One of the most difficult parts about the baby stage are regressions. We were all happy to survive the four-month sleep regression, but now at six months, Ailey is going it again.
From the time Ailey was born, she followed a nice schedule of sleeping for three hours (or a little more) and waking only to dream feed every night. I was never exhausted in the mornings because I felt that I slept well between feedings.
When Ailey turned four months old, her sleep schedule went out the window. Last night was a doozy, so bad Brandon and Annabelle slept with sound machines in the guest room. I’m waiting for the sleep regression to end. The pediatrician suggested I cut out soy and dairy from my diet, but Ailey seems to be in it for the long haul.
What is a sleep regression?
A sleep regression is a step back from the normal sleep schedule. Whether it’s a change in nap-time, or a disruption in nighttime, regressions can occur any time and last 1-4 weeks. Our pediatrician says they can be triggered by teeth, travel, or illness.
Since this isn’t our first rodeo with a little one who just doesn’t like to sleep, I feel like I can offer some tips for surviving a sleep regression. It’s important to note that Moms (and Dads) are more affected by regressions than babies are. WE are the ones who lie awake after a screaming fit, waiting for the next to begin, while the little one rests peacefully.
Tip 1: Use a Velcro Swaddle
My favorite swaddles are the Nested Bean and the Halo SleepSack. Ailey’s arms have to be constricted at night because she scratches her eczema when she is frustrated/gassy/overtired. The Nested Bean was perfect for her when she was small, but she grew out of it around 4.5 months. We use a Halo SleepSack Swaddle every night.
Tip 2: Stick to a Nightly Routine
Every book and pediatrician on this planet will tell you that babies like consistency. I find it hard to stick to a nightly routine when our baby is screaming before her normal witching hours, but it’s important to not give up.
We are guilty of being go-with-the-flow parents when we should really be more strict with our nightly routine. I notice a difference in Ailey’s behavior when we don’t let her rule the roost.
Of course she does anyway…
Tip 3: Try a Sound Machine
Sometimes babies need constant white noise sound to sleep at night. Both of our daughters can sleep without a sound machine, but sleep better when one is running. If you’ve never used one and are experiencing a sleep regression, it can’t hurt to download a sound machine app for free.
Don’t Give Up.
Usually, you’ll have a great night before it all goes downhill again. Whenever I think she is back to sleeping well, she is up every 2 hours to prove me wrong. Always be prepared for the worst and never let your guard down.
Don’t get mad at the baby… and don’t be afraid to ask for help from a family member …or night nurse. I’m going to ask for one for Christmas next year…
Our pediatrician made sure I understood that it’s not Ailey’s fault she can’t sleep (like I thought she was screaming on purpose). Whether its gas, an allergy, teeth, illness, or travel that caused a disruption in her sleep pattern, try not to blame the baby.
I know it’s hard in the middle of the night to not want to scream, but save it for the next morning when she’s finally asleep and do it into a pillow. TALK ABOUT YOUR LACK OF SLEEP… conversation is a form of therapy and can help you feel better. I feel like a madwoman 75% of the time, but having my friends and family to talk to helps.
If you’re in the trenches of a sleep regression and want to join me on Team No Sleep, grab the most comfortable t-shirt by Cruz and Co here. The Momma who runs this Etsy shop has two little boys who keep her up at night, so she made the cutest shirt for Moms in the same boat.