Reasons to Go for It
You'll limit diaper days.
Sure, it's Crazy Town, but when you have your kids close together, you can blow through the mayhem in a few years instead of dragging it out for a decade (or more!). The baby and toddler stages are intense but short. "Hold on to the perspective that you're in the thick of it now and that demands will be extreme for a while, and then they'll subside," Stiffelman says. And when they do, you can relish this happy facet of having back-to-back babes: The closer your kids are in age, the more interests they're likely to share, and the more you can do together as a family. "My kids enjoy the same books," Martin says. "Also, it's wonderful to be able to travel as a family now that they're older without having any toddlers in tow."
You'll get some savings.
If the day-to-day costs are doable for you now, you may save in the long run. When your kids are close together in age, you'll have fewer total hours of day care and babysitting and a shorter stint as a stay-at-home mom if you go that route. Plus, there are all those two-for-the-price-of-one deals! Being able to buy diaper wipes and other items in bulk can help. What's more, many child-care centers and kid-focused activities and classes offer sibling discounts.
You'll raise best buds.
"The camaraderie from having a live-in playmate is more apt to happen the closer in age the kids are," Stiffelman says. Yes, they're more prone to bicker and compete, which is why your guidance and attention are so crucial. As long as you moderate, the rewards can be great. "My kids are best friends," Ratner says of her 2- and 4-year-old. "They play together well and my younger one is learning so much from her brother."
So perhaps the lesson is that it's not always the spacing that dictates how close the siblings will be or how challenging their parents will find raising them, but the temperaments of each person, Dr. Brown says. If the family you now have feels complete, or your gut tells you another child would stretch even one of you beyond your limits, why rock that boat? You can always reevaluate in a year or two. If, on the other hand, you feel confident in your family's ability to adapt to a new addition...don't give away that Pack 'n Play just yet.
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of American Baby magazine.
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