Menu
6 Tips to Create a Shared Bedroom for Big Sib and Baby

When I became pregnant with my second, we decided to give our boys the “bigger” room in our cozy apartment. The switch got my creative juice flowing, and my Pinterest board was on fire. I was so excited for our kids to share a room, but designing a shared space for a school-aged kid and a baby turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated.

The moment I brought in the first decorative item that my son didn’t approve of, I realized that I needed to not only consult with him, but also give him creative rights. That was challenge number one. Challenge number two was to create space for a baby while keeping challenge number one in mind! After all, while I would love to Marie Kondo all the toys, my 6-year-old son is simply not there yet. Challenge number three was to make it functional!

So with all that, I decided to save my sanity and enlist the help of my friend Sarah Bean to help make this small space welcoming, fun and functional all at once. As a children’s space designer and mom of three, Sarah was able to share tips that helped us create the perfect space for our family of four!

From getting a chair where you can nurse and read stories to putting the changing table in the closet, here are the 5 tips that Sarah gave me to create a room for big sib and baby will love to share.

1. Collaborate with big sibling. Involve the older sibling by collaborating during the design process. A child may have mixed feelings about a new sibling sharing their room. By including the older child, it can help them feel like they are a part of the change - not just feeling like the change is happening to them.

There are several brands that appeal to both children and adults. The selection of prints and posters at Fine Little Day is beautifully curated. Like we did with Oliver, let your older child pick his favorites. Bedding is another fun area for kids to help with. Pick a few options for your child to choose from so it’s not too overwhelming for them and to make sure you end up with something you like, too. Both Land of Nod and Natti Natti have great prints that kids love and parents will approve of. A collaboration between a child and the parents result in spaces that families can truly enjoy together.

2. Pictures speak louder than words. To create an environment a child can take pride in and ownership of, be sure to showcase their original artwork. Oliver is an amazing artist and builder. So we displayed some of his work as well as a few special LEGO creations. We also designated a space to hang artwork, which can be done easily with tape.

Of course we wanted Francis to feel welcomed too, and that was done by making sure a picture of Oliver and Francis is front and center. Always to hang those sibling photos!

3. Choose multifunctional Seating. Multifunctional seating is important in a shared room. Since the space will be used as Francis’ nursery, a comfy spot for Kaity to nurse was a necessity. We chose not to go with a glider in an effort to save floor space. Instead we went with an upholstered side chair, which can work in any room down the road.

The corner provides a spot to feed baby, and it’s also a great place to read books. We added a bright overhead light for that reason, and we put board books and picture books on shelves, placing them so that they’re easy to grab. Oliver’s chapter books, which he tends to read at bedtime, are closer to his bed. Speaking of books, wall shelves work great in a room pressed for space.

4. Save space. Utilize every inch of space. City living often means dealing with smaller apartments and the need to get creative with furniture positioning. In this case, it made sense to move the changing station and dresser into the closet instead of taking up floor space for the boys to play. This lets the room feel open, and believe it or not, it even maximizes the closet space. Having the option to close the doors is a bonus.

Another great storage spot is under the bed. We stored the majority of Oliver's toys under his bed. They’re in clear bins with lids so he can see what’s what. The lids will keep little pieces locked up, which makes it safe from baby brother! Keeping the toys under the bed also makes playing on the floor on a cozy rug easy.

5. Keep things within reach. As we organized the closet, we kept Oliver’s age appropriate needs in mind. His clothes are kept in the lower drawers so he can dress himself. Francis’ clothes were placed higher for mom and dad. Same idea with toys; the items Oliver plays with on his own are stored lower. Games and puzzles that are played with an adult went up top.

6. Function and Form. Nothing is permanent when living with kids - especially with multiple kids. The space around them will have to change as they do too. Invest in furniture that not only looks great but also can adapt as your little ones grow.

The Bloom dresser started as Oliver’s changing table and dresser before being just a dresser. And now that Francis is here, it’s back to its original purpose, as a changing table and dresser! Down the road when the changing station is no longer needed, the pad will come off, and it will be a dresser again. Francis’ crib, Bloom's Alma Papa, is slightly smaller than a standard crib, which is a huge plus for city living. But most importantly, the mattress can be at two heights, and the crib converts to a toddler bed as well, which can guarantee your littlest one a place to sleep until he's up to 4 years old.

Shop the nursery:

Crib: Bloom

Crib Sheets: Winter Water Factory X Bloom

Cloud pillow: Lorena Canals

Twin Bed Sheets: Land of Nod

Twin Bed Comforter: Natti Natti

Bookshelf Near Bed: Land of Nod

Rug: Lorena Canals

Eyes Pillow: Natti Natti

Dresser: Bloom

Hello Neon Light: Land of Nod

Pendant Light: Urban Outfitters

Rainbow Print: Fine Little Day

Eyes Print: Fine Little Day

Diaper Pail: Ubbi

Chair: West Elm

Trucks under crib: Green Toys

Donut Rattle: Chengoo

Geometric storage bin under shelves: Gautier Studio

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play