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Managing Cry It Out While Room Sharing

I looked down at the envelope I had been addressing and realized I put the stamp on the wrong side of the envelope. Instead of placing it on the right side, it was on the left. Our return address was on the right where the stamp should be. Clearly addressing envelopes while monitoring my baby who was crying it out was a little too technical for my brain.

Sleep training a baby is hard. There are so many factors to consider and track. Adding room sharing to the mix can really increase the stress levels. Is the older child going to be able to sleep? Is the baby going to be disturbed by the older child? Can a baby even fall asleep with another person in the room? Lucky for you, I have some tips.

Separate For a Time
The first thing you want to do is figure out how to have the children separate if at all possible. I know, I know, this is a post on sleep training while room sharing. So why am I talking about separating? 

I am talking about it for the sake of both children. Baby will have a much easier time falling asleep without a person in the room making noise. Your older child will clearly sleep better without crying from a baby to keep him up.

You are sharing for a reason. If it is out of want and not need, you can put one in a different room for  a bit. If it is out of need, you will need to get creative. You will want to move one of the children to a different location until baby gets this figured out. It should only be a few days. 

Some people move the older child. The benefit of this is that baby is able to get used to his own room rather than a different room. Some people move the baby. A benefit of this is that a baby is usually easier to fit into a different space. It also helps the older child if the older child has some anxiety over adding a baby to the family. Some children have a hard time adjusting, so moving them out of their rooms while you do CIO can be too much. If your child is perfectly fine with the baby as many are, you can sell the sleeping place change as a fun adventure.

Some people see if the older child can go to grandma's house for the weekend and start CIO over the weekend. The first few days are the worst, and for some, it is basically over in a weekend.

When my second baby was born, the house we lived in wasn't very sound-proof. Brayden and Kaitlyn didn't share rooms, but they were right next to each other and there was a vent that was so open between the two rooms that for sound, they may as well have been in the same room.

We left Brayden in his room. With Kaitlyn, we moved her around. She took some naps in her room and some in my room. She started the night in my room and moved to her room after the dreamfeed. She did CIO in a bassinet in my room and in her crib. It never bothered her. She is a flexible angel baby type of personality, though, so not all babies would be okay with the constant change.

A baby can sleep in a bassinet or pack-n-play in a bathroom, walk in closet, spare bedroom, office, or even family room. You just want to be sure the room baby is in isn't cold. Sometimes a large room can be cold or drafty at night. 

Stagger Bedtime
In most cases, when you have a baby and an older child, the older child is at most taking one nap a day. That means that a baby can be in her room for most naps in the day. You could move baby out for one nap if it over-lapped with the older child. Or the older child can nap in a different location once a day.

So then night is your biggest challenge.

I would recommend staggering bedtime. I would put the baby to bed first, then once baby was asleep, put the older child to bed. You just make sure the child's bed is all set up and ready for sleep before you put baby down. You can do pajamas in the room before baby is down or take them out of the room and get into pjs in a different room. You read stories in a different room. You just move the bedtime routine out of the bedroom. You also teach your older child to go in quietly at bedtime so the baby won't be woken up.

If your baby and older child need to go to bed too closely to the same time, while you are training, you can do what I did and put the baby to bed in your room, put the older child down in his own room, and then move baby into the bedroom after the dreamfeed. Most babies are mostly if not fully asleep at the dreamfeed and don't cry after eating. 

Use White Noise
I get a lot of questions from people who are concerned about using white noise. They worry their child will become dependent on it. Sleep props are something that are wise to avoid as much as possible. However, there are times and circumstances when the sleep prop makes sense. This is one of those times. Both children will sleep better with some white noise.

White noise is a "prop" that your child will sleep better with but will also be able to sleep without. When we go out of town or the kids sleep at grandparents, they don't have their white noise. They still fall asleep without it. They don't usually sleep as well as they do at home, but that is typically true when you travel, anyway. This post contains affiliate links. 

We have a few different white noise methods we have used. For years, we used humidifiers. We live in a dry climate and a humidifier is nice anyway. As kids got older, however, they would at times play with the machine during independent play, so we moved to a white noise machine. But it works well for a baby. If you want a humidifier anyway and have an older child, you can always remove it when you get to doing roomtime each day. One thing to watch when purchasing is the noise. Many are made with the intent to be extremely quiet, so if you want one to double as a humidifier and a white noise machine, you might want to avoid the quiet ones.

We have a Graco Sound Machine for each bedroom. We have owned three for many years and been happy with them. They have a night light, the white noise options, and can also play an iPod, which comes in handy for independent playtime. It can plug in or run off of batteries, which is handy for portability. It also has a timer function, so if you are worried about dependency, you can use that and have it turn off after your child has fallen asleep. We have been very happy with this machine and I would have no hesitation in purchasing it again.

We also have a Dohm  sound machine. This is the best seller on Amazon. I am always up for trying out products in order to pass on if they are any good or not. I wanted a backup sound machine on hand in case one died since ours are all several years old. I decided I would take a small risk and try this one out. It is hard to buy something new when you love what you have--don't fix what isn't broken! It was only a small risk, however, since it rates so well and is the number one best seller. It is a great machine if all you want is a sound machine. The sound is a little different than the Graco. My older kids are a bit turned off by that, but my younger ones didn't bat an eye. It could be personality or just age. It doesn't have any additional features--it is just sound. But the sound is more natural sounding. It sounds more like the humidifiers we used. There is less to break in it since it is so simple. So it is a good machine and I don't think you would dislike it. I don't know what I would get between the two--I love the light, battery, and MP3 options of the Graco.

You might feel overwhelmed with this task of teaching a baby to sleep while sharing a room. I know a lot of these baby things can consume you and make something as simple as placing a stamp on an envelope to be too much! It can be done! You can follow these few simple ideas to help make the process easier. Be sure to see my below linked posts that can help you with the other aspects of sleep training and room sharing. You will be back to normal in no time--well, the new you normal :)

Related Posts for Cry It Out and Sleep Training:

Related Posts for Room Sharing:
  • Room Sharing {9 Tips}
  • Help Me Out: Room Sharing Tips
  • Related Posts for Siblings:
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