I had never thought that I would have children so close in age. I had always thought that maybe a 2-4 year age gap would be what we would do. But I also did not plan for us to take nearly 4 years of fertility treatments and 2 miscarriages to finally get our first born in our arms. So when Xav was about 6 months of age I started cycle tracking, expecting I would need fertility treatment again to have another child. We even went and saw our fertility specialist when he was about 8 months old to see what treatments we would be doing when we decided to try again. I was informed that I couldn’t have any fertility treatments while still breastfeeding, and I wasn’t going to stop that voluntarily before he was 12 months, so off we went. Well two weeks later we were ringing our fertility specialist back to tell her actually, we are pregnant!! It was a total miracle to us!! It also meant that our second son Charlie was born nearly exactly to the day that Xavier was 18 months old. We were now in the having two kids under two club. When I look back at photos, Xavier was still such a baby when his little brother was born. Similarly, our third baby, Lily was born one week before Charlie turned two. So we then entered the club of 3 kids 3 and under!
Having children so close in age comes with many blessings. Our kids are extremely close. They are developmentally not too far apart which means they easily can enjoy the same toys, shows, adventures and games. It also means we have been able to adapt to their needs around things like naps, food, etc. We don’t have to juggle say children at school and a younger sibling who needs naps at school pick up (there has occasionally been some of this with kinder but it didn’t last long). It also has meant that with each child we really didn’t have to make many more purchases as all the “things” were still in order and able to used like clothes, bedding, pram, capsule. The only big things we had to get more of was car seats and a bunk bed for the boys.
We have been really thankful and feel truly blessed (most of the time) that we have 3 kids close in age. But it also does come with a range of challenges and truths that are more unique to small age gaps.
Truth bomb #1 Its likely you will have many years of broken sleep. Unless you have a unicorn baby (baby or little person who sleeps through the night) it is going to be years before you get to stay in your own bed all night, unless you co sleep with all of the kids. A typical night for us could be one or both boys waking up, possibly waking each other up as they room share. Usually my husband getting them back to sleep which may mean staying in their room or moving one to the couch. Then at some point Lily wakes and she comes into bed with us. Before that the monitor has usually gone on during the night when she has stirred. By morning, regardless how wakeful it has been, the boys nearly always wake by 6ish. You will be functioning off little sleep for many years.
Truth bomb #2 You may not make it back to work in-between babies. I was pregnant again when xav was 9 months old, so I didn’t return to work. The combination of being unwell from pregnancy and sleep deprived was not conducive to having to get up and work. That continued when we were expecting Lily. Despite still having very wakeful nights, its only been in the past 6 months, I am making a very slow return to study and work with my own business, and Lily is 2 years old. So maybe have work contingency plans in place if you are wanting kids close in age.
Truth bomb #3 You are constantly busy and needed all the time. When they are so little there is nearly always one of them that needs help with something- be it getting to sleep, getting food, guided play, cuddles for all those feels. I imagine this eases when they hit school and are capable of more independence, but while they are all under 5, I have found it to be full on, most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I have little moments where they are all playing peacefully, but it doesn’t last long.
Truth bomb #4 Your house will be full of stuff!! Change table full of different size nappies, lots of washing and folding, so many toys, craft and play stuff for all that imaginative play that little people do. Even with regular clean outs, not being big on purchasing heaps of toys, we still somehow have a house bursting! I am sure I’ll miss all the colour and fun cute things when they are older but wow it’s an epic clean up at the end of each day.
Truth bomb #5 You may not have time to physically recover well or fully in-between pregnancies. Charlie’s (my middle child) pregnancy was the toughest. With only 9 months between birth and pregnancy I really felt it. I ended up with bad hips and sciatica, exacerbated I’m sure by the fact Xavier didn’t start walking until I was like 7 months pregnant. I also had my worst case of hypertension and was medicated from the 2nd trimester and needed to be induced at 39+4 weeks. It is also super tough physically chasing a toddler when you are pregnant and/or early postpartum. It wouldn’t surprise me if mothers with children close in age suffer more with postnatal depletion (there’s a study in that I am sure).
Truth bomb #6 you will likely totally love having kids close in age if that’s what you want. Even if you didn’t plan it like us, we are so glad that we do. It’s a whirlwind of baby, toddler, preschool all at once. We have been in this amazing, crazy, challenging, rewarding little people bubble and even though I am exhausted from being kept up by kids since 2:30am (I wish I was kidding), it is pure magic, they are magic! If you are thinking you want kids close in age, I say do it! You’ve got this!
This is obviously our personal account of having children close in age, and understand it is obviously different for every family! Would love to hear how you have found it having kids close in age!