1.Get a feel for your older child’s sleep temperament
Is your older kiddo a sensitive sleeper? Or can he sleep through fire engine lights and sirens going past his window? Get a feel for how easily your older child wakes, and especially how easily he falls back to sleep when woken up, and this should give you an idea of when to have the younger baby sibling join in the same room. If your older child is a light sleeper, it’s best to wait until he is sleeping as solidly through the night as possible. However, if the older sibling seems to sleep through just about anything, having a few-months-old infant in the room who is still waking through the night should be no big deal.
2. White Noise
White noise is this sleep consultant’s secret weapon! Even if your older child is not a sensitive sleeper, it’s an extremely wise idea to use very loud white noise in the room both children are sharing. This will serve to block out any cries, coughs, or other sounds from disturbing either child.
3. Put the older child to sleep first, if possible
This tip can really go either way. Usually whichever child seems to be the deeper sleeper should go to sleep first, followed by the lighter-sleeping sibling going down about 20-30 minutes later. This can be tricky in cases where infants are the ones that fall asleep earlier but are also light sleepers (this seems to be most often the case). In this scenario, the younger sibling can be put down first, but Mom and Dad should work very, very hard to try to teach the older sibling to go to sleep quietly instead of being loud and rambunctious and waking up their baby sibling.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is transitioning their older child out of a crib too soon, in order to give it to a new sibling. I favor keeping children in cribs as long as it is safe to do so. Many kids can stay in cribs until they reach the age of four! Unless an older child is crawling out of the crib, it’s wise to keep crib-aged siblings sharing a room in individual cribs instead of having the older sibling able to get up and walk around, disrupting the sleep of their younger sibling.
5. Consider a room within a room
In some cases it might be a good idea to create a “room within a room” for the younger of the two babies. Ikea’s Dignitet curtain wire makes it possible to create a curtained off space anywhere walls and a ceiling are present. Curtaining off an infant’s crib (while leaving a video monitor and white noise within the curtains) can allow the older child more freedom to move around, read a book, or otherwise just co-exist more comfortably while sharing a room with a baby brother or sister.
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