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Baby and toddler room sharing

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We have a small house with two bedrooms and two boys who need to successfully share one of them — and it’s not going well.

Siblings have shared a room since the beginning of time. Of the centuries of coroomhabitation (I made that word up), it stops with us? We’re the only ones who can’t make it work? What did pioneer people do if their kids kept waking each other up? And what about families with 10 kids? Does no one ever sleep? We only have two!

I have actually laid in bed at night thinking, “Well, that’s it. We’ll have to start looking for a new house tomorrow that has three bedrooms.”

When Adriano was seven months old, we decided it was time for him to leave Mom and Dad’s room. He was sleeping pretty well through the night (in his own crib), with one nursing at 4 a.m. We weren’t sure what would happen with him and Luca together, but it wasn’t working with him in our room anymore.

It would go something like this: Marcello started “breathing heavily” (he will tell you he doesn’t snore) so I’d tap his arm to get him to stop. My moving would wake Adri up and he would start moving. Once he started moving, I felt that I couldn’t move, which made me want to move even more. Marcello would end up sleeping on the couch, and no one slept well.

So the time came to move baby out, and here’s the rundown of the scenarios we’ve gone through since over the past several months:

  • We put Adriano’s crib in the walk in closet attached to Luca’s room, thinking the small divide might help. He didn’t like it, even with a very soft light and the door open. Fine.
  • We put his crib in the room with Luca’s crib. I put Adriano to bed first, thinking he’ll fall soundly asleep so they wouldn’t keep each other up. But Luca was so excited to have him there he kept talking to him and, of course, waking him. And babies woken from sound sleep are not happy. OK, lesson learned.
  • So then we tried putting Luca to sleep first. Adriano repaid the favor and woke him up as well.
  • OK then, both at the same time. They usually talked for half an hour or 45 minutes and I had to go back in a few times (Adri dropped his pacifier, Luca wants to be covered, I need to Luca to stop talking). But they eventually go to sleep. Great.
  • Then the problem was Adriano waking up around 4 a.m., crying. So how to wean when two boys are sharing a room? Well, fortunately for us, Adriano only took one night to get the message that the 4 a.m. feeding was over. We kept him in our room that night. He fussed for an hour and then went back to sleep. That was it. At least we had that going for us. (He was nine months.)
  • So the boys were going to sleep at the same time well enough and Adriano wasn’t waking for a 4 a.m. feeding. Check, check. But then Adriano wanted to wake up and start the day at 5:30! We cannot risk waking Luca after about 5 a.m. or he will not go back to sleep. He will cry and yell until 7 a.m. if you have the stamina to let him and be cranky for the remainder of the day. So I had to take Adri back to our room to sleep in the Pack ‘n Play.
  • At present, Luca (recently been potty trained) wakes up at 11 p.m. and wants to go the bathroom. And wakes his brother up. Then at 5 a.m. Adri wants a bottle. And wakes his brother up. So all of this nonsense leaves us at square one — no better and no worse than when we started this fiasco.

I write all that out because I can’t find much chatter online about how people are coping with this situation. In most of what I read, Moms seem to be saying their kids were able to sleep through the other one crying or fussing. Unfortunately that’s not the case for us. More often than not, the little one still ends up in our room — and I’m about to lose my mind from all the bed juggling and lack of sleep.

Who knew sleep would be arguably the main focus of your child’s first years? Not me! I had not a clue how much time and effort and thought would be put into getting my babies to bed. We still haven’t figured it out and it will hopefully resolve in time, but it’s not easy. I know there’s no right or wrong answer to these dilemmas, but it’s good to share so we don’t feel alone in these times!

9 thoughts on “Baby and toddler room sharing

  1. Thanks for this! We live in a lovely 2 bedroom house that we love, and are hoping for 2+ children. I’m not worried about what happens when they are older, but the young years have me concerned, and you’re right, there’s not much out there on this subject. It’s good to see how you’re handling it.

  2. Hi Martha. We love our little house too! I suppose it just takes waiting and some patience until they are older :)

  3. Love this! My “babies” are soon-to-be six, four and 11 months. The two boys (almost six and four) have been sharing a room for about 3 years. I haven’t slept in almost six years. Or at least that is what I tell all new moms. My babies don’t sleep through the night. My toddlers don’t sleep through the night. My preschoolers do not sleep through the night. And my soon to be six year old does not sleep through the night. Not every night, mind you. They take turns. Or they all wake up at the same time. To nurse, to potty, for a drink of water, a bad dream, a “growing pain”, a barking dog, an alarm accidentally set for midnight, a lost pacifier, too hot, too cold… the list goes on and on. But my husband tries to have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for me when morning finally rolls around and my babies are happy and healthy and our days go on without too many major meltdowns and I am the only one that seems to even notice that there were disturbances in the sleep cycles. Yes, sometimes the going to sleep part of the night takes a little longer with room sharing, but there is an undeniable sweetness to listening to two brothers talk to each other at bedtime: sharing secrets, asking questions, pretending and finally falling silent. Kind of makes me wish I could put an order in for a roommate for our sweet baby girl. :-D

  4. Tiffany, this seriously made me laugh out loud because I completely identify with everything you said! That is EXACTLY it. It’s always something with somebody. It’s funny that you’d write this now because I’m reaching yet another breaking point with nobody sleeping! Or, like you say, taking turns waking. So, thank you for sharing the sweet part of sleep exhaustion too. I needed to hear that :)

  5. you have my sympathy, but it will work out! And room sharing can have benefits. My two boys are now 8 & 10 and secretly love sharing a room. Big boy still tucks up his little brother and generally fusses over him. I worry less about each of them because I know they’re not alone at night. Hope it comes good for you too!

  6. I just found your blog today and have to comment. Our kids names are Adrian and Lucas, ages 4 and 2. And they share a room. LOVE your blog!

  7. Oh, and my little one doesn’t sleep through the night. He ends up in bed with us in the middle of the night. We haven’t found the answer yet either! Someday I will sleep again. Sigh.

  8. Stop it right now, Emily! That’s crazy we named two boys the same names! I’ve never heard of that happening before. I’d say we have the makings of a friendship right here.

  9. It is common mom and dad have to share the room with a newborn baby. They have to make room for baby. Thanks for sharing a nice blog with for preparing to make room for baby. Really helpful for every new mom and dad.

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