I'm a bit behind on answering comments and wanted to say thank you so much for taking the time to write me with your questions, concerns and supportive words. Kendal recently wrote me with an important question that I thought was worth opening up to any readers with other suggestions. Hope you don't mind Kendal!
Question: How do you deal with noise in a small space? We always feel like we're walking around on eggshells and the clatter of a fork in the sink while we're cleaning up dinner can seriously make or break our evening. It's the difference between the baby sleeping through the night and being up crying for two hours. We are having NO trouble with the space part of no space -- it's the noise!! And yes, she has a white noise machine! HELP! - Kendal
I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles in your small space and sleeping! Gah, sleep, isn't it everything right now??! I obviously can't tell you what to do, as each baby is unique, but here are a few ideas that I and other small space friends have tried that might be worth giving a go. In our case, we were spoiled with a great sleeper in Theo but are having more challenges with our second. She is very light napper and a small space with a loud brother is not helping. So I definitely feel your pain.
1) Ambient Noise - Put on music or the TV softly as baby is getting ready to go to bed so that any slight noises will be muffled by the ambient noise. If you always have some background noise (at least talking level) then unexpected noises shouldn't wake up baby. In my experience by the time you are ready for bed the ambient noise can be turned off without waking the baby.
2) Air Purifier - We have a large standing air purifier that we use sometimes to provide white noise in the kids room. I forgot we do this until friends' of ours mention that they do it as well in their two bedroom apartment to drown out their night time noise in the nursery.
3) Noise Machine App - A noise machine app on an ipad or phone can achieve some of the same goals as the air purifier. I would recommend one that doesn't have a timer or auto shut-off. I think these are a bit more controversial but I think anything that achieves sleep for all involved, can't be too bad. I know you mentioned having a noise machine but I would experiment with different sounds and types.
4) Adapt to baby - Along the theme that everything is a season, sometimes certain activities can't happen in the first hour or so after baby goes to sleep. We try to wait to do dishes after Mae is asleep at least an hour or two (even with ambient noise). This is not ideal, but we know it will get better when we can move her into her own (shared) room. This is the season where she is in our living space at night and it's not ideal, but we know it will pass.
5) Sleep Consultant - I haven't searched for a sleep consultant specific to small spaces but I know that I've always considered hiring one if things didn't improve with Mae's sleeping patterns. I think outside help from an expert can't hurt.
Any other tips and ideas to share?