There is nothing quite as hellish as a baby who has entered the sleep regression phase. These periods of babyhood are common, can occur multiple times before they reach their terrible two’s, and are dreaded days and weeks of torture for Mom and Dad. Sleep regression is identified as a period of time when your previously sound-sleeper of a baby suddenly decides they no longer want to sleep, waking every hour in the night and fighting you on their naps. These terrible bouts of sleepless misery occur at different milestones throughout your baby’s life and can seriously interrupt your parenting progress. To put it lightly: it’s a day and nightmare.
While it’s never easy to adjust to this always torturous phase – especially when a baby is over a year old and you think you’re in the clear – every Mom might react to the frustration and exhaustion in their own ways. While varying in degrees, emotional instability, overreactions, physical expressions of rage, and over consumption of coffee may all be part of their normal day to day.
The best piece of advice we can give to any mother going through this personal hell is to tough it out and don’t be too hard on yourself. Survival is found between your bottomless coffees and cries of fatigue. What is also comforting to know is that you’re not alone. Many mothers have faced this, and are currently going through it. Unite in our nationwide burnout!
15 Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night
When you finally thought that your baby had grown out of the newborn phase and put an end to the ‘round the clock feedings and struggles of adjusting to their crib – and you were beginning to get a decent night’s sleep – the sleep regression begins. There will be more than a few night’s where it will feel almost impossible for you to revert back to your previous mid-night alertness you had when your babe first came home. Now that you’re no longer running on three hour naps and have been able to catch up on that REM sleep, your baby decides it’s time to wake up in the middle of the night for no darn reason. Of course, there’s always a reason a baby cries, but when you’re trying to wake up at 3 am, you’ll be wondering whyyyyyyy. Why is this happening?
14 When Your Baby Is Obviously Overtired
If you’re facing the sad, sleepy reality of being overtired, you’ll notice that you’re not the only one. When sleep regression kicks in, you and your baby are no longer getting the amount of sleep you’ve both become used to. Your days are so much longer as your little one continues to fight their desire to take a nap. At the time they would normally want to play or have a snack, they’re falling asleep wherever their little heads will let them. It’s an annoying and frustrating side effect of this dreaded phase of babyhood that all moms pray for it to end. What makes these extra naps worse is the fact that they get to sleep (and why should they when you can’t?) and you also know it means that they won’t sleep later, and there’s nothing you can do but endure the pain of it all.
13 When You Somehow Manage To See Your Friends
If you’ve been able to get out of the house to regularly socialize since your baby has been born, that’s fantastic! It’s important to prioritize getting back in touch with you while you dedicate every part of your life to your new baby. So when your bi-weekly brunch dates with your girlfriends happens to coincide with your baby’s sleep regression, it might be a chore just for you to get dressed, let alone haul your butt to the café. Your friends will hopefully understand this unfortunate situation you’re in and will support your beckons for bottomless mugs of coffee. If your friends are moms themselves, all you have to do is mention the “R” word and they won’t even get mad for your crabbiness or inability to contribute to a conversation. If they’re a good friend, they’ll even make sure that your mug is never empty.
12 When Your Patience Has Reached Its Peak
When exhaustion strikes, everything phases you because your mood is being constantly tested with the effects of exhaustion. You’ll go through emotional highs and lows, crying one moment and laughing the next. You might even become numb and no longer react to anything, shuffling through the days like a Mombie. Though sometimes, our angry side comes out, no matter how hard we try to suppress it. When you’re extremely tired and your patience is difficult to reign in, you feel the need to let loose and your inner biotch rears her ugly head for a few days. It’s not pretty, and we’re certainly not proud of it. Our crankiness levels are off the charts because we’re not catching enough Zzz’s, and faking happiness or pep while in the company of others is more exhausting than facing our everyday chores.
11 Trying To Get Ready For Anything
As a mom, the task of getting ready (a usual makeshift feat that is already a challenge to accomplish on any given day) is made worse when your baby decides it’s time to regress back to infant-like sleep patterns. It makes you not even want to enter the bathroom at all, except to rid yourself of tears and excrement. And even then you’re making quite the effort to avoid eye contact with the mirror. Even running a brush through your hair becomes strictly reserved for days when you see someone other than your spouse. It’s always hard to accept that once you have kids, your beauty routine will no longer be what it used to be. Although you never would have expected that it would completely fall by the wayside, let alone become non-existent once your baby starts entering that sleep regressed phase.
10 Following Any Conversation
Between catnapping your way through the days and weeks that your baby has decided to enter the wretched lapse in sleep regularity and enduring the crankiness of your sleep-deprived baby, your mind becomes a vat of mush. When your partner starts up a conversation with you, or when the cashier at the grocery store asks for your method of payment, the words are heard and yet they don’t seem to undergo their regular process of allowing you to understand them. Even driving becomes something you magically do while running on auto-pilot and you’re amazed and scared that you’ve managed to make it to your destination without even being aware of how you got there. This auto-pilot function may seem like a skill you’ve mastered since becoming a parent, when in fact it’s a paranormal-esque full body takeover that you willfully submit to in your sleep deprived state.
9 When You Put Your Baby To Bed
After a few days of enduring hellish nights and cranky days, you’re at your wits end and are praying for the night your baby once again sleeps for more than six hours. You would do anything for a full night’s sleep and might even resort to making threats. Every time you place your baby into their crib and cover their little bodies, between lullaby’s you whisper, “Don’t wake up until at least 6 am or you’ll never eat another cookie again.” It may be an empty threat, but it feels good just to let out those words in hope that they’ll miraculously understand you and do as they’re told. Any onlooker without kids may witness these remarks and judge your callous words, but until they have kids themselves, they will never understand how common your desperate words are uttered among parents. One day, they too will enter sleep regression hell and bite their tongues.
8 Getting Through The Days Like…
The crutch that allows your body to physically function, and also unlocks that part of your brain that allows you to think, is vital to surviving this trivial and misunderstood baby phase. You need it morning, noon, and sometimes at night if your evening involves accomplishing anything other than watching three episodes of Gilmore Girls. Coffee is your lifeline and what feels like the only thing that brings you joy nowadays. Without it, getting through your day can feel like you’re walking through sludge. Coffee is the screw that connects your head to your body. Your daily dose of java is kicked up when your baby ruins their sleeping progress to test your willpower and bring you to discover exactly how much pain you can take before reaching your breaking point. Every day your coffee pot is programmed to perform its exquisite dance to provide you with solace and brainwaves.
7 When You Can’t Deal With The Torture Anymore
When you realize that sleep regression can last indefinitely, the pain of dealing with a baby who refuses to sleep can make you want to tap out of life and behave as immaturely as the baby you’re caring for. Because of your exhaustion, throwing your own tantrums might be something that happens more often than you’d like to admit, and is likely to happen as you’re once again woken from a deep sleep to the demands of your tiny dictator. We’re not saying it’s a positive response, but it’s definitely one that – as fellow moms – we understand. We don’t blame you for not wanting to immediately soothe your crying baby because you’re thinking about who’s gonna soothe you, damn it! While you gave your newborn everything in those first few months, you can’t help but feel selfish now that all your hard work and patience is being s**t on.
6 When Your Baby Messes Up Their Schedule
It takes Mom a long time to get their baby on some semblance of a schedule. Breakfast, nap, lunch, nap, bottle, bed. Whatever variation and times you’ve finally got figured out are trashed the moment sleep regression kicks in, and it often is right around the time when your schedule starts functioning like clockwork. While many moms will tell you that having a schedule for a baby is pointless, the organization, routine, and expectations of it can provide moms with some peace and stability in their lives. Having a schedule makes Mom feel like they’re in control, as opposed to living by the orders of their little one, which can make Mom feel more like a slave than a loving, generous mother. So when her baby decides to nap hours before they’re due, the pain of losing out on all their hard work hits her like a ton of bricks.
5 When You Finally Go Out
When you manage to escape the house to run any errand, the freedom and fresh air is too overwhelming. Your emotions are no longer wrapped tightly around your hands, being reigned in multiple times a day. Once that grasp loosens up, the floodgates open and you need to give in to the necessary release to get through the next day. It can seem as if no one cares about the pain and suffering you’re living through and when you say you’re tired, your friends can’t comprehend to what levels you truly mean it. They think, “Ah well, aren’t moms supposed to be tired?” Well yes, but not like this. This is a new kind of “Mom Tired” that we just can’t describe, forcing us to weep uncontrollably to create a visual interpretation of the exhaustion. And any idea of tired that a non-parent experiences can never be compared to that of a parent suffering through sleep regression.
4 When It’s Your Spouse’s Turn To Get Up
Sharing the responsibility of caring for a baby can be a challenge when you’re sleep deprived and moody. You wish that the other person would just take the lead and save you the trouble of getting up because, if they love you, they would. So when they don’t get up, it makes you question their love and empathy levels and everything you know about the so-called love of your life. Of course, we’re being a little dramatic, but when it’s 4 am and you’re running on seven hours of sleep combined over three days, overdramatic thoughts can take over. Marriages and relationships seem to be tested when their babies begin to sleep regress and it all can be blamed on severely low energy levels. Without sleep, angry, resentful beasts come out to play at night and in the day.
3 Your Reaction When Anyone Questions Your Mood
This may be the mildest of interpretations of what Mom would respond with if asked about her run-down energy or fretful temper. Frankly, everybody just better watch out if a Mom is ever questioned about her mood or appearance. It’s a risky topic to approach, even if her baby isn’t going through sleep regression. Anyone is also at risk of losing an eye if they comment on her looking tired. However, Mom can back it all up when she hasn’t slept in days, but what seems like an eternity. While Mom doesn’t respect the insinuation that she doesn’t have her s**t together, it does feel good to voice her troubling reality out loud. For anyone who hasn’t slept in days, their hardships are met with sympathy and lower expectations. For moms, they not only have to function at full capacity, but also care for a demanding person at the same time, which makes their exhaustion levels ten times more horrible.
2 What You Scream In The Middle Of The Night
A rested mom equals a happy mom, and a happy mom equals a mom that feels pretty because the bags under her eyes are no longer visible and her energy has returned to full capacity. Unfortunately, sleep regression throws a stick into the wheels of this positivity train. Losing out on sleep is one thing, but when Mom starts to feel so tired that she won’t even step out to the corner store out of fear of how she looks, she starts to fight back. Beauty is not merely identified by her exterior appearance, but also by how she behaves. Mom’s insides turn dark and gloomy the less sleep she gets and can turn her into a full-fledged monster, and that is what’s ugly. So beauty sleep is exactly what this Mom needs to feel happy, energetic, and glowing on the inside, as well as the outside.
1 What You Do At EXACTLY 7:01 PM
When a baby is fighting sleep, the one thing you can rely on is the fact that they will pass out eventually, and normally around their regular bedtime. Even though you know that their sleep won’t last, it still fills you with a wave of comfort when the night becomes yours. You can do whatever you want, but that usually means snuggling into bed yourself throughout the duration of sleep regression. After weeks of trying to power through this horrible phase, you decided to give in and, instead of catching up on your shows, taking a bath, or indulging in something else that is just for you, you curl up beneath the covers and sleep before the sun has set and the birds have stopped chirping. It doesn’t matter to you if it's a Saturday night and you have an unopened bottle of wine in the pantry. Sleep is the only thing that you truly crave.