I'm almost 36 weeks with my third babe :). I also have an almost 5 yr. old and 2 yr. who co-sleep with us. Both my gals need me to put them to sleep and I'm worried about what is going to happen at bedtime with another kid in the mix. Anybody with 3 kids and who co-sleeps have any tips for me to help with the transition with a new baby in the bedroom?
Co-Sleeping arrangement advice with third baby on the way!
Hi Kaliandra -
Have you done any sort of pre transitioning this pregnancy for them at all? What are you hoping for after the babe comes? You all sleep in same room/same bed/kids put themselves to sleep by themselves?
What ever it is, definitely get the routine down NOW before baby comes or else you will have to deal with some added resentment.
I have 3 kids and we still co-sleep somewhat. I don't know what advice I really can give but I'll tell you what works best for us and maybe it will be something new that can help you.
I transitioned them to putting themselves to bed by reading books by the time they were 2-3, and the third one just kind of always put herself to sleep cause that was modeled by the other two by the time she was two years old.
At 5 and 2 you can probably explain to the girls that its quiet time and let them look at books in a dimly lit room (yours or theirs or an airmattress on the floor or however you want to arrange it) and give them as long as they'll take winding down by themselves.
I would definitely teach them to wind down by themselves first in whatever their new environment is. Often times I will read a book/chapter to them (Mrs Piggle Wiggle lately) or play soft *soft* music very low.
As the kids got older it became a treat to sleep with Mommy and even lately, they have an air mattress that we put on the floor of the bedroom for them to still sleep near.
They are flexible, and will sleep in their own beds also.
Whatever your goal is, start it now -- and get a routine for bed...You all can transition in no time! :) Best of luck!!!
(PS) To have a neat variety of books, trips to library during the week are awesome and help give a 'field trip', expose the kids to books and libraries, and have the added bonus of new bed time material. :)
Definitely start transitioning now. We started a few months ago with having DH take over bedtime and night-time duties. It sucked for about 2 weeks, but now it's fine. We didn't want to wait and cause a lot of resentment for the new baby. DH and I still trade off some nights, but now either one of us can do it, and that has made a HUGE difference for us.
As for the actual sleeping arrangements... I have no idea what to suggest. We transitioned DS into his own bed, and will be side-carring a crib because I couldn't deal with 2 in bed with me.
Three kids in a bed? You are much braver then I am!
Onemore is right- some more info would be super helpful. Do you plan to keep all three kids in the same bed with you? Whats your bedroom setup? Mattress on the floor, a couple of bed shoved together, one queen size up off the floor? Do you currently sleep with one kid on either side of you, both kids in the middle, both kids on the outside and parents in the middle?
If you want to transition one or both out of the bed, now is definitely the time to do it. If you want your husband to take over more night time duties, you should start building that in now and change some routines around if it's necessary. You can talk about how 'this is for now, but when baby is born such and such will happen instead." I'm warning mine now that I can lay with you utnil you fall asleep right now, but when the baby is born I might need to stay with the baby instead. You know babies can cry a lot sometimes, right?" I don't want to make this baby a NEGATIVE thing to either of them, but i want them to have realistic expectations.
We are working with shortening the amount of time I need to spend helping my 2 yr old go to sleep (I lay with him utnil he looks tired/zoned out then I leave), and have introduced a quiet reading time for my 3 year old where she'll call us when she's ready to sleep and gets either me or her dad depending on what I'm doing at the time. They may both end up in bed with us at some point closer to the morning, otherwise we go and put them back in their own beds (well, I'm *supposed* to do that, but sometimes I'm asleep enough I don't even notice the extra body coming into my bed at 11 pm).
We also do a lot of negotiating- oh, you're hungry still? Do you want something to eat and then you can go to bed with Daddy, or come up to bed now and sleep with Mommy? Obviously it's all totally arbitrary, but it is helping to ease the transition of going to bed with my husband. Or if they're moving around and not sleeping then I say, "I can't stay here with you if you aren't going to sleep- do you want me to send Daddy up to lay with you instead?" (not as a threat, just as "Mommy gets really irritated when you kick me" sort of thing!)
Thank you for the feedback! I appreciate it.
Right now it's just the 2 yr. in our bed and my 4 yr. is on a mattress next to our bed. I just put together another bed for my 2yr. to sleep in and we are working on transitioning her into that bed which is still right next to us. That way the baby can be in a special sleeper thing in our bed or in a co-sleeper. It is turning into a room full of beds :)! I feel like I missed the boat on transitioning them into their room and honestly I really like having them in our room as do they. My husband is taking on the night time parenting of the gals while I plan to take care of the baby. I think I am more nervous overall about what this transition from 2 to 3 kids will be like. It feels overwhelming to me when I think about meeting everyones needs, but clearly many people have had more than 2 kids and made it work :).