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Tips to Get Baby & Toddler to Sleep at the Same Time

Sleep is essential for your child’s healthy mental and physical development, but ensuring sound slumber can be difficult when your family dynamic—parents + toddler—changes overnight. Here’s some expert advice on how to lull your newborn and your firstborn to sleep from the start.

The Basics of Sleep

Your newborn will spend the first few weeks of life trying to acclimate to the world outside of the womb, so he or she may follow an irregular schedule, sleeping between 10 ½ and 18 hours a day. By three months and throughout the first year, baby will sleep between 14 and 15 hours daily (including two to three hours of daytime sleep).

Sleep needs vary by age, so your toddler (12 to 36 months of age) may only sleep between 12 and 14 hours daily (including two small naps, or one longer nap); however, the introduction of a new sibling may temporarily disrupt your eldest child’s sleep schedule.

Creating a Bedtime Routine

At a young age, children learn to crave structure, so it’s vital to establish (and stick to) a comforting and loving bedtime routine once baby begins to follow a more consistent sleep schedule. Every night, about 30 minutes before bedtime, begin your wind down/bedtime routine, which may include: a warm bath, story time, breast- or bottle feeding, and some gentle baby massage. Before summoning the Sandman, change your little one into a Huggies® OverNites Diapers to help protect baby’s skin during the night by keeping him or her comfortable and dry, thanks to the SnugFit waistband that will stay in place throughout the night, no matter how baby tosses and turns. Feel secure knowing that Huggies® OverNites Diapers —the #1 selling nighttime diaper—eliminate middle-of-the night diapering, as they offer up to 12 hours of protection.

Place your little one in a safe, comfortable crib when baby begins to show signs of drowsiness—yawning, crying, eye rubbing—but, most importantly, while he or she is still awake. If you want your child to sleep through the night, he or she has to learn the skill of falling asleep (and falling back to sleep, if he or she awakens during the night) without assistance, so you must make sure that your baby is not asleep when entering the crib. This skill can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to master, and, although the process may be tear-filled (for both of you), the result will be less fragmented sleep for everyone in the home.

Your toddler most likely has a consistent bedtime routine in place—including slipping into Pull-Ups® Night*Time Training Pants to help him or her stay consistent with potty training both day and night—but adjustments may need to be made now that baby makes four. Your firstborn should continue to be placed in bed while awake at the same time each night to reinforce the importance of sleep, but feel free to add a new component into the bedtime routine to allow your toddler more quality time with you and to feel just as special as his or her new sibling.

If either child wakes during the night, have an agreed upon plan with your partner in place on how to handle the situation—perhaps you pop into your child(ren)’s room to reassure him or her that everything is alright, or maybe you choose to leave him or her to self-soothe. Any deviation from the plan, especially from one parent to another, will cause confusion for your child(ren) and may result in more sleep disruption.

Navigating a Shared Bedroom

If you and your partner decide to have your baby and your toddler share a bedroom, whether due to space constraints or the desire for them to use the experience to bond, ensure that the space is conducive for good quality sleep. You can hang heavy, blackout curtains to reduce both light and noise, as well as set the thermostat to approximately 65 degrees to slightly lower your children’s body temperatures and promote sleep.

Allow your children to connect with their shared space by diapering, playing, and preparing for both naptime and bedtime within the room. As your toddler’s bedtime may differ from your baby’s bedtime (staggering the times allows for more one-on-one time with your eldest child), teach your firstborn to remain quiet as he or she falls asleep, awakens to use the restroom in the wee hours of the morning, and arises to begin his or her day.

You and your children will need time to adjust to your new normal, so don’t forget to give yourself some grace as you work to create a healthy sleep situation for the whole family.

Image : Thinkstock

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