Thursday, September 2, 2010
What's The Deal With Sleep Regression?
I noticed that every month around the time of his monthly birth date, the munchkin has a day or two of horrible sleep. HORRIBLE SLEEP. Two nights ago was one of those times. He woke up at 1am crying and refused to go back to bed until 4:30am. And going back to bed wasn't an easy task either. He didn't go down without a fight! So as I was sitting there trying to figure out what to do, tired, cranky, and frustrated, I decided to do some research on the subject. (The baby was in his bouncer playing with a toy, completely oblivious to the fact that this was NOT play time.)
I found out that many times when babies go through sleep regression, it's because they are about to hit a new developmental milestone. Reading about this definitely made me less cranky and more excited about what new things he'll soon be able to do! Here's a snippet from: Ask Moxie Q&A
"Your baby is going through enormous developmental spurts that you can't see, because they're dealing with cognitive processes. They work through these spurts the same way they work through the physical spurts, but when your baby is practicing recognizing patterns, you can't see that. Leading up to the actual new skill the baby is going to go through several weeks of intense brain work and prep that you can't necessarily see (unless you know specifically what to look for). One of the side effects of this brain work is that they don't sleep as well as they do during times in which they're not about to master a new skill. They may seem restless in the night (like they do sometimes when mastering a physical skill) but it's just nothing you can see and label. So we call it a sleep regression."
Aha! Now that makes sense! The article goes on to say that it usually happens at specifics weeks of age - weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, and 55. Since the munchkin just turned 6 months (24 wks) I guess that explains it since a developmental spurt is coming on at 26 wks. I tell you, Thank God for the internet! This has definitely made me understand what's happening and feel less like my baby will forever have sleep problems. (Ya that's what I really thought for a second.) The article then talks about a great book called The Wonder Weeks by Dutch researchers Hetty Vanderijt and Frans Plooij. This book goes into greater detail about what's going on in our babies little brains the first year and a half of life. If your baby was born earlier than 40 weeks then he'll go through the milestones later. If your baby was born later than the 40 weeks, he'll go through them earlier. We're in the latter group. Baby was born 4 days late.
In any event, I plan on getting that book to keep around the house for those times that I'm frustrated with the little tyke because it'll ease my mind and help me to be more patient knowing that the fussiness is for a reason - a great reason! My munchkin is growing up! ::sniff::