I feel a mix of feeling blessed and super proud of myself. Since my first child and the relentless months of sleep deprivation I was pertified of going back to that same dark and lonely place. It took me nearly 4 years to decide on trying for a second child. My mum kept telling me it’s ok to have just one child. But as one of four, and seeing my first become the social butterfly desperate for friends we knew we wanted to add another to our family. I was adamant I wouldn’t fall into the same bad habits - The ones I did to survive relentless sleep deprivation; At that time any sleep was better than no sleep. It was a matter of just do what ever it took to get through it. It was dark and isolating. I was reading about sleep, talking about sleep, begging anyone with kids for advice. I knew I couldn’t go back there.
So I am proud that I managed to get my second child sleeping from day one. I worked hard at teaching her healthy sleep habits from the moment we brought her home.
And then we hit 8 months!
We seemed to skip past the four month regression with a mere whimper in the night.
But this?!!?..... feeling a little deflated that all that hard work has been in vain. I am needing to remind myself what I tell all my clients.
A regression is only an issue if the bad habits stick around.
I always ask clients what was sleep like before the regression? This short phase won’t stick around. And so long as the good sleep habits were there in the first place they will return.
So I have to repeat this to myself…. over and over. This is just a phase, we will get over it!
How do you survive the sleep regression I hear you cry out!??!
Here’s a few tips on how to get through it and have healthy sleep on the other side.
1.ENSURE ITS NOTHING MORE SINISTER
Is there a fever or illness? Teeth? Dirty nappy? Although it’s easy to blame anything on teeth or illness I would never recommend working on sleep if a baby is sick. Once through the teeth or sickness then address what’s happening with their sleep.
Do you feel anything has changed in the room they sleep? Noise, temperature, comfort? Remember the benefits of black out blinds and white noise to make the perfect environment to sleep in.
3. SCHEDULE An inappropriate schedule is often the cause of night disruptions. If bub isn’t getting enough sleep, or maybe too much sleep, or stretching wake windows too far you will see baby fight sleep and have unsettled nights. Read our blog on Over and under tiredness here
4. PROTECT THEIR NIGHT
By this I mean offer a super early bedtime if needed. In doing so they are less likely to wake overnight. Bring bedtime forward to ensure they don’t go to bed over tired. Missed naps can be a disaster for their night.
5. TRY TO STAY CONSISTENT Often sleep can feel a little chaotic during a regression. Stay confident and continue your predictable routines. Avoid rewarding early rises or changing nap schedules more than 30minutes from your normal times.
5. OFFER COMFORT BUT AVOID BAD HABITS Your baby may struggle with sleep during a regression. A little extra TLC may be needed, and that is ok. Comfort them but try to avoid introducing habits that you have previously avoided/broken.
6. PRACTICE A sleep regression occurs at a time of great developmental PROgression. Although I hate the pressure some people add by saying worry not mamma its a PROgression (it sure doesn't feel positive or progress at the time!) but there is truth behind it. Sleep regressions usually coincide with big developmental milestones like rolling, crawling, talking, walking etc.
6. SELF CARE Most important of all; look after yourself. This sleep regression, like all others is temporary. They are short lived but hard to live through. Take a break, ask for help, have a bath or a walk or whatever gives you the break you need.
And remember the better the sleep habits the easier it is to come out the other side. Till then caffeinate and get through your day ... that’s my plan ;)
And the good news is… 10 days of sleep disruption and she suddenly went back to sleeping fantastically. I ensured I changed very little. I made sure I supported her additional wake ups, I tended to her and supported her upset.
It was tiring. I laugh as 10 days of disrupted sleep felt like torture… I did 10+ months before I made any successful changes with my first born! How I survived that I will never know!
For now, my perfect little sleeper is back. And with that I will celebrate… with a long nights sleep!
Night x x x x zzzzzz