If your house is anything like ours then sleep is a precious commodity. Craved, savored and a blessing from the Lord. I love my sleep and love when my children sleep well.
Sleep is not something that comes easily to babies…
Whoever said “sleep like a baby” did not have children and experience a sleep regression.
I had to encourage and train sleep into my two children. So, it’s frustrating when those dreaded sleep regressions hit (and they will hit even the most perfect of sleepers).
With baby #2 I have found a way to overcome a sleep regression with 3 easy steps.
Our Sleep Regression
Blake was never a bad sleeper but he wasn’t great at putting himself back to sleep so we had to sleep train him.
It was challenging when he hit sleep regressions because I hadn’t established a good routine and “rules” for sleep.
When Raelynn arrived I knew I wanted to encourage sleep and self soothing from the start. The steps I took worked perfectly and she was self soothing almost immediately.
Raelynn was sleeping 8 hour stretches and self soothing by 2 months but that quickly changed.
Two trips back to back was all it took to put an end to our 8 hour stretches.
We found ourselves back to newborn days of waking every 3 to 4 hours. Right after she turned 2 months we took a week long youth group trip. The following weekend we took another youth group trip.
Both trips caused Raelynn to hit a regression causing frequent night waking, trouble self soothing and short naps. I was afraid I was going to have to sleep train my previously sleep conditioned baby.
I told you I love my sleep! So it makes me sad when regression hits and I feel like I’m taking steps back.
I buckled down and got serious with sleep and ended this regression in 3 easy steps within a weeks time.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a doctor or sleep professional. Any and all statements and suggestions made are solely my opinion and experience. Consult with your doctor/professional before attempting any suggestions.
I made sure once we got back home from our trips that we established a routine again. It really helps for babies and toddlers to know what is coming next in the day. They like predictably and having some sense of control.
Routine allowed for naps in her space and bedtime to occur the same way every night.
She knew what was coming by the nap and bedtime routines. Both of these routines combined with our Eat, play, sleep routine help her know what was coming next was sweet sleep!
Pacifiers to Prolong Sleep
I love pacifiers!! They are one of the greatest baby inventions. I gave Raelynn her pacifier when I laid her down to sleep as part of our sleep routine.
Inevitably it would fall out her mouth while she is sleeping and she was usually able to self soothe back to sleep.
During her regression I found that when she woke up at the 4 hour mark she would sleep longer and extend the sleep cycle if I gave her a pacifier. I kept doing this for nighttime and nap time sleep and it conditioned her to start connecting sleep cycles independently.
Her nighttime wakings began to diminish and her naps went from 40 minutes to up to 2 hours!!! Praise the Lord!
Finding and Sticking to Her Sleep Window
With Raelynn, I learned that every baby has a specific wake period and sleep window (a concept that was foreign to me with Blake).
The wake period varies with baby and age (Raelynn’s at the time was around 1 1/2 hrs. from the time she wakes). If I waited too long, then she was overtired and didn’t fall asleep as easily.
I had to pay close attention and time when she would start showing her sleep cues of yawning,rubbing her eyes and getting still.
Once I saw these I started jotting down the time span from when she woke to when she needed to be put down. Putting her down at her sleep window worked wonders! She was sleeping better and longer without a fuss.
Results in Overcoming a Sleep Regression
After continually implementing and sticking to these three things on top of her normal sleep “rules” she was able to sleep 8 to 10 hrs. straight!
Once she started getting more routine and longer naps she actually started sleeping more at night.
It took almost a week of sticking to my plan but the regression ended quite painlessly. Through it all she was still able to use her self soothing techniques and only needed the occasional pacifier reinsert.
I’m so thankful we are over this regression and back to quality sleep. Until the next regression or teething bought interrupts us.
***Update: Since writing this post Raelynn hit her 8 month sleep regression while being sick and teething all at the same time. I followed these steps (and the sleep training methods) and had her back on schedule within a week.
She is now almost 18 months old and sleeps all through the night, transitioned to one nap easily and is sharing a room with her big brother. And I credit her wonderful sleep to good sleep practices and routines that have stood the test of time!