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When you live in an apartment building, sleep-training a baby can be hard on even the most understanding neighbors. You can help ease any tension by being sympathetic, clueing them in to what's going on, and letting them know about your efforts to block sound (to the extent that you can).
Talk to your neighbors and explain what sleep training entails. Let them know how long they can expect it to last, and reassure them it won't last forever, even though it might feel that way sometimes.
Ways to make it easier on your neighbors
- Offer earplugs and cookies. Or give them a bottle of wine for their patience. In other words, let them know you understand this might be tough for them.
- Suggest they mask the noise with noise. Recommend a white noise app to help block the sounds. If it seems appropriate, you can even offer to buy them a white noise machine. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
- Move your baby's crib away from any shared walls.
- Buy door sweeps to cover the gaps under your doors.
- Cover the vents (which can funnel your baby's wails straight into other apartments) with magnetic vent covers.
- Hang heavy moving blankets or foam padding on shared walls to absorb sound.
- Position heavy furniture, such as dressers or bookshelves, against shared walls. This can help buffer the sound between apartments.
- Consider a quieter sleep training method. The fading or no tears methods typically involve less crying.
Tips from our site parents who've been there:
Offer cake and sympathy
"Bring your neighbor a cake and explain the situation in person with your baby on your hip. I doubt you'll have problems if you explain and bring over a peace offering."
Communicate what's going on
I would talk to [the neighbors] and explain that the crying is a temporary thing. I think it is best to try to stay on good terms with your neighbors. If they know that you are not ignoring them and are trying to remedy the situation and taking into account their feelings, they will probably be willing to put up with more as you sleep train your little one.
"Try a different sleep method or [have your baby sleep] in a different room. Bring a peace offering to your neighbor with earplugs and an apology for the noise."
Let your building manager know
"We live in an apartment complex. I called the clubhouse to let them know when we started sleep training so if there were any complaints they would know why."
Win them over with smiles and a positive attitude
"I would apologize to the neighbors to try to smooth things over, and also smile and hand them ear plugs. Lighten the mood. It's kind of like when you get on a plane. No one wants to sit next to the people with the baby. I always stand up and smile and apologize to everyone around me in advance for any crying that may happen on the plane, and let them know I'm doing my best. Lots of smiling. Everyone relaxes and smiles back.
Get help for other challenging sleep training scenarios
- Sleep training your baby when he shares a room with a sibling
- Sleep training your baby when your parents don't agree with your approach
- Sleep training your baby while traveling