I’ve had on my mind a lot lately the question: When should we have another baby? I’ve always wanted to have at least 2 for many reasons (which I won’t go into here) and Ken and I have always talked about having at least two (I can’t really see myself with more than 2 but I’ve always said we’ll have 2 and then we’ll see how we feel). Our dear friends Phil & Sabrina just had baby #2, 22 months after baby #1. And our friends Holly & Isaac recently had baby #3 (their kids are 23 months and 27 months apart). I think that just like with the question “when should we have children?” there is no perfect answer to this question.
I used to think there was a science to figuring out the perfect time to have a second baby and I would ask everyone I met who had more than one: “how far apart are they? What do you think of that age difference?” but then I realized that I know siblings who are 2 years apart who hate each other and siblings who are 2 years apart and are the best of friends. I also know siblings who are 5 years apart and hate each other and siblings who are 5 years apart and are absolutely inseparable. How far apart you space your children does not (at least from what I’ve seen) have much of an impact on how well they get along as they get older. I think siblings get along because of the way you parent them and teach them to love one another and to respect one another and because you show them each that you love them for who they are.
That being said, I do think there are certain things you can do to make having a second child easier on you… for one, I think waiting until baby #1 is out of diapers probably makes things a little easier so you don’t have to worry about potty training one while dealing with a screaming newborn who wants to nurse every 45 minutes. I also think waiting until baby #2 is already out of their crib probably makes things a little easier so you don’t have to worry that they’ll see the new baby as forcing them to move from their crib to a toddler bed. And I think it’s probably a little easier to focus on a newborn if your older child is somewhat self-sufficient (i.e. can eat by themselves, can play for 15 minutes without a huge amount of supervision, can go to the bathroom without too much assistance). But I really don’t think there’s an exact science and I think the biggest thing to decide is when you feel “ready” to add a second child to your family dynamic.
For me the answer is “not yet.” Right now I’m really loving our little family of 3. I love the way we interact. I love the way Julia’s personality is blossoming and she is really becoming a little person with ideas and thoughts of her own. I love how well she and Ken are bonding more and more the older she gets. I’m very happy with how things are going right now and I’m not quite ready to rock the boat. When I will feel ready, I do not know. But I do know the answer is “not yet.” I’ve sort of arbitrarily decided that I want Julia and her younger sibling to be 3-3.5 years apart, which would mean starting to try to get pregnant around January of 2015 (i.e. 9 months from now) but I don’t know how I’ll feel then and for now I’m liking the way things are.