As our children grow up, they go through several phases, and one of them, unfortunately for parents, is sleep regression. They just change the script and the routine so quickly that it can leave you groggy and exhausted!
What is sleep regression?
Sleep regression is very common around four months, but there are a few periods when children will be developing, and sleep takes a hit. The average sleep regression will last between 2 and 6 weeks. During this, your child will be adjusting to a lot of their growth, and a new sleep cycle will come into play.
There are usually additional milestones that happen at the same time, like rolling over, sitting up, and more awareness. All of the fun stuff happens at once!
Sleep regression is caused by children going from a two-sleep cycle to a 4 one – just like an adult. There are more occurrences of the non-REM stage – which is why they wake up.
How can you handle sleep regression?
No matter what kind of parent you are, from feeding on demand to a strict routine – consistency is key here. While the time of the naps might differ, try to keep to the same things you usually do. Feeding babies to sleep, reading them to sleep, or going for a walk. Whatever it is that you do with the baby as they drift off – stick to it.
When it comes to their bedtime, try to keep that at the same time because that is how you and the baby can keep some familiarity in the sleep situation.
Your baby is crying because they are tired but fighting sleep, and you’re tired and crying because you need sleep too. It is very common to feel frustrated when you are exhausted, and nothing seems to help.
However, no one can go to sleep when they are stressed or upset – including you. So, pay careful attention to the environment you are in and keep it soothing for you both.
Calming music, snuggles, and dark surroundings can work wonders. Getting the room can be tough in the summer, so blackout bedroom blinds are likely to be your best friend.
During sleep regression, other milestones are happening, and a growth spurt is likely in progress or on the way. You might find that adding an extra feed can work wonders to help your baby settle in the evening. Smaller babies can’t ask for an extra feed, so you’ll have to read the cues.
Do you have a friend or a grandparent who is waiting in the wings for the chance to spend extra time with the baby? Sometimes the best thing to do for yourself and for your baby is to take a nap while they help for a few hours in the evening. They’ll be in trusted hands, and you’ll be able to get some much-needed zzzz.
And remember, like all of the most difficult stages, sleep regression will pass (although it might come back a couple of times until they are out of the toddler stage!). Lack of sleep impacts both adults and children, so working on getting the snooze is important: The Impact of Lack of Sleep in Children – Lukeosaurus And Me.