From my experience (large family with many siblings and cousins), 2—3 years is the best option. I think a baby needs at least 2 years when he is your major focus; it's best to wait until the older child is a little more independent so they won't resent the lack of attention.
Well I don't have any kids yet since I'm 18 but I can tell you about being the youngest of 4. My parents had Nicole, Stephen, Daniel, and Emily (me) all within 8 years. The first 3 are all 2 years apart from each other. Then there was a 4 year after accident that occurred. Anywayyyy...not counting Stephen because nobody gets along with him. My sister and I are 8 years apart and couldn't be closer. She got married when I was 11 years old so her husband is like my brother. Growing up without a mom, she really became anything I needed especially a mom until I was old enough to just need a sister and a friend. My brother Daniel is 4 years older than me and as kids we had a love/hate relationship because he's very self centered and i'm very much the "baby of the family" but we always played together and now we are very close. For my dad, it was great to have us so far apart because as a single dad he could count on my oldest sister to watch us. But it also meant he changed a lot as a parent from the time he was raising my siblings to raising me which causes some disagreements.
As far as just being a kid with older siblings it was awesome. My friends were insanely jealous of my cool older sister and my hilarious gay brother. They were jealous of the fact that me and my siblings were best friends while they had a year older brother who annoyed them in school or never wanted to be seen around them. And we were never in the same school as kids which was amazing!! By the time I got to high school everything had changed anyway so there was none of that feeling of non importance cause it's already been done. That might just be a youngest thing though. We all got to grow up in our own generation which was nice. Being the youngest, I matured a lot faster than most kids my age because I was surrounded by older kids all the time. And now as we all become adults there is so much advice I can give my sister and she can give me and so much help between all the siblings. So in my opinion, 4 years is the perfect age gap between siblings.
Sorry for the lengthy response haha.
My younger sister and I are 2 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days apart! There are definitely pros and cons (most of which have already been listed), but overall I would say it has been a good experience having someone so close to me in age.
Ideally, I would like to have four children within 10 years. I hope to have Baby #1 and Baby #2 be two years apart, Baby #2 and Baby #3 be three years apart, and Baby #3 and Baby #4 be five years apart. I suppose that whatever is meant to be will happen.
Done! Nelly is sleeping peacefully in her cosy cradle and I am back to NB, dying to see your replies and finally answer. Thanks again ladies!
@charlieandperry1: oh well, I am not surprised you didn't get with your bros in well - honestly, I have never met siblings who never argued. One girl in my class always had bruises and abrasions all over her body because she fought very bad with her little brother, ha ha. From your pros I really mark out the relationship(playmate) one. Every child has to deal with other people and I agree it's very important to have your early experience at home - the younger you are when you learn how to communicate best, the easier it will be in teens and adulthood. And even if kids don't get on at all(your con #1), they will know how they have to consider anyone else's opinion and respect it, the thing I learned very well myself and so I am grateful I had the opportunity to get. ;) That gives a chance they might have less problems with society, which is so vital in life.
@Otter: To start off, I guess this is not a topic for you because I am sure you will have wonderful kids and best friends whatever the gap is :)
Yeah, I agree mommy needs some time to recover - that's very individual, of course, but dealing with newborn wears out anyway, especially if mama is having her first experience with care. In my situation, we don't have huge funds right now and despite the fact new baba may use some of Nelly's clothes, toys etc, raising second child requires money and we have to wait until we can handle it materially.
As for little gaps... Well, even though dealing with two little kids isn't easy(let's face, it is hard, exhausting but so worthy later), you will get into rhythm one day but have the urgent experience. And growing up knowing you always have somebody to love and get love and support from is nothing but the best.
Health is an issue anyway though, I wouldn't like my kids to realize I can't take care if them so have to watch it out.
*Oh Lord, I have to go again.(not Nelly but SO) I promise I will share my thoughts on each reply, the thing is only when I have time. Guess I am not ready to #2 at all since I can't pay enought attention to boyfriend, girly and my own stuff - Internet, forums, beauty treats.;) Will work on it and try to find time to get back to NB soon*
We intend on having our first two quite close together. As in, less than two years apart. Probably TTC #2 when the first is a year old. I think it's good if the eldest can't remember ever being the only child. I was just over two years old when my brother was born and I don't remember at all.
My younger sister and I are two years apart. We have very different personalities- she likes sports, camping, and animals, while I like fashion, reading and writing. We both are creative and enjoy art, so that helps us get along more. I would absolutey love to have an older sister, as I am the oldest. I think it would be a lot of fun, maybe one who is 2 or 3 years older than me. She could help with homework, we could go shopping, etc. I am only a teenager so it would be fun. I personally think being 2 or 3 years apart would be best, and when I have kids I don't want more than a 4 year age gap between mine. I would like to have my first around 27, depending on if I am married and financially able to provide for our family. Then my second at 30, and my third at 33. I don't plan in having any more than 3 kids, but anything could change in 10+ years! However, I see the pros and cons of having a small or bigger age gap.
My kids are 3 years apart, almost exactly. My son LOVES being a big brother and he has since his little sister was born. They fight now, at 7 and 4, but not constantly. Although it probably helps that my son has a different father, and they are not around each other every single day.
My brother is 9 years older than me (too much). My sister is 5 years older than me, which was a HUGE gap growing up and even though I thought she was the best thing ever, she hardly ever wanted to have anything to do with me. Once I hit my 20s, we actually started getting along. I do know several sibsets with gaps less than 4 years and they seem to get along pretty well.
It just depends too much on the personalities and interests of the kids... there are no guarantees.
I was actually having this conversation last night with a set of twins, whose older sister is only 1.5 years ahead of them. They think being close in age is a must, and cited a friend who was "so much younger" than her older sister that they felt like they were in different families. I asked, and apparently this ENORMOUS age gap was all of five years - which happens to be how far apart my eldest brother and I are. I tend to think their personalities are what divided them, and the age gap seemed like a convenient thing to blame their issues on, because I've never felt that the five year gap between myself and my brother had any impact on our closeness. In fact, I'm closer to him than our middle brother.
Seems to me parents are best off just doing what works for them logistically. It's okay to make those choices for your own happiness/convenience, you don't need to have statistics and anecdotes to point to.
For me personally, what appeals is the idea of having the first child 3-5 years older than the second (we plan only two). First child will be potty trained, happy to play independently, in school, and able to understand and appreciate the new sibling better than at 1-2 years. Selfishly, as parents we will have had enough time to get past the baby/toddler stage and start feeling nostalgic for it. I can't imagine wanting to delve into infant care while dealing with potty training and the very needy toddler years.
Age and fertility issues trump all of this. We would be best to not wait more than 6 years to complete our family, so if we change our minds about not wanting more than two, we'll have to do it closer together.
My sister and I are 7 years apart. We never quite connected as playmates, but became close when she was in high school and I was out of the house and out of the state in fact. We became phone friends and eventually lived in the same city for several years. Even the same building at one point! I think no matter what age gap siblings have, it's nice to have someone that fully understands the specific brand of crazy that your family is. My sister and I completely understand each other, have the same sense of humor, the same ethics for the most part, we both cared for my grandmother after she had a stroke, she was my 'doula' when I had my daughter.
My advice is to have your children at a pace that feels right for you- your body, your partner, your finances, ect.
There's no promise that a 19 month age gap will make them best friends or a 3 year age gap will make #1 want to suffocate #2.