With a baby due any day now, I’m wondering if he will be a good sleeper or not. But, I have also been thinking a lot about how his older sisters will handle this transition. Both of my kids are awesome sleepers, but I understand this is one event that may cause some regression. Here are my tips for handling the possible sleep disruptions:
- Inevitably, the bedtime routine is often shortened for your older child once the baby arrives, so prepare for that by condensing the bedtime routine a little bit at a time before the baby is born. Try to start the bedtime routine as early as possible once the new baby comes, so your older child has plenty of time to wind down and they can spend time with you before bed.
- Talk to your child about how the baby will need to wake up and eat at night for a little while, but soon the baby will be able to sleep through the night.
- Have white noise in your child’s room so they don’t hear the baby crying at night.
- Make sure your children are getting some one-on-one time with you each day so they don’t seek that attention out at inappropriate times like at bedtime or in the middle of the night. And don’t feel guilty about bringing home a new baby! Feeling guilty makes us give in to our children’s demands, when what they need more than anything during a transition time is to know there are clear boundaries so they can feel secure.
- If you are going to move your older child to a big bed so you can have the crib for the baby, do it at least a couple of months before the baby is born. Ideally this is when your older child is at least 2.5-3 years old. If you wait to move your child to the big bed after the baby is born you may want to wait at least a few months.
- I’m a Big Sister (or I’m a Big Brother) by Joanna Cole
- On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott
- Best-Ever Big Sister (or Best-Ever Big Brother) by Karen Katz
- Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig
- Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
UPDATE: Ironically, I wrote this post on the day I went into labor with baby #3! I followed all the above tips and it was a pretty smooth transition for my older two children.