Here’s a scenario I see ALL THE TIME:
You welcome a new addition to your family. Your whole family is ecstatic and overjoyed. Your older child is especially excited over the birth of a new sibling. You constantly gush at this tiny newborn of yours who finally entered the world. Your toddler sports his proud ‘big brother’ t-shirt and wants to hold his new sibling all the time.
And you’re more exhausted than you’ve ever been in your life.
Why? Your child is adjusting to the birth of a new sibling. And it’s a big adjustment! Because your toddler loves this newborn baby SO MUCH…he’s decided to start sleeping like one, again.
So now, not only are you up at all hours of the night tending to your newborn, you’re ALSO dealing with bedtime battles, toddler sleep regressions, and total madness with your older one.
If this describes your current reality, I don’t envy you! In fact, I’ve been there! When my younger daughter was born, my then-2 year-old suddenly started fighting bedtime and waking up at all hours of the night. And she was a perfect sleeper! It was torture.
A mother in the My Sleeping Baby Facebook Community was dealing with this exact scenario and wrote in for some help. What to do with these toddler sleep regressions and overwhelmed toddlers?
While the arrival of a new baby can be exciting for a toddler, it can also be overwhelming. Suddenly, your older child might feel like she needs to share you with her younger sibling. This is why it’s SO important to give your toddler as much 1-on-1 time as possible so that she’s reminded that she’s still important to you!
Begin Toddler Sleep Training….When Ready!
While it’s perfectly normal for a toddler’s sleep to go out of whack upon the arrival of a new sibling, it shouldn’t take him TOO long to adjust. With enough support and love, most toddlers adjust to this big change within a few weeks. If he’s in daycare or nursery school, be in contact with the daycare provider about the situation. Find out if his behaviour there is back to normal.
He’s Ready! Let’s DO THIS!
Alright, your new baby is a few weeks old and your toddler has finally adjusted to being a big sibling. And yet, his sleep is still atrocious. Time to re-sleep train!
Which method should you use? It depends on what your toddler’s sleep was like BEFORE the new baby arrived. If your toddler was a great sleeper beforehand, and this poor sleep was just a temporary blip, you may want to take the quick and dirty route here. When I was ready to re-sleep train my 2.5 year-old, I explained to her that after I tuck her in, I’ll check on her in a few minutes, but that I WILL not go and get her. Thankfully, her sleep was back to normal within 1-2 days.
If, on the other hand, you were struggling with your toddler’s sleep before the baby arrived (and her sleep has likely worsened since), “quick and dirty” won’t work here. You’ll likely want to take a more supportive and gradual approach of toddler sleep training to fixing your toddler’s sleep challenges. It’s NEVER too late!