As a mum of four, with one age gap of 5 years and then two age gaps of 17 months and 18 months, I can confirm there is no “perfect” age gap.
Each age gap has pros and cons and you make it work for your family.
Age gaps and finding the perfect one is a hot topic among parents with some amount of guilt for the older child no matter which gap you choose.
Then sometimes, with all the best intentions, the age gap is decided for you and it’s completely out of your control.
Truth is, there are benefits in both, but here are some benefits of a bigger age gap.
You will be better rested
If you have a bigger age gap, the hope is that your older child will be sleeping through the night. If so, you can get more rest during your pregnancy and also when your newborn arrives. You will be able to cope better with the sleepless nights with just one little one to care for in those midnight hours.
One set of nappies
If you have a bigger age gap you will only have to change one little person’s nappies. This doesn’t seem like much, but it means you will only change roughly 40 nappies a week instead of double that.
By having a few years in between children, your older little one will be more independent. They may be toilet trained, able to grab themselves a snack or, if you’re lucky, they may even be able to help you get a nappy or some wipes if you need it. Which trust me, you will be so grateful for when the time comes.
You will get more one on one time
Again, the hope is with a bigger age gap you will get more one on one time with each child. They will be at different stages of life, so you can enjoy time with your older one without the competition of the younger one wanting to get in on the action. You will also have your whole pregnancy to really devote some time with your older child which, because they’re older, they will remember. Your new baby will have the benefits of guilt-free alone time with you while your oldest is off at school or out with their friends.
Your body can re-coup
Having close age gaps between kids and breastfeeding babies one after another is a lot on a woman’s body. By having a bigger age gap, you give your body and mind time to recover properly before doing it all over again. You can go into parenthood the second time around with a fresh and healthy body and mind.
Less sibling rivalry
With a larger age gap, because your little ones won’t be going through the same stages at the same time it’s less likely your little ones will be fighting over toys or a TV programme. The operative word here is ‘less likely’ – your little ones are going to squabble no matter what the age gap.
Less sibling jealousy
When there are a few years in the difference it is less likely your children will try and compete with each other for your attention, because your oldest will have had their years alone with you and have a strong bond with you and in turn won’t feel left out. Sibling jealousy is also less likely, as the older child will be more secure in themselves after having that time on their own with you, and they probably won’t see the new sibling as a threat to their undivided attention as much as a younger child would.