pregnancy. I did have to have an extra ultrasound at the beginning to ensure all was well after the loss from a few months prior. Now, because I had an emergency C-section with K I have been advised by my family doctor and OB to give my scar tissue enough time to heal before planning another pregnancy. Which is pretty standard advice after C-sections.
What is the best gap between your first and second child specifically?
Once again this will vary largely from family to family. But for my family personally we really have enjoyed having our girls so close together.
We absolutely would do it again as we feel the benefits have largely outweighed the struggles!
But one thing to keep in mind, is it can be really great for that older child to learn so early on how to share with others. The toddler has to share EVERYTHING they know and hold dear with another person who they hardly know yet. Learning to share and showing compassion for others is a great skill to learn. Experiencing that through the love of sibling has been priceless for us. By the time B became aware of the fact she ‘could be’ jealous of her baby sister, she was already so used to having her around we experienced almost 0 jealousy issues.
In conclusion, I have found it very rewarding to have my girls born 16.5 months apart.
Is it easy all the time? Absolutely not. I won’t sugar coat it. But it is what it is, and I have tried to make the best of it. We have been extremely blessed to have two precious girls already. Having our children close together has shown many benefits for us as a family. I hope you have found some encouragement or humour out of this. If you are in a similar position, or will be soon. All the best to you!
Reach out if you ever have any comments, questions, or possibly something to add! I love to hear from you. I would also love to hear from you if you are needing some extra encouragement or anything else.