As a new mum we learn pretty early on that we wear many hats. We are responsible for the emotional, nutritional, physical and neurological development that they are going through. Hot on the lips of most new moms is the dreaded sleep regressions. What should we expect from sleep regressions? When do they hit and how do we find our way through them?
4 to 6 months
Your baby could very well be waking every 2 hrs overnight at the moment. The reason for this is a change/ maturing in sleep cycle. Prior to the sleep regression your babies sleep cycle ran 4 to 6 hrs overnight, and has now cut down to 2 to 4 hours, mimicking that of an adult. The good side to this sleep progression is that it reduces your baby’s risk of SIDS. Accumulated sleep debt during this time can leads to shorter naps during the day, often with tears between them. If you have picked up on your baby waking every 2 hours at night, then it might be time to start working on self-settling & resettling overnight. Here are some tips:
- Try to settle baby to sleep in their cot. Where your baby falls asleep is where they will expect to be every time they wake between sleep cycles.
- Aim for an earlier bedtime. Over tired babies wake more often overnight.
This sleep regression is usually associated with some form of separation anxiety, and new ways of movement, whether is be rolling around, leopard crawling, bum shuffling or even proper bi-lateral crawling itself. By 9 months your baby has moved onto 3 meals a day and dropping their late afternoon nap, AND experiencing separation anxiety. Here are some tips:
- Have a calming & consistent night time routine and sleep schedule.
- Keep your wind downs before naps and bedtime in a non-distractive environment.
By one, their cry is louder, more distressing, and are as headstrong as ever. They don’t want to follow through with their night time routines, they don’t want to stop playing with their toys and have to nap. These little beings know precisely what they want, and even more so what they do not. This is a real nap and bedtime challenge. It is now a case of channelling that energy into something calmer, and healthier before nap time. Be firm, consistent and emotionally prepared for Tantrums. They are going to happy, especially if they are overtired.
By now baby has transitioned to toddlerhood and only napping once a day. Your tot has enter yet another round of development with separation anxiety and language explosion at its peak. Here we find frequent night wakings of prolonged periods and catnapping during the day.
- Do not drop your morning nap too soon.
This sleep regression is seen in the shape of bedtime refusals and super early rising caused by skipped naps, separation anxiety, inappropriate wake and bed times. More likely than not your toddler has also been moved into a big boy/girl bed and feeling the pressures of staying in bed without the physical barrier of positive confinement. It is however pleasing to know under the age of 2 ½ your toddler does not yet hold the emotional maturity to steadily do so. Do not move your toddler into a big kid bed below the age of 2 ½ years of age. Here are some tips:
- Swap to a big boy kid bed closer to 3 years old.
- Keep napping
Pediatric Sleep Consultant