My husband and I are thinking about having another baby, our daughter is only 8 mos old. If we are able to plan, what do you think the most appropriate age between children is?”
The evidence supports waiting at least nine months before trying to conceive again. Shorter intervals between pregnancies appear to increase the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and giving birth to a baby that is small for gestational age. But beyond the physical issues, there’s no consensus on the ideal amount of time between siblings.
Studies have found closely spaced children are no more or less psychologically well-adjusted than widely-spaced ones. And while closer-spaced siblings may argue more, they also play together more and enjoy the same kinds of activities.
Having closely spaced children is definitely more intense for parents during the baby and toddler years, especially if you have two in diapers. But it also can help family unity when kids are close enough in age to go to the same school together and share the same toys.
On the other hand, three to five years in a row (or more) of raising toddlers can be chaotic and exhausting, making parenting perhaps less pleasant at times than it might be if you’d waited until your first is potty-trained or in school before having another.
And of course there’s no guarantee that you’ll conceive when you hope to, and if you pick wrong there’s no do-overs. But you also won’t ever know what you’re missing, so in that way it works out.
If you’re a very organized and energetic person who’ll have plenty of help on hand, handing two or more babies and toddlers might be no problem for you. If you’re more a take-it-as-it-comes and smell-the-roses type, you might be happier with a slower-paced kid lifestyle.
Bottom line, it’s all about what you think will work for your family, in terms of your health, your ages and other practical issues. Otherwise, there’s really no such thing as perfectly appropriate timing.