I never liked being an only child, so I always knew that when I started a family, I would be having more than one child. But I never gave too much thought to how I would space them out, which is probably why I ended up with two boys who are 16 months apart. If I had the chance to do it over and give the subject some thought, I would definitely find out how far apart you should have your kids, because there is some science that supports waiting a certain amount of time between births. Although I can't go back in time, I can help the rest of you who are wondering when you should plan to pop out baby number two (or three, or — may the force be with you — four and so on).
When you get right down to it, how close or far apart you choose to have you kids is a personal choice. You are entitled to build your family however you wish. But when you consider the scientific piece to pregnancy and birth, there is a recommended recovery time your body benefits from. According to Mayo Clinic, the sweet spot for spacing children is 18 to 24 months, but not letting more than five years lapse between pregnancies. Giving your body this amount of time helps to cut down on the chances of pregnancy complications as well as other health problems.
Another consideration to factor in is if you gave birth by C-section. For all my fellow moms sporting cesarian scars, it's even more important to allow your body that 18 to 24 month time frame, so you have adequate time to heal from the surgery, as Parents magazine pointed out. Becoming pregnant too soon after a C-section could cause some complications with your pregnancy and birth.
But aside from your health, there are other points to take into account when determining how far apart to have your kids. The financial impact of changing the number of people in your family is something that many parents looking to have more than one child start thinking about early. As Parenting magazine pointed out, running the numbers on the cost of additional children can be a helpful tool in deciding how close or far apart to have your kids. Parents may be pleasantly surprised to discover that there are discounts and savings from having more than one child, and adding a few more faces to the brood isn't as costly as they might expect.
Once the financial piece is sorted out, you also need to factor in logistics — can you and your partner manage the needs of another child on top of the one (or more) you currently have? According to Forbes magazine, you should ask yourself a few questions when you are considering having another baby. Being honest with yourself about your resources and energy is a smart place to start. You'll also want to give thought to how this may effect your career, travel, and other goals you have.
Knowing when you're ready to have another child may be a personal choice, but recognizing the points made by science and logic may be helpful when grappling with this decision. No matter how you choose to space your children out, you can never loose by having more littles to love in your nest.