Are you anticipating a sleep regression causing yourself extra sleepless nights worrying about it? I get it!! Sleep deprivation is just plain awful , BUT the good news is, we can improve it and manage it by being kinder to ourselves and following some of S.T.G’s helpful tips below.
No.1 tip above all tips: Stop waiting for it to happen!!
Your child will potentially go through a few regressions during their first two years of life. Not all regressions will be experienced at the same level, meaning you may waste more time and energy worrying, only for your child to regress for one or two nights or maybe not at all! Thinking too much about whether a sleep regression may be just around the corner is enough to send our sleep deprived selves into a spiral of negative thoughts. This creates unnecessary anxiety and adds a lot more pressure, to our motherhood journey.
No.2 Know that it is actually a progression. I know, this doesn’t change potential sleep disruptions coming your way, but it may help you to feel a little kinder towards your mini sleep thief, knowing that it is actually a positive sign of growth and development! A regression is when cognitive and physical or emotional changes can disrupt a child’s normal sleep pattern. It can be experienced not at all, for a couple of days or nights or up to 3-6 weeks. A regression can occur or be triggered alongside a change of environment, illness, growth spurt, separation anxiety or other routine changes and they can be extremely frustrating and exhausting. Hold onto the fact that they are temporary disruptions, and this too shall pass!
No.3 How is your baby falling asleep? If your baby is needing a bounce, rock, feed or a dummy to sleep or to stay asleep? If this is the case, they are likely going to need much more of this when they go through a regression. Working on helping your baby to learn the skills to settle and resettle will allow you offer support to your child through these periods rather than needing to assist them. If you’ve sleep trained previously, you may need to do it again. It may have been a while since you’ve had to use any methods to help your baby to fall asleep, and it may feel frustrating to spend so much time waiting for baby to settle, but it really is effective in ensuring you do not get stuck assisting in ways you do not want to continue. Soothing tools that take away from some of the manpower needed, such as white noise, comforter and positive sleep cues such as a sleeping bag and a darkened room can really help!
No.4 check your baby’s sleep needs are up to date. Are they having adequate awake time or too much? Are they getting more or less day sleep than they require? Are they needing to start the process of dropping a nap? Recommendations for each age requirements are found on our Instagram page, so please check it out if you are unsure. If you are going through what you think may be a regression, once you know that it is not a scheduling issue, you will not need to change your whole routine to accommodate a baby who is not sleeping as well as they were before. Your consistency in your approach is the most secure thing you can offer your baby at these times.
No.5 Routine is your friend! The easiest way to stop the second guessing is to have a consistent and familiar sleep routine. Second guessing yourself can lead to lots of chopping and changing, often creating more sleep problems rather than reducing them. If your baby has started to wake during the night more than they were previously, give them some time in the beginning to see if they will resettle. Resist the urge to intervene too much if you were not doing it previously. If it’s nap refusal you are dealing with and they still need them, offer those naps even if they don’t actually fall asleep for a few days. Try to give the refusal as little attention as possible. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real mums and your baby soon learns that when they are asleep, others are not! If you experience this, you may just have to bring bedtime forward to help them to cope with extra tiredness, which is a better solution than becoming part of a new sleeping crutch! Sticking to a consistent bedtime routine will help, especially if your baby is experiencing some changes in their little lives or separation anxiety. Extra attention during the day and especially before bedtime can help them to feel more secure at night.
Bottom line is a sleep regression isn’t fun for anyone. Know that it is normal and that it will end when given the time. Stick to your normal bedtime and sleep routines, which offers your baby the reassurance to get back to sleeping well again. If it’s just too overwhelming and you are feeling lost, find someone you can talk to, get some help from family or friends or hire a sleep consultant to help. Seriously mums, we don’t want you to experience a regression any harder than you need to, so if you are unsure on how to tackle it, please hit us up! At S.T.G we have bucket loads of tools to share with you and plenty of support to go with it!
Hang in there, beautiful mums and know that this, too, shall pass.