Should you try for another baby now? DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON highlights the issues that you should consider.
Now that your child has turned one year old, you may be thinking about trying for another baby. Perhaps you like the idea of your kids having a close age gap and therefore possibly a closer bond with each other.
Or maybe you just want to get this baby chapter in your life over and done with as soon as possible.
You might even think that having a second baby now would be economical because you’ve amassed a good supply of clothes, toys and baby-care equipment.
But, here are some other issues you should consider:
Effect of age gap Every child reacts differently to a sibling. There is no guarantee that your kids will get along well just because of their close age gap. They could have different personalities, interests and needs.
Anyway, planning age gaps between children is not an exact science – conception doesn’t always go according to plan.
Sharing the decision
Check your husband’s feeling about having another baby now, and don’t make an assumption. Maybe you’ll both be of like mind, and feel that you are ready to have another child who is close in age to your first-born.
But he could feel differently about having a second baby at this stage, and that one child is enough right now.
The only way to reach a decision about having a second baby is through the two of you discussing it together, calmly and sensitively.
Impact on your career If you went back to work during your baby’s first year – either by choice or because you needed the money – then having another child so soon will take you away from the workplace once again, at least for four months of maternity leave. This could prove to be a setback to your long-term career plans.
Delaying the arrival of your second child a little longer could allow you to consolidate your career. Much depends on the nature of your profession and your boss’ attitude towards working mums.
Additional parental demands
Caring for two young children is typically very demanding. You need to be confident that you and your spouse are ready for this increased challenge.
Some parents prefer a larger age gap between their kids, so they have time to recharge their “parenting batteries”.
Sibling rivalry Research has shown that jealousy between siblings tends to be strongest when the age gap is around 18 months. That’s probably because the children are close enough in age to feel that they need to compete for their parents’ attention. Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way, and many couples prepare their first child well for the arrival of the younger sibling. When managed sensitively, sibling rivalry can be minimal or even non-existent. There are no guarantees, however.
The decision of when to have a second child is one that you and your husband must make together, after talking it over in-depth until you have reached a joint conclusion. Take your time over this.
Bear in mind that it doesn’t matter, for example, that your sister has two children spaced close together or that your best friend has three – follow a lifestyle that is most comfortable for you.
When unsure about the prospect of having a second baby, some couples simply postpone the decision for a while.
Caring for two young kids is typically very demanding. You need to be confident that you and your spouse are ready for this increased challenge.