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Sharing the Nursery With an Older Sib

Ways to make a good fit if your new baby's going to share a room with your older child:

* Put the crib close to the door, if possible, so you don't have to disturb your older child when you come in for 2 a.m. feedings.

* Don't worry about a changing table if there isn't room for one. Instead, clear off the dresser and top it with a plastic-and-foam changing pad with curved sides (to help prevent falls). Use a terry-cloth cover that coordinates with the rest of the room.

* Place any toys or decorative items with small parts where the baby won't be able to reach them (once she's mobile).

* Fill a basket with teethers, rattles, and other items that are safe for your older child to give to the baby even when you're not around. Stress that anything else is off-limits. The autonomy will make her feel like a big kid -- and it might even save you a trip or two up and down the stairs if your older child can cajole her sibling out of a crying jag.

* Coordinate the crib sheets, blankets, bumper, and other baby gear with what the big sister or brother desires, whether you leave the room as is or redo it before the baby's born. Your newborn won't care whether her room is yellow, pink, or green with purple polka dots -- but your older child will.

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