Lil‘ Miss Taylor turned 10 months old! & she’s not sleeping… WHAAAAT happened?!

Lil’ Miss Taylor turned 10 months old on 8 April 2019, I almost can’t believe that she’ll be celebrating her 1st birthday in only two months! She has reached a few milestones and learns something new almost daily. BUT she’s also not sleeping!!! Whyyyy???

The answer, Sleep Regression.

What’s that you may wonder? Well, it’s when your baby was previously sleeping well, through the night or for a long period of time and then, all of a sudden, without a known cause (such as the big sleep stealers:  illness or teething), their sleep suddenly goes downhill. Gone. Weg. Kapish. What happened to my sweet, sleeping child?

Don’t worry you, and I, are not alone. Here’s the deets:

Sleep regressions can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks and often coincides with cognitive or developmental milestones.  Commonly sleep regressions tend to happen at 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years old.  I know! that’s a lot! But fear not my fellow mom, most children do not experience a full regression at each of these milestones, and as soon as they suddenly stop sleeping during those times, they suddenly start sleeping again as usual when it ends.

In my experience, this one is Taylor’s first real regression, before at the other milestones it was just a night or two, this time it’s now been about two weeks or so. For first time moms, or even if you have a big age gap and you have just forgotten, it can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when you think that they’ll never sleep again. Going through this now with Taylor I was reminded that Joel went through it too and it also peaked at around 9months of age, with him though it did last about two months at least, he then just as suddenly went back to sleeping well again and waking maybe once to breastfeed up until the time he weaned.

To give you a little more info on what to expect or why it’s happening, here’s what is likely to be going on at each regression:

6 weeks:  Newborns actually go through a series of growth spurts leading to increase hunger and fussiness.  Just think about how rapidly your newborn is growing at this age and how much she changes in such a short time! This all takes lots of work on your baby’s part.

4 months (can happen between 3-4 months):  I think that this as one of the hardest time periods and as a mom of a newborn often at this stage you wonder if you’ll ever get over it. But you will mama!   During this time, in addition to a growth spurt, your baby goes through a few bursts of brain development, increased awareness of her surroundings, and at the same time you may have just gotten over the experience of “The Witching Hour” – described as a fussy period that almost all babies go through. Witching hour tends to happen around the same time every day and most frequently occurs in the late afternoon and evening hours (5 p.m.- 12 a.m.) usually between weeks 2 – 3 and sometimes peaks around week 6, when your baby might be fussier than normal and difficult to soothe. Often it seems like baby doesn’t know what he or she wants. While this behaviour can be challenging to manage, it is important to remember that it is normal. The 4 month sleep regression because of this can seem to be the worst one because it often follows the witching stage.

6 months:  Some babies will be rolling lots by this stage and some may even crawl as early as 5 or 6 months.  Others wait until a bit later.  Whenever it happens, it can become a big sleep stealer where you may see your baby up on all fours in his crib rocking back and forth, just practicing and getting ready for his upcoming mobility.  Many babies also go through a growth spurt at 6 months so increased hunger can occur and result in a sleep regression.

9 months (can happen between 8 – 10 months):  This most often coincides with your baby’s new found ability to pull herself up to stand or confident crawling and exploring. It can also be an age where children experience their first big burst of separation anxiety.  While prior to this moment, your baby may not have cared whether you went out of the room for a few moments, now there is suddenly screaming when you attempted to walk away, even just to use the bathroom.  Bedtime is often the biggest separation that children have from their parents all day.  As babies go through this point in their development, they begin to realize that they are a separate being from their parents.  This often is the cause of sleep regression and baby wanting more closeness especially at night, if you’re breastfeeding it may mean more waking to feed and soothe.

12 months: Reaching the Walking Milestone! Some babies will walk sooner then 12 months, some later.  This regression can crop up about 2 weeks before you see any significant skills emerge.

Other times regression may occur is at 18 months and 2 years, usually in conjunction with talking and potty training milestones.

You’ll be relieved to know that sleep regression is usually a temporary and short-lived phase, the above are guidelines and it may be that you don’t even realize that the regression is happening until your child masters the new skill/ milestone and then you look back and think “So that is what was happening!”

For us, we’re in the thick of it right now, the 9 month regression. Taylor has recently learnt to crawl and is pulling herself up on her knees and will probably be standing soon. She cries when we leave the room, scratch that, she throws a tantrum when we leave the room (like face down on the floor and screams). She has even learnt to throw objects, off a table and around the room too. She’s also picked up some cute personality traits and imitations too, she bats and rolls her eyes, gets shy and hides her face, and knows who she likes or if someone’s a stranger. With it all comes the sleep regression in full force for this development milestone. She is waking more at night, to be fed but also to be close to me and be soothed. It’s a constant waking and drifting off, about every 2hours through the night. Bedtime is at about 8pm, she then wakes at 11pm, 1am, 3am, 5am, and wakes for the day at 7:30am. Most of the waking though is not to breastfeed more for hunger but just to suckle at the breast, it’s as if she snacking all night, and it’s tiring me out.  Her usual routine is bedtime at 8pm and sleep till at least 4am (sometimes 5am), breastfeed fully and go back to sleep till about 8am. Pretty good right!? Lately I had been pining for Taylor to please go back there, back to waking once. Well I am happy to report, she will, thankfully sleep regression is temporary, for now we do our best to get through it.

Moms and dads you got this! Do what works for you! But if you find yourself in the midst of a sleep regression, as I am with Taylor right now, and you’re in need of a few tips, you can try the following:

1. Respond by soothing your child but be careful not to create any new sleep crutches or falling back into old ones. For example I was very tempted to just put Taylor back in our bed, but I’m trying my best to stick to returning to her cot (which is next to our bed, so she’s still close by).

2. Remind yourself that this is temporary, you may need to reassure your child that you are nearby but that it is still time for sleeping.

3. Recognise that your child also is tired and frustrated with whatever developmental milestone is happening, it is also helpful to keep this in perspective.  It’s sure to be short-lived and baby, and you, will be back to sleeping soon.

4. Remember that you are not alone, it is very normal.

Happy sleeping (or not sleeping) moms and dads!

Please feel free to leave a comment in the section below, I would love if you shared your experiences on sleep regression or just let me know if reading this helped you as much as writing it helped me.

With love: Taryn – Mom over at 3Boys &a Lil’ Miss

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