Sleep regressions are like the pop quizzes of parenting. Just when you think you've got a good thing going, your entire schedule (along with everything you thought you knew about your well-behaved baby) is thrown off track with constant wakings and refusal to sleep. They happen to every baby with varying degrees of "severity," but, like pop quizzes, they're always inconvenient no matter how prepared you think you are. If your baby is on track for a sleep regression (the first usually hits at about four months) there are some questions to ask your pediatrician about sleep regressions that might help you do more than just survive it.
Although sleep regressions are unpredictable by nature, talking to a professional, who has likely seen more than a handful of babies just like yours experiencing the same thing, can help give you some clarity and direction. You can't really do much to prepare for a sleep regression, but your pediatrician can at least tell you what to expect (no sleep) and when to expect it.
Think of the doctor visit like your extra credit to prepare to the inevitable test your parenting skills will go through when you baby experiences a sleep regression.
1When Can I Expect Sleep Regressions To Happen?
If you've done your research, you've likely come across a wide variety of sources claiming to know when sleep regressions happen. And though there are certainly children who follow the "schedule" better than others, talking with your pediatrician about your baby's developmental patters and their past regressions may help them predict when future ones will happen.
2Should I Change Our Regular Schedule During A Sleep Regression?
It's tempting to panic and throw out your usual routine when your baby isn't sleeping and none of your "tried and true" tricks are working. Speak with your pediatrician before you do that though — they may have some insight about the value of routine, even if it isn't seeming to help.
3Will My Baby Have Other "Symptoms?"
Many people confuse sleep regression as an illness or, on the other hand, miss symptoms that suggest their baby is actually sick and not having a regression in sleep. If you're unsure of which your baby is experiencing, your doctor should be able to clear things up.
4Is A Sleep Regression The Same As A Growth Spurt?
According to the Baby Sleep Site, this is one of the most common questions parents have regarding sleep regressions. Clearing the air about just why your baby isn't sleeping and if it really is a growth spurt can help you take the best steps to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
5How Will Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding Affect The Regression?
Regardless of how you're feeding your baby, it's bound to be affected by a sleep regression. Your pediatrician can give you tips for how to cope, especially if they're waking more often to eat at night.
6How Long Do They Last?
Each baby is different, and so there's no set in stone answer for how long a sleep regression will last, but chances are, your pediatrician has seen their fair share of sleep regressions and can help give you an estimate for how long you'll have to endure it.
7Can I Do Anything To Help My Baby Sleep Better?
As a parent, your first question will probably be about what you can do to ease your baby's discomfort or sleeplessness. Your doctor can tell you the best methods for helping both you and your little one get through it all.