The question I get asked most frequently when it comes to K is “So is she sleeping through the night?” My answer? A snort, vigorous head shaking, and an incredulous “No.” I’m not quite sure where this fascination with sleeping through the night comes from; it seems to be the holy grail of baby behaviour. But of all the mommy-friends I have, there is precisely ONE who has a baby sleeping through the night. It seems to be more the exception than the rule.
The four month sleep regression hit around Christmas time, and K has been waking up between 2 and 4 times per night ever since. Naps regulated around 7 months, and she was down to 1-2 wake-ups nightly.
And then, 9 months hit. While I had read a few times about the ‘9 month sleep regression’, I didn’t expect it would happen to us. I didn’t think that her sleep could get a whole lot worse than it already was.
But then it did.
Three weeks ago, naps became a fight. Bedtime became a struggle of epic proportions. It would take hours to get her to sleep (often times giving up and just letting her watch TV with me), and when she finally fell asleep, she would be restless and wake frequently. Naps were skipped all together, or fought to the point that K would fall asleep at 5:30pm and mess up her night time sleep even further.
I hadn’t felt this tired, this confused, or this drained since the early days of K’s life. When you get used to sleeping in 4 hour stretches, and having a few breaks during the day to eat lunch and tidy up, anything less than that feels overwhelming.
We’re on our way out of the 9 month sleep regression. Her night-time sleep is decent again (2 wake-ups most nights), and I’ve been able to put her down for naps the last two days. So what advice do I have for those of you still fighting it out?
1. This too shall pass: Like every other stage in your baby’s life, this will pass. The 9 month regression is related to learning new behaviours and dealing with separation anxiety. When your little one’s development settles down a bit, so will their sleep.
2. Do what you have to: For this short period in time, you might have to resort to more night feedings, or skipping a morning nap, or even letting the laundry pile up. This is okay. No one can judge you..especially if they’re not the ones dealing with lack of sleep.
3. Don’t pick up any long-term (bad) habits: While you need to do what you have to to survive, try not to start any habits that you don’t want to continue long-term. If you don’t want to continue using a pacifier, now isn’t the time to introduce one. But if you’re comfortable with change (co-sleeping, more night feedings, introducing a lovey) then go for it!
4.Take some time for yourself: If you have someone to help, please use them! A lack of sleep affects everything you do, and can make even the little things seem overwhelming. Whether its a half-hour to browse Pinterest, or a few hours out of the house, find the time to treat yourself a little. Its amazing how much better you will feel.