How do I know when to have Baby No. 2?

Published 3:46 pm Saturday, March 28, 2015

Dear Leah,

My husband and I have been talking about having another child but I don’t know if I’m ready. Our first child isn’t fully weaned yet and I don’t want to add more stress to our already busy lives. I also don’t want to wait too long. How do I know when it’s time? — Ready for Baby No. 2?


Dear Ready,

What is that old adage about having children? Oh yes: There is never the perfect time. Maybe it’s not officially an adage, but I know when I was thinking of having children, people would say that same message to me over and over again, trying to convince me I was ready.

The fact is we often stress out about all of the wrong things when we think about having children. We worry about having enough saved up to pay for their college education or having a big enough house. The reality is, for our first or second (or third, or fourth or fifth) child, the conditions will never be perfect. You will still have sleepless nights and need to be a productive member of society the next day.

You will still need to spend all weekend catching up on laundry and chores (unless you decide to do a fun family weekend trip instead — which you should!).

Stress will be in your life regardless of whether you have no children or many — it’s all about how you are able to manage the stress. Children tend to have a grounding effect on us — rather than lying awake at night worrying about work responsibilities, parents tend to fall asleep easily because we’re just so tired.

There are many ways to manage stress — you should have some survival techniques by now so I won’t go into detail about the importance of keeping active, having space and continuing to pursue hobbies.

The greatest hurdle you may face right now is how to be emotionally ready for another child. You’ve already been successful with the first few years, so you are a pro at changing diapers, managing the bedtime routine and picking raisins out of oatmeal.

Yet, with all of the confidence that comes from developing an effective parenting style, there is equally as much uncertainty with another child because she/he will be different from your first. There will be different likes/dislikes and attitudes about life.

The best way to navigate the unknown is to ensure you have a good routine down now. A routine is something very organized people develop naturally, but for generally disorganized/creative people like me, a routine provides mindless assurance that things will get done.

Having multiple children forces people to designate laundry days and grocery days; it is why children are also responsible for chores and why the parent relationship becomes even more of a partnership. If you haven’t designated roles/routines for each parent and each child (if they are old enough), do so now. It will really help when you have another life to manage.

Ultimately, you may be concerned your first child will get less attention. She/he will in some ways, but it’s also up to you to make sure to connect meaningfully and help her/him transition to the honorable role of sister/brother. Love does not take — love gives and love grows. The real question for you is whether you have enough room in your heart to love more — and I can assure you we all do!


Leah Albert is a fictitious character. She likes wine and writing. Don’t ask her to be a matchmaker. Do send your questions to Leah at