I am going to start by saying I adore my child. She is perfect, a true bundle of joy. I do not, however, adore sleep regressions! Why is that a thing?! Why, as soon as my little one would figure out how to sleep, a regression was right there knocking on the door and seemingly screwing it all up.
Sleep regressions are a big hurdle to overcome, but the good thing is they pass. The overtired babies do figure it all out again and return to their normal sleep patterns. There are a few things to keep in mind, when you are up against your child’s latest sleep regression:
If your child is battling a sleep regression, chances are you aren’t getting enough sleep either, and that’s hard on you both physically and mentally. The lack of sleep might make you feel a little more short tempered, but the best thing you can do is take a deep breath and go with the flow. Go with the flow in everyday life, but especially when it comes to your child’s sleep right now. If your schedule allows for flexibility, let your little one sleep in a little later if needed, or put them down a little bit earlier for a nap.
Often with regressions, your child is losing out on sleep, so allowing them to make up some of that sleep when possible will prevent the overtired, cranky babies. Along the same lines, if your child is up much earlier than usual or refusing to nap…go with the flow.
If possible, make some small adjustments to the schedule of your day. You understand your little one’s cues and behaviors, and can adapt how you see fit, to maneuver through the regression successfully. With sleep regressions come a change in your usual schedule, so be prepared for it, don’t stress and be flexible.
Keep a Consistent Routine
While the schedule of your days may look different, because you’ll be living based upon your child’s cues and not the clock – keep a consistent routine. Keep things familiar and how you normally do them. If you always give a bath and bottle before bed, it is absolutely important to continue that. Your child figures out what is next in their day based upon the routine, they have no idea what the clock says.
If your routine is to have lunch and read a book before nap, that doesn’t change now. Now is certainly not the time to start messing around with what is familiar to your child when it comes to sleep and expectations, as they are already trying to figure out so much. Do what you normally do and patiently, with coffee in hand, wait for this regression to pass.
Sleep When You Can
Regressions can be so taxing on you too, not just your little one. If you need to go to bed early, sleep when the baby sleeps, or ask your partner to take over while you sneak off for a nap, do what you need to do to function. Sleep regressions require extra patience from you, and you can’t give that extra patience when exhausted and on edge. Never feel guilty for putting yourself first Mama, and sometimes putting yourself first means catching up on a little bit of sleep.
If you opted to sleep train your little one, continue to follow whatever methods you have used in the past. If you usually allow your baby a few minutes to work through a cry on their own, continue to wait a few minutes before intervening during a regression as well. If you usually have white noise, dark room and fan on – keep all of that the same too. You have created a sleep routine that has worked for you in the past and will continue to work for you in the future too, you just have to get through this regression.
Trust Your Gut
While the online experts may suggest to tough it out and don’t change anything about your normal sleep routine, you are Mom and you know best. If you think your little one needs to be rocked to sleep, and it isn’t something you always do, don’t feel guilty for doing whatever you think is best.
While so many sleep experts have opinions, and many have some very good ideas which can be a big help, you are the one going through the regression. This might be a time where you are simply in survival mode, and decide once you get through the regression you can re-sleep train if you choose that route, and re-establish the sleep routines you had set in place before.
Sleep regressions aren’t fun for anyone, not for you and not for babies. Unfortunately though, it’s part of the baby phase and a sign your little one is growing and learning. Regressions affect every baby so differently, you might notice a change in sleep patterns for a few days or maybe a few weeks. Either way, this too shall pass. Grab a coffee, sleep when you have the chance, and remind yourself that everything is so short lived in the grand scheme of things. You got this Mama!