Did you know your baby will go through three major sleep regressions during his or her first year of life? I bet you didn’t think about that when you first wanted to get pregnant: Sleep regressions, what now? Yes—this is true and I’m here to share what has helped me and friends of mine survive these exhausting periods of sleep regression.
What is sleep regression?
First, let’s discuss what sleep regression actually is. A sleep regression is exactly what it sounds like—it’s when your baby or toddler may have been sleeping soundly through the night, but then regresses back to suddenly waking up at night or protesting naps. Most commonly you will see these regressions around the ages of four, eight and 12 months old, and can be explained by cognitive and gross motor advances. Now, with that out of the way…
How do I survive a sleep regression?
The only thing you need to do for “regression survival” is to have a clear and simple plan between you, your partner and any caretakers you have. More importantly, everyone needs to sticking to it! I cannot stress this enough: Consistency, consistency, consistency. Just in case you didn’t get that: consistency is key!
So let’s get back to your plan. Your plan could look like this: Simply do a quick check on your baby if they’re crying or playing in bed. Pat them on their back, provide an extra snuggle and then lay baby back down. This is the most important thing: lay that baby back down. Do not continue to entertain them or go back into their room. This will only stimulate your baby and make for a long night, like the worst kind of party that you wish you weren’t invited to.
If your baby continues to cry, then give him or her some time to settle on their own. I had a friend recently who went through this with his seven month old. After coaching him, he finally stopped going back in his baby’s room—and guess what? After only two nights, his baby went back to sleeping on his own through the night. That baby may have wanted to party, but his parents did not want to be invited to his party—hence—sleepy time.
The only exception when you should go back in the room is if your baby is sick, teething or learned a new milestone like standing, and doesn’t know how to get back down yet. If the latter happens, go in, lay them back down, say nothing at all and just go back to bed. I went through this with my son. It happened a few nights, but then once we practiced a few days of going up and down on his own, he mastered the skill and boom! Regression no more—and no more midnight parties!