Newborn crying at nightq

basilcatNovember 9, 2003

Hello. My husband and I have lived in a 38-story high rise apartment building for a year and a half. Our one-bedroom apartment is great -- extremely spacious for what we pay with all of the extras that make life so much easier. However, the building is terribly constructed, so noise has always been an issue for us. We've grown accustomed to constantly hearing our neighbors moving around or talking or watching television, and only ask them to keep it down when we feel it has become excessive.

Unfortunately, our next door neighbors just had a baby about a week ago. They live in a one-bedroom apartment, and their bedroom wall is shared with our bedroom wall. They put the baby's crib right next to this shared wall. As babies are wont to do, this one cries all through the night, so not only are the parents kept awake, we are as well. We've already rearranged our bedroom so our bed is now against the wall furthest from theirs, but this didn't help much. I know babies will be babies, but I'm very frustrated by the fact that I'm not getting much sleep! My husband and I have made the conscious decision not to have children, and I am angry that their decision is having such an impact on my life. I am hesitant to complain to our neighbors or to management because noise from babies and children is often viewed differently than noise from adults. Other than moving our bed into the living room, does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with this situation? Thanks!

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    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 3:16PM
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Oh gosh...does that take me back?! I'm sure they are so overwhelmed they don't have a clue that it is affecting you.
I've spent a lot of time in apartment living so I understand. It is not easy, but that comes with the territory. Bottom Line, unless the crying is excessive, I would not say a word, other that congratulations and thank your lucky stars that there is a wall between the noise that does tend to muffle it a bit! Good luck...they eventually grow out of the fussy stage and sleep through the night.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2003 at 7:56PM
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In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing you can do about your situation.

What do you expect your neighbors to do? Babies cry, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. If you are feeling courageous, you might ask them to move the crib to a different wall. But in all likelyhood, that won't help much. You will still be able to hear it.

One of the reasons apartments are affordable, compared to single family homes, is that they make very efficient use of space, i.e. shared walls. The newer the aparment complex, the poorer the acoustic insulation in the walls.

You might think about adding a layer of insulation over the wall. There are probably some products out there designed for this that might not look too bad. Cork, or something like that.

Or, you could move to a single family home or retirement community that does not allow children.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2003 at 5:26PM
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Try getting a large floor fan and leave it running all night beside your bed. It should create enough "white noise" to help you out. This is what I did in college and in all of my apartments. I have even heard of people turning on a tv to a "static" station all night. Don't think that I would like that, but I know some people that have used it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2003 at 9:16AM
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You were probably a small child once-upon-a-time.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2003 at 5:30PM
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I don't think I do discriminate. We all have to live together, including children.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 2:51PM
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geez, the poor kid is only a week old!

It'll get better, and it'll get worse.

Time to move, if the walls are that thin and the presence of a baby bothers you that much.

cmlawrence is right on the money. Babies cry, and there's nothing ANYONE can do. Except of course react when they DO cry, thereby calming them, but it still takes some time. They don't come with "off" switches.

Sleep deprivation is a unique kind of torture, and you do have my sympathy.

I'm sorry about the resentment you have that you're being impinged upon by someone else's choice to have a child. But it's not fair of you to feel that way (human and understandable, perhaps, but not fair). When YOU were a child, you did your own share of impinging on the world, in ways you probably don't even know about. And THAT, not your current adult lifestyle, is why you (and I) have to put up with children in the world--because we were ones.

You can move (as SAG1 did, thank GOD!!!) somewhere there aren't very many kids, or where the walls are thick enough to shield you from them. But you can't ask them to cease existing.

I think you're very definitely within your rights to ask your neighbors to move the crib away from the wall. Won't help much, but you certainly deserve to ask. (I wouldn't have put it against that wall, for just this reason.)

And all the other masking techniques might be valuable in the meantime.

But if the walls are really that thin, it's time to move.

because while that kid will sleep through the night pretty soon (3 months, usually), its lungs are only going to get stronger. And its temper is only going to get worse. And if you can't summon up goodwill for a ONE WEEK OLD INFANT, you will NOT have any temper left once a one-year-old has an earache or throws a temper tantrum.

Of course, another possibility is that, since they're in a 1BR (are they?), your neighbors will soon move. Or if they're in a 2BR, they'll move the baby to its own bedroom in about 2 more months. If you can hold out until then.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 3:23PM
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I don't think cmlawrence ever implied that you did NOT have a right to choose to live somewhere that doesn't has kids--if you notice, he/she suggested our original poster consider that.

I think cmlawrence was simply pointing out the irony of your "detesting" something that you yourself once were. And you don't get any personal credit for not being one anymore, y'know--you're not somehow BETTER or less destable than a child just because the inevitable biological processes forced you to "grow up."


    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 3:29PM
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SAG1 - you write "Stop discriminating against people who choose to be childfree" BUT in another forum "Grandparents Forum" to be exact you start a thread about your "MIL scaring your kids". So which is it? Do you have kids or not?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 3:31PM
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Interestingly, the neighbors who live below the new parents complained, as they were being kept awake by the baby's crying and the parents walking around (it seems the mother wears wooden clogs on the hardwood floors) all during the night. The parents have agreed to take the baby into the living room when she cries at night. This seems perfectly fair to me.
Thanks for suggestions, such as earplugs and creating white noise. I actually picked up a white noise machine and it does help a bit, not just with the baby, but with other noise as well.
cmlawrence -- regarding your suggestions, while I agree there isn't miuch I can do, I would just like to state that the building we live in, though an apartment building, isn't "affordable" compared to single family homes (unless you consider $3200/month for a one-bedroom affordable). We chose to live here because we are only in Boston temporarily, and it is supposed to be one of the best (rental) buildings in Boston, and for the most part it is. We also inquired about children when we moved here and were told there are very few in the building, which is true, we just have the bad luck of living next door to one! Fotunately we are only here for another 6 months, while my husband completes his residency, and we will be purchasing a home once we move someplace permanently. If we stay in Boston, we'll definitely be purchasing a place in one of the old buildings that are remarkably well-built.
And, for the record, I don't dislike children, although I don't at this point want any of my own. I just don't like being kept awake by my neighbor's child. And I don't really understand why someone would have a baby while living in a one-bedroom apartment (they said they have no plans to move) when they could certainly afford a two-bedroom, even paying the same amount of rent as they are now in this building if they sacrificed their view. Ah, well, who am I to impose my opinions on other people?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 5:05PM
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This thread is not about you. It's about basilcat. Of course you have the right to not live near children. Please, move as far away from children as you possibly can.

Basilcat has chosen to live in a place that allows children. My post was only to point out the practicalities of that situation. What you chose to do or not to do doesn't concern me.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 5:14PM
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It's basically impossible to find a place that doesn't "allow" children. This is because of the Fair Housing Act which makes it illegal to discriminate against people with children. As an attorney, and a human being(!), I completely support this. But as an attorney who has lots of work to do, I really want my sleep!! And, at the age of 30, I'm afraid a retirement community probably wouldn't be feasible. I just wish people would be more considerate of others, especially when sharing a dwelling with others. But here I go again -- giving the "perfect world" scenario.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 5:25PM
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So, what is up here? ... Posted on the Grandparents Forum:

"MIL scaring the kids
Posted by SAG1 (My Page) on Sun, Jun 16, 02 at 18:35

I am at my wit's end. My MIL is scaring my kids, not just mine, but the nieces (my SIL's kids). Every game to her is Halloween. Some of the kids like it, but she gets too rowdy at times, and the littler ones get scared. I have talked to my husband about this but he says his mother knows what she is doing. The mother is a widow. "

    Bookmark   November 12, 2003 at 6:26PM
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Basilcat wrote: "the parents walking around (it seems the mother wears wooden clogs on the hardwood floors) all during the night. The parents have agreed to take the baby into the living room when she cries at night. This seems perfectly fair to me. "

Wow, CLOGS? on HARDWOOD? at NIGHT? I'm with you--those measures seem PERFECTLY reasonable to me--I guess I'd just assumed these people DID take the baby into the living room (if only so that ONE parent could still sleep). Ah well, they've only been doing this for a week or two; maybe they'll get smarter.

If their rooms are as large as you indicate yours are, they probably DON'T need a second bedroom for a baby. Not for a while.

And if you do stay in Boston, MOVE! And in fact, the fact that you can hear so much of your neighbors' lives while paying SO much money morally ought to give youteh right to break your lease. Probably doesn't legally, darn it!

Hope it gets better quickly.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 10:42AM
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Yeah, the clogs thing really cracked me up! I just don't know what people are thinking sometimes! And yeah, the fact that the building is so poorly built yet they charge a heck of a lot of money for rent gets to me a lot if I let myself think about it. We complained A LOT to the manager a few months after we moved here (there was also a huge construction project started shortly after we moved in that they didn't tell us about -- one that included lots of jack hammering or something on the exterior of the building!!), and he said we could move if we wanted to, but it's difficult to find a lease for less than a year, and since we won't be here much longer it just didn't seem worth moving all of our crap and our poor cats. However, I have to say that the other conveniences of living here come close to making up for the noise factor. And I like living in a great part of the city, being able to walk to most places, and being very close to my office and to my husband's hospital.

And regarding the baby, last night was the first night since they came home that I slept through the night! Looks like they're holding up their end of the bargain. Yay!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 4:34PM
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Sag1- Glad to see you back winning friends and influencing people.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2003 at 6:05PM
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Yay for a good night's sleep!

And maybe also you're getting used to hearing the baby fuss--you know what the noise is, and that YOU don't have to make her happy, so you can sleep through it, or go back to sleep w/o truly waking. you know how it goes--noises you recognize are ones you can ignore. (though that "comfort the crying baby" thing is definitely hard-wired in; that's a hard noise to ignore)

oh, and you probably shouldn't be surprised that they don't want to move, given that you don't want to uproot anycat and love the location, etc.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2003 at 1:55PM
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get a fan yes, run it nightly all night.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2003 at 5:17PM
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This has helped me- a really big quilt, hang it on the common wall. It muffles sound and is decorative. Take 2 Tylenol PMs and you won't hear anything-

    Bookmark   November 21, 2003 at 2:37PM
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yow! you guys are vicious over here. Im going back to the homebuilding forum. The big decorative balnket or rug sounds like a good idea though.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2003 at 4:53PM
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Go to Walmart and get a sound machine. Its about $15. worth every pennny believe me. Made by Conair. Plays any sound you enjoy. Sounds of thunder storms...ocean waves..chipping birds..rain on a roof etc. I have it on all night and is so good in fact that once I didnt hear the fire alarm when it went off. (false alarm - thank goodness) Drowns out car horns..motors running and so on.........U will like it after the trial.
good luck - hope this helps. Rusty

    Bookmark   December 31, 2003 at 8:52PM
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Landlords CANNOT discriminate by not renting to people with children. I believe it is a federal law. They could have been more honest about your proximity to someone who was expecting!
The quilt and "White Noise" machine appear to be the only solutions. We live in a condo and are amazed we cannot hear any sound from the next door unit, which abuts ours! And we are grateful! I hope your problem gets solved soon.
I had three infants that cried for 8 months, almost 24 hours a day. I dislike the crying so I empathize with you. annieil

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 4:59PM
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