Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Back to Square One...

Well, maybe not quite square one, but there have been moments over the past weeks that sure feel like it. About 2 months ago, I wrote about our struggles at night (read part 1, 2 & 3) and at that time we had decided to try some sleep training. It seemed to have worked because for the past 8 weeks or so, Tessa was consistently sleeping glorious 9-10 hour stretches. It was heavenly.

You'll notice I said was.

Over the last two weeks, things have been so up and down and completely unpredictable. Take this weekend, for example. Friday night was good, Saturday night was bad, and Sunday night was great. I think maybe I could handle the nights much better if there was at least some predictability to them. This feels like the newborn days all over again.

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised. She just got over the worst illness she's ever had and she's working on at least one new tooth. I was also recently introduced to the concept of "Wonder Weeks" by two fellow mommy bloggers (check out Hannah's post to learn more) and have discovered that she's very likely right smack dab in the middle of a major developmental leap.

So, I guess you could call this a "sleep regression", or maybe you could just call it "normal infant sleep".

And what have I learned through this latest challenge?

First of all, it's NORMAL. When things started to derail, sleepwise, the question my husband and I were constantly asking each other was "what's wrong?". I soon decided that the answer to that question is NOTHING. Nothing is wrong with either my baby or us as parents. My daughter (like all babies) is undergoing massive amounts of physical, mental, and emotional development through this first year of her life. Sometimes it seems like she just gets a skill mastered when she hits another milestone and has to work her way through the learning involved in perfecting yet another skill. In addition to the stress of all these huge cognitive leaps, she also has to deal with physical development like teething and growth spurts. She hardly gets a break. It shouldn't really come as a surprise when she has fussy, clingy moments and a few rough nights when she's in the middle of these rather large changes.

Second, all is NOT lost. I may have exaggerated when I titled this post. Ok, I definitely exaggerated when I titled this post. We are not back at square one, thankfully. But it's easy to begin to think this way when you're so frustrated and sleep deprived. Babies are hard work, and when you've put in the work and you finally begin to see progress only to have it come to a screeching halt at 1am and 2:30am and 4am, it's easy (for me, anyway) to feel defeated and hopeless. It's so important, though, to keep things in perspective. To remember that these are just minor bumps on the road that will eventually smooth themselves out.

Finally, my daughter's sleep (or lack thereof) is not necessarily a reflection of my ability as a mother. On one of the most recent really bad nights, as I got out of bed for the 100th 4th time, I actually said out loud to my husband, "I suck at this". As in, the reason my daughter is awake again is because I'm a terrible mom. Um, no. Not true (I realize that now, but exhaustion can make you think, say, and do some crazy stuff!). I love my daughter more than anything, and I know that I'm doing the very best that I can. I've read that sleeping through the night is a developmental milestone like any other that babies reach when they're ready. Sure, I'll give her all the help I can to get her there as soon as possible (for her sake as well as mine), but maybe what she needs most is unconditional love, grace, understanding, and a whole lot of patience from her parents when she's having a rough time. If that means I need to rock her or nurse her, so be it. I refuse to blame myself, put myself down, or feel guilty for comforting, loving, and feeding my daughter and doing what I need to do to get us through a night.

Why go around when you can go under?
This girl is really starting to love her books! Makes her mom & dad happy!

Have you gone through a "sleep regression" with your little ones? How did you deal with it?


  1. Aw so sorry you guys are having a rough time! It really sounds like you have a really good outlook though, its so so true that these little babes are going through so much in their little brains and bodies, and sometimes we have to give them (and us) some grace. You are doing an awesome job! Also you look so pretty in that last picture!

  2. Yep, we're in the middle of one now. Baby G slept through the night for months now all of a sudden she wants a 3 a.m. milky snack. I'm glad to be reassured that this is normal. This too shall pass!

  3. Yes that happened to us right before we moved to our new house! He all of a sudden was waking up in the middle of the night for no reason! It passes though- thankfully!!!

  4. You are doing an amazing job, hang in there :) I can relate, my son had a rough 3 weeks that ended in a full on sleep protest no naps and barely any sleep at night unless I held him. I know how you are feeling I was there literally 2 days ago. I tried everything I know to do but ended up having to do some sleep training, it's hard but necessary. You have no idea how happy I am to read that this is normal :)

  5. Thanks Andrea. So true about sleeping teenagers! :) There's always going to be some kind of challenge with our kids...right now it's no sleep, someday it will be too much sleep...you can't win!! Just gotta love them through it all. Thanks!

  6. Thanks Hannah...yes, I'm trying to keep it all in perspective and remember that it's just a season! And grace - yes!! I think I've learned more about grace in my 10 months as a mom than in the whole rest of my life combined (which is a good thing!) :)

  7. So frustrating when you think you have something working, and they go and change it all up on you! Glad to know I'm not the only one. Hang in there! :)

  8. Yes, I'm trying to remind myself that this will work itself out like everything else! Patience, patience!! And sometimes they just need us a little more...and that's totally ok! :) Thanks!

  9. Thank you Ileana. Ugh, that's frustrating...hope you guys get it all worked out! Yes, it's nice to know we're not alone! Thanks for your encouragement.


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