Sleep regression: Help!
Sleep regression can occur for any number of reasons: natural progression from one mental ‘leap’ to another, after changes in routine, after an illness (eg. a cold), changing bedroom, and so on. It can be very frustrating for parents to think they had finally ‘cracked it’ with their baby’s sleep, enjoying full night’s sleep again only to go backwards and be back at square one of tears at bedtime, refusal to sleep, and night-time waking. So what is a parent to do?
Could it be something simple?
First of all, if it is an isolated incident or string of incidents with no apparent reason, look for the obvious! As your baby or toddler is growing, perhaps they simply need a small, healthy bedtime snack/supper before going to bed, as he/she might actually be getting hungry last thing before sleep or during the night. If that is not the reason, does your little one have a cold? A frustrating cold can be enough to disturb an adult’s sleep, so if that is the case try soothing the symptoms of the cold, like rubbing some Vicks on the baby’s undershirt. In addition, consider what books you are using before bed and ensure they are suitably relaxing (see recommended books here).
However it may be the case that actual sleep regression has occurred, and the baby/toddler has actually ‘forgotten’ how to fall asleep by themselves following changes in routine (eg. a vacation), a new bedroom, or progression in mental leaps. When our youngest was 21 months old he had been sleep trained using the method detailed in this website and was sleeping like a dream (excuse the pun!) every night. However after returning home from a few weeks of our family staying with grandparents during the summer, he reverted to pre-sleep trained ways, and would not settle into his crib in the evenings for sleep, and when he woke during the night he screamed the house down! If this sounds like something you are experiencing then there is really only one thing to do… yes you guessed it: start sleep training again from scratch. But second time round this is actually easy!…
Repeat the technique… but easier this time (phew)
Luckily if you have to do this it is MUCH easier the second time round. You will have to go through exactly the same routine again (click here to view the technique), with the same time intervals and actions, but the memory of ‘how to fall asleep’ is still locked somewhere deep inside his/her memory, and the baby will recall the memory very quickly once exposed to exactly the same routine, and ‘remember’ how to fall asleep. You will find that instead of taking up to 4 nights as per the original sleep training for falling asleep in a crib, your baby will be back to fully sleep trained in just 1 to 2 nights, but you MUST follow the routine EXACTLY.
If you have any questions please comment below or get in touch. Best of luck and sweet dreams!…