Life is good when your baby starts sleeping through the night. You feel like you've finally crossed over the bridge from multiple night wakings to eight straight hours of glorious, uninterrupted sleep. Then your baby starts to backslide by fighting bedtime, waking at night — your dreamland is being hijacked. This is called sleep regression and (spoiler alert) it can happen multiple times during the baby and toddler years. But you're one tough mama who isn't going to give up on her coveted shut eye. All you need are a few ways to deal with sleep regression to get you through to the next phase, when you're child will sleep like an angel again.
I get it, inconsistent sleep patterns sounds like a total drag, and having lived through it multiple times, I'm living proof that you can come out on the other side of sleep regression still getting a good night's rest. By staying the course with your plan and having a few tricks up your sleeve, you can help your sweet little one learn to conquer sleep regression like a baby boss. And baby bosses sleep like champs.
Before you consider running off to a deserted island where no one can interrupt your snoozing, try out some of these 13 ways to deal with sleep regression that will help you stay sane when your baby wants to stay awake.
1. Stick With Your Plan
Just because your baby is showing some changes in sleep patterns doesn't mean you need to toss your bedtime plan out the window. As the Baby Sleep Site suggested, sticking with your routine will help keep your baby's sleep associations strong. Keep the same bedtime and rituals that you have had all along.
2. Stay Consistent, Even When You're Sleepy
Sticking to your plan has the same effect in the middle of the night, as it does at bedtime. If your child's sleep regression involves waking in the night, create and stick with a routine to help soothe them back to sleep, as Healthline suggested.
3. Utilize Transitional Objects
Does one glance at your favorite stuffed animal from childhood make you yawn? Transitional objects, such as blankets, stuffed animals, and pacifiers can help children self-sooth to sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
4. Try A Sound Machine
If your baby is fighting bedtime, crank up the ocean waves — or any number of soothing sounds. This portable gadget was a lifesaver for our family. My children were lulled to bed by white noise of a sound machine, and we took it with us when traveling.
5. Don't Over Think It
When your child isn't sleeping, that means you're not sleeping, which can send you down the rabbit hole of oh my gosh I need to fix this NOW. But as Today's Parents pointed out, even adults wake several times each night; babies do this too, and it just means teaching them some self-soothing skills, so they can fall back asleep on their own.
6. Don't Wait Until They're Asleep
In order to develop the habit of falling asleep on their own, Mayo Clinic recommended putting your baby to sleep drowsy, but awake. This way your little one can learn how to calm themselves and drift off to dreamland without help from you.
7. Spritz The Room
Don't underestimate the power of a little aromatherapy. According to Parenting magazine, spraying a relaxing scent, like lavender, in the baby's room at bedtime can help with the sleep process. If you don't have a spray bottle, a few drops on oil on a cotton ball placed near the crib or bed will do the trick too.
8. Stuff That Belly
As your baby's body grows, so does her appetite. If you think your bambino may be hungry at night, don't worry about offering an extra feeding, as the Baby Sleep Site pointed out. You may not have to do this forever, but it's one way to get through the current stage of sleep regression.
9. Check For GERD
Gastroesopheagal reflux disease (GERD) could be part of the reason your baby is waking at night. According to Parents magazine, GERD is often hard to diagnose in babies, and can go unrecognized. Which means if your baby is waking throughout the night, it could be due to the discomfort from GERD.
10. Adjust The Thermostat
As pediatric sleep expert Judith Owens reported for Baby Center, the perfect room temperature for little ones is between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust your thermostat to help your baby catch more Zs.
11. Give A Baby Massage
Who doesn't love a nice relaxing massage? According to Mayo Clinic, massaging your baby before bed can help him relax and sleep. This soothing rubdown can also help reduce stress hormones and help you two bond.
12. Put Them In The Bath
A warm bath is a common part of a baby's bedtime routine, but you may want to let them splash around earlier than you think. According to the website for Health magazine, a warm bath two hours before bedtime can help set your body temperature in motion for a night of deep sleep.
13. Remain Calm
The silver lining to sleep regression is that it doesn't last forever. 'Tis a phase, and it will past. Keeping calm will not only help you get through this rough patch, but also set the tone for your baby that nighttime is a calm and peaceful place to dream.