The situation with sleep, as a rule, is always complicated for parents with the appearance of the second child. When you had only one baby, you could take a nap along with him and recover a little. Now it is much more difficult, because it is necessary to look after the first-born, who does not want to sleep at all, but wants to have fun in the company of her mother.
And when the elder is finally ready to sleep, the younger one flatly refuses to follow his example. As a result, during the first months all attempts to somehow synchronize the time of a child’s sleep or to distract the older one so that he would not wake the sleeping baby look like mom, and the most sleepless day without a break is a journey through the maze without going out.
Meanwhile, all our experts are sure: there is a way out. “Moreover, they are much more than one,” says Kim West, one of the co-authors of the book “The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep tight”. “And you can always choose the one that best suits the temperament of your children and the lifestyle of the whole family.”
If your eldest child is already accustomed to the daily routine and this routine is necessary for him, then the baby has not yet developed habits for himself, the violation of which disturbs him. Therefore, sleep specialists urge the mother not to try right now and the younger one to organize a strict schedule, but rather to give him the opportunity to adjust to the steady flow of life. Including – to the ritual of laying on the night of an older brother or sister.
Dr. Judy Mindell, director of the Children’s Sleep Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of the book “Sleeping Through the Night”, an incredibly popular book among American parents, says that while babies cannot take a bath at the same time, give it to the elder while the younger sibling is in the rocking chair next door. Having bathed the older child, get ready for the fact that now the baby will join him, who wants to see how his brother or sister helps the duck dive.
It will distract the older one while you are bathing the baby. When the children are finally in their pajamas, sit comfortably on the bed with them and, while you feed the younger one, read the favorite book to the older child, and if it is inconvenient for you, tell a fairy tale in your own words.
“As the children grow up, teach the older one to replace you by“ reading ”the book to your younger brother or sister,” suggests Judy Mindell. – At this point, you can easily leave, because, as a rule, older children, who do not even know how to read yet, retell the story with pleasure or begin to fantasize. In addition, it gives them the opportunity to take care of the baby, feeling necessary. “
“There is one peculiarity in laying the baby: it is important to put him in the crib before he falls asleep,” says Kim West. – Otherwise, if you fall asleep on your hands or in a lounge chair, the baby may wake up when shifting. If at the very beginning you put him, already drowsy, in a crib, then he, feeling at the same time his mother’s presence, is more likely to accept this ritual. ”
Important! This rule does not apply to all children, and your baby can agree to fall asleep only on their hands.
In this case, the needs of the child associated with the features of his nervous system, it is important to understand and meet.
For an older kid, the emergence of a new family member can be stressful. And he will also try to “become a baby” in order to reign supremely over his mother’s attention. Often this affects the ritual of sleep.
And even if the child has long been accustomed to fall asleep on his own, he may ask him to wear it on his arms before going to sleep, and then he will refuse to sleep without his mother. He may surprise you by demanding the nipple that he sees with his little brother or sister.
“This is a natural regression that can be found in an older baby in the first weeks and even months,” says Olga Kabo, a child psychologist. – Do not be afraid of this, deciding that all your educational efforts have come to naught. If you do not deny the child and “saturate” it with your attention, even if you return to the forgotten infant rituals, then, having received your “message”: in my life everything is as before and mother does not leave me, he will return to his usual routine. ”
In the first weeks after the appearance of the youngest child in the house, when the elder feels especially vulnerable, the mother needs help more than ever. And when you put the baby on a night’s sleep, the father or someone from the family members should take all the cares of the elder as possible, trying to fulfill his requests. And when you can leave the little one, be sure to pay attention to the older one.
There is nothing terrible in the fact that he will fall asleep a little later: let the regime get a little lost.
What to do if no one can help mom and have to stack children on their own?
“You shouldn’t try to build an ideal situation in which parents never, under any circumstances, calm children with TV,” says Kim West. – Right now it is important for you without distraction to put the younger one? Then, without any remorse, turn on the low-key video for the eldest child at this time. ”
You can also allow him what you usually avoid: play games on your phone. “You should never, and even more so in the very first, tense months of the life of a younger child, try to be a“ flawless ”mother, who does not step back from the book recommendations, says Olga Kabo. – It is important to stay mom calm and joyful. And then gradually you will find the “keys” to the sleep of your kids. “
Important! Choose a quiet show or cartoons that do not excite a crumb: do not contribute to violently empathize with your favorite characters or repeat something after them. Such plots also suppress the production of the hormone melatonin responsible for sleep.
Let it be something already familiar to your child.
When can we assume that the younger one is ready to divide the nursery with his older sibling for the time of night sleep? Ideally, the baby by this moment should already be sleeping, I do not wake up all night for three to four weeks. However, the “sleepy habits” of children change all the time, so a perfectly sleeping child after his retirement can easily turn into an amateur to walk the night away.
And, waking up with crying, the pussy risks waking up older children. In this situation, it may be more convenient for the mother not to fight for separate sleep, but to return the baby to the parent’s bedroom for the time being.
Kim West offers the first five or six nights to put the youngest in a new bed for him at the moment when the baby is not sleeping. Sitting next to her mother can sing a quiet lullaby and hold the baby by the handle or stroke her shoulder.
If the baby wakes up at night, try not to take it on your hands right away, but calm it down while also stroking and talking. “Of course, you need to take the child in your arms in the event that his crying increases and he does not calm down otherwise,” says West. “However, if everything goes well, every night increase the distance between the bed and your chair.” In the end, leave the chair at the door, so that the child can hear your voice and feel her mother’s presence.
It is also possible to reinforce a device with “white noise” on the baby’s bed – quiet, repetitive sounds soothe most children well ”.
Important! Not all babies would agree with this way of laying either – after all, children, like adults, have the right to be different.
The unwillingness of the child to separate from his parents for the night suggests that the nervous system is not yet ripe for sleep without awakenings. In this case, the mother should think about whether it will not be easier for everyone to meet the baby, even if it means a few extra months spent in the same room or bed with the parents.
This compromise will allow the baby to feel comfortable, and his mother to be calm, which means that both of them will be able to sleep longer.
“I was the ideological opponent of the nipples with my daughter, but with the appearance of her brother, she gave up,” says Alina. – If Lera was asleep, Misha received the pacifier at the first call signs of his awakening. And then I discovered that my daughter did not wake up and her brother’s cries didn’t seem to interfere at all. ” “It’s not so easy to wake up a healthy child when he has already established regular and more or less long sleep cycles,” says Kim West. “And surely the white noise set at the junior bed will not prevent him from doing so.”
Laying the baby in the daytime, when the elder is not sleeping and is behaving noisily, you can include him in the game “teach a brother or sister to sleep.” To do this, you can come up with a ritual: pronouncing the magic “sleepy” words or parallel laying in a toy bed teddy bear.
The meaning of the game is that the older one speaks in a whisper. “As a rule, children are happy to support games in which they have a common little secret with their parents,” says Olga Kabo. – And if, on waking up, the youngest child woke the eldest in the middle of the night and the eldest also decided to roam, quietly remind you that “the game is going on”. And right now it is important for the little one to take an example from the elder brother (sister), who do not make noise at night, do not ask to play, but sleep peacefully in a crib. ”
And although this technique, of course, depends on the mood of the child, many children are pleased to realize that parents trust them and from them, as older children, a lot depends.
“It is believed that the baby should be about 75% of his daytime sleep in the same place where he usually sleeps at night, that is, in a quiet room, in the dim light,” says Dr. Mindell. – However, nothing terrible will happen if you reduce this figure and 50% of your sleep will be at the time when you are walking with your elder or taking him to developmental activities. Children are very adaptive, and if you start teaching your baby to a sling from the first days of life, as well as to the outside noise of the street, he will quickly get used to it. After all, the most important thing is that he is with his mother and therefore feels safe. ”
Whenever it is possible to ensure that the baby doesn’t sleep “on the run,” but at least in a fixed wheelchair, try to use this time. For example, if he is already beginning to fall asleep, take the older baby to the playground where he can play while the stroller with the sleeping younger is standing next to it.
Important! There are also children who prefer to sleep in motion. This does not mean that their sleep is less qualitative and healthy, just such is the structure of their nervous system.
Well, with such a small travel lover, it will be easier for mom to combine the infant sleep and the social life of the older child.