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Sleep Regressions, Teething & Sleep!

Updated: May 15

As we know, baby sleep is never linear. Just when we feel we are getting on top of it, something changes. And often these can come in the form of illness, teething, development leaps and sleep regressions! These often have a huge impact on their sleep, and usually temporary.


Teething

If you've been through teething with your little one already you'll know the pain and suffering. The pains and the cries are awful, and there is only so much we can do to help them as parents. And the pain - is worse at night. This is because in the day we produce cortisol, which is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Which is why teething tends not to affect naps!

However, at night this cortisol is replaced by melatonin so that natural anti-inflammatory is no longer there.

Here are some tips to help ease teething and their sleep.

- Top up of pain relief, and yes you can do this a bit like a dream feed if you have to and help them ease through the pain with this.

- Dummies - they often make the pain worse. Unlike teething toys, dummies increase the blood supply and pressure in the gums and this will especially show when the top front teeth are coming in and they may start rejecting the dummy. So you have two choices here, persevere with the dummy until it passes even if they don't want it during this time, or use it an as opportunity to ditch it!

- Sleep rhythms and settling - they will naturally need more reassurance during teething, and may look for extra feeds as a soother too. If you have already established sleep rhythms and they are independently sleeping - please know this is a temporary phase which may feel like a step back but once the teething has passed it is important to then embed the rhythms as before so it doesn't become a longer term sleep routine.



Toddler playing with blocks and red ball
Toddler Sleep Regressions

Development Leaps

Often known as a "sleep regression" - while we do know that it is a positive step and a progression in their development, it can have a huge impact on their sleep. For some babies, it can impact the nights, some impact naps and for some it has a knock on both night and day!


For this reason - I always say for new changes in day sleep which were not there before to give nearer 2 weeks before making changes, as often these leaps hit and we think day sleep needs to change or to drop a nap! But 90% of the time, they come back to it once the leap passes.


Babies reach development leaps and milestones at different stages, and will fall slightly differently for each child, for example - rolling, sitting up, walking, talking and so on.


Typical leaps (sleep regressions) hit somewhere around:


4 Months

6 Months

10 Months

12 Months

18 Months

2 Years

3 Years


If they have previously slept really well, and suddenly there are split nights and lengthy awakenings, chances are they have hit a development leap! You may find they wake super happy, having a nice 2am party.. or be a bit grumpy because they can't understand why they aren't asleep! Their brains are wired to be awake during big developmental changes, and often not much resettles them. But as parents, we try everything in our power and bring in loads of different settle approaches in the hope that they eventually sleep.


The 4-Month leap in particular is a biggy - as this is where they start to realise if they wake somewhere different from where they fell asleep. And their sleep cycles get more prominent, as do their sleep associations. It isn't uncommon for sleep to unravel a bit from here - so look at the tips below to help.


Top tip -

Some top tips for getting through these phases -

- Try and aim for the same consistent day sleep even if there is a fight - quiet time is better than no nap! If a nap is missed, work on an early bedtime instead of a late nap as this will bring more bedtime battles with the new persistence they have!

- Keep consistency! Any new habits we embed now may stick well beyond the leap ends, so try keep to whatever worked before this.

- Or, if you want to make changes to their settle approach now may also be a good time to do it. Lots of reassurance where you can, and consistency and it will pass within a few weeks before you then see their new found skills show!


Remember - this isn't forever! You've got this.


And these are temporary phases, but consistency after is key to help keep things on track. If you feel you need support, or you are ready to feel confident in your child's sleep changes - ask me a question via jadesleepnanny@gmail.com or access to my Online Programs to find your perfect sleep support!




Jade Sleep Nanny


If you're finding it hard to navigate changes in your child's sleep, I'd recommend my support membership system

 here to fully bring consistently great sleep.



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