To say we’ve had a rough couple of months is an understatement!! There’s been a lot of tears, a lot of much needed coffee (for me!) and definitely not enough sleep!
I’ve always been skeptical of the so called “sleep regressions”. Mainly because every child is different, so not every child will go through it, it’s not a written law that everyone will experience them. I’d always heard the 18 month sleep regressions was the worst, BUT OH. MY. GOD…. For us it has just been awful and honestly the first proper regression we’ve ever really had haha! (Not to scare anyone reading this who’s child hasn’t hit this age yet!)
It started a couple of weeks after Maddie turned 18 months old, so probably nearer 19 months old, and it started with her fighting her nap time. Honestly, Maddie’s never been the best napper, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she does drop her naps completely soon. She currently only has 1 nap a day and it lasts 1-2 hours, but ONLY if she’s had an active morning and been really stimulated, or she just won’t be tired enough.
Anyway, it started with nap struggles, closely followed by her waking up more and more in the night. At the worst point, she was waking and crying almost every 2 hours throughout the whole night. This regression also coincided with some sort of separation anxiety (click here to read more), which is probably what made the regression so bad! The only way Maddie and I could get any sort of sleep, was by bringing her into my bed and sleeping together; which normally happened at about 2am. I’ve always tried to avoid co-sleeping, but if it meant we both got any sort of sleep, it was worth it.
It’s funny because I’ve never had any problems settling her to sleep. Maddie’s always self-soothed since 4 months old. It was just during the night which was hell! Every night I’d put her down, hopeful of a good sleep, and then the crying would start! So the lack of sleep at night, along with the refusal to nap, we were BOTH only getting about 6 hours sleep in a 24 hour period. I was seriously struggling to survive each day on such little sleep, so I don’t understand at all how Maddie kept going?!
Truthfully, I was desperate. I tried calming music/white noise, lavender room spray, filling her up with a bigger dinner/extra pre-bed snack, always stuck to the bedtime routine, tried no tv before bed, story books, warm bottle of milk... the list goes on! The only thing which I think did help a little bit is I gave Maddie a pillow which she now always has in her cot with her, as I feel it reminds her of being in my bed and is more comfortable.
I was honestly getting to a point where I was considering getting professional help like consulting a sleep specialist as I just felt lost. I remember hitting a point after 5 weeks of next to no sleep, and just crying on the phone to my mum, so lost with what else I could do! I felt like a robot and just persisted and persisted every day with nap time, even if she didn’t sleep, I made sure she had some “quiet time” alone in her cot. The same with bedtime, stuck it out with the same routine and bed time on the dot. I didn’t know what more I could do!
Then suddenly, it was like a switch was flicked, and for the past 9 days now Maddie has been napping every day AND sleeping so much better at night only waking the once, maybe twice!! Which honestly I will take any day over 6 times a night!!
If you’re struggling with a sleep regression right now, just know you are not alone and I’ll admit fucking hard to go through… but there IS an end to it. The only advice I can give from my experience is to persist with your routines, I personally didn’t find any “magic” tricks or answers! Just know that it is one of those phases your little one might go through and despite how lost and helpless you may feel, it will pass!!
If any of you guys have any other sleep tips/advice feel free to share them below for anyone else who might be reading and struggling!
Lots of love, Beth xxx
This section will all be focused on being pregnant, discovering motherhood and baby bits!