Home > Pregnancy > The Perfect Age Gap Between Kids

As it turns out there’s no ideal time to have a baby, a fact which (since you’re reading this) you probably already know. As for number two (or three…or even four), while we’d hesitate to use the word ‘ideal’, some windows are better than others. Here’s the TMC guide to planning your perfect family. Because as we all know, parenting always goes exactly to plan…

9 Months

Behold the super-unicorn of mums. Rare is the women that’s not only prepared for back-to-back pregnancies – think about it, that’s 18 months straight – but has the balls (pun not fully intended) to consider sex less than four weeks after giving birth.

The Pros

You’ll get over it quickly..ish

Maternity jeans…nappy bags… the tide of rainbow plastic cluttering up the living room. It’ll feel like a lifetime but when you finally emerge from the baby fog you’ll never have to return again (though you’ll have aged a decade in the meantime).

They’ll have a playmate for life

Which means less time hosting pretend tea parties and more time scrolling through Insta and drinking your coffee while it’s hot (we’d call that a win).

It’s time efficient

Plan carefully and they could even be in the same school year: that’s one easy drop off for the rest of their academic life. Positives also include one sleep-inducing school nativity/nursery graduation ceremony/sports day every year. Boom.

The Cons

Your Mum- Bod

Back-to-back pregnancies put a serious toll on the body, especially if you throw in breastfeeding or a c-section or two. As for your mind, you’ll be in a constant state of delirium for the first two years and feel close to collapse from exhaustion at any moment.

It’s (bloody) expensive

On top of double the time away from work and double the nursery fees, you can’t even use the same cot/Polarn O. Pyret snowsuit/ruinously expensive buggy because the last kid hasn’t vacated it yet.

The logistics

You have one pair of hands to manage two very small children, neither of which can walk. Expect simple tasks (like leaving the house) to now take 46 times longer.

1-2 Years

The kid has started walking and follows (some) instructions. You’re missing the warm fuzz of the baby bubble and are staring longingly at newborns in coffee shops. You’ve (almost) forgotten the pain of labour and are romanticising your pregnancy just enough to be tempted by another go. Let’s do this.

The Pros

They’ll have similar interests

Put it this way, you’ll never have to bribe a sulky teenager to go to Peppa Pig world or attempt to forcibly restrain a toddler at the side of football pitch for 90 minutes. They’ll be into the same stuff at the same time, which (though it might not be a world of fun for you) will certainly be easier.

Your body will have recovered

Leave at least 18 months between them and your body will be completely healed* *apart from your pelvic floor, which is broken forever.

They both still nap

Master the wizardry of getting them to sleep at the same time and you’re literally winning at life.

The Cons

They might be jealous

Suddenly the tiny person that’s been doted on 24/7 has to share the spotlight. Expect anything from tantrums to outright attempted murder.

It’s all over too soon

You long for the baby days to be over while you’re in the thick of it, then look back and wonder how they flew by so fast. OK it’s a stretch, but it could happen…

3-4 Years

Hello Pre-School! With your toddler flying the nest (it might just be three mornings a week, but we’ll take it) you’ve got more time on your hands to do important things such as shave your legs, have sex and… think about having another baby.

The Pros

They’re more independent

Three-year olds can take a surprising amount of direction; including handing you stuff and alerting you when the baby is about roll off the sofa (that your husband left them on).

You can reason with them

It’s much easier to explain to a four-year old than a wailing non-verbal toddler that mummy needs two minutes to feed the baby. And if all else fails, they are just as easily bribed with biscuits.

School Happens

Imagine the bliss of six sibling-free hours each day, to spend soaking up your new addition. Plus, after the age of three (some) childcare is free so there’s no doubling up on nursery fees.

The Cons

They’re still jealous

By this stage, the eldest clearly remembers what it’s like to have your undivided attention, and will remind you of that fact by saying things like ‘you don’t love me any more’ and ‘can we send him back?’

The Deja Vu

Just when you thought you’d never change another nappy again…

5 Years

Worn down by half a decade of ‘ready for number two yet?’ from your MIL, you realise it’s now or never. Suck it up sis, it’s time for Pregnancy and Birth: The Sequel.

The Pros

It’s just like a real life dolly

They’ll relish the role of big sister/brother, with their very own baby to play with. Or at least, that’s what you will tell them.

You can get them involved

You want to name the baby? Sure. Sparkles Unicorn Bum Head Smith it is.

The Cons

Mind the gap

It’s the Peppa Pig/Five-A-Side conundrum. At some point you’ll have a small child and a grumpy teenager that wants nothing to do with either of you

Remember, remember?

It’s surprising how quickly you forget how to pick up a tiny baby, never mind keep them alive. You might have done it all before but you’ll still feel like a first time mum.

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