Sleep regression and how to survive this at every stage
Sleep Regression – One of the hardest things to deal with when you have children. We discuss why, when and how to survive.
As any parent of a young child knows sleep is precious and when you don’t get enough of it life is hard. This is why sleep regression can be so painful for parents.
What is sleep regression?
Just as you think that your little bundle has settled into a lovely routine, sleep problems appear and destroy it. This is where your baby will wake more frequently at night and some even fight or refuse sleep altogether. This phase (and remember it is only a phase) can last for a few days to a few weeks.
But sleep regression is not always the problem and you need to trust your instincts as a parent. If you believe that something else is the problem then follow it through with your GP or Health Visitor.
When does sleep regression occur?
The most common times for sleep regression to occur are 4 months, 8 months and 18 months. Although every time your beautiful baby learns something new they seem to have a sleep regression. I should warn you though, don’t be lulled into thinking it is only at these 3 ages that you get a sleep regression. It’s just not true. It occurs when they learn to roll over, start walking, learn new words and when they are teething. When you think every huge developmental stage has passed they start potty training and it starts all over again! But now it’s because they need a wee!
What should you do?
I am a firm believer in a bedtime routine, it’s worked for all of my children. You have to find what works for you. It could be a routine or it could be co-sleeping.
This is how it works in my house. We have our evening meal (they eat what we eat even my 15-month-old), then we have a bath, clean our teeth and a story. Then both boys aged nearly three and 15 months are in bed by 7 pm. Sometimes it’s easy, and they just go other times it’s like trying to wrestle a T-rex in jelly. The Important thing is that we stick to our routine and are consistent in our expectations. Anytime we have had a regression they eventually fall back into routine and life carries on by using this method.
How To Survive?
So, when sleep is limited or even non-existent, how can you possibly survive and get everything done that you need to. This could be work, getting your children to school, errands to run, food shopping and that is without trying to keep the house semi habitable!
The most important thing is to know your limits (yes mums, we have limits, even as brilliant as we are). So tuck your cape in your pants and accept that not everything is going to get done. Prioritize – The children have to get to school, you have to eat something but for one night could you just get a takeaway, and as for the house and cleaning this really is something that can take a back seat and it will all still be there tomorrow.
The second thing is to accept offers of help, whether these are from your mum, your partner or another Mum friend. This does not make you a failure as a Mum. It does not mean that you can not cope. It means that you are human and are at a difficult stage in your life and you need a helping hand and a smile.
This parenting thing is difficult and often stressful. It makes us doubt our abilities and instincts. We look for help and advice everywhere from google to amazon books. What we need is to find a good support network, this could be family, friends or Mums just like you!