18-month-old Sleep Regression
We all know that babies go through growth spurts and changes in their little life that affects their sleeping habits or abilities, causing sleep regression. 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year. These were sort of easy to deal with; they moving on to the next stage in their baby-hood and needed a little nudge to help them along the way. 18-month regression is not an evolution or progression, just like it sounds; it’s a regression. The toddler goes back to old habits you thought you sorted through months ago. Since I am the first in my immediate family to have a baby, and my extended family lives so far away, I Google a lot. When he first started showing signs of sleep problems, I Googled ” 1.5-year-old sleep problems”. Regression was the title of the first 10 websites listed. As I read on, mainly Baby Center because Yahoo answers had some pretty weird comments and suggestions, I took a few notes and went on my way to puttering through this stage. The hope was to make it out alive. So far so good.
The following are the stages of parental denial, as well as trial and error strategies to put a baby to bed. Hopefully one or two of them will work on your babies.
Wait it out. This will pass.
At first, I thought he missed his dad. Hubby left for a training exercise a few days before. If this was the case, he will be better when dad gets back next week.
When that didn’t work, we tried letting him sleep with us. He was waking up three, four times before we went to bed at 10:30 pm. Hubby went to bed, put the pillows in place in case someone rolled off, and proceeded to fall asleep. This worked for all of three nights. Night four didn’t work so well. I was not pleased that this habit had been allowed in the first place and apparently someone caught on to that idea; because night four was awful. He wouldn’t stop rolling and sitting up and throwing his bottle and screaming….daddy was mad and tired.
Cry it out
CIO worked when he turned one year’s old and we were hoping it would work to restore what we suddenly lost. We couldn’t explain why he wasn’t sleeping but he wasn’t sleeping and nothing was physically wrong with him, we checked. Now, the days were getting longer, and hotter. The window AC in the master bedroom was making the house comfortable but when your door is closed and screaming for an hour, what ac. We let him cry it out one night. One hour and he was asleep. OK, tomorrow will be better…nope. 1.5 hours. And then late the next day.
Sleep in our arms
Finally, we decided that we all needed some sleep. We caved to the will of the baby/toddler and let him fall asleep in our arms and place him in his crib afterward. Again, this worked for a few days, after fighting an hour for him to calm down long enough to actually fall asleep, that is. Two nights ago, munchkin watched True blood because he refused to sleep at 8, or 9, or 930. We gave up and let him sit. He sat nicely too, switching from my lap to daddy’s lap every ten minutes. By the end of the show, I rocked him for a minute which a bottle of water and he fell right asleep. He even let me put him in his crib.
Watch him fall asleep
Watching HBO is not a way to put a baby to sleep. Last night hubby Googled the issue and found it could be a sleep regression. Discipline and pre-terrible twos. Wonderful. Could last 2-6 weeks. More good news. Don’t quit or adjust the routine for a temporary problem. Too late. After 1.5 hours of crying, I sat in his room, beside his crib and patted his back. Whenever he got up, daddy ordered him to lay down. Surprisingly, down he went. This took a lot of time but he fell asleep. He woke up an hour later and cried for 20 minutes but he fell asleep, that’s the winner here.
Tonight, instead of sitting by his bed, I sat in my rocking chair across the room from his. I left the door open so I had enough light to read my new book, Jeanette Walls in case you were wondering, and watched him toss and turn. As soon as he started to get up, I told him sternly to lay down. He would not confuse my demand with a suggestion. He cried once, but I told him I was still there and he had nothing to worry about. I continued reading until I heard a snore from his direction. The last time I looked up he was playing with his toes and talking to me. I quietly left his room and ran outside. I was not going to make any noise for at least 10 minutes, make sure it sticks. It stuck. Praise the lord.
Let’s see what I can get away with tomorrow night or if he changes his mind altogether.
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