Easing the Struggle With Sleep Regression
The sky is blue, the birds are singing, your outlook on life is completely rosy. Why wouldn’t it be? Your baby has been sleeping through or nearly through the night. You’re starting to feel more rested and alert. Nothing could possibly go wrong…until suddenly he’s not sleeping through the night anymore. Goodbye blue sky and birds, hello multiple nightly wakings and skipped naps. Your baby’s going through sleep regression, a normal process that all babies and toddlers experience throughout their growth. Here’s the why’s, when’s and how’s to deal with sleep regression in your baby and toddler.
The Four Month Transition
Around four months of age you baby decides she’s done sleeping all day like a newborn and starts to take on the sleep habits of an adult. This may mean shortened nights and more frequent daily naps. Or it may mean shorter naps and more waking during the night. Whichever way it happens, there will be less sleep all around which may cause more fussiness and a decrease in appetite.
Somewhere In That Six To Even 10 Month Range
This period of sleep regression is just because your baby has more important things to do. He’s learning to crawl, stand, and maybe even walk, all very exciting events for him and all things that he doesn’t want to miss any practice time for. He may also be filling his mouth with teeth, an uncomfortable situation for sure. With all this going on, who has time for sleep? Your baby definitely thinks he doesn’t. He may try to skip naps at this point and may wake more frequently at night, especially if teeth are coming in.
Around That First Birthday
Some babies try to test out the one nap a day routine around this time and most find that they’re just not ready for it. Instead of giving in to what she thinks is best, still try to coax two naps out of her because most babies just aren’t ready.
18 Month, Bring on the Toddler Sleep Regression
By this time most children are ready to or have already transitioned to just one nap during the day. That’s normal and okay. What is considered sleep regression is frequent waking at night and tired tantrums from trying to skip naps all together. Toddlers have a lot of things going against them and their sleep at this point. They are trying to become their own person with their own opinions. Your opinion that they need a nap doesn’t coincide with their opinion that they need to play. They are also discovering talking and getting those molars in. All of this stacks up to less sleep at night, frequent waking, and shorter naps.
Two Years and Beyond
A lot of things are changing for your two year old. She may be ditching the crib for an easier-to-escape-from toddler bed. There may also be potty training on her plate, a new sibling, and even nightmares or night terrors. With all these stressors, it’s no wonder she may have some trouble sleeping. With nightmares and night terrors especially you can expect frequent waking with trouble falling back to sleep. Toddlers also naturally shorten their nap times as they are able to stay awake for longer stretches.
How to Help Bring Back That Peaceful Sleep
The fact of the matter is you can’t avoid sleep regressions, they’re going to happen. But there are some things you can do to better navigate them so you can get back to those blue skies more quickly.
The best way to smooth a sleep regression starts with your newborn. Have your sleep schedule and before sleep routines down well before any of these bumpy periods. Make sure your baby is well versed in how to fall asleep on his own without help from you. This will decrease the number of times you have to actually get up during his multiple nightly wakings. Stick with your normal nap schedule even though he may try to resist one or all naps. Just go through the routine and eventually he’ll remember. It’s okay to adjust your schedule a little in order to get more sleep. You may have to start his bedtime routine earlier or allow him to sleep in mornings so that things don’t get too out of hand.
It’s okay to offer comfort, especially if your baby is extra fussy, but don’t break any of your previously set sleep rules. For example, she may need an extra nighttime feeding to compensate for those growth spurts, but don’t allow her to nurse herself to sleep or it will become the new normal and then you’re stuck.
Sleep regressions can last for awhile, sometimes a month or more. It’s a lot to ask of yourself to take care of this alone. Look for help from your partner, other family members, or friends. This will save your sanity and keep you from losing even more precious sleep. If the situation gets too crazy, look to your pediatrician for advice or a referral to a sleep specialist.
For added benefit, make sure your baby is comfy and cozy. Try using Kyte BABY Bamboo Sheets for their softness and cooling. Also, Kyte BABY Sleep Bags and blankets are designed to keep your baby safe and comfortable while fighting through any sleep regression.
Keeping a positive attitude and enjoying those happy awake moments will get you through any sleep regression and have your rosy outlook back in no time.