Q&A: another one of those tangled-up multi-kid sleep cluster@#$%s

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Alison writes, with the subject line "Can't Sell 'Em":

Well, probablysomewhere I could sell at least one of them but I think the grandparents would
prefer if I held on to both of them. I have a daughter 21 months and a son 3
months and I think I am about to lose my mind.  Lord… who thought this
was a good idea?  I could list about 17 questions about how to keep either
one of them alive, but I'll stick to a practical appeal for
strategy.

We live in a 2
bedroom house.  Son sleeps in a bassinette in our room until my husband
comes to bed at which time said bassinette is dragged into the hallway.  I
go out and nurse in the living room as needed, while Sweet T sleeps away in her
own room, in her own crib.  However, soon Nate is going to be too big for
the bassinette. He can graduate into the Family Bassinette (source of many a
hilarious in-law tale) or, presumably, into Sweet T's crib.  I have no idea
how to do this.  Do I move T into her own bed first? Do everyone at once?
What about Nate waking T up when he wakes to nurse once they're finally sharing
a room? I usually hear him before he gets to a full-blown wail, living in fear
as I do that Sweet T will wake up, especially on nights when Daddy is at
work. Oh my. I get all in knots just thinking about it… They're going to
have to share a room, probably sooner rather than later.  Normally my
one-day-to-be-copywrited catchall "it's only a problem if you hate the solution
more" or its sister "it's either a good time or a good story" would get me
through this but I have no solution to even hate and God knows I have enough
stories to tell as it is (The One Where Talia Doesn't Want to Leave the
Aquarium; The One When Talia "Shares" the Chopsticks with Nate's Eyes"). 
Any previous learning to share a room experiences would be GREATLY appreciated,
especially with this particular age spread. "

So here is my advice: Call the grandparents and get them to come to your house for a week. Go on kayak.com and book flights for you and your husband to somewhere else for said week. When you come back, the grandparents will have worked their 1970s magic on your kids and they'll both be sleeping through the night in their own cribs.

No? Yeah, the '00s kind of suck for parenting, don't they?

I have no experience with this particular age spread, so I'm going to have to ask the readers for specifics about kids 18 months apart (I think I would have just melted into a puddle of tears and inadequacy if faced with that spread). But I have to say that I think that some of this is borrowed fear, and that if you can try to work yourself around into a (perhaps completely fake) position of just Taking It As It Comes, you might be able to weather the transition better.

A little strategy: There sees to be a window right around 5.5-6 months or so in which babies are sometimes much more malleable about sleeping, and this might be the best time to move him (if you can wait that long–he might be a baby Hercules and grow out of the bassinet way before that). Plenty of parents find that what they think is going to be a grueling switch ends up to be a couple of nights of discombobulation but nothing more at that age. So don't tie yourself in knots about it, when it could go perfectly easily.

Also, your daughter may or may not even wake up when her brother wakes up to nurse. Since you get there really soon (and probably have some of that mom sixth sense thing going on that wakes you up right when he wakes up), she may not even notice it. Or she may wake up and then go back to sleep again right away.

I, personally, would not move everyone all at once, as that leaves way too many variables, and if it all goes to crap in the first few nights you won't have any idea which things to back off of and which ones to continue on with. If there isn't a pressing reason to move your daughter out of her crib, then I wouldn't do it (unless shes one of those kids who's trying to get out on her own because she's insulted by the crib, in which case she might sleep better in a Big Girl bed). Is there an option of borrowing another crib so they can each be in their own cribs until your daughter's really ready to switch?

Once you've decided when you're going to do this, and who's going to be sleeping in which bed, I'd pick a day that your husband will be home and able to do some night parenting for a couple of nights in a row. Then just switch your son into his new bed in the kids' room and see what happens. Keep the rest of the routine as similar as you can to what you've been doing, and give it three nights to settle.

Readers, has anyone faced two kids with similar spacing? How did you get them sleeping in the same room without waking each other? Do you think we could get together some kind of Service Corps of Retired Parents to come get our kids to sleep for us?

43 thoughts on “Q&A: another one of those tangled-up multi-kid sleep cluster@#$%s”

  1. @paola – a bassinette is like a teeny-tiny crib that can easily fit next to the mom’s bed. The idea is that she can just reach over and pat the baby at night, or gently rock him to sleep (many of them slightly rock) if needed. They generally can hold a baby until they’re about 15 pounds or can roll over/pull up (they have very short sides). I always thought they were a joke because my kids are giants, but apparently other people actually get use out of them.I’d scour craigslist and yard sales for a second crib. That’s how we got both of ours, and didn’t pay more than $50 for either of them (one is nice. one is safe but kind of lame). I definitely wouldn’t take the older child’s crib away from her before she’s ready. If you were in central NY (Fingerlakes) I’d just give you our crib, but what’re the odds of that?
    Other than that, I got nothin.

  2. At the 6-month mark with pregnancy #2, this is an issue I’m grappling with as well. We live in 1000 sq.ft house so a squeeze but not too much. Our plan is this:Parents and Boo (2 years old tomorrow!) switch bedrooms (hopefully in mid-May when under-way renovations are complete). Boos get our current bedroom which is HUGE (old garage) and will be their bed & playspace.
    When Boo #2 comes along end of June hopefully Boo will be accustomed to the new room. Boo #2 will sleep bedside at night so I can nurse and during the day in his bassinette in the bedroom. I’m hoping this will help Boo get used to sleeping with another person in his room naptime first then we will transition to the nights.
    Of course – this all depends on them in the end. Boo is a good sleeper and we’re not planning on transitioning him out of the crib since he’s expressed no need or interest. So that’s one constant we can leave in place for the moment and one that he can decide. Who knows what kind of sleeper Boo #2 will be. Guess we’ll find out!

  3. I don’t have any advice, because I’ll be facing this in a few months.Mine are 24 months apart (currently 25 months and 1 month), and my main problem is that the older one is a horrible sleeper. She often stays awake for up to an hour after bedtime, talking and/or yelling, sometimes with multiple checks. I’m not really worried about the younger one, I feel he’ll be more adaptable. I’m mostly worried with the older keeping the younger awake. How will he go to sleep with her antics going on in there? I also worry that if he does wake her up due to crying she will never. ever. go. back. to. sleep.
    Anyone have advice for how to manage sharing a room when you have a toddler who refuses to go to sleep?

  4. I have never faced this situation, but in retrospect, I can definitely say that if there was a time in my daughter’s infancy during which sleep was NOT a major problem, it was definitely the 5-6 month range. So I think Moxie is probably right that changing the sleep situation for your son might not be as terrible as you dread.You don’t mention the option of buying a 2nd crib, but honestly, it sounds like it might be a good idea. If your daughter seems content in her crib, why force a move out before it’s necessary? Buying another crib might seem like money unnecessarily spent, but it also might save you a lot of trouble. Maybe you can get a crib that converts into a toddler bed, even. As has been said here before, hurrying up a child in getting out of a crib and into a big-kid bed to free up the crib for a younger sibling rarely works out well, and getting a 2nd crib is often the least terrible solution.

  5. Agree totally with Moxie and Stephanie. It may work for some people to move an older child out of crib and a baby into the same crib, but it is also fraught with peril. My general rule for this kind of thing was that while it suited me to have my babies 23 months apart, I was not going to make the older child grow up any faster on account of it. So if I would have been happy to have her stay in a crib (in diapers, whatever) until a certain age, I wasn’t going to even try to accelerate that on account of her Big Sister status. I think that helped with not causing resentment or fear of loss of maternal affection in the older child, though I could be wrong.I do think your sleep issues will get better (maybe temporarily, but MAYBE permanently) soon, and to tackle things then, rather than now.
    Just wait till your kids are old enough to play together, and I hope you will find that spacing them closely in age can really, really have its upside as well.

  6. At this point could someone tell me what a ‘bassinette’ is exactly. My kids used a ‘bassinette’ during the day to stay slightly upright and look around, but I never even let them nap in one. I think the North American version must be different to what I know.Alison, my kids are 24 months apart (the boy 4, the girl 2). They have been sleeping in the same room since DD was 14 months, so just over a year. I was worried about the prospect of them waking each other, particuarly towards my son’s normal waking time, but it has never happened. My daughter still wakes up at night and wakes up early and never wakes her brother. The same in reverse. Once asleep the 2 year old will not be woken for the life of her, unless of course it’s ‘the moment’.
    However, ther are those nights where my daughter will just not stay asleep (her 2 year old molars are coming thru and we have had a few restless nights). We ahve a back up cot (crib) in the study, which my daughter still spends most nights in at some point. If it is at all possible, have some kind of back up solution for either child. Kids will never always sleep well, and there will be nights when one or the other needs to sleep somewhere else.
    Like the other commenters I would let her sleep in her crib as long as she wants. My daughter was 23 monhts old when we put her in a Big Girl Bed, which in my opinion was a bad time as that was around the time she started waking more often at night and was suffering seperation anxiety big time. She would wake up, hop out of bed, and we’d find her at her door if it wasn’t open or our door howling ( she isn’t very tall and could not reach the door knob). In hindsight I think it would have been better to keep her contained for as long as possible.

  7. We’ve just been here. My two boys are 21 months apart, the youngest will be 6 months old this week, and we moved him from a bassinette in our room to a crib in his brother’s room 2 months ago. We went with a second crib, because the 2yo seems perfectly happy in his crib and has never tried an escape, and space will be a problem for a big boy bed (we’re thinking bunks later on, and in the meantime just taking the side off the cot when he’s ready for that).To be honest I was terrified of multiple child wake-ups, and actually put off moving the younger bub until his head and feet were close to touching the ends of the bassinette, but it has been surprisingly smooth (ymmv…). Younger bub was sleeping through at the time, but for the last 6 weeks or so has since gone to waking once or twice a night for feeds – thanks, 4-month sleep regression. The shocker is that this hasn’t really bothered the 2yo. Mostly he sleeps through. Sometimes he wakes, but is happy with a cuddle and a “time for sleeping” and goes back down. I never would have predicted he would do that and am sure he wouldn’t have 6 months ago. So you might be surprised. I hope so! I actually think the 2yo likes having company in the room, and thinks of the breathing/snuffling AND waking up as all related sounds that mean he has someone there with him.
    In terms of adjusting the little guy to the crib, we placed the bassinette inside the crib for a day or two of naps, so he became familiar with the surroundings, then moved him into the crib proper for naps and overnights too. Good luck with whatever move combination you try, hope you find something that works well for you!

  8. What about a pack-n-play? We had this same situation with our boys and my giant younger son outgrew the bassinet in about a month. We went to a pack-n-play in our room, then gradually transitioned to a crib in his brother’s room (around 5-6 mos, as Moxie recommended). We kept the pack-n-play in our room for over a year and used it sporadically the entire time. Some nights will go better than others, illness, etc. If the kids are having a rough night and keeping each other awake, you have the option of separating them. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing switch.I also agree about just getting a second crib if your daughter sleeps well in hers. Get them both sleeping well in the same room for a while before changing your daughter’s sleeping arrangements. My youngest is 3 and still happily in her crib. Like others have said, no need to rush the transition.
    Good luck!

  9. I have two boys three years apart (now 4 years and 1 year), so the age difference is different, but we live in a tiny 2-bedroom NYC apartment and they share a room and so I’ve dealt with those issues. The baby slept in a pack+play in the living room for about 5 months, then moved to our bedroom for about 2 months more. I didn’t want to move the babe until he was reliably sleeping through the night, but at 7 months I had absolutely had it with having him in our room, so I just took a leap and moved him. Since then, he hasn’t exactly slept through the night…he does many nights but had severe 9-month, 11-month and 13-month regressions. My 4-year old is a horribly light sleeper, so YES, he does wake up many nights when the baby cries. Not a full-out wake up necessarily, but enough to cry out or complain or throw stuffed animals across the room at his brother. It has not been easy. At one point two weeks ago the situation with the 13-month regression was so serious that the babe refused to go back into his crib when he woke up, so there was a lot of screaming involved and both kids were up at certain points. My solution for about 5 days was to make a little bed for myself on the floor between the kids’ beds. This way, I was super close and could attend to the babe very quickly AND the babe could sense my presence. Well, it definitely worked. Pretty soon he was back to sleeping through the night IN HIS CRIB (coulda had something to do with the regression just naturally reaching an end, too). I would buy or borrow an inexpensive pack and play and use that as a crib until your older child is ready to give up her crib. (We transitioned our older son to a bed while I was pregnant, but again, he was three when the baby was born.) My baby slept just fine in the pack+play as it had a bassinet feature so that he wasn’t all the way down on the floor.Also, my whole bedtime routine revolves around the fact that I put the baby to sleep first at least a half hour before the older boy. It wasn’t this way when the baby was younger and sleeping in the living room or our room, but now that they are in the same room, he MUST go down first for the plan to work. Sometimes he doesn’t fall asleep or is fussy and it seriously messes with the schedule! But, most nights he is happily asleep when we tip toe in with our older son. In the morning, the baby wakes up 1.5 to 2 hours before his brother, so we go and get him and close the bedroom doors so the older boy can sleep. It’s a challenge, that’s for sure!!

  10. I have 2 boys 19 months apart & although they don’t share a room, we had a similar dilemma with transitioning Older to a bed vs. buying a new crib.We bought a new crib at IKEA.
    We also used a pack-n-play (bought used at Once Upon a Child) in our bedroom when Younger was too big for the co-sleeper (similar to a bassinet) but still not sleeping well & needing frequent nursing/rocking.

  11. My second and third are 17 months apart and I would highly second (third?) getting another crib. I’m not a big proponent of kids in cribs for long periods of time, but pre-2 is a little young to move her out, especially if they are sharing a room (you’re going to want to keep her confined for the initial transition at least). 5-6 months is a great time to do this. I would stagger bedtimes if you can – no preference either way, whatever works. And do the later kid’s routine in another room and move to kids’ bedroom at the end. The transition is not going to be so much fun, but you can do this and it won’t last long. Good luck!

  12. We will be in a similar situation in another 6 months…2 bedroom house, 3-year-old in one room in his twin bed, newborn coming along whom will have to go somewhere.Could the younger one stay in a borrowed, purchased crib in your room for awhile? and maybe move slowly from your room into the hallway and then into the other room? Our bedroom isn’t all that big, so I don’t know if this would work for us, but maybe you have more room than we do.

  13. I haven’t read all the comments. . .YOU DRAG THE BASSINET INTO THE HALLWAY??? What the hell? Unless DH is a heavy snorer, and actually wakes the baby up I’d call shenanigans on that play. I have a rule about sleeping babies, which is “Thou shalt not move” one.
    My kids are 18 months apart. And my oldest is a notoriously hideous sleeper – as in, she is JUST starting to sleep through the night in her own bed at 3.5 years. However…
    I think you need to get one of those “sidecar” style co-sleepers and let the baby sleep with you. And whatever bizarre condition is causing you to take the baby in the hallway, well, that needs to stop. That would’ve produced a ton of anxiety in me. The big one could wake up, and could flip the bassinet! Burglers! The dog! The HORROR!!! And I never would’ve slept.
    My little one slept with me until, oh hell, until I got tired of it. Then we started putting them down to bed at the same time, in their room. Big girl in a twin bed on the floor (skip the toddler bed – total waste of money), little girl in the crib. Then a few months ago, probably right around the time I weaned Little, so, 20 months? We got a twin mattress set from a friend, so now they each have a big girl bed in their room.
    That doesn’t stop them from sneaking into our room in the middle of the night, but we don’t care as long as they 1) sleep, and 2) don’t make a big hairy deal about it. I mean, we get our “adult time” before we go to sleep. It’s exceedingly rare that we would wake up in the middle of the night for “adult time” before we had kids, we’re certainly not going to do it now!!
    And it is extremely rare that #2 wakes #1 up during the night, even though #1 is a very poor sleeper. I guess she just tunes it out.

  14. @MLB – Why not a big proponent of kids in cribs for a long period of time? is there a reason to move them out? Just curious as DS is 26 months and shows no signs of wanting to leave his crib — should I be pushing him towards a bed or just wait for him to want it?

  15. FWIW, for those suggesting keeping the older child in the crib to keep him/her confined – well, that sure didn’t work for us!I believe my older child was 18 months old when she trotted into the livingroom one day… while she was supposed to be in her crib napping. The crib was already on its lowest settings and there were no bumpers or things to climb up. I was torn between thinking “OMG, my life is OVER” and pride at my wildwomanchild.
    But if it works for you….. 😉

  16. Enu, good point. It seems like some kids in that 2-3-year range sleep better in a crib, and some sleep so much better in a bed they can get out of. As usual, you have to pay attention to your particular kid and do what works for all of you.

  17. My kids are exactly 2 years apart, and I never used a crib, so some of my experience doesn’t apply. But I found that once I put them in the same room (same bed even, feet-to-feet), A never woke op when B woke up to nurse. She would even fall asleeep in the middle of him crying away at bedtime. Of course, each child is different, but it was surprising hat she would sleep through!

  18. @ Sarah – I don’t think 26 months is a long time and my kids always jumped out around then so my personal experience makes it moot basically. I guess what I meant was once the kid starts to get my preference is for bed over crib tent. I have friends who have used crib tents, and their experience has been fine, but there was also a house fire near me recently where the response time of the fire department was hurt because they had to get three kids out of cribs with tents on them. And after all, what do I know? I would not move a 26 month old who is not eager to get out. But I do wonder about the people who have 3.5 year olds in cribs with tents. But either way, my personal unprofessional opinion is that it’s probably not a great idea to have uncontained 20 month old sharing bedroom with 6 month old, especially after a chopstick incident.

  19. We’re facing a similar situation although the age spread is a bit different. My daughter is 2 1/2 and my son is almost 4 months. So the spread is more like 27 months. Not sure if this is easier or harder in terms of your sleep dilemma, but this is how we’ve handled it so far. Oh, and we also have 2 bedrooms upstairs; one of which is ours and the other is my daughter’s.When our son was born, he was sleeping in our room in a co-sleeper which we borrowed from our dear friends. It was working fine for the first 2 1/2 months when he was sort of sleeping well, but then around 3 months he started waking up a lot and in order for me to keep him from waking up his sister, I would just feed him back to sleep. Well, first of all, this was wearing me out since I pretty much was the only one on night duty and had been for months already. Plus he would often just nibble and nibble and chew and pull and it would hurt. So, I was not sleeping and my nipples were about to fall off. Plus I was feeling drained from the constant (every 1- 1/2 hours) “feedings”. Oh, and we were ready to have our room back!
    We moved him downstairs into a small room we had converted into a nursery for him which was previously an office. He sleeps either in the swing or in the pack’n play right now. Yeah, he is waking up all the time still, but now my husband is on night duty. If he is hungry, he brings our son upstairs for me to feed, and then takes him back downstairs once he is done.
    As for the beds, we have had a difficult time coaxing our daughter out of her crib, so we decided to just go with the easiest thing which is to borrow another crib for our son. We’ll have both of them in cribs for who knows how long and that is fine for us. We tried and tried to get our daughter to warm up to her toddler bed, but she just really loves her crib. What are you going to do? She is 2 1/2 years old. Need I say more?
    As far as putting them in the same room, I am looking forward to trying it out around the 5-6 month old mark as well. My daughter is a light sleeper so I doubt she would sleep through 3-5 awakenings/night, but I feel like she’ll be OK with just (hopefully) one.
    There are tons of kids who have to share a room with their brothers/sisters, so I am not too worried about that part. It will be a matter of some potentially restless nights, but so what? It’s not like I’m getting any sleep right now!
    Good luck to you. I know how incredibly frustrating this can be.

  20. I have two boys, one is now 8 months and the other is 2 and 8 months (they’re exactly 2 years apart.) We hit the same issue you had since we only have two bedrooms too. One plus, in our case, is that our 2 year old was already in a toddler bed and his crib was in his room, but not being used by him.Anyway, our baby was initially in a co-sleeper in our room, and then a Pack’n Play in our room. At about 6.5 months, we started putting the baby to sleep in the crib in our toddlers room. When he would wake up (anywhere from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m.), I’d hear him on the monitor, go get him and nurse him in our bed. The baby almost never woke our toddler with the middle-of-the-night fussing/crying. After feeding him, I’d put the baby in the Pack n’ Play in our room, largely so he would not be woken by our toddler in the morning. (At the time the baby was sleeping about an hour longer than the toddler.)
    Anyway, this is not exactly the best solution, but it works reasonably well. OUr baby is starting to sleep longer and longer, so I feel like we’re moving toward both kids sleeping through the night in the same room. The Pack N’ Play is sort of our escape hatch for that early morning stretch after the baby is fed or if there are any middle-of-the night issues with either one that would disrupt the other’s sleep.
    Good luck!

  21. My boys are 19 months apart and we also have a small 2 bedroom townhome. Panda baby is 2.5 and baby bear will be one next month.Our sleeping arrangements have been as follows:
    -Panda baby slept in our bed or in a crib sidecar style until he was about 16 months. Then he was moved to a mattress on our bedroom floor. He was never a crib sleeper.
    -When baby bear was born I slept with him in our 2nd bedroom for the first 2 months or so. He was in a co-sleeper or in bed with me. Then I moved into our bedroom where all 4 of us slept. Baby bear slept in the crib or in our bed. There were many nights when all of us were in our bed.
    -We recently (as in 2 weeks) returned from an overseas trip during which time my husband prepared the 2nd bedroom into the boys’ room. Since our return the boys have been sleeping in their room. Panda baby on the floor on a mattress and baby bear in the crib. One of us sleeps with the kids at night but we will try to transition out of that soon.
    Though we don’t have a choice we want our kids to share a room. What has worked for us is that both kids are fairly deep sleepers. Panda baby sleeps much more heavily and so it is rare that he is bothered by baby bear’s crying. Baby bear on the other hand does wake up sometimes if panda baby is fussy (which is rare but he does get night terrors occasionally). There have been nights when one has woken up the other and while it sucks we get through it. My husband has been active in night time parenting and so we handle it one on one. The worst it ever has been was for about 30 minutes.
    These sleeping situations have also worked for us because not only is panda baby a deep sleeper but also that baby bear has been a decent sleeper since birth.
    That said I agree with previous commenters that keeping your daughter in her crib if she is happy is a good idea at this age. So if the Family Bassinet (?) is bigger than what he is in I would have him graduate in that or consider getting a crib for him. Also, on nights when your husband is home, he will have to be involved in nighttime parenting (at some point or another) otherwise I think it will get difficult for you (in all aspects) really quickly. And lastly as someone mentioned you may want to sleep with the kids so you can get to the babe when he first gets up. Although if he’s the kind of baby who needs to fuss through it then there will be some kind of period where he may wake up his sister.
    All I can say is that yes it may suck for a while (and that’s why you need your husband) but everyone I know (mother, mil, cousins) with kids who have shared rooms (quite common in our culture) they swear that eventually the kids get used to each others noises in the middle of the night.
    So as mentioned before wait for the 5-6 month mark and then take the plunge and in the meantime get hubby ready to help.

  22. I’m just hoping that the coming boy will be even a little bit of a better sleeper than my daughter! I expect the entire next year or two to continue being miserable for sleeping in our house.The only possibly helpful thing I have to add is that I’ve heard from many good sources that you don’t want the older child to associate a change in their bed (bedroom in our case) with the baby. So I’m thinking the advice about getting a second crib is probably the way to go. That way your older child won’t feel like she had to give up her bed/crib for the baby.
    And I LOVE “it’s either a good time or a good story.” I’m going to have to start using that one all the time!

  23. No time to read the other comments. Sorry if I repeat.I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 5 month old. The share room in our 2 bedroom apartment. We move our 2 1/2 year old to a toddler bed when he was 21 months and he did pretty good. I don’t think moving them both at the same time is a good idea. The older child is going to think of the crib as hers and the baby sleeping in HER crib won’t make things easier. I’d move her first and tell her she’s moving because she a big girl and that’s why she sleeps in a big girl bed.
    We have no problem with the baby waking up our 2 1/2 year old. They’ve been sleeping together for 2 months now and my DS sleeps through all my DD night feedings. And sometimes we don’t get there before she gets loud. I don’t know if this is the same for all the children, I guess it depends how your daughters sleep is. We waited to see how everything worked out in our trip back home this Christmas. We were the 4 of us in the same room. So it was easy to test how my DS sleep was going to be affected by sharing the room.
    When my DS was a baby we moved first the bassinet to the room and then we moved him to the crib once he was used to the room. But I was worried about having the baby in the bassinet sharing the room with a very active 2 year old. So we moved her directly to the crib. She did ok with that.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that both of your kinds sharing the room can work. Every change will bring sleep disruption but what change doesn’t. Just make sure you move your daughter first so she doesn’t feel like her brother is steeling her crib.
    Good luck.

  24. Eagerly awaiting all comments here. My husband and I have been talking about number two. The biggest hold-up? We don’t know how to handle the logistics of two in a smallish two bedroom place. And we are a couple of years away from being able to buy a bigger place. But do I really want to put my fertility on hold because I want more square footage? It seems to me that that’s the kind of decision that people regret in the long wrong. I just don’t know…

  25. As enu said, your older may or may not be ready for a big kid bed soon. A good friend of mine has moved all of her kids to toddler beds at about 20 months and said that aside from a few rough nights, it wasn’t a big deal; I’m crossing my fingers for a similar transition here!We are in pretty much your same situation: 2 bedroom condo and we have a 17mo boy and a 2mo girl. Our plan (as of the moment) is to keep the little one in our room for a couple more months, depending on when she sleeps through the night (hah! My son didn’t until 13 months), how many times she is waking at 5 months or so, or how ready the older is to move into a toddler bed. Does that make sense?
    I think we’ll try to move the boy to a big bed in a month or two, but if it doesn’t go well, we’ll let him stay in the crib. We’re moving in August, so I’d like him to either be firmly settled in the new bed by then or wait until we’re firmly settled in the new place (also 2 bedrooms) before moving him. If the little one outgrows the Moses basket first, she’ll go into a Pack and Play in whatever room is deemed most appropriate at the time. I’d like to avoid buying two cribs unless this really drags out for a long time!

  26. I agree with everything Moxie says, basically. Just a few data points:- We made some major sleep transitions when our twins were 6 months old and it went BEAUTIFULLY. They really were quite malleable and yet also very good at regulating their own distress levels, so quite resilient. At 6 months, kids haven’t hit the “separation distress” stage; they don’t have the working memory capacity to hold too much in mind. That makes it easier to sleep-train or make major sleep transitions (because “out of sight” is often “out of mind”).
    – I was TERRIFIED when I was trying some gentle sleep strategies to get my twin boys to sleep longer stretches during the night. I was sure they’d wake each other up throughout the night. Turns out that they often slept through each other’s cries or fretting. It seems that since about 2 years old, once they were in a deep sleep, it was VERY hard to wake them. Now that they’re 3, I can have full-out conversations in the middle of the night (“Did you have a bad dream? What was it about?”) with one and the other is always completely conked out. Of course, kids vary on how sensitive to noise they are…
    – I am quite sure that my boys get a lot of comfort and security from sharing a room. They rarely complain about going to bed, often talk each other to sleep, wake up babbling and almost always happy and delighted to be in the other’s presence. ALthough it sounds like you’re making this move with your kids because of major space constraints, it might end up being a great thing for them in general.
    – And related, but more on the selfish side, I’ve had a lot less guilt leaving them with a sitter for a “date night” with my husband or just insisting on them going to sleep when they want to stay up because I know they have each other and don’t feel the fears and anxieties that might come from being alone at night. You might be pleasantly surprised to see how well they adjust to sharing a room, no matter the eventual crib vs bed decisions you make.
    GOOD LUCK!

  27. I really appreciate reading all these responses. I have a 27 month old and one due in May, so I’m gearing up for all the sleep drama myself. My #1 didn’t sleep through the night until she was 20 months when we night weaned. (and I mean multiple wakings all night. ouch) My best plan is that this baby will be born with a magical sleep gene that will ensure 5+ hours straight each night. Other than that, I’m on the WHATEVER works plan. Co-sleeping bassinet, check. Crib, check. King-size bed, check. Carseat, check. Yoga ball that mom and dad get to take 2 hour shifts on, check (oh, we did that one already).

  28. @Anonforthisone: My husband and I are in the EXACT same situation – small 2 bedroom house, can’t yet afford to move to a bigger place, and are getting ready for #2. I have the same thoughts – do I really want to put off having another child just because I’d rather have another bedroom? One of those is a major, fundamental life decision, and the other is just a temporary circumstance. We’re definitely leaning toward trying for the baby and crossing the space bridge when we come to it. Loving reading these comments.

  29. @Bella: Your last point is so sweet! Not selfish at all… That kind of relationship is one of the reasons we had another child in the first place; someone to trust and love and go through childhood with.

  30. My daughter and son are 27 months apart. We live in a 2 bedroom townhome with one room up, which my husband and I share with our 15 mo old (he started in an Amby and transitioned to a crib at 8 months) and one room down which is my daughter’s. We are so ready to have our room back and every month I proclaim that by the end we will have switched them both into the master bedroom but every month I drag my feet. The truth is they both sleep really great right now and I’m terrified if we move them it will all go to hell. Hearing these stories of room sharing though, gives me hope- seems like most cases go pretty smoothly.Maybe next month. (hahahaha)
    Good luck to OP. We switched my daughter into a big girl bed at 25 months and it went very smoothly, but she is an independent kid. Our son will probably be in a crib til he’s 8. Also, it will get easier as time goes on. Having two so close in age must really be kicking your ass but like others have said- there are also some really great benefits. It honestly does make a huge difference if you can zero in on each individuals child’s personalities to assess their needs. Being able to do that made a HUGE difference for our family. You don’t get it right every time (not even close) but it sets you in the right direction. All the best!

  31. I can’t read the comments right now but as someone who stressed out about this beforehand but for whom it turned out just fine, I wanted to share my experience.I’ll preface by admitting that luckily my kids have been good sleepers, and that I’m not opposed to sleep training/letting them fuss a bit/etc.
    I have three boys, #1 and #2 are 22 months apart, and #2 and #3 are 18 months apart, and all are sharing a room right now (at 4.75, almost 3 and 16 months). (We do have more bedrooms but like having them all together.)
    As infants, each slept in our room in a cosleeper until aroung 6-8 months, then moved into the crib in their bedroom. My boys also moved to beds at around 18 months. They love love love their beds (regular twins, not toddler beds) and we had no real issues with the move. I do think that the ease with which they transitioned to the bed was in part due to how young they were. I.e., young enough not to know any better/differently.
    I’m probably in the minority but I would always recommend younger rather than older for the switch. Insert caveat about what works for your family, etc.
    Back to the specifics of room sharing – very rarely do they wake each other up, and this includes the baby waking to nurse, one of the older ones waking to pee or with a wet bed, and even on one memorable night, the 2-year-old puking all over his bed and me while the other two slept.
    I’ve said lots without any specific tips, so I’ll add this: a key for us was staggering bedtimes so each has a chance to fall asleep peacefully, so youngest is in bed at 6:30, #2 at 7 and #1 at 7:30.
    Before we moved #2 in with #1, I dreaded it so much, but it has been fine and they love having each other in there and waking up together in the morning. It is so nice to hear them giggling together in there before I go in to get them.

  32. I haven’t read the comments but I have a 17th month spread and the first three months are TOUGH. TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH. Things got a little bit better after that and once 6 months hit, you’ll love and enjoy more often than resent and regret. PROMISE.My two are currently 32 months and 15 months and both in still in cribs in separate rooms, so I can’t really help with your question other than to suggest something that we haven’t yet had to do: can you put a twin bed in with the big sister and let her have the option of crib vs bed for a few months before moving her full time into the bed? once she’s established in the bed, just (ha – “just”) move the baby into the remaining crib. Sounds like a decent plan, right?
    Good luck – and just keep your eyes on the prize: that 6 month turn-around. Once the baby sits up, you’ll have a really nice pair of siblings there.

  33. OK so now I’ve read through the comments and I worry that I sounded too holier-than-thou, which was not my intent. I just wanted to alleviate the concerns and share that it can actually go well! Both times I was really worried about moving a new baby into the room and both times it was so much less traumatic than I expected.

  34. My 3 kids all outgrew the bassinett about the same time – around 9 weeks – and we transitioned them to a crib in another room with no problems. And my first was a HIGH NEEDS newborn who previously always slept with me. I don’t know if there is something developmentally about this age that made this an easy transition, or if this was just a coincidence.We have chosen to have our kids share rooms due to the layout of our house. At one point we had 3 kids temporarily sharing a room due to construction, and the problems were minimal. The kids love it and on weekends, my daughter still likes to camp out in her brothers room (my kids are 7, 5 and 2). It is very sweet to listen to them chatting on the monitor after I put them to bed (especially after they’ve been fighting all day!).

  35. My kids are 2 years apart. The oldest is now 4 and the youngest are TWINS. All 3 have been sharing a room since the twins were 3-4 months old. We moved one twin (the better sleeper) in first. Then the other twin moved later. He’s a bad sleeper (still to this day) and is easily disrupted with every growth issue.My oldest was a very very light sleeper — to where I could not even go in his room to check him at night b/c he’d hear my walking — so I was really worried about sharing a room and everyone waking up. We just told him, ahead of time, that the babies might cry but not to worry about it and try to stay asleep b/c Mommy (or Daddy) would take care of them. It was AMAZINGLY never a problem. Only twice did they all wake up and that happened when the oldest was sick and threw up all over the bed. But even then they were all so tired they went back to bed right away. Here’s my advice: go for 2 cribs so the oldest doesn’t feel “kicked out for the baby”; only change one variable at a time in the sleep routines; and, keep a pack and play setup in another room (yours, guest room or other) for those weird nights when the baby has sleepless nights or sleep regressions. You’ll be amazed at how they just adjust and fall into the sleep rhythms of the house. Good luck!

  36. @Bella, you’ve got me thinking of trying to convince my husband to have our girls share a room (not necessary for us, as we’re in the midwest where there is space a-plenty.Our girls are 22 months apart and we’ve been contemplating the bed switches. I’m not worried about the baby (bassinette to crib) so much as the toddler. We’ve had both twin bed and crib in her room for several weeks now and she invariably chooses the crib. All your wise comments had me thinking that perhaps we should look into another crib until I remembered that, oh yeah, toddler kicked a slat out of her crib several weeks ago, so maybe that’s not the safest place for her anymore. (Given that, how do I keep her from feeling kicked out by the baby???”
    But about the crib-to-bed thing: I have two friends who have done this at 16-18 months of age due to new babies. For one, it was no issue. The kid just switched beds and it was done. The other sat outside the door for naps and bedtime for three days and put him back in bed again and again and again. It sounds like it was a rough few days, but not an issue after that. They also say that it just depends on what the kids are like as far as who wakes up for what – some of their kids just seem to be heavier/lighter sleepers.
    Good luck!

  37. I have a possible solution that no one’s mentioned, at least for the noise. Headphones like gardeners running leaf blowers wear.I have a 3 year old and a one year old sharing a room, and the three year old has hypersensitive ears, like, I’m talking “Mommy why are the lights making so much noise with that humming?” sensitive type ears. When the baby came into the room, he was initially scared of her making noise, and then we gave him some old headphones that my husband used at work. Bingo – out like a light. Now he can’t sleep without his headphones.
    I would think this would be massively uncomfortable, myself, but seriously, watch a kid sleep for ten minutes and tell me how any human can twist themselves into a pretzel like that and not be completely stiff the next day. It doesn’t seem to bother him in the slightest, and has the bonus effect that if any noise goes on outside – thunderstorms, backfiring cars, barking dogs. car alarms – he doesn’t notice it AT ALL.
    I had been concerned about him being in a bed at 24 months, but he’s always been 95th percentile so realistically his days in a crib were pretty numbered. It’s a lot shorter drop to the floor from a bed than if you’re flinging yourself over the crib rail, after all. And he didn’t really seem to care as much as I thought. At two or so it’s all about being like a big person, and big people sleep in beds, so it might be a nonissue anyways.

  38. No real experience with this one, but wanted to add that at 21-22 months our little guy was some kind of monster who would not have been accepting of any kind of change. But at 24 months, he would’ve been just fine. So I think there is something to be said for timing.

  39. Just one more thought – add some white noise to the kid sleeping room. A fan or a white noise machine of some kind will help with keeping one asleep when the other wakes up. Sort of mutes the intensity of the wake-up noise. Helped us, anyway! (My kids are 21 months apart.)

  40. I’m afraid I talk a lot, too much, perhaps. I should have been a lawyer or a college professor or a windy politician, though I’m glad I am not any of these.

  41. So I am super sorry for posting without reading comments. Too busy with my two bugs this evening but my co-sleeping experience suggests this:Why is hubby going to your room and moving a sleeping baby? Hubby gets couch. You and baby keep room, 21 month old gets to keep his room. If hubby is offended sorry. Not PC or nice I know, but come on. It’s survival mode at this stage and you live in a small place. In a few months when everyone is sleeping great and firing on all cylinders, then you make a plan to get things more like everyone wants. Until then. What’s the big deal with hubby sleeping in the living room? My husband would sleep on the roof if it meant we all slept well. There’s time for cuddling in a few years. Again survival.

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