Child Spacing

It’s not always possible to control when you have children even with the best kinds of contraception. However, you may have an idea of how many children you would like to have and how many years apart you would like to have them. There are many things to think about as you plan your family:

  • The kind of family life you want
  • The goals you and your partner share
  • Your age and health
  • Your work situation
  • Your budget

For health reasons, it’s usually best to have children at least 2 years apart. Having another child sooner than this can put a physical strain on the mother. The next pregnancy may be healthier if a mother allows some time for her body to recover after having a baby.

As you plan your family, you will want to think about the demands on your time. Babies need a lot of parenting time. It may be easier to care for a new baby once your other children can separate from you for short periods of time and are toilet trained. On the other hand, if you wait many years between each baby, the demands of parenting young children will last later into your life.

Many families have found that 3 years is the best spacing between children. Three-year-olds can talk about their feelings about the new baby. They may be less likely to want to hurt the baby. They are more independent and probably out of diapers. Children spaced 3 years apart are still close enough in age to enjoy playing together and have a lot of interests in common.

If you are thinking about having another child, talk it over with your partner and healthcare provider. This will help you figure out what is best for your health and your family.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-01-28
Last reviewed: 2014-04-04
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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