Louise Pyne discovers whether there’s ever a perfect time to try for a second child.
You probably couldn’t have imagined how much your life would change after having your first baby. Sure, lie-ins may be thing of the past and you probably can’t remember the last time you went to the bathroom alone, but the birth of a new life brings with it a beautiful new perspective.
If baby fever is starting to strike once again but you’re just not sure if now is the right time, we’re here to help weigh up the choice.
Reasons You’re Ready For Baby Number Two
You Yearn for Those Early Days
Do you see a newborn in the street and get a pang for those days when your baby was so incredibly teeny? “Dramatic increases in levels of oxytocin, in pregnancy and early parenthood, actually changes the wiring of our brains, helping to blur any harder times in our memory and allow us focus on the cuddly, ‘edited’ version of life with a newborn,” says Vanessa Christie, founder of All About Baby & Me and expert speaker at The Baby Show.
The smell, touch or sight of a newborn can trigger those memories of oxytocin-fuelled love, prompting us to long for it all over again. But if you’re seriously contemplating trying for another baby, make sure you don’t just gloss over the challenges that come with childrearing, but take a fully comprehensive approach to make a decision based on your personal circumstances.
Child Number One Keeps Asking for a Sibling
Wondering if it’s better to have a small age gap or whether you should wait and have a second baby a few more years down the line? Just remember, there are no set rules as to when’s the perfect time.
“Children always want what other people have, so if their friends have siblings, it is only natural for them to start questioning it for themselves, but don’t let that be the one deciding factor,” says Vanessa.
You’re Financially Stable
A baby is a huge economic investment, which can cost up to an eye-watering £7,200 in the first year, according to a survey by the Money Advice Service. Fortunately if you do decide to have a second baby, you’ll already be armed with hand-me-downs, which will whittle down those initial costs considerably.
“Remember, too, that having another baby is a lifetime investment, so do look beyond the first year and picture what you’d like for your family in five, 10, even 20 years,” recommends Vanessa.
You’re Feeling Older
While fertility starts to drop after 35, plenty of women still conceive in their late thirties, and some even in their early forties, so don’t slip into panic mode just yet.
“Look to your mother and to your grandmother. The age at which they went through menopause could tell you something about your own fertility, as there is a known genetic link,” says Vanessa.
Your Partner is Game
It can be great news if your partner wants to have another child, but you’ve got to be feeling the baby vibes too.
“Adding more children into the equation when one partner is unconvinced is definitely not a good idea, so only go for it if you are both pro. Facing the new demands of a bigger family will be a whole lot easier without the worry that one of you feels resentful about it,” says Vanessa.
Your First Child is Sleeping Through the Night
Hurrah! After what felt like endless sleepless nights, baby number one is snoozing happily the whole night long these days. So now that you’re getting adequate resting time yourself, you may feel ready to cope once again with the challenges of early motherhood.
“There’s no doubt that this makes life a little easier on some levels, but if you can avoid it, try not to be in a position where you are kicking off potty training with a toddler in late pregnancy or with a very newborn baby. It will drive you mad!” advises Vanessa.
You’re Considering Names
Ava or Ethan? Oliver or Emma? If you find yourself toying with names for your next baby in your spare time, your brain may subconsciously be getting into baby-making mode, but obviously don’t let that alone be a sign to try for number two.
“Buy a fish tank and name all your new aquatic friends with the top favourites. If that doesn’t suffice, then yes, you probably want to grow something a little bit more human,” laughs Vanessa.