How to Co-Sleep with a Toddler and Newborn?

by Devra
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Right now, my 18 month old sleeps with us in a sidecar crib and we are all sleeping soundly. I'm just trying to figure out what to do when our new baby arrives in two months.

I don't have any friends who cosleep and I always find your website helpful, so I thought I would ask you.

One option that I'm considering is to set up another large bed in another room where I can nurse the new baby through the night. But I was wondering if there is another way that people generally set up the room so that the family can stay together with a tossing and turning toddler and a newborn.

Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

Answer:

Hi Devra,

So many families wonder how to arrange for everyone to sleep well when a new baby comes along! Many families are happy with their toddler sharing a family bed and just want to welcome a new little one in.

It sounds like you already have your toddlerin a sidecar – does he come into your bed in the night, then, or does he stay in the sidecar? If he does, he can probably just stay there. You could move your sidecar to the other side of the bed (Daddy's side). That's a solutation one family thought may work as they worked how to share the family bed. This arrangement could even let you set up a second sidecar (if you have room, that is!)

Otherwise, I know many families find it helpful to just keep the toddler on one side, and the newborn on the other – so you are always in between the two of them. The standard advice is that Mom is between the newborn and everyone else in the family – including Dad and toddler. If you're still nursing your toddler, you can just roll back and forth to nurse the baby and the toddler.

Another option to consider is a toddler bed (or perhaps a crib with one side dropped, or even a mattress on the floor) in your room but not right up to the bed. This is how my toddlers have always started moving towards their own bed – still sharing a bedroom and very close to us, but not right in bed. This transition is normally helped out a lot if Dad is willing to comfort the toddler at night.

Dad can be a big help – as I already suggested, you can change arrangements so that the toddler is on Dad's side of the bed, either just in the bed or in a side car arrangement, or in a toddler bed on that side of the room.

A king-sized bed helps a growing family bed, but lots of families are doing it with a queen! Some families find it helps to drop the mattress to the floor and add a twin-sized mattress beside it (if it will fit).

Hopefully some of these ideas will work for you or help you think up some more of your own. Feel free to let me know if I can help anymore!!

About the author 

Kristen

Kristen is childbirth educator, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! She has spent years helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Find her on her website NaturalBirthandBabyCare.com and helping families through her online childbirth class MamaBabyBirthing.com

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