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Sun, 15 Jan 17
Congratulations, your first baby is now a toddler, or older! You got through the bleary newborn sleep phase, you transitioned from multiple daytime naps from two to one and maybe now to none, your child has a sleep schedule that works (more or less, most of the time) for your family, and…are you ready to go through the whole thing again? Great! As you welcome your second (or third or fourth) baby into the world, here are some great tips from Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady® on sibling sleep.
As your older child adjusts to the new arrival, you can expect that there will be an adjustment period and some sleep disturbances like irregular naps, nighttime waking, trouble falling asleep, and too-early wake-up times. Do what you can to reassure your child that she’s not being replaced by the new baby. And give her as much information as you can about what’s happening and what to expect. Be gentle but firm about sticking to the sleep routines that already work – you don’t need another member of the family suffering from sleep deprivation! And try to keep the big changes to a minimum: Kim says that if you want to move an older sibling to a “big kid” bed, it’s best to do that well in advance of the new baby’s arrival.
It’s obvious but worth saying – your kids are likely to have different, maybe even wildly different, personalities! That great trick that worked to get your first baby to sleep might not work at all on your second, and when you’re re-living those sleep-deprived new parent days this can feel terribly discouraging. Why won’t she take a pacifier?! But don’t despair – search the internet, re-read Kim’s book, ask around: that tip that didn’t help at all the first time around might be just the ticket now.
In less than a year, it will be time to teach the new arrival to sleep through the night – but what if they’re sharing a room? If sleep training is too disruptive to the older sibling’s sleep (or the older child is too disruptive to the sleep training!) consider a temporary separation. Perhaps the big kid could sleep on a mattress on the floor of your room for a few days? Naps are another time that same-room sleeping can be tricky, since your baby is likely to have a very different nap schedule from your older child. Consider letting the older child nap elsewhere in the house, or moving a few special toys outside the kids’ room for the older child to play with while baby is napping.
Two can be a lot harder than one, but help can come from unexpected directions. The spouse that wasn’t much help with babies might shine at reading to your older one while you put baby to bed. The kid across the street might jump at the chance to “babysit” your toddler while you nurse baby in the next room. And “peer pressure” can work wonders – a “sssh, it’s still sleeping time” from big sister can reassure baby enough to nip an early wake-up in the bud. If you’re having trouble getting all the pieces to fit together, Kim offers a sleep coaching service to help you untangle your difficult sleep situations, no matter how many kids you’re dealing with.
The Evoz Smart Baby Monitor with real cry alerts helps you get things done while baby is napping – including catching a bit of special time with her older sibling – with full assurance that you’ll know when she wakes up. And with a clear video signal, your older child can “help watch” the baby nap – without waking her up!
Best wishes for the next round,
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