Aah Sleep regressions, the 4 month sleep regression, the 8 month sleep regression, the 18 month sleep regression…how many are there?
Are you wondering what to look out for with a sleep regression or how to get through one?
What if I told you there was no such thing as a regression with sleep?! ; )
You’ll hear the term sleep regression batted around the parenting world and what it basically means is that a little one’s sleep has got worse than it was – things seem to have slipped backwards and thus the term regression.
However, the sleep not being as good as it was is actually the effect of the problem, not the cause.
The cause is your little one reached a developmental milestone, they leaped forward in some way. Maybe in brain development or physically even emotionally or socially, in some way, they have grown and developed and I’d actually say, PROgressed.
As your little one makes this kind of progress with their development, inevitably their sleep needs change too. Of course, we don’t need to nap like a newborn our whole lives do we? And as your baby grows, his or stamina increases, he is able to be awake for longer but still needs to get the right amount of sleep at the right intervals. It’s constantly changing as they grow!
The reason this PROgress causes a worsening effect with sleep sometimes is because we rarely know what to do to accommodate our growing baby.
No one tells us how much we need to increase their wakeful window by each month or how long they ought to be sleeping for and how many times per day and, even if they did, there are so many nuances to consider with each individual baby including their little character traits which can deceive us. They don’t always tell us what they need in terms of sleep and we need to be in the know if we’re going to help them get the sleep they need.
Don’t worry, you’re not supposed to know everything. You can’t be an expert at everything otherwise we wouldn’t have doctors and midwives or teachers or dentists – if we knew the answers to everything for our children, we wouldn’t need any of these professionals. Sleep is a highly specialised subject, it’s complex, the solution for one is totally different to the solution for another (much like dental care), so don’t beat yourself up if you feel stuck or feel like nothing you try seems to work – you’re not alone, in fact you’re in the majority, most parents don’t know how to help their children to sleep better!
So how do you navigate these so-called regressions? Firstly spot the progression!
This is why they are linked to such milestone ages like 4 months, 8 months and 18 months – You’ll probably find a ‘regression’ for any age if you search but all it means is your little one is progressing in some way and they need you to help shift their sleep patterns in line with where they are now.
All you need to do to get through a ‘Sleep PROgression’ is to check in on how much sleep your little one ought to be getting and at what sort of intervals and if you struggle to get them to fit that rhythm or they’re already a bit over tired, you need to work on some topping up to replenish their sleep tank until they are good on the ideal sleep pattern for their developmental stage.
Sometimes a few small adjustments is all it takes, other times it can be more challenging to spot exactly what needs to be adjusted and that’s where having a pair of outside, expert eyes on things can make the world of difference.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments about the tricky patches you have gone through or find yourself stuck in right now! Can you see how it is a developmental leap forwards that is causing the sleep to slip backwards?
Try my tips and if you’re still stuck, help your little one to sleep better, sooner by reaching out to us for some guidance.
Don’t forget you can grab your copy of our Baby Sleep Guide to help your little one settle happily to sleep and sleep through the night > Get your here, it’s free!
AND, if you find this all totally fascinating like I did and you can see yourself with your own sleep consulting business, we’ve created a very special two-part training to get you started > Register for free here!