Recently we introduced you to our guest writer, Trish Martin from Baby Coach. She provides support and advice for you and your baby. Last time she discussed how parenting isn’t a one way street. You need to go with what works for you and your baby (you can see that article here). Well today, she’s shining the light on sleep regression for us. Over to Trish…
Sleep regression (HICCUPS)
One of the main topics that is always talked about and compared to by parents is when your baby starts sleeping through the night.
The new found freedom of being able to enjoy a full night sleep without having to get out of bed, resettle or feed your little ones.
Then the dreaded time when all of a sudden out of the blue they have started waking up.
No apparent reason!
Nothing has really changed. Most call it sleep regression. However I call it sleep ‘hiccups’.
Regression has a negative feel to it. When we talk about sleep regression it sounds like a step backward. It’s not.
There are few reasons why sleep hiccups occur.
Your baby is developing at a rapid rate.
For a start their eyesight becomes far clearer and their able to see much more than they ever have. So with the newfound eye site comes curiosity and knowing there is far more to look at in their nursery and surrounding area. So once awake between their sleep cycles there is far more awareness and stimulation. Hence they may forget to self-settle themselves.
Also their motor skills are more advanced. Reaching out for toys, ability to grasp and pull towards them. Some maybe rolling or attempting too.
Sitting up, starting to crawl even pulling themselves up to stand and some may even have the ability to walk.
Verbal communication is more apparent.
So when we look at a baby who may have started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks, which had none of these developmental stages present. They were able to either stay asleep or self settle with no other influences.
Change of routine
One obvious one but sometimes not recognized is a very simple or minimal change in routine. Slightly later bedtime, an activity that has been introduced such as swimming or jumping beans. Even a change in your partners work hours or coming home later than usual can hinder their routine.
The need for sleep
Changes in the hours of sleep needed both at around 3 months and again at 6 months can be reason for waking. Juggling a change in their naptime might be needed to help them settle more at night.
So why is it a battle sometimes to get them back to sleep.
My believe is that we miss the window of opportunity to rectify the sleep issue in the first place.
Because we are so in tune with our babies needs and respond accordingly. When they wake after sleeping through, we automatically think that there is something wrong or they are unwell. This is when the first night we try and comfort them back to sleep it may not be successful, they may go into our bed to finish the rest of their sleep with you, or go into the lounge to watch TV or introduce a stimulus that may distract them.
This is fine for the first night, however we tend to replicate that same response on day two then day three and continue it because we feel guilty or we are just to tired to deal with it.
So when you know that there is no obvious reason for the sudden night waking.
The best ways to manage these changes are with a gentle and secure way. Its understandable that we respond the first night by giving them all we have. So if the second night they wake we respond differently.
We want our babies to feel that their cot is the secure and safe place to sleep.
Helping them to resettle in their room with little stimulation is the best.
Calming pats and shushing, dim light and secure touch is all they will need for them to safely feel they can go back to sleep.
Again as they were young you may need to do this for a few nights.
Remember if you have given your baby an opportunity not to sleep in their cot for couple nights on the 3rd night there will be an expectation that this will happen again. The longer you continue this occurrence the harder it will be to allow you baby to feel secure to sleep in their own bed.
Sleep is a positive necessity for all children.
You can see more about what services Trish has to over across at her website or via the links below.