I heard this word so many times.
The word ‘sleep regression’. Someone would see our child sleeping and remind us that a sleep regression would happen soon or that the ‘good times’ don’t last. That someone had obviously still experiencing the effects of a sleep regression!
I don’t know whether it is the experience of losing a child that has shaped my view on the topic of sleep regressions or not but I am still just a normal mama trying to work out what works for us. Seeking experience and reassurance that I am not alone and that this too shall pass.
Just like a babies personality or food preferences they all individually have their own sleep habits. They won’t fit to a textbook. I think a lot of mums will work this out when they have other babies and can compare their children. If a baby wants to really sleep, it will. I often hear from friends that have baby number two how they wished they were more relaxed with their first born and not stress over the little things. Those words have always stuck in my mind. They have been the definition of my parenting choices.
It is funny though when you are in the moment; parenting; experiencing a sleep regression. You will research just to make sure you aren’t alone. You will find out what others are doing. You will try. You will try something else. Then eventually you give up. Then suddenly they go back to their habits. If they slept through, they suddenly do it again. You then wonder why you stressed out about it in the first place after all.
I have learnt though, through these first six months of parenting that this is just apart of it. Our world will be a little chaotic, a little out of routine and when you think you got the hang of it things will change. It is what it is though.
You can fight it. You can blame choices you made and justify them for their new habits. You can let them cry. You can get frustrated. You can also go with it. It is okay. I keep reminding myself this when I realise that they do come out of these stages. They are growing, absorbing, learning, taking it all in. They are becoming bigger little people and trying to understand it all. They need you.
For me, when I try to fight it (aka, try to put her down when she doesn’t want to be put down) I end up a little frustrated, a little confused. Why is my baby broken? Then when I surrender. Let her sleep in my arms, Let the day go a little slower. I realise this isn’t so bad. The fact I get the excuse to do no housework, work, cooking and indulge in a little Netflix isn’t so bad after all! It actually becomes quite enjoyable.
I, myself even get the question often. ‘What is Elle’s routine?’, ‘How do you get Elle to sleep so easily?’. The truth is to remember that each day is different. We remember the good days, forget about the bad. What I do won’t work for your baby. They aren’t robots. It doesn’t work even for my own baby all the time. They go through growth spurts. They go through sleep regressions as they call them and what we have currently been experiencing.
What I do though, is whatever I can to survive and enjoy it. Sometimes we co-sleep.
We get amazing sleep like that! I do that on nights she wakes more than normal. I am too tired to sit up so if its usually 2-3am into our bed she will come for snuggles. I find she is at an amazing age for it at the moment. It won’t last forever and if it does well that certainly isn’t an issue for us! How lucky we are to have a beautiful little girl to cuddle!
Although, If I remember correctly…myself as a child growing up…I was clingy.
I wanted my mum all the time. I slept with her and even when I was still twelve, thirteen… If I woke during the night I would call out to her to come sleep with me. I disliked the dark.
I think it is just apart of parenthood and personalities. Even now as an adult, I take comfort in sleeping with my foot touching Ted’s or at least drifting to sleep first cuddling him before parting ways haha.
So through a sleep regression, my advice exactly…
Is to do what is easiest for you.
Cuddle your baby if you need to, put them down if you need to, let them cry if you must, rock them if you love. There actually is nothing wrong with either way. The only thing is you won’t be following a textbook but what works for you and your baby.
Your mental health is just as important in this parenting game! This ride is to be enjoyed. Not to be fought! Love these slow moments, they’ll never remember what you gave up but you’ll always remember how it made you felt…xx