No one talks about sleeping (and not sleeping) more than parents of babies and young children. Those precious creatures whom we adore all day turn into slumber hijackers once the sun goes down. And just to keep you on your toes, they drop a sleep regression on you once you think they've committed to sleeping a solid eight hours. When this common phase sets in, you may want to choose one of the sleep regression strategies that don't involve crying it out, because you have more than one card to play in this game.
Sleep regressions can happen at different points throughout early childhood, but are no reason to panic. As the Baby Sleep Site pointed out, nighttime habits change as your baby's brain develops. Although this phase of unpredictable sleeping habits can put a damper on your Zs, there are ways to get your little one back on track. Each parent feels differently about their baby crying it out. If this doesn't feel right for you, don't feel pressured to use this method. What works for your neighbor may not be right for you. Stick with your instincts and opt for a tearless approach.
If you're looking for alternatives to the cry it out method, give some of these nine ideas a try to help you and your baby get more shut eye.
1Start A Bedtime Routine
To mentally prepare your little one for bed, try some soothing nighttime rituals. As What To Expect's website pointed out, a bedtime routine is effective for ushering in sleep. Try a warm bath, reading books, and playing restful music to set the tone for dreamland.
2Focus On Quality Naps
As the website for Very Well pointed out, naps effect nighttime sleep for babies and should be considered in the big picture. When experiencing a sleep regression, take note of how and when your baby is (or isn't) napping and see if you can make adjustments with naps that could improve night sleep.
3Be Strict With Bedtime
Think of it as a bit Pavlovian: when the clock strikes 7 p.m., your baby starts yawning. Being consistent with bedtime is part of creating an effective routine for sleep, according to Baby Center.
4Adjust The Thermostat
Part of setting the scene for a peaceful slumber is finding the magic number, on your thermostat, that is. Typically, the sweet spot is somewhere between 65 and 70 degree for a good night's sleep, according to Parents magazine.
5Allow Them To Self-Sooth
Keep a close eye on your baby around bedtime and look for clues that she is sleepy. As Today's Parents reported, putting your baby to sleep drowsy, but awake gives her to opportunity to develop self-soothing skills. Then when she wakes in the night, she has some skills to call on to sooth herself back to sleep.
Want to be there to comfort your baby, but not interfere with self-soothing? Try gradually easing out of your baby's room. The website for The Bump suggested sitting on the floor by your baby's crib as she falls asleep, then every few nights move farther away from the crib until you are out the door.
7Make Daytime Stimulating
Use the waking hours to your advantage by keeping your child active. According to Mayo Clinic, "stimulation during the day can help promote better sleep at night."
8Offer A Pacifier
If your little one needs some help soothing, offer a pacifier as the Baby Sleep Site suggested. This worked great for my boys. One piece of advice: make sure there are plenty of pacifiers near the baby all night.
Even though it's not fun, sleep regressions happen. As What To Expect pointed out, try to remember that sleep changes are temporary. Don't get too worked up when these setbacks occur. As long as you keep up healthy sleep habits and stay calm, you'll make it through to the other side with flying colors.