When you become a parent there are so many different challenges to face. Being a new parent involves juggle with everyday stuff, in addition to worrying about the household and what’s best for the baby. What new parents sometimes fail to notice is just how important regular sleep is a newborn. Upsetting the sleep pattern in any way, can result in so many different behavior patterns for a toddler. So, you’ve noticed toddler or baby sleep regression? First thing’s first though, in order to establish a solid sleep pattern for your toddler, you need to recognize when he/she is tired. Also, it’s vital that you identify if the baby does indeed have sleep regression. Babies can upset their sleep, and it may not mean a thing. That’s easier than you think.
How to Identify Baby Sleep Regression
Here are the main things that’ll help you notice baby sleep regression:
Baby is nervous and uneasy – When your toddler is lacks sleep they tend to overreact to sudden sounds with jerky movements and feeling generally jittery.
Baby clumsiness – Babies and toddler can get very clumsy. If you notice them tipping from side to side or dropping things from their hands more often, that most likely means they need a nap.
Baby grumpiness – When sleepy, toddlers become less tolerant of change and more emotionally reactive, easily bored and cannot hold interest in play and sometimes grizzling.
Distant stare – This is something grown-ups tend to do as well. When we are tired, staring off into space is one of the symptoms. This happens with toddlers as well, and you can easily notice it. So, yeah, it’s a sure sign they need more sleep.
Baby is too cuddly – It’s perfectly normal for babies to be cuddly. But when they are way too cuddly it means they are sleepy. The opposite thing can happen as well; they might not want to cuddle at all if they are exceptionally sleepy.
Baby looking generally tired – Nobody can hide if they are really tired. With babies, you can notice changes in their appearance when they really need more sleep – a change in complexion (they get more pale), dull and dark areas around the eyes start to show and so on.
What Are the Causes?
Nap shifts: When babies are between 3 and 6 months old, they are starting to adjust to sleep patterns that are similar to grow-up sleep patterns. In other words, they are awake longer during the day. They are also asleep for longer periods during nighttime. The sleep cycle can be disrupted when the baby shifts between sleep stages. So if they happen to wake in the middle of the night, they may not be able to get themselves back to sleep. After all, adults and older children will wake during the night, but in most cases they immediately continue their sleep. It may not be so easy for newborns.
Upsetting the routine: You may not have noticed, but if your family did something different, it will no doubt influence the baby as well. Let’s say, you went on vacation with the baby, and it stayed up longer than normally. Also, if the child has been sick and is used to the parents checking up often during the night, this will upset the routine and regular sleep patterns.
How to Regulate the Baby’s Sleep, and Deal With Baby Sleep Regression
Nighttime is for sleeping, not partying: The simplest way to remember this is: daytime is for activities, nighttime is for sleeping. The baby needs to feel that nighttime is for taking it easy, doing something peaceful and calming down. If there’s something you need to do, make sure you do it quietly. The lights should be low as well.
Go easy on those nighttime feedings: When they are 4 to 6 months old, babies will be getting sufficient calories throughout the day. They will be able to go through the night without feeding. So, assuming the toddler is ready, gradually stop those night feedings, over a period of, say, 2 weeks.
Bad habits are out: If you rush to check on your older baby immediately every time he cries, feed him or rock him back to sleep, or bring him into bed with you, he’ll soon rely on this to go back to sleep. By 4 months, it’s okay to let your baby cry for a short period to see if he’ll settle back down on his own. If you need to go to him, pat him soothingly on the back instead of picking him up. Leave the room when he’s calm but still awake.
Fixed bedtime routine: This is practically essential if you want your baby to have a healthy and normal life. Setting up a strict bedtime routine helps a great deal. Start with a bath, then putting pajamas on, and then telling or reading story (ideally singing a gentle baby nursery rhyme) and then a good night kiss. This helps toddlers feel safe and ready for sleep.
The baby should be awake when you put it into the crib: Try your best to put the baby into the crib first and then put her/him to sleep. The objective being, is for babies to soothe themselves to sleep.
Consistency: Whatever bedtime routine you’ve managed to set up for the toddler, sticking to it is the most important thing of all. Synchronize these habits and see to it that mom, dad, other family members or babysitters stick to that routine too.
If you’re still not confident about what to do when baby sleep regression occurs, try these simple steps to improve your baby’s nap routine: