Sleep regression is nothing new in our house. The 18 month sleep regression hit us hard and I wanted to share our story. We have been down this road before, but I wouldn’t call us veterans in this venture just yet however.
By definition, a sleep regression is a period of time when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well, suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps for no obvious reason(s).
These last few nights…the struggle has been real. Currently, we are trying to survive the 18 month sleep regression. Coffee is in high demand come morning time.
A lot of the 18 month regression has to do with her ability to now understand what is happening (aka bedtime) and their teething. I think that this is also what makes this one the worst.
I was always told by friends and family how lucky I have been, and I must agree. Bedtime previously was never a struggle. We had always had a bedtime routine and stuck to it. Even during the last regression we stuck to our guns and it swiftly came to an end.
Our routine has always been to have dinner as a family. Then depending on how messy dinner was, we would immediately begin bath time or take a few minutes of playtime until bath time. After bath time, it is time to wind down. I ensure that all the lights are low and any unnecessary ones are off. When we bring her into her room to get dressed in pajamas, we only turn on the small desk lamp on her dresser. We then bring her into the bathroom to brush her teeth, with some assistance of course.
After pajamas are on and teeth are brushed, it is back to her room we go. While we may have never used a pacifier (for this kid), one thing that my toddler cannot do without is her sippy cup. During nap times and during the day we do give her milk. Now that she has a mouth full of teeth it is water only at night for bedtime. She continues to use her sippy cup to soothe herself back to sleep when she awakes at night.
Besides the sippy cup one thing she has always needed for a good nights rest was her “zippy”. There are many different brands and styles available. The one we used was the Zipadee-Zip, once she was 12 months we wanted one that allowed her arms to be free. I am a proud Amazon Prime member and I jumped on and grabbed this sleep sack. There have been times when I have attempted to put her to sleep without it and it has not worked out well.
I must admit that lately we have slacked on the story time before bedtime, mainly due to the fact that she no longer wishes to sit and listen to a story. When she was younger it was an every night achievement, now that she is a toddler not so much. We get in our story time during the day but bedtime stories have been put on pause for a brief moment.
With sleep sack on and water sippy cup in hand my husband and I tell her that it is bedtime, it is time to go to sleep and good night. We kiss her good night, turn on her and sound machine which also doubles as a night light and leave the room.
Prior to this 18 month sleep regression this is not how bedtime went. She laid down and she was out until 8am the next morning. Not…any…more. She now clenches onto me as I lower her into her crib and cries out “Noooooo”. I would describe this experience as something similar to trying to bathe a cat.
Since the regression we have continued with the routine and I do take a few more moments with her in my arms to soothe her before placing her in her crib. Once my husband and I leave the room, I then become a baby monitor stalker. I continue to watch her and if after 5-10 minutes if she is still upset AND she is standing in her crib then I will go back into her room. If she is laying down then I leave her be because I know she’s tired and will fall asleep very shortly.
If however she is standing, then I do go back into her room and I will again tell her that it is bedtime, it is time to go to sleep and good night. I kiss her and tell her I love her and place her back into her crib. My husband and I usually rotate this method unless he has had a long day and is already in bed himself, then it is just me. Luckily, I have a really great husband that even jumps in when he is exhausted too.
After 2-3 times of doing this she begins to exhaust herself and she lays down for the night. We also use this method when she wakes in the middle of the night as well. I also keep teething gel on hand if she awakes in the middle of the night because at this stage in her growth I know this can be one of the reasons for her waking.
This is what works for us and specifically for my daughter. I hope this is the last regression that we will experience but only time will tell. Besides I have the terrible two’s coming that should be adventure enough!
Any other Mom’s out there share their experience? Any advice that has helped you? Please share!