My brain is at a stand still from thinking through this. We currently have everything stripped out of the kids' rooms today for carpet cleaning, so I am wanting to put things back where I want them when baby 4 comes in 3 months.
One of my kids is downstairs so she is out of the equation.
Right now we have a master bedroom, and 2 br upstairs. We have a 4 yr old and 19 month old. Both of them have some health issues that make night time a little tough, as they wake often needing some assistance.
Currently we have a twin mattress set on the floor of our 4 yr old's room. She starts the night there, and if she feels okay, stays there all night or otherwise wanders in with us between 1-6am.
Our 19 month old's room has a full sized futon mattress on her floor. She starts the night in there and wakes usually before we are asleep 10pm-12am or so and comes in with us for the night. She is a challenge, sleep wise, and is due at the end of the month for a sleep study. When both little ones are in our bed it is awful and no one sleeps. Sometimes I go with the 19 months old to sleep on the futon mattress. Sleep is not great for me there.
When our youngest was a baby we had an arms reach cosleeper. We now have a sidecarred crib that she won't sleep in any better than on the futon mattress in the other room. It holds laundry at this point.
I often wonder if our answer is to work on getting the 4 yr old to stay in her bed. Or the 19 month old the sleep more in the sidecarred crib. But in 3 months we will have a 4th and final.
New baby usually has the cosleeper option, although they are right next to me most of the time. I also usually set up a crib or something in the baby's room (although this one does not have a solo room) to have a quiet place to put baby down for naps when I want to shower, do something with other kids that I can't wear baby for.
We have never had a child that used a full sized crib for much time. We have a crib, minicrib, packnplay, arms reach cosleeper, extra twin mattress set, the futon mattress set, toddler bed. (a lot of sleep stuff considering that our kids always sleep with us, lol).
We struggle with all of this because our youngest two's health has involved a lot of night time parenting so we tend to move bed situations a lot.
Here are my thoughts:
1) If my 19 month old continues with her night waking stuff, am I better off making the crib next to our her primary space and encourage her to stay there? Or do I just throw her between us and side car the cosleeper for new baby?
2) Do I put up the crib, minicrib, packnplay in the 19 month old's room for a second sleep space for the baby? Or will she just wake the other and vice versa during naps and we should keep them apart?
For those of you will more than a comfy number of cosleepers (and limited master br space) how do you structure that?
Have you considered a more radical restructuring of tings?
My kids do all sleep in thier own room, in their own beds at night now, but we do a lot of travel and are frequently all in one room, in one or two beds.
When we get to a hotel, I take the extra heavy blankets off the top of the beds and put them in teh top of the closet. Then I push both beds all the way against each other, and against the wall. If I can come up with another mattress, I add that to the side. Then, we all have our own space, but more floor space, and less worry of the little ones falling out.
What if you moved all the clothes/dressers and whatever "stuff" you have in the two rooms into one room, and then made a huge bed, on the floor, wall to wall. you could put the arms reach there to make you feel better about the baby, and then you wouldn't have to play musical beds all night with the other two. If I were you, I'd much rather just keep everyone in one big bed until they are truly ready to be in their own space.
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
I'd second the radial restructuring. That is what we've had the best luck, no matter how hard you try, if they truly don't want to sleep in their room, they won't. My kids are 9, 5, 2, and 5 months, all sleep with a parent either nightly or from time to time. 2 of mine have special needs at night, one with asthma that has troubles at night and another with an anxiety disorder and insomnia. 2y just flat out isn't interested in sleeping alone, he doesn't have his own space to anyway. We have a 3 bedroom house and have two family bedrooms and one room with bunk beds. My Dh takes the downstairs room which is across the hall from the girl's room. He gets the 2y at night and once in a great while the 5y. I'm upstairs in the real master. I have the baby every night. The girls usually start off the night in their room, this only works if both of them are home (DD1 travels often) and DD1 isn't freaked out about something. When the 5y wakes up between 10-12am, she comes upstairs in crawls in my bed. I also have a twin mattress in there that is free for DD1 who does use it about every other week and then DD2 will sleep on it when DH travels and I have DS1 in my bed.
Once upon a time we removed everything out of the master bedroom except beds, we had 2 regular beds and a twin on the floor in there and all 5 of us slept in there. Clothes, dressers were kept in one of the other rooms. My general rule in this house with limited bedroom space is that you don't get a room/bed of your own unless you are willing to sleep in it most nights. DD2 used to sleep in DD1's room longer at night then she does now and that is when she got "given" the use of the bottom bunk.
I am trying to think through this in my tired brain. :) I am picturing a little push back from DH on this...he is a kind of traditional guy and while he is a cosleeping fan, I am not sure he would go for this. He often surprises me though. My other concern if our DD3 waking DD2, which she does in our bed now. SHe has spurts of night screaming that DH sleeps through, but I don't and DD2 does not either. Maybe DH and I split up for a bit and put one with each kid? Or maybe we keep the master as is so we can have some QT in there when we want, but make one of the other two rooms a sleep room and the other a playroom.
I would totally split off dh with the 19mo in one room, you with the new baby in another, and either working to have 4yo stay in her own bed, or set up a bed in the dh/19mo room, or have a big enough bed that she could join them in it during the night if necessary.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
My DH resisted at first as well. Eventually what happened was we did all end up in the same room together because I was trying to please everyone and no one got any sleep. He then VERY happily moved out of that bedroom and took a child with him, never looking back. And that is our motto these days, we will try any sleeping arrangement out there that gives the maximum amount of people, the most sleep possible. Separating the kids really helps my family to achieve that. Each take a kid now for a trial period before new baby arrives and see what happens. Worse possible case, it can't be any worse then how it is now? Right? When we want adult time, we start the girls off in their room, put DS1 in DH's bedroom, put the baby on the couch and sneak up to the master or claim the living room as ours (umm, if you do this then it really helps to turn off all lights so if a night walking child wanders out... you get the idea...) and put the baby to bed in my bed.
ETA: Your DH just may surprise you. My DH was never a huge fan of cosleeping, it was more I slept with the kids and DH was just in the bed with us. He tolerated it but did not enjoy it. Then after he realized just how crappy the nights could be and how much sleep he possibly could not be getting because with 4 kids, I really can't keep everyone happy all night every night. He went along with sleeping alone with a child, and while he still wouldn't admit it today, I think he enjoys it now. The child that he sleeps with really became closer to DH, they forward to going into their room and doing their own routine and I'm just thrilled that I have one less child to handle at night when DH isn't traveling.