Having a baby is one of your major decisions in life, especially because of the number of determinants that are involved here. You might have to consider your finances, your house, your job, and various other factors. You finally go ahead with the decision and welcome your little one. A few months later your parental instinct asks for a second one. Here’s when you need to know how well you can pull it off. Just think how easy parenting is, let alone giving birth to a baby. As someone stated rightly, “It is a family, not a couple welcoming the second child.”
There could be a whole lot of dynamics coming into play with the arrival of your second child. Plus, you already have a child who could show some amount of resentment towards the new addition. What should be the spacing between the two children so both your kids garner the benefits, and you as a parent have an extra edge on just about every aspect of decent parenting? Here’s more on what you might want to consider before you can go in for a second child:
1. Spacing between your offspring:
Most experts believe that one could wait at least 18 months before conceiving for the second time as it is good for both the mother and the baby. With the first delivery, the mother would have depleted most of the nutrients. Even as a nursing mother, she still gives most of the nutrients to her child. Research also suggests that pregnancies within 18 months or after five years the first delivery might raise the chance of lower weight in newborns and premature births.
Some experts also believe that short or wide spacing between your children might not help develop the bond between the two children.
The World Health Organization suggests a gap of 24 months before the next pregnancy. A report from the Iowa Medicaid Certificate Report found that short birth intervals can have a higher risk of maternal mortality rate and hypertensive disorders, including anemia and bleeding during pregnancy.
2. Consider your age for maternity:
If you are under 30, you can think about spacing out your children by the number of years as per your convenience. But as you near 40, you may begin to get infertile and your chances of conception will be bleak with fetal risks involved in the pregnancy.
A study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that women under 20 might want to have closer pregnancies at interval of 11-14 months whereas women aged 40 or older would wait between 39-76 months.
3. Think about your finances:
Are you ready to foot the bill for one more baby? This is an important point to think about because having a second child means spending on two children, and giving them the same kind of life style not just now but throughout.
Also, depending on which country or territory you live, you could keep yourself informed on the policies they have for parents with two children in the family. In the UK, for instance, all children aged 3-4 years are entitled to 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year under the current law.
Such policies might determine the financial considerations of parents and thereby the spacing between the first and the second child too as such policies might keep changing with the next election or change in policies which could directly influence childcare. At certain schools and academies, the younger sibling gets enrolled on a fairly neat discount on a basketball class, for instance. You might want to explore more such avenues that could give you the financial benefit.
4. Think about your career:
If you are one of those women who is keen not to have a career break, then second pregnancy might not be something you might want to go ahead with. It is needless to say that you don’t want to just birth your second child and pay less attention to it by hitting off to work soon after. With your first pregnancy, you have already gained a fair idea of the time you need to invest in caring for the baby. So, if you think you can’t give the same quality time to your second one, talk it out with your partner.
5. Think about the family dynamics:
If your first child is around five, it might be easier for him not to show resentment to the younger sibling as by this time he already has activities to be busy with, plus he still manages to get the attention of the parents. On the other hand, if your older child is just about 18 months spaced with the younger one, it might not know the difference and happily accept the younger sibling. You might, however, need to be prepared to juggle with more responsibilities that could steal away much of your personal space and time.
6. The benefits of common or shared resources:
Unless you are a spendthrift, you could think about not giving away your first baby’s bibs, toys and other accessories so they can be put to good use for your second one. The best thing about having two children is enabling them to cultivate the idea of give and take, so it boosts the bond between the siblings.
7. Consider your parenting lifestyle:
If you are one of those parents whose household is always chaotic, then a five-year spacing might be a good idea as it gives you more space to learn to be organized with your child around.
8. Consider the temperament of your first child:
If your first child has special needs or if he is a demanding or irritable child, then longer spacing might be a wise choice.
What you need to understand that not everybody has the luxury to make a decision for a second child owing to several factors. But when you do have the choice, then you might as well make a wise decision.