How Far Apart Should You Space Your Kids?

How far apart should I have my babies? Should I have a larger age gap or a smaller one? Child spacing is a hot topic that is a personal decision and one that there are many pros and cons for each spacing. So what is the best age gap between your first pregnancy, second pregnancy, etc?

As a labor and delivery nurse, I get asked by expectant moms how far apart are my kids. I often get wide eyes — they’re awfully far apart (although certainly not as far apart as some). For your info, my kids are 5, 11 and 14 — at this moment in time. I have 9 year age gap between the first and the last, with only one in between them.

And that’s how God wanted it.

God made it easy for us. We started trying fairly soon after each child, but it took a while to get pregnant each time. About 9 months to get pregnant with our second child, and about 3.5 years for little sister. That is a post for another day. I also have a post about not getting pregnant when everyone else is (as I know just how it feels when it takes a long time to get pregnant with your next child), and another one on why I think we didn’t get pregnant (and it’s not the reasons you’re guessing)

BTW, if you’re in an infertility battle — you might like the story of my pregnancy.

I also talk about this topic on Episode 003 of my podcast, Pregnancy & Parenting Untangled:

Today’s post is the pro’s and cons of large age gap kids. Again, I had no say in the issue — I, in fact, wanted them much closer together to be “done”. I always wonder what life would have been like if my kids were closer together, I observe that in other families and here’s what I’ve found:

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how far apart should I have my babies?

How Far Apart Should Kids Be?

Pro’s For Far-Spaced Children:

1. Lots of individual attention for each one. A lot of people wonder how my kids were all reading so early (each read before they were 3). The reality of the situation, I was at home and had time on my kids to spend a LOT of one-on-one time with each one! I consider myself very lucky to have had that time. So much time to love and cuddle. I especially took that time with Princess P (although, I am not sad to send her to Kindergarten now).

2. The older children are great helpers. We have 2 older kids that can babysit now. Just today we took our first child one out for some quality time with both myself and my husband. The middle one could watch the younger sibling and it was just a dream. SUPER handy! Think, Duggars (haha, I actually wrote this before “that” was all an issue)! 🙂

3.  Less fighting. While my older 2 fight an AWFUL lot, and we can’t pretend that the littlest doesn’t get in the fray every now and then, I bet there’s less fighting because they’re all in their own age group. Rarely do 2 want the same toy at the same time (unless that toy is the TV or the computer, which can’t be helped).

4. More space to grow, less comparison. Next year I will enter kids being at different schools the rest of their school careers. It’s hard, but at the same point — no one has a teacher, right after another one had a teacher.

5. A little more time to adjust. Instead of throwing more on your pile in a short time, you’re throwing it over a few years. I sometimes wonder if I wasn’t cut out to have 3 close together. Having a baby really rocks my world, especially the third. Turns out God knows what he’s doing after all!

6. Great for your uterus. I have to say that if you get pregnant TOO close together, you might have higher risk to have preterm labor — as your uterus never had time to recover (and a year apart is plenty for a mother’s body).

BTW, if you’re struggling getting through daily activites (no matter how many close/far kids you have) I have found a course that makes all those problems a thing of the past!

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What is the best spacing, medically, for children?

I haven’t heard doctors give hard and fast rules for a perfect age gap.

If you’ve had complications or health risks such as:

  • Preterm labor
  • Bleeding (especially hemorrhage at birth)
  • Severe postpartum depression
  • Cesarean section (especially if there were complications)
  • Uterine issues

They may want you to wait longer for your next baby so you don’t up your risk of pregnancy complications. I would probably check with them at your 6 week check-up to make sure you’re “good to go” if you’re wanting to have your next pregnancy soon.

The Ava Plus Guarantees pregnancy in the next year — or your money back!

Pro’s for Close Kids:

1. Easier to room in. At one point we had all 3 in one room. That’s hard when you’re 10 and your new baby sister is one waking up all night. If they had all been closer to the baby stage that would be easier (at least for a while).

2. Get it “done” — we are stretched out between 3 schools and I will be on an elementary PTA for the rest of my life, but I deal with it. Is it awesome? No, but it’s fine. I make the best of it.

3. Easier to do activities. A lot of kids who are close in age like similar activities. It’s hard to please everyone with an activity around here. We try, half-heartedly. Family Home Evening tends to usually focus on one age range to make it meaningful for someone. Luckily, we all like to be silly — so throwing it young, usually gives everyone some enjoyment. I’ve considered homeschooling a few times, but I really think it would be impossible with 3 kids on VERY different levels. I do have a post about how we do Disneyland with very different ages!

4. Good friends. While my kids have moments they get along. They wouldn’t really be “best friends” because they’re so far apart. That makes me sad. But, I know that as they get older the time between them will fade. When they’re adults they’ll have each other!

5. You’re younger when it’s done. I dream about being a cool grandma who still has tons of energy to play with the chicklets and then send them back crying to their parents. Luckily, I started pretty young (24, to be exact) so this is still likely. Good news is, I am extra cool and hip now — so I’m ahead of the game!

Related Post: Why Can’t I Get Pregnant Again

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How to Space Children

Frankly, that’s between you and your partner (and mother nature/God). And quite likely, your physician. Once you decide on your ideal age gap, it’s a good idea to decide how you want to handle the baby spacing.

Ways to space babies:

  • Celibacy
  • Medical birth control — things like the pill, IUD, etc.
  • Physical birth control — the “pull out method”natural family planning, etc. — in my experience as an L&D nurse these are less effective.

How Far Apart should kids be?

The reality is that you need to pick what’s right for YOU.

Are you READY to have another one, before you jump back into the game? 

It’s never ours to judge how others space their kids. We have no idea what other families are dealing with. SO many things come into play with little kidlets.

Each one is a blessing, no matter where on our path they come. This is just some things I’ve noticed as I’ve pondered our own spacing. I do — as I mentioned at the time, entirely believe this is in God’s hands.

Having multiple children is wonderful. I couldn’t imagine life without them. 

I mean, I try — but I don’t succeed. 🙂

Multiple kids brings lots of changes around the house that I know this course will help you cope and thrive in! It’s even guaranteed!

What are your thoughts on the subject of baby spacing?  Share them in the comments!

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Also, check out all my parenting posts here:

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…and all my other pregnancy posts below:

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