Getting pregnant: Are you ready for a second child?

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Have you been thinking about expanding your little brood? Before you decide on getting pregnant again, make sure you read the pros and cons here.

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How do you know if you’re ready for another baby?

If there’s one thing that you will never forget, it’s when you saw your baby for the first time. But nowadays, you look at your little one and wonder where time’s gone.

It seemed just like yesterday he was a helpless newborn and now… he talks, runs, jumps, skips, negotiates with you to get his way and does so many other things he couldn’t have possibly done a year ago.

Looking at him now, you might be missing his tiny baby years, and might even be considering getting pregnant again. After all, you’ve done it once. You’ve got this parenting business nailed down to a T. How hard could it be to do it again?

The million dollar question in this situation is: how do you know if you’re ready for another baby?

While the answer to this question is subjective and is a decision that ultimately, you need to make on your own as parents, it does help to have a few useful pointers handy.

Here’s some information that may help you decide if you are indeed ready for another baby.

Age-gap between kids

You’ve seen your neighbour’s 6 and 8-year-old kids play together beautifully and you think having a small age-gap between kids would be just perfect.

Having kids spaced 2 years (or less) apart certainly comes with benefits but there are also other considerations to keep in mind.

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Having another baby close to your first-born’s birthday has its pros and cons

The Highs

  • Having your kids close together means they will most likely be best buddies and playmates (when the younger one is old enough to play that is!).
  • The basics of looking after a newborn (e.g. breastfeeding, swaddling, bathing, changing a diaper etc.) will still be fresh in your mind.
  • Your older child’s toys, books, clothes etc will still probably be appropriate for and usable by the little one (we all know just how expensive anything related to kids usually is!).
  • You won’t be raising small children for the rest of your life!
  • You get to save money because there are plenty of activities, e.g. art and dancing classes, and even preschools, that offer a discount if the younger sibling joins too (I was recently offered a discount for my younger son at my older son’s preschool!).

The Lows

  • The seemingly never-ending mess at home: My sons are just 2 years apart in age (they are now 2 and 4 years-old) and by the end of the day, it looks like my home has been hit by a tornado!
  • Coordinated crying/tantrums: some days it may feel that all you do, all day, is sort out various ‘crises’ that your kids seem to have at exactly the same time. I often feel that my little ones mimic each other’s emotions (especially anger or sadness!)… dealing with one inconsolable child is tough enough till the 2nd one decides to join in!
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You may have to prepare yourself to deal with plenty of sibling squabbles if their age difference is not too big!

  • Fights/complaints/annoying each other: be prepared for plenty of fights (physical and verbal at my house!) and dealing with complaints (from the older sibling usually). My younger boy thinks it’s his duty to annoy his older brother at least 10 times (or more) a day. The result is often quite chaotic as you can imagine!
  • Both of them wanting your attention all the time, at the same time, especially if your older child is at home for most of the day.

More on deciding if you are ready for another baby on the next page…

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Having a big age gap between kids also has its benefits

What if you decide to wait till your first child is older (over 4-5 years)? Here are some points to consider:

The Highs

  • Your first-born will be old enough to do certain things for himself, by himself, giving you more time to focus on the little one.
  • Your first-born may be old and responsible enough to help you out with simple tasks related to looking after the baby.
  • While your older child is at school, you’ll get plenty of time to bond with your little one.
  • You’ll probably be more confident in handling your youngest child and would have learnt not to sweat the small stuff.

The Lows

  • You may have to give yourself a refresher course in the art of looking after a newborn!
  • There is the possibility that your first-born may be jealous of the little one — after all he or she has been an only child for quite a long time!
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Are you ready to handle a newborn again?

Financial situation

Children are expensive, there’s no doubt about it. And having a 2nd child means double the cost of everything — from food, toys and clothes to childcare and education.

So before you decide that you are ready for another baby, do also consider your financial situation. If you are a working mum, you may find it harder to keep up with full-time or part-time work once child no 2 or no 3 comes along.  Here are some related questions to ask yourself:

  • Can you afford to stop work if you decide that is best for your family?
  • Can you afford to pay for the new baby’s childcare or employ a helper/nanny if you decide to continue working?

Your age

Unfortunately, maternal age does matter when it comes to deciding to have another child. If you’re closer to 40 and want more than 1 child, then perhaps you might not have the luxury of spacing your kids out with a 3 or 4-year gap.

However if you are under 35 and don’t have any health issues that may make conceiving a 2nd child difficult, then you probably could be a bit more flexible about when you want to have another baby.

Ultimately though, it’s a decision that you and your partner need to make together and it helps to have a common vision of how old you want to be when you decide to stop having kids.

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It’s really important that both you and your partner agree that you are ready for another baby

Do you and your partner agree?

It’s one thing for you to decide you’re ready for another child, but is your partner ready to have another baby too? While it may be difficult to in certain situations to settle your differences, it’s best to talk about them and to come to a mutual agreement.

How will having another child impact your life?

We all know that most newborns and young babies are extremely high maintenance. Are you ready to have a little one rule your life again?

You might be settled into an easy routine with your other child. He or she may be sleeping through the night and you and your partner may finally have some time for each other again.  Or perhaps you’ve gone back to work and are really enjoying it.

Do consider all these (and more) before you decide that you are ready for another baby.

Ask yourself if you have the time and energy to manage a newborn/infant and whether your other child (or children) is ready to deal with a brand new baby in the house.

As with trying to conceive for the first time, ensuring your have a proper exercise routine and diet is also important when you are trying for subsequent babies.

According to Di Bustamante, who is the Director of Parent Link, a doula and an expert on high-risk pregnancy:

“Its important to establish a good exercise regime and ensure a healthy diet is in place a minimum of 3 months prior to conceiving.”

In the end, the decision to have another baby is yours and your partner’s and there may be many more factors than the ones mentioned in this article that might influence your choice.

Don’t forget to listen to your heart too because after all, babies are made with love!

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