By Natalie Nevares, Mommywise Founder

If you’re living in a two-bedroom apartment with a toddler and a baby, chances are you’re not getting much sleep, feeling a little desperate or scared that you’ll never sleep again.

I know, I’ve been there; it sucks. I’ve done the bassinet next to the bed, the alternating night shifts on the couch, the 3-5am rocking marathons, praying the baby will go back to sleep for just one more hour, so you can catch a few more winks. I know the fear that any crying will wake your toddler, who’s been – shocker! – way more needy since the baby’s arrival. I know what it if feels like to sleepwalk through your days, and feel like a crappy mom because you have zero energy or patience for your older kid(s).

Newsflash: You’re not alone! This is really normal and common, especially in NYC. In this town, you’re one of hundreds of families who reach out to us in desperation because they just can’t figure out how to sleep train their baby in a two-bedroom apartment with another sibling. It does seem like an impossible problem without a solution, right?

Well, the good news is that there’s hope! You CAN sleep train your baby, move both kids into the same room, reclaim your bedroom, and reconnect with your partner and pillows. I know because I did it myself in an 800 square-foot apartment with a baby and a toddler, and I help families make the transition all the time. Because your family and the geography of your apartment is unique, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but it absolutely can be done with the right strategy.  Here’s an example of what that looked like for one family I stayed with. I’m sharing this with you so you can see that it IS possible, and that we can help you get there too, if that’s what you want for yourself and your family.

If hiring outside support isn’t for you, I’ll share our Top 3 Tips we use to help families sleep train the baby, move baby and toddler into the kids’ room, and get everyone sleeping through the night, in 72 hours or less!

1. Choose the right timing. You can’t successfully sleep train your baby if your baby is sick, suffering from reflux, in acute teething pain, or less than 8 weeks old. If your baby is being treated for reflux or cutting teeth, wait until you’re confident that your baby isn’t in pain. From there, I recommend that you and your partner agree that it’s OK to reduce to one night feeding, roughly between 7pm-7am. In my experience, sleep training is easiest for babies between 10-14 weeks old – before teething, developmental leaps and the “four-month sleep regression” begin. If you’ve missed that window, don’t worry! You can still successfully sleep train your baby until s/he’s able to climb out of the crib, starting around 14 months. Read more about when we recommend sleep training here.). 

2. Sleep train in the crib, without you in the room. Here’s a common story we hear: “We’ve been trying to sleep train our baby in the bassinet in our room, but she just won’t stop crying, and we don’t know what we’re doing wrong!” If this is you, first, you’re not doing anything “wrong”, but you can tweak your strategy to make it easier for everyone. For example, it will be far easier to sleep train your baby in a real crib, where she can move around, and get comfortable in her new space. It will also be easier if you remove yourself from the room. Even if she’s a newborn, she can hear you and smell you, and older babies will be hysterical if you’re in the room and not picking them up. So give your baby some space, and move to the living room for a few nights. Tell your toddler not to worry if s/he hears the baby cry. Alternately, if your toddler is already in a big kid bed, you can invite him or her for a special sleepover in your room for a few nights (mattress on the floor), and sleep train your baby in the kids’ room.

3. Move them in the room together! Sleep training a baby in a NYC apartment is scary, but the fear of putting two kids together in the same room is often even more daunting. Now, I won’t lie, there are usually some bumps along the road, but if you time it right, after your baby is consistently sleeping through the night, putting them together can be a piece of cake. You will have to get over your fear that they will both be up in the middle of the night, and take a leap of faith. Pinky swear, they’ll get used to sleeping together, and it may even be totally uneventful for everyone!

Of course this is a super simplified version of a more complex process, and we haven’t even covered HOW to sleep train your baby, but you can read more about our how we work our magic here. And if you’re looking for personal guidance, let’s talk! You can apply for a Complimentary Family Sleep Assessment here, and if we know that we can help you achieve your goals, we’ll bring the magic fairy dust and get you all sleeping through the night faster than you can imagine! 

Natalie Nevares, Mommywise Founder

After recovering from the loneliness, fear, sleep-deprivation, and clinical depression she suffered through in her early parenting years, Natalie devoted her life to serving other families in similar crises. She created the Mommywise Method of In-home Supported Sleep Training, which has been successfully transforming lives since 2010. Serving the Tri-State area, Mommywise offers unique In-home Sleep Training Programs which are more supportive than anything else you’ll find, with the fastest, easiest results. One of us will personally stay with you in your home and help you sleep train your baby in real time. We factor your baby’s age, personality, and developmental stage into our strategy, and co-create a plan that will help your baby sleep through the night in 72 hours or less. From there, you have 4 weeks of unlimited support, to ensure your success!