Age Breaks Between Children

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

The facts: Tori Spelling just announced she's three months pregnant with Baby #4 after giving birth to Baby Hattie four months ago. Her kids will be 11 months apart.

The reaction: Cue the hysteria!

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I feel for Tori, because it happened to me. Twice. After my first daughter died at birth, I got pregnant with my son one month later. We didn't do it on purpose; we obviously weren't preventing a pregnancy either. Then when my son was nine months old, I got pregnant with the next one. Again, we didn't exactly mean to, but we knew we wanted more kids, so what was a few months? Also, did you know you can get pregnant while you're still nursing and haven't had a period? You can!

While I wouldn't necessarily recommend that route (it's hard to grieve a baby and be pregnant with another one at the same time) I also wouldn't change it for anything. My four kids in seven years are all really great friends now, and they will have that for the rest of their lives. Plus, once you're in the trenches with potty training, sleeping through the night and feeding, what's one more thrown in the mix? So forgive me for giving Tori a little fist bump. Whether she meant to or not-and heaven help the reporter that asks that idiot question-they are clearly happy about it now.

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That said, there are some distinct disadvantages. I remember commanding my first son, who was still very much a baby himself, to learn how to walk already because I couldn't carry both him and the baby. After my third son came along, I remember having a space of time where I had three kids in diapers, which is both stressful and expensive. (And really ups the chances a poopy diaper will get lost under the couch and forgotten about until you have to fumigate the house.) Not to mention the risks to the new baby's health. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that "timing pregnancies less than 18 months or more than five years apart could raise the odds of the second baby being born prematurely, at low birth weight, or small for gestational age."

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What are your thoughts on baby spacing? How close is too close?
-We just go with the flow. Everything happens for a reason.
-We aim for the textbook two to three years between kids.
-I like mine close together so they have a buddy.
-I spaced mine far apart so the oldest would be more independent.
-Wait, what? Tori Spelling is pregnant again?

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