The decision to have your first child is life-changing. And once you’re holding your newborn, you settle into a routine and get comfortable as a family of three. Then, eventually, you might start thinking about when you should start trying for another baby.
Ask family and friends, and you’ll find everyone has a different opinion. Some people say it’s best to have kids close in age, while others swear that having a big age gap saved their sanity. The truth is that there’s no right time to have another baby.
Deciding when to have another baby is a choice only you and your partner can make, but at A. Michael Coppa, MD, our team is here to help. Call one of our three Rhode Island offices — Cranston, Smithfield, or Providence — or request a consultation with Dr. Coppa to learn more about our pregnancy services.
Today, we’re sharing some of the things to consider when you’re deciding when it’s time to grow your family.
1. How old is your youngest child?
Being pregnant and giving birth is tolling on a woman’s body. One of the biggest things to consider when you’re deciding if it’s time to try for another baby is how long it’s been since you were pregnant.
Some studies show that getting pregnant less than 18 months after having a baby increases your risk for complications like premature birth or low birthweight. Waiting at least 18 months also puts an age gap of at least a few years between your children.
An age gap of three to four years ensures that your oldest is more self-sufficient when you bring a new baby home. As your kids grow, they’ll have different interests and be less likely to have sibling rivalries.
But there are benefits to having children with smaller age gaps, too. If you have children within two years of each other, the time you and your partner spend caring for babies and toddlers is condensed into just a few years. Plus, kids under 2 years old when a new baby arrives may be less likely to feel jealousy and act out than older kids.
Talk to Dr. Coppa about your personal medical history, and he can help you decide if it’s safe to try for another baby right now.
2. Are you and your partner on the same page?
The decision to grow your family is one that you and your partner must make together. If you both want another child, the question is: When is the right time? Consider your current family dynamic, and talk about how both of you are feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically.
If one of you wants another child and the other isn’t so sure, talk about it. Neither of you should feel pressured to agree with something that doesn’t feel right, but you can reach a compromise. Consider revisiting the topic in a few months or a year.
3. How will another baby fit into your life?
Another baby means different child care arrangements, increased expenses, and more. If you’re thinking about adding to your family, take the time to think about your living arrangements. Do you have an extra bedroom, or will the kids share a room?
If your children will be close in age, you might need to get a double stroller. Depending on how many children you have, you might need to get a different car with more space.
Consider your financial situation when you’re talking about having another baby with your partner. Knowing that you can afford increased expenses can take some of the stress off of that hectic time caring for a newborn. If money is tight, consider re-evaluating your situation in a year or so.
Bringing a new baby home changes your family’s dynamic. Regardless of how old your children are, be sure that no one feels left out. Take the time to make every child feel special, and make the effort to spend quality time with your partner as well.
Whether it’s time to try for another baby or your family is complete, trust your health to Dr. Coppa and our team. Request an appointment online or call us to get started.