I can’t believe I’m writing this, thinking about this, googling this YET AGAIN but I am:
I know the theory of sleep regressions…that they are a signal of progression. That my son will be experiencing marvellous developmental leaps. That previously alienated neurons will be finding ways of connecting.
I’m happier than anyone will ever know that this is all happening for him, I really am.
It’s just in the midst of these regressive visits, two things whirl uppermost in my mind:
- I am the only person in the world EVER to have a child that won’t go to sleep/stay to sleep, and therefore I must be fundamentally flawed as a parent
- My child will never sleep well again, which means that I too will never sleep well again
Yet when LJ does sleep well (which is most of the rest of the time) I would never presume to attribute it to my parenting. It’s just good luck.
LJ has been fairly textbook experiencing each sleep regression. So in an attempt to remember how far we have come, and also because this might help other people desperately googling in the middle of the night here is a potted history of our sleep regressions:
- Waking up every two hours to feed for two/three nights
How we coped: It was short. He made up for it in daytime sleep. We were lucky he wasn’t doing this for the whole first six weeks. And it all seemed part of the hideous magical newborn experience.
On reflection: I don’t remember this being fun to be honest. I was knackered. And away from home so it was just me doing the nights. But in a sort of hazy way I suppose it was alright. I did mention it was short didn’t I?
- Waking in the night for TWO hours every night for about 10 days.
How we coped: I’m not sure in all honesty that I did.
It was exhausting because of the wakefulness, but also because all I could think to do was feed him constantly to get him back to sleep. It didn’t work.
I could not work out what was happening or why. I was not familiar with sleep regressions at this time and I thought my life was going to be like this forever.
On reflection: Well my life obviously isn’t like that now, which is good. But this regression was the start of me becoming obsessed with sleep and anxious about every aspect of it. I wish I hadn’t let it get to me as much looking back, but we’re all so bloody wise in hindsight.
It was over the Christmas holidays and I have a memory that I think will become pleasant one day of Andrew and I wishing ‘Happy New Year’ at midnight to our very awake 4 month old.
This post by Mannlymama saved my sanity. I remember exactly the moment I found it, nodded along to all of, took comfort that she was a second time mum and so she knew it wouldn’t last, and then printed it out and kept it in my pocket to read when I was wobbling.
8, 9, 10 months
- I think this regression is supposed to happen at some point in those three months. I’m fairly sure LJ’s came about 8 months and stayed for all three.
- Lots of night wakings and comfort feeding. Long unsettled bedtimes. Separation anxiety in droves.
How we coped: I was still sure I’d broken LJ and found these few months quite stressful. My Babycalm teacher sent me unbelievably reassuring words of advice along with these articles on Normal, Human Infant Sleep:
On reflection: I can remember feeling quite desperate and I’ve got the email (subject: Help!) to prove it. But it does seem much more hazy than 4 months.
- Separation anxiety was the biggest factor in this one with bedtimes extremely hard work.
How we coped: We were old hands at this point. And LJ had finished breastfeeding so while we didn’t have that as a back-up, it also meant we could share the pressure point of put down time
On reflection: honestly haven’t even given it a thought.
2 years…aka right now
- LJ believes bedtime is a marathon
- He doesn’t want to be alone, and is seemingly a bit scared of the dark as well.
How we’re coping: I believe bedtime should be somewhere between a sprint and a short jog round the block so LJ and I are disagreeing.
No nap gives a peaceful, easy bedtime but an upset and angry afternoon. I’m not sure that this exhausting solution is fair on him or, longterm, very sound.
I don’t actually believe this is a sleep regression. I believe this is how my life is now. I will NEVER get to bed before midnight again.
If you are suffering through any of the above sleep regressions or anything else that upsets the sleepy apple cart (illness, teeth, holidays, heat etc etc) here are some pearls of wisdom:
- Don’t be too hard on yourself
- Your baby is not the only baby to go through these regressions
- Start consistently every night, ie continue the bedtime routine as usual. That way the base will be there for your baby/child to fall back on when the regression passes
- Bear in mind above point but look after yourself and do whatever you need to do to get through.
- If, in carrying out the above point, anyone utters the words ‘rod for your own back’ walk away
- However annoying it is to hear this from smug ‘been there people’ when you are about to collapse from tiredness and stress, remember that it will pass
If I could send a little package of sympathy, chocolate cake and a cup of tea through the internet to you right now I would.