Even for good sleepers, the arrival of a newborn baby is likely to bring some sort of bedtime disruption. You may even find that your toddler starts having temper tantrums or asks for things they have normally outgrown such as a pacifier or a baby comforter.
Here are our top tips on how to deal with the disrupted sleeping pattern of a new big brother or sister:
1: If your toddler starts waking up more often at night, allow them to engage with you and then put them gently back to bed. Explain that their baby brother or sister needs to wake up to eat but soon they will be sleeping all night just like them. You can remind your toddler of this during the day time too.
2: If your toddler starts demanding more of your attention at bedtime, think about starting their bedtime routine slightly earlier so your child has more “special time” with you and longer to unwind. Another option is to involve your toddler in your new baby’s evening routine – perhaps by reading the newborn a story together and getting your toddler to help you bath the baby. No matter how busy you get with your newborn, it’s important that you spend special “together” time with your toddler every day.
3: If your newborn is sleeping in your room for the first six months, explain to your toddler why this is and that they also did the same when they were younger. Tell your toddler that the arrangement is only temporary and that soon their little brother or sister will sleep in their own room just like them.
4: If you co-sleep with your toddler, don’t change their existing set-up to make room for your newborn ; put the baby in their crib or Moses basket next to you by the side of your bed. Some parents temporarily allow the father to sleep in the toddler’s room while Mum stays in her room with the newborn. However, while this may work well initially, it can become a difficult habit to break!
5: If you’re thinking of making the transition from cot to bed, wait at least four months after the arrival of a new baby. If your toddler is happy sleeping in a crib, leave them there and buy or borrow a new one for the new baby.
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