"Suddenly my child is waking several times a night?"
"My baby has started protesting at bedtime!"
"He looks tired but he refuses to nap now."
Do you have a child that used to sleep perfectly, but for reasons unknown to you he seems to have hit the 4 month, or 18 month or 2 year old sleep regression (ever notice that every age group gets labeled with the word "regression" behind it)?
Obviously, you are not alone in dealing with a sleep regression—trust me or I would not be writing about it! Sleep regressions are unfortunately normal, even for the children of a sleep consultant. Yes, I know what you may be thinking, but it does happen with my own kids too!
Sleep regression is normal, but knowing how to deal with it gets sleep right back on track.
Here are the 3 top signs to look for if you are wondering if your child is experiencing a regression, and answers to help get their sleep back on track.
He needs lots of help to fall back to sleep.
Perhaps your little one used to blissfully fall asleep once his bedtime routine was complete. You could give him a cuddle and a kiss goodnight and he'd be off to dreamland, but for some reason now you need to rock him endlessly, try to feed him, or give him a pacifier, trying for a lengthy amount of time to help him fall asleep. This may show up just at bedtime or it could happen during a night time wake up.
Always make sure that your child is put in his crib or bed awake at bedtime so that he is able to fall back to sleep on his own. If he becomes dependent on an external item ("sleep prop") such as feeding to help him fall asleep, it is likely becoming a habit at some point.
By falling asleep awake, he will develop the skill to self-soothe to sleep. Keep in mind that there are a variety of ways that you can support your child in falling asleep without the use of a sleep prop! It is best to find a method that works best for you, your family and, most importantly, your child.
Sleep trouble without signs of illness.
I can still remember my son waking for three consecutive nights every few hours well past after he had been sleeping great for months! He did have a bit of a cold and a few ear infections that winter so I was certain that this was the culprit of the wake ups. I quickly found out that nothing was wrong. What? How did I miss this? You can imagine what was going through my mind – this is WHAT I DO. So with no signs of illness and no signs of teething, I had to support him with getting back on track with his sleep and since he had great sleep habits already, it only took a few nights!
If you ever have any questions or concerns about your child's health, always get it checked out by your Doctor or Pediatrician. It is always best to be sure and you can always get the good sleep habits back on track.
Poor sleep habits have become the new norm.
Have you been suffering for weeks, months or years? Is the last time your child slept well through the night a distant memory? This is when it is always so important to check-in. Very often I find that parents understand what is causing the sleep regression to occur but they are at a loss for how to get things back on track.
There are a couple of things that I know for sure. First, children can begin to sleep well again by implementing good sleep habits even if it has been a long time—they CAN overcome a sleep regression and it is never too late.
It's never too late to improve your child's sleep habits.
The first step is recognizing that the current sleep habits are no longer working well to provide your child or you with the proper rest that you need and then doing something about it. This usually means getting back to basics by implementing a solid bedtime routine every night, making sure that your child is not dependent on sleep props, and realizing that the benefits of having a child that is well rested is incredibly valuable to their overall health!
Sound of Sleep Consulting