How To Cope: 6 Month Sleep Regression
What the heck! Nobody told me that at 6 months, babies get even harder or maybe it's just my baby. Ever since birth, Archie has been a relatively good sleeper, he would usually only wake once a night and he's slept through a few times, it was fantastic, in fact I had no idea how good we had it until we hit 23 weeks.
Maybe it's just me, but I figured that newborns were as bad as it got night sleep-wise and from then on it only got better. I'm here to shatter the dreams of new mothers and say that that is most definitely not true. For the past 2-3 weeks Archie has woken a minimum of 4/5 times night and at worst maybe 9/10 times. There could be a multiple number of causes for his disruption of sleep, which makes things even more difficult! Here's what it could be:
- Weaning (We started solids around the same time as the bad sleep patterns began)
- Hot weather (Rare for England, we've had a mini heatwave recently and our house is about 5/6 degrees warmer at night than before)
- 6 month sleep regression (I wasn't even aware of this one, but apparently it's quite common due to an increase in mental development. Archie is rolling/moving around alot, learning to crawl and chattering away, he's changed so much in the past 3 weeks)
- Teething: It seems as if Archie has been teething forever (and there are still no teeth!)
- His dummy! (Gah, maybe this has come back to bite us in the ass)
So, I've tried everything over the past few weeks, including getting Archie to nap in his cot (so proud of this one), moving bedtime back and forward, lots of milk before bed, introducing a comforter, more or less clothes to bed, but nothing so far has worked (though we did get 2 nights in the middle of these few weeks where he slept well but I can't figure out why!). Anyway, I've come to the conclusion (maybe not the right one), that this is a massive developmental sleep regression and unfortunately there's nothing I can do except continue our routine as usual and pray that in a few weeks Archie will return to his good sleep patterns and I won't be falling asleep and drooling all over my cushions as soon as I get a 5 minute break.
For anyone else struggling at this age, here's some things that have helped me through it:
- Acceptance: It sucks, really bad. There's nothing you can do except revert to newborn mode and grab as much sleep as you can. It's okay if you feel you're not coping, you're not alone. Recruit family to help!
- Steer clear of Dr. Google: I should probably listen to this one more. It's easy to obsess that you're doing something wrong and you're a bad parent, why else would your little one not be getting enough sleep? You can ready and try anything and everything but don't pin your hopes on a cure. No one baby is the same and this just might be your little one having a tough phase. You will get through it.
- Join a baby group! If you haven't already, join a baby group (online or offline) with mothers that have babies of a similar age. Since pregnancy I've been part of a wonderful Facebook group with other December/Christmas Mommy's and nothing helps more than to be able to vent to them. We even have a 'crappy sleepers' club where we can moan and groan about our children to our hearts content, and then support each other with continuing to get on with the sleep deprivation (we really do love them..)
- Take pictures of your baby asleep: Stare at them in times of need and remember how blissful it was in the few months (or weeks) you were able to get longer than a couple of hours sleep at a time. If you've never had a good sleeper, just leave them on someone else's doorestep (I'm just kidding).
In other wonderful news, my nephew Aiden Samuel Bircher was born last week and he's gorgeous! The downside is he is sleeping better than my 6 month old. Unfortunately my sister-in-law won't swap.
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