When it comes to determining the size and spacing of your family, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Maybe you and your partner are dreaming of a house full of children. On the other hand, maybe you’re drawn to the idea of raising a single child. Puzzled about where you fall on the family planning spectrum? Consider these pros and cons to welcoming baby number two:
Greatest gift: A sibling may be the greatest gift to give your son or daughter. Growing up with a brother or sister gives your little ones the experience of sharing warm childhood memories they’ll cherish for a lifetime. As they grow, your children may find they’re one another’s greatest source of love and support – aside from mom and dad, of course.
Constant companion: For better or worse, a sibling quickly grows into an ever-present sidekick. Your children will always have a playmate in one another – and you may even find some free time later on as they entertain each other.
Role model: While every child is different, second children often reach milestones faster than first-born kids. Younger children have the benefit of observing their siblings – and you may find they take to weaning, eating solids, and crawling faster than your first child did.
Important lessons: Your little ones will have plenty of opportunities to practice sharing, problem solving, communicating, and peaceful (or let’s face it, not-so-peaceful) conflict resolution as they grow.
More expenses: Deciding to expand your family means incurring additional costs, from labor and delivery to diapers to child care.
Exhaustion times two: Having a newborn and a young child in the house may mean round-the-clock parenting duties. You may find yourself yawning through middle-of-the-night feedings with your baby – and chasing your toddler around during the day.
Divide and conquer: In the first months, it might seem like you and your spouse see less of one another while you find your rhythm. Mom may handle the newborn duties while dad shuttles older brother or sister off to school.
Cue jealousy: Introducing a second baby will rock your first born’s world. He or she is used to all your attention. Having to share the spotlight with a newborn may leave your son or daughter feeling left out and jealous.
There are countless wonderful reasons to either expand your family or choose to raise a single child. Taking these pros and cons into consideration may help you and your partner come to the decision that’s right for you. Are you a seasoned mom? How did you know you were ready for your second baby? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!