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Are You Ready For Another Kid?

You've been feeling it again lately; that tug at your heart when you hold your friend's baby or walk down the infant clothing aisle at the department store. The desire for another baby is in the air, but is it the right time to turn that longing into a reality?

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There's no simple answer to that question; every family is different and the timing of building your family is something very personal that depends on many factors. There's a common idea that spacing your children 2-3 years apart is ideal, but in reality there is no ideal; it's up to you and your partner. You shouldn't give in to pressure from friends and family regarding when you "should" have another child.

There are some practical issues regarding timing that you can think about, for example, how you prefer to handle childrearing and the stages kids go through.

It's All In The Timing

Some women prefer to have their children as close together as they can. This way they get all the challenging stages over with at around the same time. Going through two consecutive years of the Terrible Twos may not sound like your idea of fun, but some moms may prefer it to facing that stage again after several years of relative peace and quiet.


Another perk of having children close together in age is that they can be company for one another. They're natural playmates that can occupy themselves while you have some moments of relaxation. Remember, though, that having children who are close in age doesn't guarantee they'll get along perfectly when they're children or that they'll be friends as adults.{relatedarticles} There are also plenty of advantages to having children farther apart in age. When you wait several years between children, it allows you to pay more focused attention to each child during the formative years. You can give your attention to each child's social, emotional, and intellectual development at the time when it really counts.

Spacing your kids farther apart also allows you to enjoy the freedom of having only one very young child at a time. The baby and toddler stages usually demand the most attention and work from parents, so if you don't like a lot of noise and chaos in your home, waiting a longer period between kids might be right for you.

There are quite a few other factors to take into consideration when deciding whether you're ready for another child.


Finances

There's an old saying that all a baby needs is love, and while that's a beautiful thought, we all know that a baby needs food, a home, diapers and plenty of other necessities, too.

Be realistic when looking at your financial situation. You might be able to afford another baby, but what sacrifices will you have to make in your budget and are you willing to make them?

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Health

Pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum stage take a lot out of a woman. You're looking at hormonal swings, morning sickness, and weight gain followed by weeks of sleepless nights. Generally a woman's body needs 6-months to a year to fully recover from childbearing.

If your previous pregnancy was great and you feel strong and healthy right now, you just might be ready to give it another go. But if you had a difficult time with your previous baby, you should give the situation a lot more thought. This is especially true if you had any serious complications with pregnancy and/or delivery. Have a physical and speak with your doctor about your current state of health and how likely it is that you could handle another pregnancy.
Stress Level

Closely linked to your physical health is your ability to handle stress. Some moms are naturally anxious and require lots of relaxation time to wind down after a day with the kids, while others are easy-going and roll with the punches. If you find yourself in the first category, you need to ask yourself whether you can handle the added pressure of another baby. If your other child is still young and dependent upon you for all their needs, you might want to consider waiting until they gain a bit more independence.

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Your Other Child(ren)

You shouldn't let your older child dictate when you should have another baby, but their readiness is something to take into consideration. If your first baby has yet to sleep through the night or your toddler is going through a challenging phase that has you in discipline mode most of the day, you might want to think of how having another baby will affect the situation.

If you have a child with special needs, you have to count in the extra time and effort required to care for his or her daily needs, and how a new baby would fit into the picture.

Your Spouse's Feelings

Yes, you're the one who has to carry the baby and endure the labor, but your partner will be deeply involved in this child's life as well. Some men may be reluctant to discuss their thoughts about having another baby, because they feel that your mind is already made up one way or another. Ask for his input and hear him out. If you're having doubts about expanding your family, let him know; he may be feeling the same way.
If You're Adopting

Most of the suggestions in this article apply to biological and adoptive parents alike, but adoptive parents have some extra matters to think about. The cost of adoption is typically much higher than that of bringing a biological child into the world, so your finances will take a heavier blow.

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Also, a number of adopted babies and children go through an extra time of adjustment after arriving at their new home. This adjustment might include some emotional upset or acting out, which can bring a bit more tension to the house.

Follow Your Heart

Sometimes, a couple just "knows" when it's time for another child. If this is how you and your spouse are feeling, you probably feel confident in your decision. Some couples have chosen to expand their families in the face of incredible odds and their bet has paid off.

When you're deliberating about whether to have another child, use your head, but follow your heart, too.