Sleep is the unicorn of every new parent's life; mysterious, allusive and not necessarily a real thing you can have. Not to say that you never get a decent amount, you just get it inconsistently for various reasons. One of those reasons is the dreaded sleep regression, which is why sleep regressions are easily the worst part of parenthood (if you ask me, anyway). Just spend a moment typing "sleep regression" in your search engine and see how many times the phrase, "the dreaded sleep regression" appears. Trust me when I say that parents fear the inevitable sleep regression for good reason.
I've always been a night owl and, to me, waking up early means setting the alarm for some time before 9am. I would love to say that parenthood took the night owl right out of me but the truth is, even now, I tend to be more productive after 10pm. My affinity for late-night hours became a real problem, however, when sleep regressions hit. I just couldn't force myself to fall asleep earlier, despite knowing I needed the rest.
My son was one of those classic "amazing sleeper" types for his first four months of life. Then a sleep regression hit and he's been a crap sleeper ever since, thanks to teething, a few colds, and even more sleep regressions. He was such a tease. I think that probably happens to a lot of parents; you start out thinking it won't be that bad, sleep-wise, and then you get smacked upside the head with regression after regression until you're ready to raise the white flag just so you can get an extra hour of shut-eye, somehow. So, with that in mind, here are 11 reasons why sleep regressions are the worst part of parenthood (as if you even needed convincing).
For the first two years of each of my babies' lives, it seemed like it was just one sleep regression after another. By the time they're toddlers, you're so exhausted you almost lose sight of the fact that it's all those fun new skills they're acquiring that ends up disrupting their sleep.
Seriously, every time a sleep regression would hit, I'd be racking my brain, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with my kid. Then I'd Google what I thought were symptoms, and nothing would come up (well, except certain death, because that's the answer for any symptom you type into Dr. Google, isn't it?). Eventually I'd stumble upon something mentioning ages for sleep regressions, sit back in my chair and say, "Ohhhh. Sh*t."
I'm not sure why these don't exist yet, because every mother I've ever met has talked about needing one at some point or another. Mombies (zombie moms) are a real thing, people. We put milk in the cupboard, and place clean dishes in the freezer.
It's hard enough when you're at home, trying to take care of the kids and the house, but trying to function at work when one of these regressions hit? Yeah, I quit. I'll be productive when I start getting more than two consecutive hours of sleep again.
This is just from what I've heard, but yeah, sleep regressions basically mean all bets are off when it comes to sleep training. Did I mention how happy I am that my kids both co-slept with us?
You may want to scream, you may want to bury your head under your pillow and ignore that child of yours, but you just can't. It's part of the developmental process, for most kids, and you just have to suck it up and put one exhausted foot in front of the other.
This is only an issue if your kid doesn't do well with teething. Naturally, neither of mine did, so it was really just one thing after another and I loved every single moment of it. (No I didn't. I cried a lot and ate mountains of chocolate.)
This is often just for the babies in daycare or with older siblings. My first child didn't get sick until she was almost a year and a half old. My second was sick at four months, and eight months, and 13 months and, well, you get the picture. Between the teething, the illnesses, and the sleep regressions, I basically didn't get more than five hours of sleep a night for the first two years of my kids' lives.
If you search eight month sleep regression, you will also find nine month sleep regression and possibly also a 10 month regression, too. Basically, that kid can f*cking regress at any given time and just like they don't have any control over it, neither do you.
If you look up sleep regressions on Dr. Google, you'll see they can last anywhere between one to four weeks. What the ever-loving crap is that about? I can understand a range of a few weeks, but a whole month? Bullsh*t, kid.
If you used to wake up early to get dishes done, or use nap time to shower, those days are over, my friend. My favorite sleep regressions are the ones that have the baby waking up every 15-20 minutes throughout the evening, while you're trying to decompress or read a book or watch a show or just, you know, get some sleep yourself.
The one good thing about sleep regressions? They only happen during the first few years of your kid's life. So batten down the hatches and ride out the storm, because it will come to an end. Eventually.