Syncing Sibling Sleep Schedules
by natalie fitzgerald
If you have baby #2 on the way and you’re worried about how to sync a young infant’s routine with your busy toddler’s schedule, you’re not alone.
Syncing sibling schedules can seem overwhelming! Try not to stress, I’ve been there (twice) and I’ve got you covered!
1. Newborns can typically eat and sleep anywhere,
so take advantage!
Most newborns will adapt to their surroundings as long as they are fed and comfortable. They will sleep a lot if you let them! So tote them along with you to all your busy toddler’s daily activities – preschool drop off, music class, gymnastics. Bring a bottle or a boob, and let the newborn eat and sleep while you’re out and about. For naps, either use a baby carrier like the Tula or Solly wrap, or cover up the carseat with a light, cover (I like this one that doubles as a nursing cover too!), and don’t forget your portable sound machine (this one is my fave) – white noise is comforting for infants, especially newborns, since it mimics the sound they hear in the womb. Try to aim for full feedings and keep your baby asleep in the time between!
2. Align Naps
As a stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, I constantly struggle with the quality one-on-one time I spend with each of my kids. I feel like I am always working, AND always “momming,” The dance is real! After having my second baby, I thought I would stagger their naps one day so I could give each of them 1:1 while the other slept. Honestly, it was the longest day I can remember in my motherhood career to date, and I never did that again. I don’t recommend it!
Get your baby and toddler napping at the same time, every day. It will change (save?) your life! This can take time to perfectly align your infant’s nap with your toddler’s, but even if the naps overlap for 30min, this will give you a much needed break in the day to rest, prep a meal, sterilize some bottles, or catch up on some Housewives (no judgment)! Still to this day, I have all 3 of my little ones (ages 7, 4, and 1.5) either resting alone or napping at the same time on the weekends. We ALL need the break and the young ones need the downtime.
3. Baby’s Needs, then Toddler’s Needs
Many mamas are at home with their kiddos without help. If you happen to be at home with your kids alone, trying to juggle the needs of two VERY dependent little humans, I almost always encourage dealing with your infant’s needs FIRST, and then your toddler. Most of the time if you are trying to meet a food or sleep need of a newborn or non-communicative infant, they are less likely to wait for you to fulfill the needs than that of your toddler. Have a “busy basket” to help keep your toddler occupied while you feed, bathe, or put your infant down for naps or bedtime, and THEN deal with the needs of your toddler, while your infant is (hopefully) peacefully sleeping, or drifting off to sleep without your assistance.
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her little ones: Connor (7yrs), Kate (4yrs), and Makenna (1.5yrs).