Can a baby fit in my new house
May 17, 2014 8:03 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I have been looking for a bit fit a new house. We have found something great that meets every criteria, Except one. Upstairs there is one master bedroom and a study area that could not be used for anything else, Plus a robe and a bathroom. Downstairs there are 2 other bedrooms and a good living area etc. My question is, how do u make it work with a new baby? Is it possible to have the baby in tha main br for a few months, Then move the baby downstairs with an intercom, Or is that just stupidity? Is there another way to think about it? Appreciate any advice from those that have faced something similar, As the house is auctioned in 2 weeks.
posted by edtut to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There's lots of possibilities, but it's totally doable as you've said.

My first child was born in a house with one bedroom upstairs and one down. We all slept together downstairs for the first year then baby one stayed and we moved up.

Baby two was born in a different house with two bedrooms upstairs and one down; we all slept together upstairs for the first few months, then baby two stayed and we moved down.
posted by lilnublet at 8:08 PM on May 17, 2014

I've always kept my kids in a crib in my room until they were six months old or so and sleeping through the night, and then moved them to their room. And a small study area could be perfect for a baby's bedroom for the first couple years, really.
posted by gerstle at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Just an extra note, the study cannot work as a baby room because it is completely open to too much light
posted by edtut at 8:20 PM on May 17, 2014

Is a "robe" a walk in closet? If so, put your clothes in the study and baby in the closet.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:25 PM on May 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I know someone who lost 2 of her 3 children in a fire, when they couldn't get to the floor where the other 2 were sleeping. I was also a child when a teenager climbed on to the roof of the garage and came to my window. And, on another occasion, my home was broken into and the thief walked around on the main floor where we were sleeping (in bedrooms) and, during university, an intruder climbed through the living room window near my bedroom. So I don't believe in sleeping on a different floor than my kids and I honestly think that I seem to have been hit by lightning repeatedly, so to speak, but I still wouldn't chanceit. In your case, I would keep the baby in my room for a year or two. Then I would move all of us to the downstairs with the 2 bedrooms. Many of my friends all sleep in the basement or even use a living room as a bedroom and bedrooms as living rooms, so that they don't have kids on a separate floor.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:32 PM on May 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Totally doable. It's preferable that they would all be on one level, but the most preferable thing is that critter 1 and a possible critter 2 could have their own rooms. We did sleep training after 4 months and after that it's no big deal. You put them to bed and they just sleep all night. You might have to go down there every now and then, but thats what baby monitors are for.
posted by sanka at 8:33 PM on May 17, 2014

"Is it possible to have the baby in tha main br for a few months, Then move the baby downstairs with an intercom, Or is that just stupidity? Is there another way to think about it?"

Yep. We had baby #2 in with us up in the master, and then moved him down because he was SO NOISY that nobody was sleeping ever (no intercom was required!), and when he got less noisy we moved him into his current bedroom back upstairs.

It's also very easy to put a (guest?) bed in the second downstairs bedroom and just bunk downstairs for a while after the baby moves into his own room. Your master bedroom is still upstairs; you just sleep downstairs.

edtut: "Just an extra note, the study cannot work as a baby room because it is completely open to too much light"

This bothers babies way less than you'd think. Also temporarily taping up cardboard over the window is inelegant, but works. (Also, they sell "temporary blinds" at home improvement stores that are basically just heavy paper accordions folded to be similarly sized to blinds, that you tape at the top and bottom of the window, to block the light and it looks a little classier than cardboard. You tape them up with painters tape, they come right down when you're done. They're very cheap -- on the linked page a 4-pack of blackouts is $25, and since they're paper you can cut them to size.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:36 PM on May 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

Sure -- you can either keep the baby in your room upstairs until you're ready for it to sleep downstairs without you, or you can sleep downstairs in the second bedroom until you're ready to move upstairs.

You don't have to occupy the master suite of your house simply because it exists. If you need to, keep clothing up there and use it as a dressing room / office / whatever else you need space for and have nothing in the downstairs bedroom but a bed.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:28 PM on May 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Put the baby in the study if you want her on the same floor, but not the same room. It's a baby. It doesn't know its crib is in a study.
posted by Sara C. at 9:34 PM on May 17, 2014

I'm not sure why putting the baby in a bedroom downstairs and putting you in the other bedroom downstairs wouldn't work. Having a small child sleeping on a different floor can work, but my lowest point as a parent came when I had my five year old sleeping in the downstairs bedroom and me in the upstairs. I went down to get her up one morning and found that she'd been sick, repeatedly, in her bed, and hadn't been able to call loud enough that I could hear her (which hadn't previously been a problem, but was then), and didn't feel well enough to come get me. I moved my bedroom that day and haven't looked back since.
posted by MeghanC at 10:49 PM on May 17, 2014 [9 favorites]

MeganC's story is heartbreaking!

Yeah, it also depends on how much you are into attachment parenting and "just pop a boob in his mouth" (I am).
And I don't wan't to have to walk into another room during the night, let alone walk down a flight of stairs to do it.

But the main thing is, stay flexible. You may think your night time arrangements will be so-and-so, but then the baby comes and you find you suddenly want something completely different. My husband certainly didn't intend to sleep on the living room sofa for three years, but prefers it this way now.
At any rate with your house layout there is enough room for a happy baby.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:19 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Echoing the "babies don't care about 'too much light' to sleep." Infants fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, when they're tired. Just because you may like blackout curtains and an eye cover doesn't have anything to do with what infants need. Encouraging a baby to regulate their sleep cycle with daylight is definitely a potential positive.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:22 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is almost exactly what we did too. The baby was in our room until she was...I don't know, must have going on a year, and then she moved into her own room downstairs. We had a baby monitor, and honestly, that first night we had our room back to ourselves was wonderful! No sleeping baby to whisper around! I'm a worry wort, and I always have those faint background worries of "What if someone breaks in and steals the baby/car crashes into that side of the house" etc, but sometimes you have to just give it a go. I think all those nightmarish things have already happened to Chaussette, above, so maybe the rest of us are safe now.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 11:45 PM on May 17, 2014

MeganC raises a good point about the sick baby. I have had that happen with my own kids, where they are just down the hall and I don't hear them. I am not sure if a baby monitor would help with that - I found that sometimes the sound of my little guys rolling over would keep me on hypervigilance. Of course, given the history, maybe that wasn't so bad. I am the lightning rod of humanity.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 12:03 AM on May 18, 2014

yeah, no worries
posted by Sebmojo at 1:16 AM on May 18, 2014

I know school-aged kids who lost their mom in a fire. The kids slept on the first floor, the mom on the second. Dryer vent clogged, caught on fire, kids were able to get out, mom wasn't.

I would sleep on the same floor as your child.
posted by kinetic at 4:50 AM on May 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am missing something here. There are two bedrooms on the ground floor. One for you and one for the baby...

If the problem is that there are multiple kids put them all in one of the ground floor bedrooms and you in the other one with the baby, until she/he sleeps happily through the night without you, when you move him/her next door with the rest of the tribe. If the bedrooms are small get the kids bunk beds and turn the upstairs master bedroom into the play room.

Or do you need three bedrooms: one for you, one for the spouse and one for the baby? If so designate the downstairs bedroom as belonging to the primary parent and switch it about from time to time so neither gets stuck as sole caretaker. Whoever sleeps in that room is primary caretaker that night. The (temporarily) irresponsible one gets the upstairs master bedroom. You can swap off every other night or once a week or whatever works for you.

Also, it is possible to get a twin bed and put it in the nursery long before the baby is old enough to leave the crib. You use it to sleep near at hand until the baby is ready to transition, possible when he/she is too big for a crib mattress. Eventually the kid inherits it.

My kids were wanderers so for me it was all moot once they got mobile. By mobile I mean ten months old and able to clamber out of a crib. I would take a last wander through the house when I went to bed to find out where they had ended up. My youngest preferred very small enclosed spaces so I have found her sleeping sitting upright wedged into the laundry hamper in the hall, but the bottom of the linen closet under the stairs was also a favorite. There was always somebody on the couch, possibly three somebodies in a puppy pile. When they were still in youth beds with crib sized mattresses they sometimes hauled their mattresses out to whatever location they chose to sleep in. This presented no challenge at all to a sturdy three and a half year old. It's not always possible to follow through on a planned sleeping arrangement and it may be that your kid will find a solution that you completely never thought about, such as sleeping with the dog you never dreamed you were going to get.

Oh, and regarding danger from fires, you are going to have smoke detectors all over the house, right? Not just one in the kitchen and one in the upstairs sleeping area? And you are going to change their batteries twice a year, right? Good. You should be fine.
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:30 AM on May 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

You have so many options! The first is to have the baby upstairs with you. This is the most likely scenario for the first six months of baby's life. A crib or co-sleeper in your room or in the office would work great. You could probably rig up some curtains or something for the "openness."

The other option is everyone moving downstairs. Make the upstairs the adult space with a guest bed, dressing area, office and everyone sleep downstairs.

We brought our baby home to small 2-bedroom house, the second bedroom was set up with a twin bed, changing table (low chest of drawers) and my office. Baby slept in an arms-reach cosleeper in our room until she started rolling and sitting up. Then we packed away the twin (so handy to have an extra sleeping spot and guest bed for my mom), and set up the crib. I continued to share my office space with crib until she was 2-1/2 and it was time for big girl bed and the twin came back out.

My next plan was to move my office into the tiny closet in her room with a lock on the door - it didn't seem safe to have my office supplies and electronics in her easy reach. I ended up getting a full time job out of the house so just packed it all away.

I think you have so many options. An extra sleeping space comes in very handy during that first year. As you move forward in your little one's life, having an adult space somewhat removed from the rest of the house is what I pine for.
posted by amanda at 6:21 AM on May 18, 2014

I vote put the baby in the closet or strategically use blackout curtains to modify the study. Developmentally, infants learn to distinguish day from night at around 6 weeks, so you don't really have to worry about blacking out the light before that. After that, putting them in a dark room to sleep can help establish better sleep habits.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:18 AM on May 18, 2014

We're running into this same problem with house hunting and have heard too many stories about friends whose kids have opened the door and run out of the house without them knowing to put our toddler on a different floor from us. So…we're continuing to look. It's ruling out a lot of houses, but is a non-negotiable with an almost toddler right now and potentially another one in the next year or two.
posted by echo0720 at 7:27 AM on May 18, 2014

Why not just use the two bedrooms and living area as if the master bedroom doesn't even exist? Like someone upthread said, just because it's there doesn't mean you have to use it. Meanwhile you can use the closet as extra storage space.

Personally, I'd sleep in a room next to my baby's room and turn the master into a playroom for a couple of years.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:46 AM on May 18, 2014

I like having my kid on the same floor. After the first year, you don't necessarily want to have to be tethered to every sound they make on the monitor, but still want to hear when they wake up or are sick.
posted by yarly at 12:43 PM on May 18, 2014

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