My oldest daughter, Moira, has had her own bedroom since she was an infant. When our second daughter, Mackenzie, was born, our house was under renovation and therefore we didn’t have a nursery setup for her. My husband and I were living in our guest room because our master bedroom was torn apart. Mackenzie and all her belongings were with us in the guest room. This was really a lesson in minimalism with a newborn!
Unfortunately our home is STILL under renovation and we haven’t gotten our bedroom back yet (argh). When Mackenzie was 8 months I couldn’t stand having her in our room anymore for a few reasons. She is a light sleeper and would wake every single time we walked into the room to go to bed, even though we were ninja quiet. Then she’d have frequent night wakings, probably because she’d hear my husband snoring and wake up and remember that I am right next to her, so she’d cry to get my attention. Because of this we ended up co-sleeping the majority of the time, in a crowded queen sized bed (our normal bed is king). I was just too tired to keep transferring her over and over to the pack n play next to the bed. I would then get crappy sleep because I’d sleep in awkward positions to protect her (one arm above her head, so my shoulder was always in an uncomfortable position). My body was consistently sore from sleeping next to her.
CRIB to TODDLER BED to TWIN BED
Moira started climbing out of her crib a month or so prior to this, so she was sleeping in her crib converted to a toddler bed and doing pretty well with it. I was hesitant to take away her out of her new big girl bed, but I needed the crib back for Mackenzie. I decided to move Moira into the twin daybed that was also in her room and convert the toddler bed back to a crib for Mackenzie. I was really really worried about how room sharing would affect their sleep habits and health. But I decided it was worth a shot. Afterall, I had a good friend with 3 kids in one room and she said it was mostly fine.
My main concern with the twin daybed was that it was much higher off the ground than the toddler bed. Since she wasn’t falling out of her toddler bed I tried putting her in the twin bed without any kind of railing. That didn’t work out as well as I had hoped – she ended up falling out on two different nights. I went onto Amazon looking for the traditional metal railing that would go under the mattress and up the side of the bed. What I discovered was an alternative I’d never heard of!
Apparently researchers at Stanford University developed a bumper for toddlers that was successful at keeping them in the bed and wasn’t as obtrusive or uncomfortable as a metal or wood railing. I looked a few different brands and settled on the one from hiccapop. The bumper is 4.5″ tall and fits about 75% of the length of the twin bed. I was still skeptical and worried she would somehow crawl over it and fall on the floor, but after reading a ton of reviews I felt safe enough to give it a try.
I put it on her bed a few weeks ago and so far so good. She hasn’t fallen out at all, and it doesn’t shift if she sleeps against it. The bumper goes underneath the fitted bed sheet and has non-slip grippers on it that keep it in place. I’m quite impressed! It’s great because we can sit on it and read bedtime stories as a family and it keeps shape. I also sit on it to nurse Mackenzie, even in the middle of the night when Moira is asleep in her bed.
If you are considering a traditional bed railing, I highly suggest you give a bumper a try instead.
INFANT & TODDLER ROOM SHARING
Having the girls room share has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Some days it’s so easy and everyone sleeps well. Other times, it’s a shitshow and they set each other off on crying fits and my husband and I end up bleary eyed the next day. If Mackenzie is crying and won’t stop, Moira will start crying if we take Mackenzie out of the room to rock her or just keep the noise out of the room so Moira could sleep. It’s like she’d rather keep her crying sister in the room with her than sleep in a quiet room – kinda sweet and kinda funny.
Nap time is the biggest struggle with them sharing a room. Because Mackenzie is such a light sleeper, if I need to put Moira down for a nap and Mackenzie is already in the middle of her nap I run the risk of waking her. I always try to allow my daughters to sleep as long as they can, so they get as much sleep as possible. I am a FIRM believer in building strong sleep habits from infancy and not sacrificing their naps and development unless it’s a special ocassion or a doctor’s appointment. So I really hate waking Mackenzie by accident when I need to put Moira down for a nap. But Moira needs her nap too, especially as a busy toddler with all the insane amount of brain development (a MILLION neural connections per second.* I can’t even fathom!) Sometimes I’ll put Moira down for a nap in our bed just so that they can both nap simultaneously and I can get a much needed break for a short time in the afternoon.
If they were sleeping better and their naps lined up more, I’d probably be willing to keep them in the same room for a few years or until one expresses a desire to have a separate space. But with the disruptions, I think I’ll split them up into two rooms once we have our master bedroom back and the guest room is free for Moira to move into.
Have you tried room sharing with your kids? Any tips???