Most women can relate to the ultra-powerful feeling of baby fever. It can strike even if mom has a little one still in diapers, and logic and reason don’t always make it go away. There is something hardwired in most women that makes them fall in love with every cute newborn they see, making them wistful and melancholy remembering those precious first days.
I found myself shocked that I would be longingly admiring newborns when I had a baby that was barely past that stage himself. Maybe that’s what keeps us procreating; babies are just the most irresistible and adorable creatures on the planet.
For some mamas, having two babies close together goes perfectly smoothly and there are no issues. Many will talk about how closeness in age makes for closer babies. It can also be nice to get all the baby stuff done and out of the way so that the later years can be enjoyed without constant diaper changing and waking up all the time to feed baby.
There are, however, a lot of good reasons to wait a year before having baby number two. Of course, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you are already expecting the second bundle of joy close to the first, but if you need some good excuses to hold off a little while, you should read on to find out the top 15 reasons to wait a year before baby number two.
15 Mom's Body Needs A Break
If you have had a baby, you already know how hard it is on the body. Whether you had a vaginal birth or a C-section, there is often a reasonably long period of healing time needed. The muscles go through hell during vaginal birth, and I don’t even need to tell you about healing up a C-section. For some women, problems can go on for months or even years after going through that.
Doctors recommend waiting 18 months between babies. That is how long it typically takes for everything to go back to normal (or as close to normal as things will be again). Even if you feel fine, that doesn’t always mean things are regulated on the inside as they were before the first baby. You should try to wait a year or more to give your body a chance to recuperate and replenish the nutrition and energy lost during the process of making a baby.
14 Less Risk Of Having A Preemie
I think every mom can agree they want a healthy baby. I never knew this but having a baby too soon after the first can greatly increase your risk of having a preemie or very small baby with health issues. Experts have found that having a baby within 18 months of the first, especially 12 months or less after, are much more likely to have a very premature child. There is also a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect or behavioral issues.
In a study of more than 450,000 women, they found that “one in five (20.5%) of the women who gave birth again within a year had their child before 37 weeks – the time before which medical complications are much more likely. This was almost three times as many as the 7.7% of those who waited a year and a half or more before having another baby who had their child before 37 weeks.”
13 A Healthier Wallet
We all know how much having a baby can hurt the wallet. After baby number 1, I had to say goodbye to a lot of luxuries like exotic vacations and monthly hair appointments. While kids are so worth all the things you give up, having two little ones close together can make it pretty darn difficult to save up cash and splurge on the little things in life.
If you’re able to space out the baby-making, you might be able to look forward to more family vacations, fun daytime adventures, and a few luxuries to make mommy and daddy happy. I know my Starbucks addiction would never be quenched if I had another little one to buy adorable clothes and toys for right now. On the flip side, there are a lot of places that offer discounts or freebies for little ones, so it’s not all bad.
12 Half The Diapers
Oh the fun of changing a dozen or more diapers a day! The joys of setting aside hundreds of dollars a month for diapers! Twice the work must be very enjoyable indeed! Having two kids in diapers is not the most fun part of parenting, that’s for sure. I don’t even know how people do it, really. Having one kid in diapers already feels like half your life is spent cleaning up after baby.
If you wait a year or more to have the second kid, you’ll have less diaper changing to worry about simultaneously. That means you won’t be in the midst of changing a pee-pee diaper and then have to shift gears to take care of a blowout of epic proportions. This is probably one of the biggest perks of spacing out the kids a little more.
11 Mommy's Little Helper
Imagine having a wonderful little helper when baby number 2 arrives. Having kids spaced apart more than a year can often mean you have a built in baby assistant. Kids love caring for other kids, whether it means wiping the new addition’s face off, helping them get dressed, showing them how to eat, or keeping a watchful eye on them.
Parents can never get enough help when it comes to having kids, so this perk is truly awesome. I can’t count how many times I’ve wished someone could keep an eye on my little guy while I run to the bathroom or run a load of dishes. With an older kid around, getting things done fast could potentially be easier. Helping also teaches kids how to be more responsible and nurturing people. What’s not to love about that? Every mom wants a sweet and helpful little boy or girl.
10 The Relationship Will Thank You
With one little one, it’s hard enough to keep the relationship between mom and dad a priority. Add two little kids to the mix and you’ll be really lucky to get a minute alone or sneak a date night for a long time. One of the perks of spacing out the babies is you might be able to get some time for yourselves before the chaos of having a newborn hits again.
For a lot of parents, finding a great babysitter for the young one is a real chore in itself. It can be even harder with more than one, and who wants to even leave a newborn or infant, anyway? You might want to think about this before having the second one close to the first, if you value your alone time and your romantic life. For those lucky enough to have babies who follow schedules, this might not be a big concern, but for most parents- those types of kids are unicorns.
As fun as it is picking out fresh, adorable baby clothes, you can’t downplay the perks of having hand-me-downs from baby number 1. As messy as baby clothes can get, you can keep items from getting worn out by using a good detergent and pre-treating for stains.
You’ll save a bundle of cash if you use hand-me-downs instead of buying all new when you have kids that are spaced out. A lot of unisex clothes are really cute and make it easy to share stuff. Having two little ones close together means buying double the clothes, and that can get pricey. While it’s an enjoyable thing to spend money for a lot of moms, when you look back, it really adds up. I know when I set foot in a store like Target, I’m not walking out of there without an armful of onesies that made me say, “Awwwwwwww.” It’s a slippery slope!
8 Avoiding A Jealous Tot
There’s nothing more difficult to handle than a frustrated tot who can’t express why they are sad and jealous. While a lot of little ones love having a baby in the house, sometimes they do get territorial and upset. They might not understand why they have to share mommy and daddy, or why their alone time with each parent has decreased so much.
Having two kids close together might make the first child feel like they’re playing second fiddle to the new baby. Watching everyone ooh and ah at little brother or sister won’t help matters, either. Sometimes it’s better to wait until the first child understands what it means to have a new baby on the way, so they can better express their feelings about this in a way that can be understood. Seeing little Mason “stealing” all of mommy’s milk might not be the best way to transition into becoming a big brother or sister.
7 Parenting Perspective And Stronger Parenting Philosophy
Before you have kids, you have all these ideas about how you’ll do things. You make a mental list of “I’ll never do those things,” and “I’ll always do these things.” Once baby comes, though, your whole parenting philosophy is bound to change, as it’s the kind of experience that changes how you feel about a lot of facets of life. You also never know what your baby is going to be like, or if they’ll respond well to the way you’ve planned to do everything.
If you give yourself some time between kids, you’ll have gained perspective on your parenting philosophy. The newborn and infant experience will still be somewhat fresh in your mind, and you’ll feel more like a seasoned veteran than a mom who just can’t catch a second to breathe. You’ll know the gist of what works well and what doesn’t, and be able to gift baby number 2 with your experiences of wisdom and mamahood.
6 Built-In Teacher
There is nothing like having a big brother or sister around to model skills and behaviors for the second little one. When the kids are spaced apart with the right timing, the first child can help teach the second through their actions. Suddenly, learning to talk, walk, and play becomes easier, because there’s always a great example of another little one nearby.
Mom and dad can show baby how the world works, but a constant companion closer to their age is the perfect way to help baby navigate through life. It’s easier to relate to someone who is similar to you, so when big brother goes to the potty like a big boy, it’s a lot more appealing (and less mystifying) than when daddy does. Kids love to emulate others, so you do yourself a huge favor when you give them a sibling they can gleefully follow around.
5 More Parental Confidence And Smarts
Having a baby brings with it a lot of scary firsts. There’s the first diaper change, the first cold, first steps, first booboo, the list goes on and on. It’s a heck of a lot easier to deal with all of the firsts when you have some time to adapt to the learning curve and gain a sense of confidence and pride as a parent. You’ll know you’re doing things right when you have a happy, healthy tot and you start thinking about possibly having a second baby.
Spacing the kids makes things less scary because you don’t have to constantly worry about getting two babies through the tiny person stage simultaneously. If any issues arise, you can help the child who needs extra attention without worrying as much if the other kid won’t get all the attention they need. You can’t easily do that with 2 kids under 2. You also have a lot more self-assurance and care less what others think of your parenting (you know you're a badass!)
4 Shared Toys
I have a little guy who still sometimes likes to dive into his basket of “baby toys” even though he’s a tot now. That’s another bonus of having two kids a year or more apart. Baby toys can still be appealing to tots, and the kids won’t be so far apart that you’re buying two sets of toys every time.
A year or more is a good space of time for kids without being too close together because they’ll have fun together and the older one can show the littlest one how to do things. Kids have more energy to play together than mommy or daddy might have, and they don’t quickly get tired with each activity. I know I can only stack blocks for so long before I’m lying down on the floor yawning, but with kids, that’s never the case. Their energy is limitless!
3 Double The Discounts
Even if you wait a year or more to have a second kid, you can still reap the rewards with places that offer discounts for little ones (or even freebies). A lot of restaurants offer free kids meals and there are theme parks and museums with free or discounted admissions, too. Another great thing is summer camps and classes where more than a single child can be cheaper, as well.
Every dollar counts when you’re a parent, so timing it so that both kids are under 5 years old at the same time is a good way to maximize the fun and still keep things affordable. Some places even give discounts for multiples, so you want to make sure to do your research when you look for fun kiddie outings! You'll reap the benefits of two kids but you won't have to pay double for the major expenses in such a short time.
2 Less Exhaustion And Burn Out
For a lot of moms (myself included), coffee is like a best friend. It’s always there when you need a quick pick-me-up, and makes a night of bad sleep feel like it (almost) never happened. Giving yourself time between pregnancies can help you feel less run-down and exhausted. Because pregnancy takes such a toll on the body, it’s really important to let yourself take a break and rejuvenate.
Having kids back-to-back is a good way to ensure you won’t get good sleep for a long time. The minute you get the first kid on a schedule, you’ll be entering back into utter chaos with a newborn in the house. I don’t know how I got through those newborn days, so I have no idea how I could function with two kids in diapers.
1 Less Snarky Comments From 'Sanctimommies'
While you should NEVER let what other moms or parents say about your parenting or kids get to you on a deep level, it can definitely sting when certain comments are made. Most moms don’t want to be known as the woman who seems to do nothing but stay pregnant (though there is of course NOTHING wrong with having lots of kids).
If you’re a bit sensitive to what people say and think of you, having 2 under 2 might make for some snarky and judgy comments. And while you can tell people where they can stick their rudeness, that doesn’t mean it won’t bug you on some level. It’s just another thing to think about before you take the leap. In many countries outside the USA, it is completely normal to have many kids close together, and it’s considered a really honorable job to have being the mom or dad of a big, happy family.
Sources: The Guardian