Are you ready for another baby?
Even though you are a walking sleep deprived zombie, and maybe just barely getting the hang of this whole motherhood thing. You’ve probably given some thought to the ideal size of your family. (Is anyone else confused when they say the average household has 2.3 children, I’ve never met someone with .3 of a child). So the thought has probably crossed your mind…how long should I wait?
Depending on your circumstances you may find different answers. Here are some things to consider.
Reasons NOT to wait:
Timing – Children under the age of 1 haven’t gotten used to having an exclusive relationship with their parents so they may be more receptive to an addition and less likely to resent little brother/sister.
Sibling Bond – There is something to be said for the tight bond that is formed between siblings that are close in age. Plus, you will have an instant playmate for your first!
Age – Let’s be honest, if you are 38 and want two more children you may not have the luxury of waiting. According to The American Fertility Association 20% of American women now wait to have their first child until after age 35.
Faster they’re in faster they’re out – Maybe you’ve got big plans for your golden years and would like to get all your child rearing done at one time. While immensely fulfilling, the child rearing years may not be the easiest of years. In fact many couples say it’s one of the most challenging times in a marriage. We definitely can’t blame your for considering this one!
Reasons TO wait:
Timing: On the opposite end of the spectrum, waiting a couple years before having another gives you time to really enjoy being a new parent and allows you to give your child all the attention necessary. Professor Jeannie Kidwell from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville says that children at age 4 have had time to enjoy the attention from mom and dad and are now more focused on their own independence.
Lifestyle: Maybe you’ve just gotten into a good routine with your other children, just gone back to work, or just reached the sleeping through the night stage. Maybe for the first time you have time for your spouse again. These are things to consider as you are likely to have to reestablish a balance in the family dynamic.
Money: This is a big one! A conservative estimate of how much each child costs between, food, clothes, diapers, doctors, comes in at around $10,000 a year. And while you may not be thinking of this during the diaper years, paying for college isn’t cheap and you may appreciate a couple years in between tuition payments.
Health: Often women aren’t in the same place as they were the first time they got pregnant. Between breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and a adjusting to a new lifestyle women’s bodies can be completely depleted after the first pregnancy. Not to mention some of the novelty and excitement you experienced the first pregnancy may have worn off. You may not be following the rules as rigorously and with chasing number one around, going to your favorite prenatal yoga class is probably a pipe dream. Did you know…
- The placenta extracts nutrients, minerals and essential fatty acids from the mother. If these items aren’t supplied through the mother’s diet, they are taken from the mother, bones, tissues, and brain.
- Pregnancy brain is no myth. MRI’s done on women who had recently given birth showed actual brain shrinkage due to all of the essential fatty acids donated to the baby during pregnancy.
- On an optimal diet, it can take women 2-3 years to replenish all the nutrients lost from pregnancy. On the average American diet it can take much longer.
- Without supplementation, it can take 4 years or more to replace iron lost during pregnancy.
- Without replacing the essential nutrients, minerals and fatty acids lost, a second child may have a less ideal structure which can be seen in what’s called second sibling syndrome.
- Doctors found that babies conceived less than six months after the birth of a previous child are 40 percent more apt to be born prematurely or underweight.
Most research shows that the ideal interval between babies is 24 to 35 months. However, we know there are many things to consider when planning another addition to your family. While friends, family and even your doctors will have an opinion, it is important for you to weigh the pros and cons in all areas and make the decision that’s best for your family.
In the meantime, remember that pregnancy can take the ultimate toll on your body and even if you feel recovered chances are your body will be working to repair and replenish long after the baby is born. Focus on eating a healthy balanced diet and pay special attention to replacing omega 3’s, iron, folic acid and zinc for the most optimal healthy pregnancy possible.
Do you have tips on preparing for your next pregnancy? Leave us a comment below.