I have to be honest and confess that when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby just after Burton celebrated his first birthday, I was feeling a mix of emotions. On the one hand I was chuffed to bits to have fallen pregnant so easily for a second time and to be carrying another little life inside me; on the other hand I was worried about having such a small age gap between my two children.
We didn’t plan to have that age gap but at the same time we had always said that once Burton turned one we would start trying again, as we thought a two year age gap was about right. As it turned out there is 20 months between Burton and Jenson, which is ideal I think – personally I wouldn’t have wanted a gap of less than 18 months or one over 2 1/2 years.
In my opinion (based on my OWN experiences, I am no child expert!!) the positives about having a smaller (around 2 year) age gap are as follows:
*The oldest child doesn’t feel jealous when his or hers new sibling arrives, because they are too young to understand what that emotion is. Also they cant remember a time when the new brother or sister wasn’t around in their life.
*Less bedtime or nap time resistance and which meant me not having to cuddle Jenson to sleep to prevent him from crying (I still do cuddle him to sleep when he is not feeling right – any excuse for some snuzzle time).
Its just not possible to afford the time to lie with them or cuddle them to sleep or let them fall asleep on you – not with a noisy brother around or one that couldn’t be left on his on while you did this. Up until Jenson was almost 4 months I tried letting him fall asleep on me after a breast feed and then move him to his crib or moses basket but he would always wake up and would end up missing out on naps. In the end I had to do controlled crying (which I NEVER did with Burton) and luckily Jenson didn’t really cry that much so it was a big relief for me and my guilt!! As a result he will go down for naps so much easier than his brother ever did.
*Once the baby is siting up the two of them should start to play with each other and eventually help entertain each other.
*I think a smaller age gap will help them bond more easily because they will want to play the same games, play with the same toys etc… Something which say a one year old and a four year old may not do as easily due to the development differences in such an age gap.
*Burton’s toys and books are still in really good condition because they are less than 2 years old so we haven’t had to buy anything new. Even if Jenson had been a girl she would still have wanted to play with the same toys as her brother as they are pretty generic really. Ok so there are cars but girls can play with cars too, in the same way boys will play with dolls.
*By the time Jenson was ready to be weaned Burton was big enough to stop siting in the high chair and sit at the table so we didn’t have to buy a new high chair (although I did because Burton’s was a cheap one and had got quite tired looking, and the new one was a bargain!)
*By the time Burton starts pre school, I wont have to worry about having a small baby in tow to have to try and feed around taking him to and from pre school
I think the only down sides to having such an age gap have been:
* It is bloody hard work managing a newborn and a toddler in the beginning – only getting 1-2 hours sleep per night and then having to be awake during the day to entertain an energetic 20 month old. I am not saying it gets any easier with a larger age gap but at least if the oldest one is out at school or nursery then you might be able to mange a nap during the day
*A 20 month old does not understand the notion of being gentle or being quiet or not to throw things near a sleeping baby!! Or that hugging a baby too tightly is not good for it!
* It was hard during the pregnancy for the first two trimesters as my toddler wasn’t toddling and I had to carry him around a lot
* I haven’t had the same ‘me and baby snuggle time’ that I had with Burton – its just not possible with a demanding toddler wanting your attention all the time he is awake!
Whats the gap between your children? do you find it easier managing a smaller age gap or a larger one?DAY 3
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