Adjusting to life with a new baby can be hard. It’s also exciting and joyful, of course, but it’s important not to play down the challenges. Add to that the difficulty of bringing a new baby home to a small apartment with lots of neighbors in close proximity and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So, is there anything you can do to tame the anxiety?
While every family and housing arrangement is different, there are a few things you should prepare for when you bring your baby home to an apartment, and some best practices for handling the situation.
From long hours of crying to late night noise and the pitter patter of little feet, here’s what you need to know.
Crying babies are known to cause conflict between apartment tenants and their neighbors, even though a crying baby is the most natural thing in the world. Rather than let this issue create animosity, though, there are a few things you can do.
First, on your end, it’s important to avoid any kind of “cry it out” philosophy. Instead, respond to your baby’s needs before they have a reason to cry. Obviously, your baby will still cry on occasion, especially in the middle of the night, but if you’re feeding and changing them regularly, co-sleeping, and otherwise being attentive, your neighbors will be pleasantly surprised by what a calm, quiet infant you have.
As for other incidents of crying and neighborly disruption, there’s a good chance that your property manager can help. In many areas, apartments are required to have a certain percentage of floor covered with carpeting in order to muffle sounds, so be sure to ask your landlord about this if you have a lot of bare, hard flooring.
Or, if the flooring seems to be taken care of, consider asking about soundproofing options. Since your property manager handles tenant relations, including conflicts between neighbors, attending to these issues will make their job easier.
Good housing – soundproofing and carpeting and doors that shut quietly – can improve relationships with tenants, especially when a new baby comes home, but infrastructure isn’t the only tool you have at your disposal. In fact, rather than waiting for your landlord to intervene in any post-baby conflicts, make a point of building positive relationships with your neighbors.
When you proactively connect with your neighbors and create real friendships, or at least cordial connections, then you cultivate a type of consideration that goes both ways. You pick up the baby quickly, especially early in the morning on weekends, and the neighbors come home quietly or don’t start hammering at 8PM, when it will wake the baby. This is the difference between having neighbors who see your new baby as a growing member of a community, and those who see the infant among them as an inconvenience.
Growing Into Community
Speaking of growing into community, it’s important for parents to remember that noise complaints don’t stop when your child begins sleeping through the night – if anything, they escalate from there, as your little one becomes more independent.
That means recognizing that consideration goes both ways and will matter in the long-term when your young one wants to run through the halls or send blocks clattering to the floor. Yet again, these are going to be age appropriate behaviors, but they need to be done in the right place, like the playground, and not where they disrupt others.
Every child’s temperament is different, but the fact is that adults vary widely in this regard too, so if you find you have a neighbor who just can’t tolerate a crying baby, know that you’ll have to weather the storm.
Do what you can to keep the peace, but don’t expect your baby not to be a baby just so your neighbors never hear a peep.