If this isn’t your first rodeo as a parent, you’re likely familiar with the fact that sleep during developmental milestones can be a struggle. (If this is your first time as a parent- buckle up!) Developmental milestones can impact sleep in many ways- as your little one grows and learns about the world around them, their sleep patterns are often disrupted, leaving them (and you) sleep-deprived and irritated. So today, we’re sharing tips for getting sleep during developmental milestones!
Getting Sleep During Developmental Milestones
Developmental milestones often lead to sleep regressions. Sleep regressions commonly happen around the ages of 4, 6, 8, 12, 18 months, 2 years, and 3 years. Contrary to the name, sleep regressions are indicative of their progressions as they learn and grow. However, their sleep schedules often take a hit during these times.
Getting sleep during developmental milestones can be tricky- they often lead to night wakings, early wakings, irregular naps, or bedtime resistance. They may have difficulty self-soothing, falling asleep, staying asleep, or going back to sleep. We have good news- these sleep disturbances are completely normal to go through from time to time.
It’s important to keep in mind that while sleep struggles are tough at the moment, your little one will likely be back on track within a few weeks. We’re covering common developmental milestones and how to get through them feeling less exhausted (without overcaffeination).
What Are Developmental Milestones?
There are many milestones that your little one hits in the first few years of their life. Getting sleep during developmental milestones is often a struggle with all of the growth and changes that are occurring. Here are common benchmarks that can put their sleep on the back burner:
- Rolling over
- Sitting up
- Increased awareness
- Potty training
- Language development
- Motor skill development
All of these ways that your little one is growing and changing are amazing for their development. Learning any new skill is exciting- for them and for you! However, they can lead to your child waking up in the middle of the night as a result of growing awareness of their surroundings or practicing their new skill. As frustrating as these sleep disruptions can be, we’re sharing some advice for getting sleep during developmental milestones to get through them faster and more well-rested.
Tips for Getting Sleep During Developmental Milestones
Have a bedtime routine
If you don’t already have a bedtime routine, this is your sign to start! Having a bedtime routine encourages your child to develop the skills to have healthy sleep habits that they can carry with them for their whole life.
Bedtime routines don’t need to be complicated or drawn out. As long as you’re keeping it calm and consistent, your child will benefit from implementing it. The quality time that you and your kiddo get to spend together during their bedtime routine will even become something that they look forward to!
Out of all the sleep tips, this is probably the most important piece of advice. It may be tempting to switch things up if it feels like they’re suddenly not working, however, making changes likely won’t help. Stick to their regular nap and bedtime routine. You may not be able to keep things exactly the same, but do your best to keep some normalcy in your routine. Consistency can help to prevent your little one from becoming confused or disoriented in their sleep habits. Staying consistent will get them back on track more quickly and they’ll come out the other side finding comfort in their routine.
Screen time is basically a guaranteed way to sabotage your child’s sleep cycle. It can delay the onset of melatonin, impact their circadian rhythm, and make falling asleep much harder for your little one. Turn screens off at least an hour before bedtime so your child can become sleepy and get a solid night of rest. If you need ideas for how to fill the time, we have a list of fun bedtime activities that don’t involve screens!
Sleep struggles can be brutal. It’s important to know that it will pass. Have patience with your little one- they’re just figuring things out! Along with having patience with your child, it’s important to be patient and gentle with yourself- parenting is not for the weak. Hang in there mama- you’re doing your best, and that is enough!
Practice new skills during the day
Practicing with your little one during the day will help them advance in their new skill and sleep better. By practicing during the daytime, they’ll feel less tempted to practice on their own at nighttime when it’s not as fresh and exciting. Additionally, they’ll feel more tuckered out and be more likely to fall asleep and sleep through the night.
Prepare for the next milestone
Preparation is key. Before the next milestone hits, get your sleep schedule on track with sleep training. Teaching your child to self-soothe and become an independent sleeper will come with lifelong benefits. When your child sleeps better, you sleep better, and everyone is happier. Sleep training is the best gift that you can give to your children (and yourself)!
Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting
Tired of sleepless nights? Sleep Shore is here to help! We offer one-on-one sleep support to cure your exhaustion. Whether you have a newborn, infant, or toddler, we offer virtual and in-person sleep training to help the whole family sleep better. See what this mama had to say about our sleep support:
“Life has changed so much for us since sleep training. My husband and I had tried everything and our methods of helping our little girl sleep weren’t working anymore. Our whole household was affected. Our days centered around trying to get her enough sleep. We started sleep training with Sleep Coach Molly and I was shocked the first time she initiated sleep without having to be fed or held to sleep. During our journey we had to break some sleep association habits and it was challenging but Molly was there to give us advice and encouragement. Our little girl Ella is so much happier now. I feel like I can be a better mom because I’m not constantly running on fumes from sleep deprivation. Sleep training has positively impacted our whole family and we are ever so grateful to Molly and the Sleep plan she curated just for our daughter!”
–MOM OF A 4-MONTH OLD