Toddler Sleep Regressions

sleep regression effects

The term every parent doesn’t want to hear.

You think you finally getting the hang of raising a toddler, your sleep patterns have gotten a little more regular, you no longer act like a zombie during daylight hours. Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly, and then it happens.

Your toddler starts to take a lot longer to go to sleep of a night, your toddler goes through a couple of days without naps, or what starts off as one bad night of sleep turns into multiple nights.

sleep regression

You start to wonder if you have done anything different? or if your child might be sick, and then it clicks. That dreaded term you had only heard rumors of or read about online comes back to haunt you. That’s right

Toddler Sleep Regressions

Yes they are a real thing that the majority of us will experience. They are not just a legend told to scare parents.

Thankfully there is plenty of information available online from experts about what exactly a sleep regression is: sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler who’s been sleeping well suddenly begins waking at night and during naptime, or even refusing to go to sleep at all (Baby Sleep Site).

So at least you will know if you are going through an actual regression, or you know, your child is just being painful.

If you have been following for awhile I have actually written about this before in A Good Nights Sleep Is this a reoccurring theme? maybe, all well, this is a Dad Blog after all.

Our Current Situation

Last night our toddler decided to wake up at around midnight, to a non parent this might seem funny, to another parent this may seem like a common occurrence and something we should be used to. Either one would be fine, if he had decided to go back to sleep before 5am.

note, I need to be honest here, it wasn’t actually last night this happened, it was earlier in the week, but yesterday I was too tired to write something that at least made sense.

sleep regression effects

If this was the only ‘refusing to sleep’ event that had occurred recently I would put it down to a bad night, unfortunately its not.

As a shift worker I am not home most evenings when its time for our little guy to go to sleep, so the ‘falling asleep’ routine has fallen upon my wife. She is fine with this (as far as I know), what does get to her is when a routine that used to take all of about 10-15 minutes to complete, lately has been taking up to 2 hours. Yes, that’s 2 hours of comforting, watching, settling, before he falls asleep.

As you can imagine this tends to have an impact on our sanity. It does help to know we are not alone though. Baby Sleep Site has written a good article on the topic here. However as parents know, every child is different and it doesn’t matter how many articles you read or strategies you research, sometimes you just have to wait it out.

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A Good Nights Sleep

When was the last time you had a good nights sleep? Please only parents respond to that question, the rest of you don’t know what your in for until you have kids. I’m not just talking about a night where your kid(s) slept all the way through, but one were you woke up truly rested and ready to start the day.

As I write this I have just gone through one of the worst nights I’ve had in awhile. The little guy woke up 2 hours after we had gone to bed and didn’t go back down for 4 hours. That’s 4 hours of playing, singing, reading, rocking, until he finally fell asleep – as I driving him around the block at 3:30am. Then 3 hours later he woke back up. We have an unwritten rule between me and my wife that if one of us isn’t working the next day then it falls to them to deal with these nights, until we realise they are struggling then the other will always help out. This was one of my nights.

Remember those days when you were younger, before fatherhood where you would stay up all night partying and then go to work the next day? Those are long gone, as a Dad you need to take the sleep when you can get it. As a Dad, or any parent your days just aren’t long enough to get everything done. After nights like these is it worth trying to stick to your original schedule and plan or should you sacrifice that to regain some sleep.

Personally I sit on the fence with this one. On one side, I feel the need to stay on top of a schedule and feel a little disheartened when plans fall through due to a rough night. On the other we need to look after ourselves and if that means missing out on an early morning gym session or the chores falling behind then that’s what happens. What do you do in this situation?

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