With the expectation of a new baby, everyone can get caught up in the excitement of adding a new person to the family — even the other little members of your clan. Once the baby is born, everyone is basking in the specific joy of a newborn honeymoon, when everything is peachy and all feels right with the world. But after the sun sets on that phase reality sets in, and with it comes some unforeseen issues. When you're in the middle of growing your family, no one tells you how a new sibling can cause sleep regression in your other child, but it is completely possible.
The age of your child when the new baby joins the crew can be an important factor in the probability of sleep regression happening; this goes for nighttime waking as well as nap skipping and shortened nap times. As the Baby Sleep Site explained, children around the age of two are likely to have disrupted sleep patterns in the midst of big transitions, such as a new sibling being born. If you notice this happening with your little one, you may want to take a look at how your interactions and quality time with your older child has changes since the new baby came along.
According to the website for What To Expect, regressions can have an underlying meaning, such as your child wanting more of your attention. A newborn can consume a lot of your attention, so fighting to stay up with later and hang with mama may have more to do with getting extra snuggles and stories and less about a serious sleep problem. The good news in, whether you're experiencing this situation now or anticipate this happening once your baby is born, there are steps you can take to make things easier on you and your little one.
If you have already brought your new bundle home and are seeing signs of sleep regression in your other child, Kids Health suggested talking to your kids about feelings this transition may bring up and reinforcing how much you love and value them. It's also a good idea to keep in mind that when kids are still too little to express how they feel with words, they often use behavior to act out. Having that understanding in mind will help you keep perspective when you feel your patience slipping away.
Want to take steps to avoid sleep regression? You'll want to start before the baby arrives. According to Parents magazine, laying some groundwork for the changes that are about to happen in the household can lessen undesirable responses from older children. In addition to explaining how a new baby will make things different for your family, hold off on any other transitions such as potty training or changing bedrooms, or starting a new preschool or school.
No matter what your situation, if your toddler is experiencing sleep regression, you can always bounce back. Aside from making sure your child receives plenty of one-on-one time during the day, make sure to stay consistent at bedtime, as Mayo Clinic suggested. Sticking to a regular routine around the same time each night will reinforce good sleep habits for you child. Most importantly, keep in mind that this is just temporary and you can get through it.