The best time in a mom’s life is those few hours when the baby powers down to sleep. Even with the great love that moms have for their children, none of them can wait for that time when they finally fall asleep and they can have at least free their arms and have some alone time, or that needed shower.
After a few weeks home, babies become quite predictable and sleep time becomes something we can work around. Training a baby to fall asleep is the best gift a mother can give her child since research shows that sleep helps a baby rejuvenate and utilize what he eats so that he can grow healthy and strong.
A baby who sleeps well is less irritable and quite easy to take care of. Unfortunately, the time comes when even the best-trained baby starts to have issues falling asleep, which can be frustrating to both the baby and the mother.
According to Baby Centre, while babies cannot sleep the whole night without needing a feeding or without getting a night fright, sleep regression is when the baby who sleeps well starts to wake up a lot more than usual and to have trouble going back to sleep is quite common. The good news is, moms around the world have gone through it and found true and tested ways to beat sleep regression.
20 Keep The Room Dark
Most mothers think that babies need to sleep in a lit room and so they leave the lights on all night. What most people seem to forget is that babies are tiny human beings and just like grownups, having overhead; bright lights on all night can be quite disruptive. The best way to ensure that baby sleeps well is to keep the room in the right sleeping conditions, ensure it is warm but not too warm, keep the room dark and use a night light if need be and ensure that the room is not noisy and has no disruptions. Dress the baby in breathable warm clothes and he will sleep like the baby he is.
19 Establish A Peaceful Sleep Routine
Establishing a sleep routine is something most mothers have trouble doing, but it is probably the easiest thing to do and the most beneficial in the long run. A sleep routine does not have to be elaborate or time-consuming.
Deciding to give the child a bath at night, followed by a massage, a feeding, reading him a storybook as he lies in his crib and switching on the night light can be an indication of sleep time for the baby and it can become the sleep routine. Once established, it is important that mom sticks to the routine to prevent regression.
18 Teach The Baby How To Fall Asleep On Their Own
Sleep routines are hard to stick to but the hardest part is letting the baby fall to sleep on their own. Most moms wait until the baby is asleep before they can place him down. Doing this teaches the baby to rely on the mother to fall asleep and this can be quite disruptive.
The best way to handle sleep and night time is to put the baby to bed drowsy, but not sleeping. This way the baby learns to fall asleep on his own and once this sticks in his head, he is most likely to replicate the same for his naps too.
17 Offer Extra Cuddles
According to Mighty Moms, often times, the baby goes through sleep regression due to a growth spurt coupled with separation anxiety. Growth spurts come with a lot of stress for the child and it is common to find that during this time, most babies go through a needy phase. At this time they can be a lot harder to handle and are more clingy than usual.
Even for mothers who have a no cuddling policy, it is important that one offers her baby a few extra hugs at this time. Try to beat separation anxiety by finding time to play with the child. This will give him the reassurance he needs and it may translate to better sleep.
16 Give The Baby A Minute To Fuss
Probably the hardest thing for a mother to do is to watch her baby fuss or cry and not rush to soothe and reassure them. Babies are quite delicate and that adorable look of helplessness is hard to resist, but giving in has most mothers spiraling down the sleep regression tunnel. If the baby is fussy or restless when he is supposed to be falling asleep, it is advisable to let him fuss for a few minutes.
This may make the mom feel like a really bad mother and it is a very controversial subject. However, it is tried and tested and most mothers can attest to the fact that those five minutes left to fuss may be what a baby needs to fall back to sleep on his own.
15 Put The Baby To Sleep At The Right Time
Given a chance, babies will always opt to skip sleep time, even as they grow older, they tend to fight sleep for some reason. The best way to ensure that the child does not fall into the sleep regression cycle is to ensure that one puts the baby to sleep at the right time. And this, according to The Bump, is when he is drowsy but not asleep.
According to the Pragmatic Parent, ensuring the baby gets the recommended hours of sleep on daily basis is the best way to ensure he is not overtired and he sleeps well. It is imperative to set the bedtime to a time when the baby is not overly tired and adhere to a schedule of set intervals between naps.
14 Offer A Sleeping Prop
Sleep regression happens for four months and even though it lasts for just a short time, not dealing with it may make the situation worse. Giving the child an object that offers him comfort as he sleeps is a great way to beat sleep regression. A prop may be anything from a toy to his baby blanket.
Some new moms have found that giving the baby an object that has their smell helps him to sleep better as it tends to offer some invisible reassurance. Most women who try this route find that the prop minimizes the number of times the child calls out between his naps.
13 Don't Rock The Baby To Sleep
Most of us are old school and we believe in rocking the baby to sleep. This gives us that bonding feeling we all chase when it comes to babies. This rocking seems to bring the baby closer to us. While this is a great ‘mommy and me’ time, rocking the baby to sleep is a big no-no.
Once the baby gets used to rocking, he associates this with sleep and will expect to be rocked before naps and bedtime. It gets worse when the baby decides only mommy can rock him because once that attachment is formed, it is a downward spiral henceforth.
12 Offer Extra Naps
Sometimes a baby misses his usual nap time, probably because one was traveling or visiting or he was not feeling well. It is important that the mother is prepared to give the baby extra naps or even put him to bed earlier than usual. The idea here is to ensure that the baby sleeps for the recommended hours per day.
Sleep regression, especially at 18 months according to Baby Sleep Site, is all about fighting sleep opting to play instead. Mothers should, therefore, ensure that he takes all his naps and does not get overtired as this will interfere with his sleep time.
11 Try A Bedtime Snack
Sometimes, babies regress because they are going through a growth spurt. During a growth spurt, babies consume more than normal because at this time, they require a lot more fuel than normal and they find that they fall hungry a lot faster. Since they need fuel replenishment, it is advisable to offer the child a snack during bedtime or even a cup of milk.
At 18 months, a mother can offer the child a high protein snack to prevent midnight hunger pangs and loss of sleep. Ensure that the child cleans his teeth after the snack to prevent tooth decay.
10 Night Lights Can Go A Long Way
As the baby grows older, he may begin to get nighttime fears and this may lead to lack of sleep. To help the baby navigate through his fears, it is a good idea to offer a soft night light to give him reassurance.
Some mothers go the harsh route and decide to force the child to get over the night fears cold turkey, but this method is destructive and `can make the child regress more. It may take him a while to get over the fear and he may always need the night light, but it has been proven to reduce a baby’s fear and encourage better sleep.
9 Don't Feed The Baby To Sleep
Most nursing mothers are guilty of this pleasure. Breastfeeding the baby seems easier and more convenient than placing him on the bed and hoping that he falls asleep on his own. Unfortunately, once one sets this precedence, this is what the baby will expect each time he wants to nap or fall asleep.
It gets worse especially when he needs to sleep and he is with a caregiver. This can lead to skipped meals, as well as tying the mother down. The sleep routine should not incorporate feeding unless it is a growth spurt in which case, extra sustenance is required.
8 Don't Let The Baby Get Tired
Young babies love to play, especially when they are around eighteen months. These babies will choose to play far past their bedtime. It is quite common for babies to get overtired and this can lead to lack of sleep. Even though mothers tend to think that the baby will sleep easier when he is tired, this is a wrong assumption.
The same way a grown-up finds it hard to fall asleep when he is overtired, it is the same way that child will have trouble dropping off to sleep when he is overtired. Put the baby to sleep when he still has some energy left to comfortably fall asleep.
7 Watch Out For Sleepy Cues
According to Mom Tricks, babies can be sleepy and not sleepy in an instant. A sleepy baby who stops getting drowsy can be hard to put down as he gets cranky. The advice is that as the baby’s playtime comes to an end, moms should keep their eyes wide open for those sleep cues that show the baby is getting sleepy.
Ensure that she notices when the baby no longer maintains eye contact, starts rubbing his eyes, yawns and loses interest in the game. All these are indications that the baby is ready to take his nap and delay could mean he does not sleep well.
6 Limit Screen Time
As a baby grows, we tend to give them something to keep them busy so that we can do some things. Most of us offer the TV and cartoons, which tiny babies seem to adore.
While this is a great way to keep them busy, it is not recommended to keep that child glued to the TV as they can form addictions fast. Also, screen time tends to keep babies as well as adults, awake. Limit the number of hours the child stays in front of the TV and more so during the night. Doing this will ensure that the child sleeps well at night.
5 Cause: Noise Machines That Turn Off
Noise machines come with varying sounds and they all serve as a lovely way to soothe the baby to sleep, which is something even some grownups prefer. Incorporating these machines into a sleep routine is something most mothers do to help them get an easier time putting the baby down to sleep.
Unfortunately, noise machines tend to switch off after sometime and this is where the problem comes in. A baby who is used to sleeping under the soothing sound finds himself awake and is unable to go back to sleep. Using a noise machine can, therefore, be counterproductive. The best sound machine should always be one that goes all night long.
4 Cause: Change Of Sceneries
Babies love to go out and especially to new places where they can gaze at the new sights. While trips are great and they help the family come together, a change of scenery may be the reason the baby is unable to fall asleep.
There are babies who even find it hard to sleep in strange places. The family may find itself having to cope with a cranky baby all through the vacation as he finds it hard to fall asleep. The baby will go back to his usual routine, but the holiday may, on some level, be disrupted.
3 Cause: Too Much Light
Too much light in the baby’s nursery may be the reason the baby cannot sleep if one finds that the baby needs help. It is important to keep the nursery dark, as this will help the baby fall asleep and sleep well.
Keeping the nursery dark at night and a little light during the day will help the child differentiate between night and day and he will know it's time to sleep when the nursery is dark and this will help the child sleep well at night. When the room is light, the child has too much to look at and it will keep him awake as he finds it entertaining.
2 Cause: Not Being Consistent
The worst thing a mother can do is to introduce a sleeping routine and not be consistent. Babies take advantage of all and any loophole that we offer them. If one plans to put the baby down to sleep at exactly eight o’clock, that should be the time for all his bedtimes and this should not be compromised for whatever reason.
Some mothers have been plagued by guilt and decided to change their routine, which erodes all the work they had previously done. To be able to beat sleep regression, the rule is to be consistent and firm and this has been proven to be truly beneficial.
1 Cause: Co-Sleeping
Many moms advocate for co-sleeping, saying it makes it easier to cope with those midnight feeds and irritations, but according to Today’s Parent, co-sleeping has been shown to cause short sleep and sleep awakening. “One third of the infants who experienced nocturnal awakenings at six months age, still had awakenings each night at 18 months of age. They had shorter total sleep duration during the night, and more frequent awakenings than other children.”
Research also shows that the longer a child co-sleeps, the worse their sleeping habits get in the long run with more awakenings and short sleep cycles.
References: Thepragmaticparent, Babysleepsite, Babycentre, Sleeptightconsultants, Thebump