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Planning a Second Pregnancy

Rumor has it that only half of first pregnancies are planned or at least anticipated. When it comes to second pregnancies, however, there is a much higher percentage of parents attempting to plan the pregnancy to fit within a certain timeframe or at least trying when the time feels right. Planning a second pregnancy is fun because you now know what you’re planning and you have some idea of the road ahead. There is excitement and perhaps a little guilt that you’ll be knocking your older child off his esteemed pillar of stardom in your little family, but second children bring a sense of balance to families.

The Right Age Gap
It’s hard to plan the perfect age gap between children. There are plenty of things to consider including your older child’s needs and your own resources. Having children closer than three years apart is a great deal of work, at least initially. You’ll likely have two in diapers, and you’ll need additional equipment such as double strollers and an extra pair of hands to deal with the day-to-day with an infant and a toddler. However your children will grow up together having similar interests, for the most part, making them easy friends. Having children more than three years apart means that you might have an age gap too large for the children to play easily together, but you’ll have the benefit of an older child who can help with the baby – if he’s willing.

How your child will respond to the baby is an additional consideration. If your older child is sensitive or has special needs, introducing a baby to the home in his toddler years might rock his world a bit too much. Waiting until he’s had to time grow and mature might make the transition smoother for everyone.

The Finances of Two Babies
When you have your first baby, your budget stretches considerably. Diapers, formula, baby food, baby gear and childcare can eat up a huge portion of your finances. When you have a second baby, you won’t need to buy as much baby gear as you did with the first because you already own just about everything you might need. The exception would be a double stroller and a second crib if your children are close together.

But where the financial impact is felt hardest is childcare. If you’re already staying home a second baby will add some costs through diapers and possibly formula. But when you’re working and paying for childcare, the second child in care adds up considerably. If you sit and do the math, putting two children in a daycare situation might just outweigh the benefits of working. When you have two children, it becomes more cost effective to hire a nanny or find alternative childcare arrangements where you’re not necessarily paying per child.

Parenting Two Children
It’s difficult to image what it would be like with two children to parent until you try it. Balancing the needs of a newborn and toddler can be incredibly hard – especially when your toddler figures out he can tip the attention scales through tantrums and other attention seeking behavior. When you need a break, it’s much harder to hand over the baby – your partner’s arms might already be full of the older brother or sister.

The first few months and even years of parenting two children can seem extraordinarily challenging. But every family eventually finds a point where things seem to click together at last and parenting goes from all work and a bit of fun to all fun with a bit of work. And with two children, the fun multiplies dramatically.

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