As if you haven’t already been awake 2, 3, or even 4 times a night…every night since your little one entered into the world. Just as you are beginning to think..’Im starting to get the hang of this, he’s starting to sleep more’ Boom you realize “WRONG” You are approaching the 18 month sleep regression! Things to remember : Every sleep regression can be connected to a baby’s mental and physical development at that particular age. The same is true of the 18 month regression. 18 month olds experience some developmental milestones that can, unfortunately, negatively impact their sleep.
18 month olds are gaining lots of independence and are able to do more for themselves. Children at this age are learning to feed themselves with a spoon, drink from a cup, build with blocks, and even take off some articles of clothing. This growing independence can lead to a stronger will, which means a baby may start exerting herself when she doesn’t want to go to sleep or stay in bed.
What is SO significant about the 18 month sleep regression? One simple reason — there’s a discipline factor involved in this regression that wasn’t present in the earlier ones. The previous regressions didn’t have anything to do with defiant behavior on your baby’s part, but this one does! You know, just starting to throw temper tantrums and exhibit plenty of defiant, oppositional behavior, and yes, your parenting you may be starting to question…What am I doing wrong?
Coming from a mother, that has first hand experience… I’m going to let you in on a few of my ‘Mommy Tricks’ I use to help us during this phase.
Routine ; The occasional ‘late night’, won’t harm your little one. However, theres nothing like a good ole bed time routine that helps your child if you are consistent. This does not mean doing the same exact thing each evening, but having groups of things that you regularly rotate. Examples: Play some relaxing music while cleaning up toys, helping with cleaning up the kitchen, putting the pillows back on the couch, taking the dog to the bathroom followed by tucking them in, closing all the blinds and curtains. You’ll probably want to avoid running errands, visiting rowdy friends, or always having commitments at this time of evening.
Winding Down ; The way you gain cooperation from your child in the bedtime arena is to help them wind down naturally so they are actually allowing their minds to recognize their bodies’ fatigue. My personal favorites are warm bath time, lotion time, prepping our bed for us to sleep restfully, reading books, keeping the lights down low, breast feeding (if you still are) otherwise, offer a bottle.
The zzzzzz’s ; Security, snuggles, and bonding! The easiest way for your child to drift off to sleep is feeling safe and secure. Parent’s DON’T RUSH this time. Take time to listen, take time and hear your child’s breathing patterns, give all the cuddles in the world and make sure especially if you are not a co-sleeping parent…that you don’t leave your child feeling lonely, sad, or distressed. I know it is hard, and we want to sleep train… and we want them to go to sleep on their own…but reality is you guys…all they want is you, and your warmth, and your protection and most importantly your love! If you can provide that to them, then you have done your job and hopefully you will no longer fear any ‘Sleep Regressions’. Even if you do, they won’t last forever.
Midnight wake ups ; Immediately try and soothe them back to sleep, once they fully wake up and there eyes are big as if it’s 8am on a Saturday, you have your work cut out for you! Try a light shhh, or hum a song, gently rock them back to sleep. I always have offered my kids some water in their bottles, or if I am still breast feeding, them a snack.
The VisVibeBaby App is obviously a huge sleep-aid in our house. It helps all of our moods transition through our day. With the ability to ALWAYS be able to count on the VisVibe Baby App to create routine and stability with my children they know what is expected and it is a easy transition almost every time. I encourage you to create a routine, and find a sleep journey that works for you. Available on iTunes and Google Play