Whether it is your toddler asking for a sibling or you are thinking of getting him a playmate, “Baby No. 2” calls for some planning. You’ve been down this road before and are not as anxious and ignorant as the first time. But, planning a second child is as perplexing as the first. Factors such as family, relationship, lifestyle, work and finances come into play.
There is no hard-and-fast rule on the spacing between children. However, you can use the following questions to ascertain when will be the best time for you.
What is your age?
Age, especially the mother’s age, is a major concern when trying to conceive. A woman in her late 20’s has the liberty to wait longer for a second baby. We cannot say the same for a woman in her late 30’s though. Conception difficulties and pregnancy complications increase with age. Hence, it becomes necessary to hurry.
Does your partner consent too?
It is often observed that one partner consents, but the other appears hesitant. The reasons could include financial problems, excessive pressure at work or simply unready to shoulder the responsibilities of a second child. Fighting and arguing is not the solution. Couples should sit down together and discuss the issue. You can always mention the age factor or the need of a sibling for your older child. It will take some time for both of you to reach an agreement, but the discussion will definitely be a fruitful one. If you and your partner consent, there is no need to wait.
How do you describe your lifestyle?
This has become an important consideration given the fact that most women today hold jobs, full-time or part-time. Two kids in tow mean more household chores, more sick leaves, less time with hubby and even less “ME” time. A second child requires striking a balance between home and work. There must be someone to look after the kids in your absence. You need to decide what would be the most lucrative system for your family – a childcare facility or you quit your job. For women, with no back up and who have no option but to go back to their jobs, it is a wise option to wait until the first one is a little older; does not demand as much time and energy as an infant.
Does your current financial situation permit another baby?
Money cannot buy everything – You’ve uttered this sentence to yourself a hundred times. However, if you think practically you need money to provide for a family; to give your children the necessities of food, clothing, shelter, health and education. Child care costs are soaring by the day. Although it sounds disheartening, please review the question – Can I afford another child? I am sure as a parent you do not want to regret depriving your child of a quality and secure future. If time permits, you can always wait for another better prepared moment.
Spacing Children: Expert Speak
Experts state that the best time to have a second child is back-to-back after the older one turns four. The first option is for the benefit of your first offspring. Children usually resent the arrival of a newcomer because it means division of Mommy and Daddy’s attention. They develop a sense of jealousy. This is not the case when children are born back-to-back. The second option is beneficial to the health of the baby to come. It reduces the chances of preterm birth, low birth weight and poor growth.
Having a second child is not only about having a baby; it’s about growing your family. Take this decision with care!