Sleep regressions are one of the cruelest tricks of nature that exist, right up there with having pumpkins only in season in the fall, and slugs. Think about it; before the glow wears off from finally being able to answer yes when someone asks, “Is your baby sleeping through the night?” you have to change your answer. That said, I think there are some good, and some not so good, ways to handle sleep regressions. Then, of course, there are the worst ways to respond to your baby’s sleep regression, some of which involve lots of bright lights, liquor, and shouting. (Just kidding. Sort of.)
Seriously though, I can honestly say that my son’s sleep regressions weren't that much worse than what any other parent goes through or experiences, they just felt worse because I had already tasted that sweet, sweet elusive mistress that is a full night’s sleep. In other words, of course parents will react when sleep is ripped from our fingertips. The regression I experienced around ten months was arguably the toughest, because it was also coupled with my many, many feelings about finally moving my son to his own bedroom.
Of course, every family’s different, but I think us parents can all agree that no matter what the circumstances are in your home, these reactions to a sleep regression probably won’t help all that much:
Crying And Screaming
I said worst reactions, I didn’t say uncommon. I mean, I’m pretty sure I shed some tears of frustration during my son's regressions, but it’s hard to know for certain since my whole memory of that time is one foggy mess. What I do know, however, is while refreshing and sometimes necessary, my own tears don’t make my baby fall asleep any faster.
By Going On A Breast Milk Or Formula Strike
“If you’re not going to let me sleep, I’m not going to let you eat,” is not something I’d ever recommend saying to a baby. (Or anyone, really, but especially a baby.)
By Going On ANY Kind Of Strike
Yeah, your baby probably doesn’t understand strikes. Even if they did, that’s not exactly a parenting approach I can get behind, unless we’re talking about teenagers and cars. I imagine that’s pretty different.
By Giving Up On Sleep Training Completely
I know, I know, this seems a bit dramatic. Seriously though, desperate times call for desperate measures. If you’re struggling that much, might I suggest smelling your baby’s head and opening their drawer of footie pajamas. Footie pajamas solve everything.
By Just Assuming That You’ll Never Sleep Again
You will sleep again, I promise. No really, you will. I can’t promise it’ll be soon, but it will happen. I know, at times, it seems like there’s no light at the end of this tunnel — like there’s no end to the 2016 election cycle — but you’ll get there. We’ll all get there.
By Not Being Kind To Yourself
We’ve all known people who seem to function just fine on little or no sleep. Or perhaps, we’ve even gone through spurts of being able to function on little to know sleep ourselves (shout out to summer camp 1999). However, that was then and this is now. Be gentle on yourself and to the best of your ability.
By Getting Mad At Your Baby
Oh, by all means, you can get mad. I just don’t recommend getting mad at your baby. It’s not exactly their fault, and an angry parent and a tired baby aren’t a good mix anyway. But yeah, get mad at your pillows, your comforter, your bed, whatever you need to that’s not a sentient being.
By Deciding To Just Become A Vampire
I mean, what better way to spend your new waking hours than to live like a nocturnal monster? I’ve read the Twilight series so I see the appeal.
Seriously though, I don’t recommend making any major lifestyle choices or changes while you’re dealing with a sleep regression, even the ones that don’t involve vampires. You can’t be totally responsible for your decision-making abilities at this time.