The first night of my son's life was spent right next to me, in our hospital room, skin-to-skin. We co-slept up until the day my son showed interest in sleeping on his own, about a month or two before he was a year old. While our sleeping arrangement worked best for my family, I can tell you that it made sleep regressions a damn nightmare. Thankfully, I identify as a "lazy mom," and figured out all the ways lazy moms handle sleep regressions. While it was the absolute worst and my partner and I were exhausted and those regressions felt like they'd never end unless I died, I almost guarantee my lazy mom hacks at least made those moments manageable.
Your kid will probably undergo at least six sleep regressions before they turn two years old. They'll have one at 6 weeks, one sometime between 3-4 months, one at 6 months, one between 8-10 weeks, one when they turn a year, one at 18 months and one when they turn two. I mean, you might as well just forget about getting into a steadfast "routine," because the moment you do your kid will regress and it's back to square one (although I do suggest getting in a sleep routine, because it will save you). When a sleep regression hits, the best thing you can do, in my opinion, is be lazy about it. Sure, you can try sleep training, but that requires so much work and when you're already exhausted, I say roll with the punches (or roll over and go back to bed and let someone else handle the punches).
The most important piece of advice this "lazy mom" can give you, is this: take care of yourself. Sleep regressions are hard on your child, yes, but they're hard on you, too. If self-care is considered "lazy," then please, be the laziest mom there ever was. Make sure that you are getting enough rest to stay healthy (both physically and mentally) and if the following things every lazy mom does during a sleep regression can help you achieve that, go forth and be lazy, you sleep-deprived mom, you.
They Let Their Kid Crawl Into Bed With Them...
I know I'm supposed to try and assist my kid in choosing to stay in his own bed, and I probably could if I got up and carried him into his own room and stayed there with him until he fell back asleep but just, like, no. I'm sorry, but I want to stay in my very warm bed and under my very nice covers and next to my human furnace of a partner, so if the kid wakes up in the middle of the night and hops on it, that's where he'll stay. Yes, even if that means I'm getting kicked and punched and woken up multiple times in a night, because at least I get to stay in my bed when that happens.
...Or Just Decide To Sleep In Their Kid's Room, On The Floor
When I end up feeling really determined, I will go into his room and help him back in bed, but I probably won't make it out of his room and back to my bed, either. Nope. I am going to curl up next to his toddler bed and lay down and "pretending to sleep in order to help him sleep" will quickly turn into, "I'm just going to sleep right here on this floor between his uncomfortable toys and the wall."
Definitely Call In Reinforcements...
When the sleep regression gets really bad, I'm asking for help. Whether it's my partner or my mother or my best friend a few hours away that clearly needs to drive down so she can sleep with her adorable "nephew," it's happening. I am too "lazy" to put this all on me. Nope. Not happening.
...And Kick Their Partner While They Sleep To Wake Them Up And Tell Them To Handle It
Which is why I am not above kicking my partner until he wakes up, then groaning in some sort of zombie-like motion until he gets the hint and gets up to go get the kid. This is a partnership, after all, and I'm all about my partner pulling his weight. After all, a recent study said women physically need more sleep than men so, you know, science.
Buy All The Coffee...
I have invested in so much coffee, I might as well own half of Starbucks. I mean, it's ridiculous.
...Because They're Not Going To Fight It. Sleep Is Gone, Now.
However, purchasing coffee and other caffeinated products is much easier than sleep-training my kid, so this is just the way it is. I am not going to time out cries and go in his room then go out of his room then go back in his room. I mean, I'm exhausted just typing all the steps you have to go through in order to properly sleep train your kid. Nope, I'll just roll with the punches and drink three cups of coffee in the morning.
Research Sleep-Hacks And Then Try Them All
If things are really getting dire, I will try my hand at some easy-to-find sleep hacks, in the hopes that my son will sleep for longer periods of time. I definitely won't have the energy to force the issue, but sometimes branching out and trying something different (like using some weight noise or establishing a sleep routine or trying lavender baths before bedtime, etc) can help.
Isn't Above Taking Naps During The Day...
Of course, if you're a mother who works outside the home (or even in the home) this might be difficult. I'm not one for promoting a George-falls-asleep-under-his-desk-at-work on Seinfeld type situation but, you know, if the shoe fits.
...And Is All For Sleeping Instead Of Cooking/Cleaning/Answering Emails/Whatever That Involves Being Awake
Yeah, sorry, but during my kid's sleep regressions, the laundry didn't always get finished and the dishes didn't always get washed right away and dinner wasn't always cooked from scratch and I don't think I vacuumed once. To be fair, neither did my partner, who shares in all of those responsibilities and who was just as exhausted and therefore, as lazy, as I was. Sleep trumps household chores. Scratch that; sleep trumps everything.
If Their Kid Pees Their Now-Shared Bed, They Put A Blanket Over The Wet Spot And Go Back To Sleep Because Screw Late-Night Laundry
Look, I'm not saying I have done this but, really, when it's in the middle of the night and you haven't slept in over two days and your kid wets the middle of the bed, you're totally going to put a freakin' blanket over the wet spot and roll over to the edge of the bed and call it a damn night. Again, not that I've ever done that. I mean, no way. Not me. Nope. Uh uh. Never.
Pretend It Really Isn't Happening, Until Their Kid Starts Sleeping Through The Night Again
Denial. Denial denial denial denial. I'm not saying don't be aware that a sleep regression is occurring. Obviously you want to pay attention to what your child is experiencing, to make sure that it's a normal developmental phase and not a serious issue. However, when you are convinced it's a sleep regression, just put that fact out of your mind and pretend that it's already over. Put one foot in front of the other, sleep whenever and wherever and however, and before you know it, it really will all be over. I promise.