As a mom, sleep deprivation is unavoidable. Even the “elite” sleepers show cognitive development, illness and separation anxiety through the act of not sleeping. Night after it night, it wears on us parents and can cause enough anxiety where our bodies will actually shut down. I know firsthand as I’m now battling it for the second time. I just went through the dreaded 4-month regression about a month ago and we’re just now coming out of it. However, I feel the effects with yet another cold.
Here are my personal tips for coping and keeping my head high when all I wanted to do was put it down on a pillow.
1. Ask for help
Every parent goes through it and there’s nothing wrong with admitting how challenging a sleep regression is. Reach out and ask for assistance from someone close to you. You need to breathe and recharge, too, and the saying “it takes a village” is not a lie.
2. Know it’s temporary
I know this sounds crazy, but try to find the good in all of it and know that one day they’ll be off at college, sleeping peacefully, away from home. This will all pass and better sleep-filled days are just ahead. It doesn’t last forever.
3. Put yourself in your baby’s shoes
Know that they’re struggling, too, and think about what you can do to soothe them (without creating unhealthy sleep habits, of course). A new sound machine, perhaps? A different sleep sack? Or just letting them cry a little bit so they can become a confident self-soother.
4. Have all bottles, medicines, waters, potions, etc. ready to go
The last thing you want is to be scrambling at night. This will heighten your anxiety and possibly wake up other family members. Get into an organized groove.
5. If all else fails, look to the experts and consult a sleep coach.
I thought the idea was silly, but I tried one. And you know what, it was so worth it. Bottom line is that it’s a higher level of support that will make you see the light at the end of the tunnel sooner. They won’t solve the sleep regression, but they’ll guide you through it with realistic solutions. I used Good Night Sleep Site, and my specialist was a mother-of- three, exceptionally knowledgeable, thorough and genuinely pulling for me.