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Questions About Going from One Nursery to Two…

3/29/2019

Questions About Going from One Nursery to Two

On Instagram Stories the other day, I asked you all about your thoughts on having both a sofa bed (or daybed) and a rocking chair in our second nursery and you guys were so helpful that I figured I’d go ahead and ask all my other questions about going from one nursery to two here. It feels like there’s SO many random things I’ve been trying to wrap my head around… like transitions and owning two of various things (or trying to avoid it). So why NOT ask it? Maybe I sound crazy? Or maybe you have these questions too? Better yet, maybe you have ANSWERS! Ha! Help us all!!!!

I’m prefacing all of this with a few things: First, when it comes to adoption, we genuinely have no idea when our baby will arrive. It makes it a little harder because we have to plan for our lives to change tomorrow… even when it could be a year or more out. So I’d say all these questions are assuming that Arlo is somewhere between ages 2 and 3 when his little sibling joins the family. Second, I am incredibly lucky to have the space to have two separate rooms for our kids. While that leaves us with no guest room, we felt it best for Arlo’s personality and struggle with transitions to keep them separate and turn our spare room into a nursery/guest room combo for the time being. Third, I know that everyone is different, every family is different and every sibling age difference is… different (ha). I ask a lot of questions all the time but I’m the kind of person that just loves soaking in a lot of information and am always curious about how other people’s homes function! Ok! Here we go!

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1. Do I transition Arlo out of a crib early… so I don’t have to own a second one?

I see absolutely no reason why someone would let a caged animal out of it’s cage when it is happily sleeping in it’s cage. You get me? Hahah! But then I think… really? I’m going to own two cribs? That seems excessive, when we know that likely before Arlo turns three, he’ll transition to a bed… right?

How did you all handle that if your kids are close in age? Did you go ahead and bite the bullet and move your toddler to a bed, even if you didn’t need to? Or did you just buy the second crib so you could keep your sanity?

We’ll be using the SNOO with the new baby for the first few months of course, but I feel like if we’re going to purposely transition Arlo out of a crib, we would want to do it before baby bro or sis arrive so there isn’t too much change happening at once. Kind of like a now or never (AKA a year from now) kind of thing.

2. If you moved your rocking chair to the nursery, what (if anything) did you replace it with in the older child’s room?

I think most of you convinced me we should have a rocking chair in the baby’s room, in addition to the daybed. But again, owning two rocking chairs is nuts to me, and we use Arlo’s every night for bedtime reading/when he’s sick and needs some extra snuggles! If you moved your rocking chair out of your older child’s room, what did you replace it with (if anything)?

Arlo's Rainbow Nursery Reveal

3. How did you handle changing your bedtime routine?

Our daily bedtime routine (which I’m writing a post on soon! Finally!) is really solid and a big part of our day. I’m curious at what age you all incorporated your younger child into the bedtime routine? Did it change? Somewhat related… do you have bookshelves in both rooms?

4. Did you set up one central changing station for both kids?

We don’t feel like Arlo is at all ready to potty train yet so we haven’t started. I’m feeling like it makes sense to shift our major changing station to the baby’s room, and have a little portable option with a few diapers/wipes for the times when he needs to be changed and the baby is asleep. Or is this the one thing where two stations really makes sense?

5. The first few months aside, do you find you use the two rooms differently?

Do you find you use the two children’s rooms differently? Does one act as the “bedtime” room and is more equipped with books and comfy spaces for reading? And perhaps one feels more like a play or daytime area? I’m so curious about this! We do plan to build out an actual playroom some day but for now, we don’t have one so I’m wondering if we’ll fall into a routine where we use each room for both kids, just differently.

Arlo's Rainbow Nursery Reveal

Please tell me these are things you thought about too!? It’s not just me, right? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts in the comments! I have always been grateful for this community but boy, becoming a Mom makes you grateful for other moms who’ve walked the path before you in more ways than I can count.

29 comments

  • Melissa Stevens

    We’re foster parents and have babies ages almost 2 years, 7 months, and 1 month old. We thought about moving our almost 2 year old into a bed, but he LOVES his crib. I gotta say, I recommend getting 2 cribs. We’re a 3 crib household (!!!) and I have no regrets.

    I wish you every happiness! It’s gonna be an adventure!

  • Samantha Swope

    Ok this post is genius. I’m not a mom but I nannied for years and multiple bookshelves are a MUST. Baby will be at different stages with different books and the last thing you want is to have to disturb one kid to get a book.

  • Kate D.

    So many good questions! My son is a little older than Arlo (he turned 3 a month after his sister was born), and he was already potty trained so I don’t have an answer for question 4 – but here’s the rest!

    1. Yes, we transitioned our son out of his crib and into a twin bed so that we could use the crib in the nursery. It ended up being not so bad of a transition, and I am glad we did it! We don’t have a ton of extra money, so the savings of not having to buy a second crib was well worth it.

    2. We did a “big boy” room change and added larger bookshelves, a little kids’ table & chairs set, and his PB Anywhere chair into his room since we took his dresser/changing table & the rocking chair out of there. This created more play area for him, and he loves it. We still read him nightly stories, but we sit in bed with him (since he’s now in a twin bed and not a crib) to read to him rather than in the rocking chair.

    3. This is going to be different for everyone, but my husband and I had already split up our nightly routine long ago. He did bath/teeth & jammies, then read him one story, then I’d come in and read him another story, shut off the lights, and then say our prayers & sing to him and snuggle until either he fell asleep or was okay with me leaving. So, now, the kids do bath at the same time, but my husband washes the baby first, I take her out, get her ready for bed & nurse her until she’s full while my husband finishes our son’s bath, brushes teeth, does jammies, and reads stories. Then I go in and read my story and do prayers, singing & snuggling like always while the baby either sleeps or my husband holds/entertains her. When the baby gets older and no longer nurses before bed, we plan to do the same routine, but we plan to each of us get one kid ready, do one story all of us together, then whoever didn’t do jammies do a second story, prayers, put them to bed – alternating kid/parent combos every other night. This allows both of us to have time alone with both kids every night.

    5. We’re still in the first few months, and the baby is still sleeping in our room – so I don’t have much input on this, but my son still doesn’t play in his room a ton. We are usually outside or all together in the family room, where he has his play kitchen, etc. I am interested to see how this turns out for us, as well!

    Good luck & congratulations!

    • Kate D.

      Forgot to say YES! bookshelves in both rooms. Bookshelves everywhere! Never too many kids books. Ha!

  • Crystal

    With the timing a middle ground might be to get a toddler bed and a mattress, much cheaper than a whole other crib. We transitioned our 2.5 year old to a toddler bed bc we need the crib. The best advice I read was just assume the first week is going to be a circus bc it’s new and fun…they’ll settle in. Plus it’s t was a good show on the monitor!

    Changing area wise, Arlo within the next year is going to be bigger and awkward to pick up to a changing table. Get an organizer to keep in his room and do floor changes. He can be a helper by getting a diaper and laying down….and you don’t have to lift a 23+ lb toddler up and down!

  • Meghan

    Two cribs for sure! One rocker, because siblings stay together always, reading happens together, playing with blocks happens together, etc. With us the first nursery is the place for everything. They play in there everyday, we read in there, or in our bed after baths, they watch movies in the first nursery. Our second nursery is strictly for baby 2 going to sleep. With baby 3 on the way we’re now looking at bunk beds for nursery #1 and I’m so scared of letting the caged animals out 🙂

  • Emma

    My kids are 20 months apart. We transitioned my son out of the crib but would set up our pack n play for nap time until he got the hang of staying put in bed. We used his room as the play room and the nursery for my daughter solely for her to sleep. We had two changing pads, one upstairs and one downstairs. With double diaper duty, I recommend changing pads wherever they are most convenient. For awhile bed time became “divide and conquer” approach. We would each take a kid. As my daughter got older and more engaged, it shifted into a family affair. It brings about a lot of changes — a second child— but you will find your footing!!! Eventually… as you did with Arlo. And he will find his footing, too. I had baby sister give my son a gift at the hospital and he liked her right away for that.

  • Layne

    We don’t have two bedrooms yet and I am so looking forward to when we do. Our boys are 22 months apart and have completely different personalities (ie: night owl/morning person. Great sleeper/terrible sleeper) So right before #2 came along, we moved #1 into a toddler bed. He did so well, he was in a twin bed shortly after. My biggest concern was having a toddler roaming the halls at night. I also didn’t want to close his door and lock him in… we settled for a baby gate with the swinging door. We were lucky that he took to the bed extremely well. Baby #2 was in our room for quite a while so I think that helped too. We had one rocking chair and one changing table (but we also only had one room). Eventually our rocking chair turned into bean bag chairs. My husband purchased an extra-wide recliner so that we could read with both boys at the same time. That was the best idea!
    When we purchase our new house, I want them to have their own rooms as well as a separate space for toys.

    I am sorry I have no advice on having two rooms. I would recommend two bookshelves. Just because we are huge readers and having books available at all times is a must for us!

  • STEPHANIE

    We have three girls, the age gap between 1 and 2 is 22 months and 2 and 3 is 21 months and have raised all three living in small two bedroom apartments. I’m not a commenter, but leaving this here bc I think our story really does show that.. there’s no one right way to do anything!

    1. We kept big sister in crib and baby was in pack n play in our room until about baby was just about 1 year and we moved. We transitioned both at the same time into a shared bedroom with big sister in a twin bed and baby in crib; second time around, we bought a “mini crib” (that folded up! score for apartment living) for baby and kept the middle daughter in the crib until she was about… 3.5 (!! but I also thought, if she is happy in there, why not just keep her there), then transitioned oldest to a top bunk, middle to bottom bunk, baby to the regular crib next to the bunk beds; baby then moved to a trundle bed around 2.5

    2. We never had a rocking chair. I would say if it’s something Arlo loves and is part of his routine, leave it in his room for him. The baby doesn’t know what he/she is missing, but Arlo surely will. OR if you think he’ll go for it, take him shopping for a “big boy” comfy chair and let him “gift” the rocking chair to baby. (I’m reminded of the picture book Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats)

    3. Whenever the younger was old enough to “do” things on her own (brush teeth, potty, etc) that’s when she joined her older sisters in the routine. Before then, we would probably just do them at separate times, big fans of divide and conquer when needed. We only have books in our living room (and do bedtime reading on the couch).

    4. Kept one diaper changing station in the older kid’s room. We did always have extra changing pads/diapers/wipes lying around and if older child’s room was inaccessible (naps, other), then baby would just get changed on our bed or on the floor.

    5. We didn’t have separate rooms for our kids, but I did feel like the younger child’s room will be utilized mostly for sleeping, feeding, etc; whereas the older child will need their room as a space to play, read, etc. That being said, most of our playtime/reading/art-making is done in the living room!

  • Abby

    We have a 3 year old and 5month old twins so we have three cribs because our 3yr old sleep so well and loves her bed and would be a wild animal if we moved her to a big girl bed. I’ve read that unless your child is a)too large for their crib, b)a danger to themselves (climbing out) or c)asking to move to a big bed leave them until their 3.5-4yrs old so they can understand the transition better and not feel like a new baby is taking their bed from them as well as all the other changes that a new baby brings.
    We don’t have a rocker in either room- our daughters room has a built in bench in her closet that we read on but otherwise all of our snuggling happens in the living room.
    As far as bedtime routines we kept our daughters exactly as it was before the boys were born and so she’s down by 7:30 and then we feed our boys their last feeding as soon as she’s in bed and they go to sleep by 8pm. That way we have time to ourselves/together.

    It’s always harder in the abstract and as soon as your babe is with you it’ll all click into place. You’re going to do great. Just stick with a routine that works for your family.

  • Vero

    I have a 2 and 3 year old. But when baby came the older one was only 15 months. We are a two crib household and zero regrets!! We transitioned one crib to a toddler bed only until she potty trained. I have the space for each of them to have their own room but I decided to make one room into a nursery and the other bedroom into a play / guest room. The baby stayed in my room the first few months and that was enough time for everyone to get adjusted. Baby joined in the nighttime routine as he was able to and it all works out. It seems overwhelming at first when your mind is thinking about how you’ll manage it all but it all works out and the sibling love will be so good! They won’t want to be apart! Sending love!

  • Liss

    My boys are 28months apart and when we found out we were expecting I also started thinking about this. We already had a guest room with a 120cm bed (I believe that’s a queen) and a few furniture which we didn’t want to get rid of so I actually early decided that instead of making a new nursery I would make a “big boys room” and let my first one have the then guest room.

    1. Moved the older sibling into a big bed. A bed big enough to use as a guest bed, for us to sleep with him in and also lay next to him and read at bed time. This bed he can have until he leaves the nest.

    2. Above answer solves the question about the chair. The chair is left in the original nursery along with the crib. In the big boys room we also have tons of pillows on the floor and do we read during the day we sit there.. we also have toys and LEGO’s in the room to play with as well.

    We now have books in each room, as well as a little reading nook in the living room. Our changingstation is in the bathroom but we find changing the bigger brother on a table now seemed like a hassle and he is now changed on the floor.

    Nursery is as of now (6 months) still just for sleeping.. big boys room is for sleep and play 🙂

    For us it was the easiest and most fun to move the older sibling as that made it exciting for him. He was well transitioned into his new bed and room before the baby was born even tho the baby didn’t move into the nursery until he was 5 months.

  • anne

    I have almost six years between my kids so I can’t really help with my own experience. But i have a friend with children about two years apart and she turned one bedroom into a joined bedroom and the other into a joined playroom. This turned out so well and I thought it was very clever. The children are very different personalities but it didn’t matter. In the beginning the baby slept in a small cot in the parents room so not to wake up the older. But when they started sleeping together they both slept better – maybe you instinctly feel safer when you’re not sleeping alone, I don’t know. And when they got older they learnt to share the toys and I feel they had lesser arguments about mine and yours. I always thought this was such a clever idea.

  • Laura

    I think the transition from the crib depends on your crib. Is it a convertible one that will switch to toddler bed and the a regular bed. Ours was not so we transitioned our daughter out and bought her a new bed. If you transition to a bigger bed that is your new reading spot! We also have books everywhere!! As for changing stations if Arlo is truly still in diapers have two because they will not be on the same sleep schedules and it will be hard to have just one.
    I think my biggest transition for two was our mobility to get out of the house. Welcome to double stroller and baby carrier.

    • EvY

      My daughter is 4 and son is 2. They share a room. He’s in a crib, she’s in a toddler bed that converts to a twin. We had the boy in our room for about 11 months. It was a pack n play that had a little changing pad on it and functioned as a sort of second mini nursery in our room since we always planned on them sharing and let me tell you, way easier than I expected! They don’t wake each other up or nuthin’!

      The most important thing to us was: do not disrupt child 1’s routine. She was an ace sleeper so keeping her in her own room and keeping her routine was important. When we knew baby 2 was coming we bought the toddler bed and put it in her room but didn’t force her into it until she was ready and curious which was around 3 and her brother was a few months old. When she went to the bed, the crib was unused for a few months since baby slept in our room in the pack n play but this way we didn’t have to buy a second crib. When baby brother was finally sleeping all night then we started moving him into the routine with her in their shared room with the one rocking chair and one changing pad. They are great now in the same room. We read together! He hugs her goodnight! It’s adorable! We have a third room that functions as home office/guest/ playroom. Their bedroom is only for changing, napping, reading, and sleeping. I read somewhere the psychology of that being important to associate the bedroom with restful activity? I do remember how badly I needed to nest to give my mind that tangible evidence that another child was coming so we prepped her room to be a shared one and it helped me mentally. Even though they didn’t share a room for months, seeing their stuff together (Wonderland meets Tomorrowland, yes, Disney family) was very important to me and it’s a happy sight every day.

      Looking forward to e-meeting bebe numero dos! You guys will do great. Tough at first but ooh so worth it seeing sibling love and friendship.

  • Danielle

    I just moved my 25 month old boy to a toddler bed because he was scraping the paint off his crib with his teeth. We used the same mattress and left the crib up. We put the mattress back in the crib twice when he asked to go back. Now he loves his toddler bed. He also learned to open doors so he has a lot of freedom. He gets up in the morning and after naps and runs to find me. He is the youngest of 4 and loves being the big boy.
    Books. We love books at our house and have them in 3 locations. Only the library books have to stay in one spot so we don’t lose them. Not sure if you use your local library but it is a great way to teach kids to share books. I have my boy say goodbye to the books and remind him that it is someone else’s turn to read the books but we can get more.
    I didn’t even use a changing table with my 4th. I just used the floor. The rocker is in the basement with some books but everyone uses it. In other houses I’ve had a toy room and it is always messy. Now I have a toy closet in the basement family room and the toys get picked up because the room is used for so many purposes.
    Good luck finding what works for you. Sometimes you have to play around with things to figure out your style.

  • Jess

    I have all of these exact same questions! My son will be 27 months when baby #2 arrives and I am wondering all of the same things. We are also losing the guest bedroom to nursery #2. I think we are going to get another crib bc another mom told me that $200-300 for another crib is a small price to pay for a good nights sleep when everyone is transitioning to life with a baby. She said if they sleep well in their crib don’t mess with it! Hope you’ll do a post with a summary of the responses! Loved the summary about the rocking chair!

  • Becky

    All of this is so exciting! My kids are 15 months apart and I was crazy with all
    The same stuff as you are right now! It feels good to be prepared but deep breaths! I did basically two of everything because I wanted both to feel special and not tale away from one to give to the other. Nothing has turned out the way I thought it would. Both kids always wNt to sit in the same chair. They basically spend every second together and I think I am just going to put them in the same bed soon (now ages 2&3).
    I would say for the nursery just so the bare minimum. arlo might suprise you and potty train soon or he might want a big boy room while helping decorate the nursery. These kids are crazy beasts and suprise me everyday.

  • Yecelin

    Oh my this post is like the story of our lives right now. I’m pregnant due in August and I have a two year old a couple months older than Arl0. We have sofa bed in the the guest room too! I bought a toddler bed but I’m not sure if to move my older son to the guest room and give the nursery to the new baby (it already has the crib, changing table and rocking chair) or if that’s too big of a transition for the my son.

  • Vanessa

    I would say buy the second crib. Ikea makes a great, inexpensive one so it is not a commitment. We converted the first crib to a toddler bed and only got the twin bed when my oldest boy was ready. And if Arlo is happily sleeping in a crib and contained nicely then I would not mess with that! We also had a spare room so we moved all the toys into the smaller of the two rooms and made that the playroom and then had the beds and book shelves and clothes in the other room. This allowed us to have daytime/nighttime zones, or even for the older one to play while the baby napped. And sharing the bedroom gave the kids opportunity to bond, we only needed one rocking chair, book shelves etc.

  • KIle

    This may sound crazy, but when we went from 1 to 2, we gave our oldest a double bed. She would have stayed in a crib, but the double bed was FANTASTIC. Instead of reading in a rocker (which was in the baby room) we read together in the big bed—all four of us sometimes. It was also our guest room bed when we needed it. As for changing diapers, I moved the changing pad to the baby room and set that up. For my bigger kid, I just had a basket of diaper and wipes in her room and usually changed her on a towel on the bed. It was only a short time before she was using the toilet regularly, so that worked a-okay. For bedtime, I put the baby to sleep EARLY (my doc said 6 or 6:30 is ideal) and then had some time with the bigger kid after that and the tuck in routine stayed mostly the same.

    • Aimee Swindall

      My son was almost 3 (2 yrs 9mo) when my daughter was born. We needed to move him upstairs, so the nursery would be close to our room, so we decorated his fun new big boy room about 2 months before my due date. The best thing we did was give him a full sized bed that’s low to the ground. Plenty of room to snuggle, and read books, or even for one of us to go sleep with him if needed. We have books in both rooms, and do bedtime separately, because baby goes to bed at 6:30, and he goes to bed at 8/8:30.

      However-I would not rush to transition him out of his crib just yet. There’s a huge difference between a toddler that just turned two, and when they are about to turn three. It’s really incredible how much they grow up in a year! I would really push it as long as you can, even if that means buying a second crib.

  • Nicole Roe

    You are getting some great answers! We have three kids rooms with three boys and a 4th on the way. The two oldest share and always have, the toddler has his own with a crib, glider and a daybed and the baby will have all three as well. The crib will be a mini crib that once the toddler is out of the big crib we will switch and one of the gliders can transition to another room when that time comes. I’ve always had a daybed in the nursery and use it often.

  • Nicole

    Great questions! I transitioned my little girl to a bed before my son was born. She had only just turned 2, but she had no issues! We also mover her rocker into the babies room, and then we just did story time in there with both of them. Once she had the extra space in her room we got more book shelves. As for the changing table, we moved that into the babies room as well, and then we would just change her there when needed, but we also potty trained her pretty early so didn’t need to do that for long.

  • Amanda

    Our son is 14 months and we’re due with #2 this fall, making them 21 months apart. We bought a whole new bedroom set for the current nursery before our son was born. Crib, dresser and a nightstand. This bedroom set will last him until he leaves the nest and takes it with him. One and done as the crib converts to a full size bed! We’re doing the same thing for baby #2, and they’ll also have it for years to come too! I’m a Mama who needs my sleep and my son was sleeping in his crib by 5 weeks old and absolutely LOVES it-still. And he’s slept through the night since he was 3 weeks old! (I know, he’s a rare breed and I’m SUUUUPER blessed). So I def don’t want to push the issue of transitioning him yet. I’m not ready to ruin a good thing! lol. My son’s room has a glider which we will put in the nursery when baby’s here. Now that he’s older I don’t use it nearly as much as I did when he was an infant. If he woke more during the night to nurse it def would have been used a lot more. We have a 2 story home with 4 bedrooms upstairs and the playroom on the 1st floor. So we spend almost all of our time downstairs, but have floor changing stations in his room and downstairs. And yes to bookshelves in both rooms! Can’t ever have enough of them around! 🙂

  • Krista

    I transitioned my 2 years old (who is a day younger then Alro)! Into a big boy bed at 23 months. We did this so that we can use the crib for our future 2nd baby. It wasn’t easy at first as he now has the freedom to escape out of bed in the middle of the night. It took about 3 weeks to finally have him staying in his bed all night and back into his normal routine.

    We are going to be potty training soon, I hear boys take much longer with potty training then girls. We wanted to deal with the bed transition first.

  • Elizabeth

    My daughter was a little over 2 and a half when my son came around. We transitioned her to a big girl bed before we was born. She was climbing out of the crib anyway! We used her bed (a twin but with my son we went to a full and it’s so much better for bedtime/kids needing to be cuddled in middle of the night/spare guest space) to lay and read books to her at night and kept our rocker in the baby’s room.

    we Kept diapers in the baby room….by then my daughter was too big for a changing table anyway and we just kept her diapers in her own room and changed on the bed or floor in there for her. And each kid’s toys were mostly in their own room with others spread throughout the house!

    Bedtime got multiplied by two…we did same routine for each kid but my husband and i split it up…one parent per kids. We both worked full time back then so it was our time to spend with our kiddos!

  • Sophie

    Hi (from France)

    i think it’s easier when you only have one bedroom, because you don’t have to think about all this 😉

    You may think it’s better for both child to have their one room but they love to share this space.
    And bonus you can read both child a book at the same time.

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