Preparing Your Kids For A New Sibling | Lullaby Earth Blog –

Preparing Your Kids For A New Sibling

Preparing Kids for a New Sibling

Preparing for your first baby is unlike anything else, but preparing for a second or later baby might bring its own challenges. How can you prepare your older kids for their new sibling? This blog post will offer advice and stories from our readers about helping your children through the transition of adding a new baby to the family.

Involve Them Before Baby Comes

As much as possible, involve your older children in preparing for the baby during pregnancy or your adoption process. Take them to your appointments and let them see any ultrasound photos. If you’re willing, you can involve a big sibling in picking the baby’s name. You can also let the bigger kids pick out things like baby’s coming home outfit, car seat color, diaper bag, etc. These are small things that are pretty inconsequential to you as a parent but might make a big difference in making your older children feel excited and involved with the new sibling.

It also helps to say things like “our baby” or “your baby” to make the point that your family is growing and the baby is as much theirs as anyone else’s. It’s not like mom went out to get a new baby because she didn’t like the old baby anymore. You can even create a special ritual or read a book to help you explain what’s happening in your family dynamic.

Brittany says: “We didn't say things like ‘Mommy is having a baby,’ or ‘Mommy and daddy have a new baby.’ We always said, ‘Do you want to feel your baby kick? Your brother will be tiny, will you be careful with your baby brother?’ Always your, your, your. We didn't want our kids to feel replaced or jealous. We wanted them to feel like they were gaining something too.”

Sarah says: “We focused on the idea that the older children were going to have a new baby. The baby was OUR baby. We bought big brother and sister shirts and encouraged talking to the baby in my tummy. The kids went to almost all my appointments. They heard her heartbeat and saw the ultrasounds. They helped pick her name and got to announce the news to family. They picked clothes and new baby toys they wanted the baby to have and got shirts to match her coming home outfit.”

Dianne says: “We have always done a candle ceremony. We have enough candles on the table for each person and then taper candles that my husband and I hold. My husband and I light our candles and we talk about how two people fall in love and get married. We use our candles to light a table candle. Then we talk about how love multiplies and we had a baby (light that child's candle) and each time the love multiplies the love grows and spreads. We light a candle for each child. Then we talk about how our love is growing again and light a candle for the baby. We talk about how they can see that love (the light) grows and gets brighter.”

Use Tools to Prepare Them

In our age of information, there is a product for everything. Look for TV shows and books that help kids prepare for a new sibling, like Daniel Tiger or Doc McStuffins. Caring for their own doll “baby” can also help them prepare and occupy themselves when the real baby arrives. Some parents even suggest giving the older child(ren) a toy as a gift from the new baby, to thank them for sharing their family.

Rosselyn says: "I used a book, ‘A Pocket Full of Kisses.’ My son asked me to read it almost every day and I think that made him love his sister the way he did from the start.”

Michelle says: “For my daughter, we bought her a baby doll. It came home from the hospital with us and was hers to care for. She would rock her baby and pretend to nurse while I nursed. She changed her baby when I changed mine also. Before baby was born we read books, watched shows (Daniel Tiger has some great ones) and talked about baby a lot but not constantly.”

Pippa says: “We read this really cute book given to us by a friend called 'There's a House Inside my Mummy' that we read loads of times.”

Karry says: “I got the older siblings a gift that the new baby brought them, which I gave to them in the hospital when they first met their sibling. We typically did Build-A-Bears that I bought online and had hidden in the trunk. We never had a single problem with jealousy even after three kids.”

Spend One-on-One Time

If your big kid is feeling left out, it’s more important than ever to remind them that you’re still their parent and love them. If you can get out of the house for a quick errand or lunch with your older child, take advantage of it. Even if you can’t stay long because you need to get home to the baby for a feeding, the older sibling will appreciate the individual attention. You can even give individual attention to your older children when introducing them to the new baby.

Katie says: “I birthed in a hospital. My older children were not there for the birth. When older sibling came for the first visit, I put baby in the bassinet and greeted the older children with open arms. I was able to have them sit with me, and shower them with hugs and kisses and tell them how much I missed them -- then introduce them to the new baby. It seemed to work really well for them.”

Claire says: “The first time baby meets sibling, have someone else other than mom holding baby so mom can be with big brother/sister. This gives them less cause for feeling ‘replaced.’”

Sarah says: “We make sure to have lots of family time and I set aside time for each of them individually as does my husband. That seems to have kept potential jealousy at bay.”

Expect Questions and Confusion

While you’re pregnant, and after the baby is born, curious children will ask you a lot of questions. They might even be confused about the baby. Be prepared for questions and have your answers ready.

Meg says: “I got sex ed questions out the wazoo.”

Laura says: “My older son wanted another baby sister so bad, it took almost a month to get him to use masculine pronouns after the baby was born. It also required involving him in diaper changes so he had visual evidence that the baby was in fact male.”

Hilary says: “My son was too little when I had his sister to be asking questions at the time, but when he sees pictures of me pregnant or sees my stomach when I’m getting dressed, he has made comments. He’ll ask why my belly is squishy and I tell him it’s because he and his sister grew inside me. I notice he never asks his dad this question.”

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Remember that adding a new baby to your life means that your older child is no longer the only child (or youngest child). There is a new normal for them to get used to, and if you’re sensitive to their changing feelings, the transition will go easier for everyone. Understand that your child will go through a grief process during their transition to being an older sibling.

It is important to validate your child’s feelings, especially the strong ones like anger and sadness. Even though you’re tired and it’s hard to focus on anything but your newborn, give your older children your full attention when they are experiencing their grief feelings, and let them feel what they need to feel.

Validating their feelings can be as simple as acknowledging them by saying “I understand, you are sad that the new baby is taking up mommy’s time” or “you’re angry daddy couldn’t hold you at the baby’s naptime.” When you listen and acknowledge like this, you let your children know that their feelings are okay and welcome, and you’ll be there to listen and support them.

Your child’s feelings might come out at surprising times that seem unrelated to the new baby. If they’re upset over losing a blankie or their favorite bear, or they got the “wrong” plate at lunch time or they didn’t want the ketchup you served them, use these moments to allow them to process their feelings (even if they seem out of place to you). Take as much time as you can to let your child cry if they need to cry.

Heather says: “It's important parents understand it's a grief process. And everyone grieves differently.”

Caitlyn says: “Communication was key. We'd ask what they were excited about, what they felt scared or nervous about, etc.”

Lura says: “I told each of the kids individually that we were expecting a new baby and gave them time to digest it, ask questions, and keep their own special secrets before we let the next in line in on it. It was really special and I think helped them get excited and open up with me a lot as well.”

Don’t Force It

It’s tempting to emphasize how exciting the new baby is, and how important is to be a good big brother or sister. While positive reinforcement has a time and a place, don’t force the big sibling role onto a child that needs some space. Reprimands like “Don’t shout, be a good big sister” take away the child’s valid feelings and replace them with guilt over not being “good” in your eyes. This can cause a lot of hurt feelings for your little one down the road. Remember to acknowledge their feelings and help them process their emotions.

Parenting expert Janet Lansbury suggests that parents establish a boundary and ask about the child’s feelings to open up a dialog. For example: “I can’t let you jump on the bed next to the baby... are you feeling upset that the baby is here? Big sisters can feel like that sometimes. I am going to help you down from the bed, and I’d love for you to sit on my lap or jump on the floor next to me.” (Read her blog post on adjusting to a new baby for more advice and examples).

Advice for Blended Families

What if it’s not a new baby coming, but new siblings in the form of stepchildren? A lot of the same advice applies, since kids will experience similar worries about being replaced or having reduced time with a parent. Use the same advice outlined in the rest of this post to help your children adjust and react to the addition of new siblings.

Lydia says: “When I got together with my partner, I explained to my three kids that he had two kids of his own and that even though we hadn't made them all together that they would still get to love them and now they would just have more siblings and how exciting it would be to have a big brother and sister instead of another little sibling.”

Add Your Own Tips

Have you experienced the new sibling transition? Tell us what helped your family prepare and process the addition of a new baby.


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How Room Temperature Effects Baby Sleep

How Room Temperature Effects Baby Sleep

 By Jenni June Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, CLC and mom of 4!

Of all of the detailed recommendations I provide my families for improving the quality of their infant’s sleep habits, health, and safety, the easiest adjustment with instant improvement is the one that surprises them the most: lowering the temperature of the sleep environment and improving air circulation around their child.

“Research has concluded that 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is best for baby.”

I often encounter hesitation from some clients regarding this recommendation due to the common, cultural belief that over-bundling one's baby and keeping the room warm is more beneficial to their health. However, research has concluded that 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is best for baby. In fact, the cooler end of this temperature range is both optimum for the immune system and safest for infants and children.

If the room is too warm, babies struggle to regulate their core body temperatures, and sometimes even their breathing, during sleep. The result is poor quality sleep and elevated risk for SIDS. The sleep hormone, melatonin, elevates in our system when core body temperatures drop. Yes, babies who are sleeping in warmer rooms will eventually crash, due to exhaustion, if you keep them up long enough, but they are still falling asleep without enough of this powerful sleep hormone at sleep onset that allows them to experience the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep. Their sleep will instead be fragmented and light.

“Humans begin to suffer the ramifications of sleep deprivation after only two consecutive nights of poor sleep!”

It only takes two consecutive nights of poor sleep before humans begin to suffer the ramifications of sleep deprivation, such as elevated stress, poor digestion, crankiness, cognitive impairment, and insomnia, to name just a few. These things are not good for anyone, but especially for a developing infant or child under the age of three! Ultimately, if a child is not sleeping well, neither are their caregivers. And there is no arguing that sleep deprivation negatively impacts the ability to be a fully attuned, patient, and attentive parent.

For those who do not have air conditioning (common to many homes in Northern regions of the country), to help regulate the temperature of sleep environments, here are a few tips on how to prevent your little ones from overheating:

 - Use a fan in the room to improve air circulation (just be sure it is not facing and blowing directly on your child).

- Regulate the humidity levels using a cool mist humidifier. This, in combination with a fan, will help cool the room down.

- Dress baby in a single layer, breathable, cotton pajama. If using a swaddle or sleep sack, just a diaper underneath is sufficient in temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Invest in a breathable mattress! Lullaby Earth, known for their safe, non-toxic crib mattresses, has created a waterproof mattress wrapped in a breathable mattress pad that provides a pocket of air between baby and the mattress, allowing for 360 degree airflow around your child when they sleep. This Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress also helps baby regulate core body temperatures -- dramatically improving sleep quality!

About Jenni June:

Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep ConsultantJennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, specializing in pediatric and adult sleep hygiene; A Certified Lactation Counselor, Host, National
speaker, and Mom of 4!

With thousands of successful sleep cases under her belt since 2011, she is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! And, she is the sleep training expert on The Doctors TV show! She is a practitioner member of the National Sleep Foundation and collaborative health care provider as a certified sleep coach for infants, children and adults for the Breathe Institute, and the go-to sleep trainer for LA’s top pediatricians!

Jenni is also a popular national speaker and guest on CBS, FOX, NBC news and the host of series, “Baby Care with Jenni June” and the resident sleep expert for the BabyLeague and FamiLeague Networks.

If you were to ask Jenni why she has joyfully dedicated her entire life to building up and equipping families (including her own, who are now all grown!), she will tell you, “Because the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” She is gifted in encouraging new parents to raise the standard of their significance.

10 Bedtime Books to Cuddle Up With

bedtime stories

Whether you read bedtime stories to your newborn or started a story routine in the toddler years, a good book for bed is a lovely tradition. We’ve put together a recommendation of our favorite children’s books that are great for bedtime at all ages.

Bedtime Stories For Babies & Young Toddlers

These storybooks are specifically written for the younger crowd, but you should expect them to stick around for years as favorites well into the school age years.

Goodnight Moon: This book is a classic first bedtime story, with a rhyming structure that’s easy to follow and might even bring up some of your child’s first words or sentences.

Caitlin H. says: “I used to nanny a little boy with autism, and he loved this book. He used to ‘read’ along with me and loved to whisper ‘hush!’ with the story. And he knew it all by heart and loved to read it back to me.”

The Going to Bed Book: You can’t go wrong with Sandra Boynton’s children’s books, they all make excellent bedtime stories. This story specifically helps kids wind down and get ready for bed with a nightly routine.

Melissa M. says: “This book is my kids’ favorite, especially when their dad was deployed because they pretended they were on a boat too.”

Bedtime Stories For Toddlers & Preschoolers

Written for ages 2-3 and up, these books are great for small children with a little more attention span for stories.

I Love You, Stinky Face: There’s a whole series of Stinky Face books, and they are kid favorites! In this story, a child at bedtime learns about unconditional love as his mother promises to love him even if he had a stinky face (and other afflictions).

Kat B. says: “We’ve read this book since birth.”

Misty W. adds, “We LOVE this one!”

I’ll See You In The Morning: This classic board book is about a mother saying goodnight to her son and makes an excellent quick bedtime story for toddlers and up.

Tracy T. says: “We’ve read it to our son nightly since he was born and he calls it the Night Night Book. The cover is torn off - it’s a well-loved book. I am going to buy a new copy to put in his baby box.”  

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site: This bedtime story is perfect for kids who love trucks. It’s a construction site twist on the classic bedtime routine that will help your little one wind down.

Sarah S. says: “My son is truck obsessed and loves seeing the different construction vehicles. Both kids love that one of the trucks sleeps with a teddy bear, and my boy loves to tell each truck goodnight.”

Little Blue Truck: A fun story about a little blue truck and its farm animal friends helping others out of trouble is sure to delight your young reader time and time again.

Sara M. says: “This book has been a runaway favorite in our house since 18 months.”

Llama Llama Red Pajama: A reassuring story to remind your little one that even when mama leaves the room at bedtime, she’s not far away.

Jacklyn M. says: “My son loves the Llama Llama books. He’s almost six and still wants to read them.”

Bedtime Stories For School Age Kids

These books are written for older children who can start to handle chapter books and longer stories.

Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues: All of the Pete the Cat books are great fun for kids. This one specifically deals with winding down for bed, so it’s a great nighttime story book for kids.

Hilary T. says: “We still read every night with our six-year old son. We do more chapter books but he also listens to our four-year-old’s stories. He really likes the Pete the Cat books.”

The Gruffalo: The Gruffalo is a fun story that’s not just for bedtime! It’s about a mouse finding his way through the forest and meeting a monster - but there’s definitely a happy, non-scary ending.

Tracy T. says: “The Gruffalo is a favorite! There’s also a short 30 minute film version available on Netflix. So good.”

The Book With No Pictures: This book is lots of fun and includes silly words throughout, making it a loved favorite among kids everywhere. In a book with no pictures, you have to read whatever it says!

Terra J. says, “We love this book!”

Tell Us Your Favorites

Did you find a new book to read at bedtime from this list? Share your favorite bedtime story with us in the comments below.  

Tags: kids, parenting

Safe Sleep Tips For Summer

Worried about baby’s safe sleep in the summer heat? We are too! It’s why we partnered with CJ First Candle to create this infographic that tells you how to keep your little one safer when it’s warm outside.

Safe Sleep Tips For Summer

Interview With A Stay At Home Dad

Stay At Home Dad

In a month that’s all about dad, we celebrate all kinds of fatherhood! Good dads deserve our respect because they’re helping raise the next generation of happy, healthy kids who will grow up and make big changes. Lots of people imagine dads going to work and supporting the family financially, but there’s also a growing number (an estimated 1.75 million in the US) of dads who stay home and support the family in less typical but no less important ways. We reached out to talk to at-home dad Ryan. R, who takes care of his kids at home each and every day.

Ryan is 38 years old and has a degree in Video Production and Recording Audio Engineering, but his career path was varied with all sorts of jobs over the years, most not even related to his degree. When he told his wife he wanted to stay home with their first child, Ryan had an excellent job with great benefits, good pay, the works!

He says, “It wasn’t like I was in a job I hated and couldn’t wait to get out of - I left a good job to take care of my boys.”

We asked about when, how, and why Ryan and his wife decided he would be a stay-at-home dad. Ryan said that when his wife was about five months pregnant with their first baby (L, now three and a half), “we realized daycare was going to cost almost as much as our mortgage payment. We could have afforded it with our income at the time, but we were planning on more kids later. After a second child, the cost of daycare just wouldn’t be worth it.”

Ryan’s own father was a temporary stay-at-home dad while recovering from an injury and unable to work, and Ryan always appreciated that time with his dad. It wasn’t something strange or outside of a gender role to him, it was just normal - a parent taking care of his children. Ryan says, “I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home. I have a ton of respect for all stay-at-home parents, mom or dad.”

At-home parents are subject to flack from friends and family, since “mommy wars” and mom guilt are ubiquitous. A mom who works is seen as selfish (hardly!), while a mom who stays home is seen as decadently not doing anything all day (seriously?). Both of these stereotypes and assumptions are dead wrong, and stay-at-home dads are subject to some of the same issues.

Ryan remembers, “We went to our baby shower and I was talking to her uncle. When I told him I was going to stay home with the baby, he laughed. He thought I was joking.” Ryan also says that he got just as much negative feedback from women as he did from men. “It’s not seen as a ‘manly’ job.”

After a brief chat about how raising your kids is about the most fatherly thing a dad could do, and how that could possibly be seen as unmanly, we chatted about stay-at-home dad challenges and the best parts of being an at-home parent.

The conversation about people’s expectations and stereotypes continued into our chat about the challenges Ryan faces on a regular basis. He says, “The world expects women to be stay-at-home parents. It’s understood that it’s what a mother is supposed to do. I get a lot of comments like ‘When are you going to go back to work and give your wife a chance to stay home with the kids?’ that assume she wants to stay home and my role is at work.”

We talked about the isolation that is so prevalent among stay-at-home parents regardless of gender. “I absolutely feel isolated. The only thing I miss about having a job is the adult interaction with somebody who doesn’t care about the wheels on the bus.” He’s joined a stay-at-home dad group on Facebook but hasn’t had luck with in-person meetups.

“When I take the kids to the park, the moms don’t talk to me. The moms usher their kids away from mine because it’s ‘weird’ for me to be there.” He even tried to join local stay-at-home parent groups, but hit a wall there too. “I’d be okay if I could get into a parent group, but nobody would take me because I’m a dad. I reached out to 20 groups in the area, and they all wouldn’t take dads.” When we asked if he had thought about starting his own group focused on dads he said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’m a little busy!”

He struck up a weekly game night with some friends and now he has an outlet where he can get out and interact socially without having to be in dad-mode. He says, “It’s as important for the parents to socialize as it is for the kids.” Time alone with his wife is important too, and Ryan makes sure to get a date night on the books at least once or twice a month. He spoke a lot about how much he values his wife’s support.

“She’s 100% supportive of whatever I want to do. When I said I wanted to stay home, she said OK. She’s always right there on board.”

He says it’s hard sometimes because “when [L] sees me all day, he gets a little tired of me and he wants mommy. But other times he hugs me and says ‘You’re a good daddy, daddy’ or tells me he loves me.”

Discussing the best parts of being a stay-at-home dad, Ryan says, “When you’re working with them on something - letters and numbers, walking, anything - when they start to get it and do it on their own, it’s really rewarding. It’s something they’ll know or do for the rest of their life, and they learned it from you. It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”

Speaking of teaching the kids new things, we asked if Ryan planned on homeschooling in the future. “Absolutely not,” he says, “I’d like to say that I’d do it right but I don’t think I’m the homeschooling type.” He is, however, very attracted to the idea of staying home to manage the house while the boys are at school. “The longer I stay at home, the more I like the idea of being the PTA dad, the house-husband, the community dad. I want to be there when they get home from school and be there for their activities.”

In closing, Ryan had this to say about staying home to care for his children as a stay-at-home dad: “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. But it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

Thank you for chatting with us and talking about your experiences as a stay-at-home dad, Ryan! We appreciate all your hard work.

Tags: dads, parenting

12 Potty Training Hacks

potty training hacks

Potty training your toddler might seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. And we won’t sugar coat it - sometimes it DOES get overwhelming! But these potty training hacks will help you get through it a little more easily. Read our 12 potty training hacks and feel free to share your own when you’re done.


1. Remove the Pants: If you can strip your toddler naked from the waist down, this tends to work best, especially for kids who don’t realize they need to go until it’s time to go. The trick here is that they’ll immediately realize the connection between the potty and a major cleanup on aisle three (and hence an interruption of whatever they were doing). This plan works best for parents with patience and willingness to accept the risks of pantsless potty training. But many parents swear by this method!


2. Use the Potty Backwards:This one is great for boys and girls who get easily distracted or haven’t mastered the art of aiming. By using the small training potty - or even the big toilet - facing the “back” of the potty, you have a designated catch zone that means they won’t be leaking out the front of the potty and making a mess everywhere else in the bathroom


3. Set a Timer: Set a timer (on your phone, on the microwave, or use a special potty timer) for every 30-45 minutes and have your child sit on the potty whenever the timer goes off. If they go, celebrate and praise them with your reward of choice (be it a special high five, a sticker, a treat, or anything else). If they don’t, go back to playtime and try again next time the timer goes off.


4. Use an App: There are a variety of apps available for your smartphone or tablet to make potty training easier. Some are designed to entertain or educate the kids about the potty, while others are useful tools for mom or dad to keep track of timing and progress. Check out The New Potty - Little Critter (for $1.99 on the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone) and Potty Training Kids Learning With Animals (free on the Apple App Store for iPad and iPhone). For Android devices, try Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty ($2.99).


5. Select 2-3 Designated Potty Books: Keep some books for entertainment in the bathroom while pottying, but don’t switch them out to keep your child interested. This isn’t about reading, it’s about you-know-what. Keep a library of two to three designated potty books. As the books get a little boring and predictable, the bathroom will become more about doing their business and getting back to the fun stuff.


6. Sing a Song: Make up (or borrow from your child’s favorite show or book) a song about potty training to make each trip to the potty entertaining and add a sense of ritual. This could be as simple as singing “wipe, flush, and wash your hands” to a favorite tune or making up new lyrics to the tune of a popular song.


7. Use a Disposable Changing Pad: This one is a great life hack for potty training. Use a disposable changing pad or even a puppy training pad to place in your child’s car seat or anywhere else you need to avoid a mess when you’re not sure if you’ll have trouble making it to a bathroom on the go.


8. Use Incontinence Pads or Pantiliners: It’s one thing to rinse out and wash an accidental leak, but cleaning up an accidental poo should be avoided at all costs. Place a small pantiliner or incontinence pad in your child’s undies for easier cleanup of #2 accidents.


9. Pack the Sticky Notes: This hack is for public toilets with automatic flushing mechanisms. A sudden flush before your child is ready can scare them and set you back in the potty training process. Savvy parents keep a pack of sticky notes in their arsenal to place one over the sensor on an automatic toilet. No flushing until you’re ready!


10. Mark the Point of No Return: Use decorative tape to mark the “do not pass” zone for toilet paper. Kids are still figuring out how much they need, so set the mark at a few squares’ length so they can get used to appropriate toilet paper usage.


11. Designate Kids-Only Toilet Paper: Giving your child their own roll of toilet paper is a small hack that makes a big difference. They’ll be so excited to have a sense of control since parents aren’t allowed to use this roll and might be extra excited to use the potty for their special toilet paper.


12. Make a To-Go Bag: Sure, keeping your kid pantsless at home is easiest, but when you need a trip to the grocery store or have to leave the house for a playdate, you’ll need to be prepared. Pack your training pants, underwear, sticky notes, a potty book, and anything else you need.


There you have it - 12 hacks for potty training to make things easier on you AND your little one. Potty training is hard work, so every little thing helps until you find the trick that works best for your family. Of course, we also recommend a waterproof pad for your child’s crib or toddler mattress, like the Breeze Breathable Crib Mattress Pad, which maximizes airflow for a more comfortable sleep and has a waterproof backing to keep those nighttime accidents from becoming a nightmare.


If you're still not sure if your child is ready to potty train read on for 5 Signs Your Child Is Ready To Potty Train.

Room Share with Baby and STILL Sleep Great!

Room Share with Baby

By Jenni June Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, CLC and Mom of 4!

If you lack an additional bedroom in your home for baby, or want to keep in line with the recent safe-sleep and SIDS prevention guidelines from the AAP, you are probably thinking great sleep and/or sleep training won’t work for you and your baby if you are both in the same room. Think again! It’s completely possible.

The most notable upgrade to this well-regarded list of SIDS prevention and safe-sleep recommendations is the call to "room share" (not bed share) with baby at least until they're 6 months old (but optimally until 12 months old).

I was flooded with calls from panic-stricken sleep consultants and families alike about this edict the moment it was handed down. “Jenni, how can we sleep train, or sleep well, while still following these newest guidelines?”

Easy! Here’s how:

#1- Place baby’s crib inside your room as far away as you can from your bed (and ideally from your bedroom door). Be sure there is nothing in the crib but a firm, breathable mattress and a tight-fitting crib sheet. No bumpers, no stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, or positioners -- these are all potential suffocation hazards!

#2- Make sure the room is dark enough during sleep time so that baby cannot see you, since your presence may be stimulating to them. Many babies who have not yet learned healthy independent sleep skills, and thus still associate parents with how they get to sleep, or back to sleep (as they connect from one sleep cycle to the next throughout the night), will yield quicker and easier to sleep with correct sleep hygiene in place when the shiny carrot of mom and dad (their old sleep crutch) isn’t dangling in front of them. It’s the equivalent of parking a recovering alcoholic in front of a tavern during happy hour otherwise.

If you are in the initial stages of sleep training, you may use a folding screen or room divider. When doing so, be sure to have a video monitor in place so that you can clearly see your child, even in the dark. You must be able to see them, but they shouldn't see you!

#3- Use healthy, ambient white noise in the room during sleep. Buy a proper white noise machine with ambient sound, or use an inexpensive fan, placed on the other side of the room and facing away from your child. This will help condition the stimulating sounds that might arouse your child all the way awake during their lighter, more active stages of sleep, such as mumbling, talking and moving around in bed.

Babies and non-verbal children do the same in these active stages of sleep. Except, they will have fussing or crying sounds and moving around in the crib, sometimes even sitting up or standing. But they, just like us, have no idea they’re doing it. They are actively moving about, but still technically asleep. These periods within our sleep cycles may last from 1-5 minutes. Adult sleep cycles are 90 minutes long, while babies are about 50 minutes or so. As a result, we are constantly fragmenting each other’s sleep throughout the night. So, invest in proper white noise.

#4- If you have chosen to sleep train (teach independent sleep skills and provide proper sleep hygiene), this sleep environment will work with any behavioral "method" you choose for your child. If using an integrative approach, the only difference is that your engagement is from your bed to crib, rather than your bed to the crib in a separate room.

Your perfect consistency in providing a simple and clear message for your child as you support them in discovering that they can both fall asleep, and connect from one sleep cycle to the next, even faster and better than you can do it for them, is all that is needed from here! Sleep health and safety for all!

About Jenni June:

Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep ConsultantJennifer Metter, founder of Jenni June™ LLC, is a Certified Child and Family Sleep Consultant, specializing in pediatric and adult sleep hygiene; A Certified Lactation Counselor, Host, National
speaker, and Mom of 4!

With thousands of successful sleep cases under her belt since 2011, she is a valuable resource for everyday and celebrity parents all over the country, including Guiliana and Bill Rancic for the Style Network! And, she is the sleep training expert on The Doctors TV show! She is a practitioner member of the National Sleep Foundation and collaborative health care provider as a certified sleep coach for infants, children and adults for the Breathe Institute, and the go-to sleep trainer for LA’s top pediatricians!

Jenni is also a popular national speaker and guest on CBS, FOX, NBC news and the host of series, “Baby Care with Jenni June” and the resident sleep expert for the BabyLeague and FamiLeague Networks.

If you were to ask Jenni why she has joyfully dedicated her entire life to building up and equipping families (including her own, who are now all grown!), she will tell you, “Because the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” She is gifted in encouraging new parents to raise the standard of their significance.

Tags: baby, nursery, sleep