Any suggestions for how I can nap with a newborn while my older dd is awake, safe, and playing/content/quiet? I'm 8 months pregnant, I have a 4yo dd, and I'm a SAHM. I remember when my dd was little that I napped with her almost every day for probably the first 6 months or longer. When my 2nd baby is born, I'm wondering how/if I'll be able to nap with the baby since dd1 doesn't take naps anymore. During my first trimester, I was so tired in the afternoons that I tried napping while my dd played... this didn't work very often, because my dd would usually pester me and pester me till I gave up. Should I just give up now on the idea that I'll be able to nap with the new baby? I'm sure I have a lot to learn about how to manage 2 children, lol!
How to nap w/my newborn AND a 4yo non-napper
It's definitely harder with an older child and a newborn. There's lots of different things you can try.
Napping on the couch while the older one plays is sometimes an option but yes it requires an understanding child not to wake you unless it's a serious problem.
One of my favorites is to institute a quite time policy and during the newborns biggest nap of the day then the 4 year old has quite time in a safe room/her bedroom. Some people make up a quite time box or a box for each different day that is only brought out during that quite time and then put away, some allow books to be read and some allow some tv. If it's in the bedroom sometimes the older kids will also fall asleep.
I also think having a variety of easy to grab healthy snacks that the 4 year old can have access to is a savior.
Good luck and congrats on the new addition!
My dd at 4 was good about playing quietly (well, quietly-ish) in her room if I needed to nap with her brother. I would make sure she had her dolls, coloring, or whatever quiet activity she enjoyed and only planned on napping for 30 minutes or so, just enough to take the edge off :) It didn't always work, but she was usually pretty good about it. I didn't do this every day though, since ds was older at that point, so I dont' know how she would have reacted to that.
She only turned 3 just after ds was born, so it wasn't often I was able to nap. Sometimes in the mornings I would leave a basket of crayons and paper on the floor next to my bed so she could get up and I could stay alseep with the baby (since he tended to wake up very early adn then go back to sleep just as dd was waking up for the day! )
Also, our tv is in our room, so I would occasionally put in a movie for her to watch in bed with ds and I while I dozed in the morning or during naps. Probably not something to use everyday, but don't feel guilty about doing it if you need to get some sleep in order to function the rest of the time!
Don't worry though, you will fall into a rhythm faster than you think! Give yourself a break those first few months as you get it all figured out and don't stress about creating bad habits too much-you can always fix it later when you are finally getting some sleep :)
I second the idea of quiet times. Havine two at home during the summer w/ a newborn has been great but challenging in terms of needed sleep for mama. I have DD and DS1 play quietly for 1 hour in their own "rooms" (define that how you like) and they know not to come into my quiet space. It has worked much of the time and I've learned that we have a window for when it will work for DS1 (he's 3.5), who really still needs naps. DS2 still sleeps the majority of the day (at 5 weeks & counting~a blessing!). As with most parenting quandries, I think it is trial and error. :)
Unfortunately, I think that the days of " sleep when the baby sleeps" are gone when you have more than one, and the older child isn't napping and is too little to be in the home alone.
With my older two, they are 3 years apart, and I timed naps for both of them, so I could sleep. But, my kids were older ( 5 1/2 & 8 1/2 ) when my youngest was born, and I just used that naptime to spend with them while the baby slept. We did quiet things in the house while the baby napped, and they knew that I may need to leave them to settle the baby back down, but they were older and I didn't have to worry about them getting into things. They were also in school, so I did napping with the baby when they were in school. Does your dd go to preschool? You could time naps to be when she is at school or arrange some playdates or ask a friend to come over and spend time with your dc while you are sleeping with the baby. You could also maybe hire or arrange for a young teen ( 11/12) to come and be a mother's helper and entertain your older one while you nap for an hour or so. They could stay at the house or go out into the backyard or go for a short walk.
And I would sometimes take a nap when dh got home from work, and put dh on kid duty after I nursed baby nice and full. He would take them all to the park or on a walk. Then I could nap without any worries from any of the kids!
And yes, juggling the needs of 2 or more children can be tough, but you will all adjust and you will find the time to meet both of their needs wonderfully! Good luck!
This is what I'm afraid of... I still feel like dd is too young to not get into things while I sleep... I don't shower when home alone with dd for the same reason. For those of you who have a "safe" room for your kids to play in while you sleep, how does this work? Do you lock them in somehow? Or do you just trust that they won't come out? Do you trust that they won't get into things? My paranoid mommy brain can come up with all sorts of things my dd *could* get into, even though she's generally not the over-curious type and doesn't often *find* trouble. I was thinking that if I put an inside chain lock on my bedroom door, we all go in there for nap time, then I nap in the bed with baby while dd has a snack and plays near the bed with some special nap time toys... maybe that would work and my mommy-brain would wake me up if she started to find trouble?? That's if I can somehow persuade dd to not pester me to stay awake of course. Might be worth a try at least. Other ideas??
I have a safe room that I leave my 10 month old in while I grab 5-10 minutes in the shower or cooking something for us. It's her bedroom. There are no objects in the room on which she can choke. The furniture is bolted to the walls. She has some blankets and some toys in there, and I remove her diaper pail when I set her in there. I have a baby-gate in the doorway. She is now on two naps a day, and when she drops to one nap we will be implementing a daily "quiet time", at the same time every day where she is plunked in there for 30-40 minutes, just so she knows what to expect and to give me a chance to clean the kitchen, or drink a bunch of wine and scarf a chocolate bar, whichever.