Sleep regression happens with almost every child at some point. The most common phases are 4 months, 9 months, 12 months, and 18 months. 18 Months is the mack daddy of them all. Because you baby is now more cognitive at 18 months, they are aware that they are ALONE & can cry, scream, jump up and down, throw things, and yell MAMA till you come and sooth them back to sleep. Sleep regression is when your baby who was sleeping just fine suddenly doesn’t want to sleep anymore and makes your life miserable.
For the last month, my daughter, who was a solid sleeper through the night since she was 6 months old (with the exception of the occasional sleep regression milestone that lasted at most 2 weeks), decided she didn’t want to be put down in her crib pretty much ever. She refused to be put down for naps as well as bed time. She only wants me to rock her till the point where my butt is numb and I start hearing voices in the sounds of the rocking chair creaking. If she was super exhausted and couldn’t fight it anymore, she would be put down, then wake up hours later screaming & throwing a tantrum. I even got the point where I said, “ok, I’m fine with putting her in bed and letting her sleep with us.” Yeah, right. That did not work. When she would get in bed with us, she just wanted to talk & play rather than sleep. If I try to let her cry it out in her crib, she just throws a tantrum for a few minutes, lays down as if to recharge her batteries for a minute, then gets up and screams even louder.
If your child is going through this right now, RELAX….it’s completely NORMAL!!!! That’s the good news. I feel like my brain is fried right now. When your kid isn’t sleeping, they aren’t just tired….they’re ANGRY. They throw tantrums easily, they don’t want to eat as much, and they are pretty much unpredictable and terrifying. The good news is, it will pass. In the past, if Pearl’s sleep regressed, It would always resolve itself within a couple weeks. The truly shitty part of the 18 month regression is that it usually lasts 2 months. So, yes, you will be completely sleep deprived and feel like you have a newborn for 2 months. I’m at the one month mark, now. It also seems that my friends with babies Pearl’s age are going through the same thing. Bless them!
Pearl and her best friend Olive who is the same age and also struggling with sleep
Feel free to comment in the comments section with advice, support, and help for other moms who are going through this same thing! Share your stories with us, mommas.
We’ve all been there. You’ve played peek-a-boo, played with the dogs, swung outside on the swing set, ate lunch & breakfast, watched a cartoon, & exhausted all of your toy options to the point of BOREDOM. Your child appears bored, and you start feeling like a lame mom for not being able to keep them entertained. Kids, especially toddlers, are REALLY hard to keep occupied due to their short attention span & lack of agility. Here are a few ideas you need to keep in your back pocket for one of those days.
1. Play With an Ice Pack
I know, it sounds weird and basic, but my child LOVES a good ice pack. We take turns holding it and putting it on our heads, and I even jump and scream when she touches me with it. She giggles and I love it. I also tell her that it’s “cold”, and she now knows when something is cold, so it’s a learning thing too. This game can last like 15 minutes if you have the entertainment chops.
2. Turn On The Music and Dance
I like to play the Beatles, Daft Punk, & The Backyardigans Soundtrack for Pearl. We dance & do silly movements to the music for about 10 minutes (hey, that’s 10 minutes you’re not staring at the wall.) I also tell her to “dance” during the music so she can relate the two. She can now dance on command, my little show monkey.
3. Create a TupperWare Drawer For Baby
A fabulous way to keep a toddler entertained while you’re trying to cook dinner is to set up their very own drawer full of tupperware, plastic cups, spoons, and other items…stuff you aren’t going to use & don’t have to worry about washing. Use a drawer or cabinet low to the ground & in your line of vision. Your kid will LOVE the fact that they’re digging in a cabinet/drawer and nobody is stopping them. Your baby will enjoy stacking, opening, closing, and throwing these items for quite some time. This can last a good 30 minutes if you put some good stuff in there.
4. Have a Picnic
Nothing fancy, just take an old blanket outside in the sunshine with a variety of crackers, fruit, or whatever else is bite size & available. Put them in individual little baggies and let your baby try to open and close everything himself. It is really good for developing hand dexterity.
5. Print Out Photos of Animals
Most books have very cartoony versions of what animals look like. Google photos of horses, turtles, fish, sharks, cats & dogs. Print out large, real-life photos of these animals, then show them to your baby. You can also just sit next to them on the computer and google these things. Pearl absolutely loves when we sit there & look at photos of her favorite animals. She can say about 20 animal names, now (humble brag.)
6. Set Up a “Non-Baby” Baby Box
If you set up a box full of baby toys, inevitably your child won’t want anything to do with it. Fill the same box with naughty items kids aren’t supposed to play with, and they will do anything to get their hands on it. We have a first aid box full of bandaids, gauze, ace bandages, and other medical paraphernalia in our bathroom, and Pearl runs to it every time she sees it. She will spend 15-20 minutes taking stuff out & apart. I suggest filling a plastic box with things like empty bandaid boxes, ace bandages, gauze, empty medicine bottles filled with beans for the rattling effect, old digital thermometers, and whatever else you can think of that isn’t dangerous but isn’t a toy.
7. Change Rooms
I recommend keeping different toys in different rooms, instead of having just one toy room. A change of scenery could be all that your kid needs. Theres absolutely nothing fun in our guest bedroom for a toddler, but every time we go in there, Pearl acts like she’s just discovered Narnia. A new room is just as cool to a toddler as a new toy.
8. Rearrange Toys & Games Every 3 Months
If you have a bunch of toys your kid never plays with, here’s an idea: rearrange your toys such as play kitchens, instruments, & toy boxes every 3 months. Babies get tired of the same old thing every day. You can reignite your child’s interest in something by simply moving it. For instance, if your play kitchen has been in the same spot for a year, move it to a different corner of the room, or turn it around facing the wall. Kids love it. It’s like, “OH BOY! My kitchen is in another room, this is new and exciting!” It sounds trivial, but trust me, It works. It’s like a reset button for that particular toy. They get to start all over again with it.
9. Blow Bubbles
Blowing bubbles never gets old for toddlers. If your child can’t blow a bubble yet, blow for them. It sounds so DUH, but seriously, overwhelmed moms forget the basics sometimes & it’s good to be reminded. You can also step your game up by getting a bubble machine so you guys can jump around and dance in all the bubble glory.
10. Play With A Flashlight
Go into a dark room and play with flashlights. Toddlers LOVE this and can do it for possibly 20 minutes. You can make shadow puppets on the wall…so much fun! Just be careful of them shining the light directly into their eyes.
11. Look Through Family Photos
This is great if your kid already loves books. Take a trip down memory lane by flipping through photo albums with your tot. They will love seeing photos of mommy & daddy!
12. Finger Paint With Yogurt
Instead of using finger paints, use different flavors/colors of yogurt…blueberry, strawberry, peach, etc. THAT way, if your toddler puts their fingers in their mouth, it will be a yummy surprise.
Remember, just because it’s not a “game” or a “toy”, doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Children are often entertained by the most unsuspecting things. Have fun!