Ah, sleep. Precious, sometimes all-too-little sleep. If you're in the throes of the newborn weeks, you might be thinking longingly of your pre-baby life and all the Saturdays you used to sleep in. Or, maybe you're lucky and your little one is a great sleeper? Whichever way your particular cookie has crumbled, sleep regressions happen to most babies some time or another. And when they do, it throws the whole family for a loop. So if you're looking for some tips and tricks to surviving all the sleep regressions of babyhood, we're here to help.
Just when you think you have it all figured out, and your baby has started to sleep better, it all goes out of the window. Yup, sleep regressions are those wonderful periods which keep parental smugness in check, creating sleep thieves out of all babies. Technically, it's when babies are experiencing a lot of mental or physical change, and their sleep is disturbed because of it. And when baby's sleep is disturbed, so are the their parents.
The first sleep regression can hit at about 6 weeks, but the 4 month one is the first proper one that most babies experience. After the 6 weeks and 4 month regressions, you should look out for 6 months, 8-10 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years old.
Being a baby is tough! They learn, grow and change every single day and sometimes the sheer volume of things they are learning keeps them awake. That's not very consoling to you, who's been awake for what feels like years, we know. When babies are learning a new skill or their brains are growing super quickly, their sleep regresses. They can literally go from sleeping through the night one week, to awake every hour the next. It's rough!
So, as with many things, a sleep regression isn't about sleep. So this isn't the time to change anything in your sleep routine. Don't try to sleep train, but don't try to accommodate your baby by using a different approach. The easiest way to get through it is to keep it all the same. Your sleep routine helps your baby to know when they are expected to sleep. So just keep doing what you were doing before the regression. It might take longer, and baby will still probably wake up a lot at night. But we promise it will be over in a few weeks.
The worst part of a sleep regression is how absolutely you as a parent get! Our best advice for sleep regressions? Make sure you get extra time to sleep. Your sleep is as important (if not more!) than your baby's, so try to get into bed earlier during the gremlin weeks. Even accumulated broken sleep is better than none.
And, as is so often the case with these little darlings, it's all worth it in the end. When your baby has figured out how to roll over, sit up, stand up, walk or talk, it makes all the sleepless nights worth it. Well, most of them anyway.