When to have a second baby

By admin
20 August 2013

Thinking about having a second child? Our parenting blogger Meg Faure has advice.

Sean Dreilinger on Flickr

I saw a mom in my practice last week who I really think is an amazing mother. She is one of those people who just seems to get the parenting journey right. It’s not that she has all the answers – she definitely doesn’t. She comes in to see me every few months or when there is a hiccup in the sleep patterns of her little one.

So why do I think there is a lesson to be learnt from her? It has to do with her ideas on spacing her kids. Now deciding when to have number two (or three) is a very personal decision and the following principles come into it:

• How old are you (or Dad) – If you are an elderly primigravida (fancy word for having your first baby after 35 years old) and you want two or three babies – you will be in a little more of a hurry to fall pregnant sooner than later. But if you have time on your side, spacing may be a wiser decision.

• Your fertility – If you battled to fall pregnant with number 1 and have a condition such as endometriosis, your doctor may advise that you try to fall pregnant as soon as possible to avoid the same issues arising again or even to leave it to chance because you may not fall pregnant for a long time.

But let’s say you have time on your side, when is the best time to add a sibling to the mix?

There are arguments for a small gap, such as “I want the kids to be best friends” or “Get the nappy years over with so we can get on and live and travel again” or “It was so easy that while I am in the swing of it I’ll keep going”.

On the other hand there are strong arguments for waiting, including “Wait for your body to fully recover and get its shape back (does that ever happen?)” and “Wait until my toddler understands the concept of sharing mommy” or “It’s so expensive – let’s spread the nappy years out so we only have one child in a nappy at a time”.

But chatting to my patient this week, I loved her take on it. She is a fulltime mom, who has put her career on hold. She does not have a nanny but a char a few days a week just to help with the cleaning. She has arranged her week around social outings and time with little Jack. I can imagine that she has days when the mundane task of caring for a toddler is difficult and some evenings dad gets handed a moany toddler as he walks through the door.

When asked about a playgroup for Jack, aged two and a half, she said – “He will go next year just before he is three and then we will think of having baby number two. We love our time together.” She is in no rush and will end up with a 3-and-a-half-year gap. Meanwhile she is loving being a playmate with Jack – and that’s really the best for him too.

I once read that the best gap is 3 years and 3 months. I had a 2-year and 4-½-year gap between my three babies and I do think that 2 years was a little rushed and 4 ½ a little long. It’s personal but listening to Jack’s mom this week – it kind of made sense – Baby Sense.

- Meg

Meg Faure, an occupational therapist with a special interest in treating fussy babies and those with sleep problems which brought the Baby Sense brand to life in 2005. She is also the owner of the Baby Sense Company which develops innovative baby products.

She co-authored the bestsellers Baby sense and Sleep Sense with Sister Ann Richardson, Feeding Sense with dietician Kath Megaw and Dr Simon Strachan and Your Sensory Baby.

• Meg’s Baby Sense Seminars take place in PE, Cape Town, Joburg and Durban between 24 and 14 September. For more info or to book visit http://www.babysense.co.za/seminars/ or Email: bookings@go4word.co.za or Call 021-461-4669.

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