How to Integrate Baby into a Shared Nursery in Three Steps

First, take a deep breath.  Second, get a glass of wine (or a shot of vodka, I won't judge) and calm right down.  It isn't as hard as you expect.  Honestly, it will all be fine and probably be faster than transitioning from the swaddle (unless you use a Zipadeezip but that's another topic).

I have done it with three kids. All three of mine have shared the nursery at one point and for two nights, all three shared.  Why only two nights?  One word: Honeybadger.  She thought it would be fun to pick the baby up through the bars of the crib.  That girl.  I didn't know whether to laugh, kill her, or have a heart attack.

The first thing to remember is that your kids are used to each other's noises.  The baby heard it all in utero, and through every sleep of his/her life while the older sib(s) play.  So just relax about that.

Step One: take it slowly.  The first couple of nights, put the baby down in your room initially, go ahead and dream feed, then put baby down in the nursery for the long stretch.  When he/she wakes up for the first feeding, keep baby with you.  Do that for as long as you are comfortable, but it took me just a couple of days until step three.  Mostly, that is because baby was on the same bath, bed schedule as the big kiddos. It made it a lot easier.

Step Two: Putting baby in bed at the same time as the the other(s).  When I do the 7pm nursing, Belle (and all my babies) usually fall asleep.  While I'm nursing, Daddy is reading to the others and getting them all settled.  After the lights are out, baby goes in the nursery too.  You may have some shushing and patting to do if the older child is too disruptive, but as I write this R3 is singing at the top of his lungs.  Belle is sound asleep.  I still would dreamfeed (if you are), but put baby right back down in the crib.

Step Three: leaving baby in the crib all night.  Yay!  It finally happened!  Baby is only waking one time at night!  At this point you just put that sweet little bundle right back in the crib after that feeding.  Chances are, the next feeding will be the first one of the day.  That one middle of the night feeding will be no big deal.  My older kids always slept through me coming and going.  If they happened to rouse, a pat on the bottom and a kiss have always done the trick.

That's it.  It really has been that easy for me with all three kids.  I'm sure I have missed something, so ask away!  I will leave you with one issue: nap.

have had a lot of problems with nap and the Honeybadger.  I finally consulted a veteran mom with six (!) kids and she said none of her kids nap together.  They are all separated.  I took that to heart.  That means you need to accept that the baby and your older child may NEVER nap in the same room.  As the older kids stop napping every day, it can be disruptive to baby.  Therefore, I really never bother.  Baby always naps in the Master bedroom in a pack and play.  R3 is almost always a great napper, and I have left them together on occasion with success. Let me recap for you with a visual for those of us with mombrain:

Good luck and may the force (and the wine) be with you!


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