Oh sleep, where are you? Please find my baby girl and me!
Oh sleep, why does my baby hate you...please make her love you again!
Oh sleep, just sleep...please pretty please...sleep come back...sleep!
That is my nightly mantra, lately. It has taken me by surprise and hit me like a tonne of bricks. Which is ironic, given this is my second run. However, I just forgot, frankly, about the dreaded, every daunting, 9 month sleep regression. Which, in my opinion, is much worse than the 4 month one.
Around the 4 month mark, typically babies regress to waking up as they did as newborns, every 2-3 hours at best. It is a hard one, because after the 3 month mark, one gets adjusted to sleeping a bit more, and establish a routine/schedule. Then you get thrown a curve ball...the schedule goes out the window. This makes the 4 month one extremely tough, because you are almost back at square one.
However, that passes, and you will sleep, a bit, again. You then re-establish a schedule/routine...your baby is sleeping longer hours. Your baby starts solids, is fuller longer, and things are going swimmingly. They start playing, and exploring and growing at lightning speed. It's awesome, purely awesome. You make play dates, go to mommy and me classes again, and you feel like you have more energy. Some days you wake, saying "wow I just slept 6 hours straight, I feel great." You even have stopped taking naps yourself, and use nap time as your own personal errand time or "me" time.
Then things change. At night. Drastically.
That is where I am at, I am waking up, what feels to be all the time...allllllll the tiiiiiiiiime. At first, I was puzzled, thinking why is this happening. She feeds well, she's not hungry, she's not wet...yes she is teething, but she doesn't appear to be in discomfort...why?
Then I read my baby books and resources again, and also jogged down memory lane.
It is highly normal for your 8 to 10 month old to go through another sleep regression. Sleep regressions occur at growth spurts, or periods of high development. It is not that they are being bad sleepers, per say, it is just that your baby is going through the biggest brain development period to date.
This is the time frame, in which, they learn to do things such as:
-sitting on own
-pulling themselves up
-saying some simple words
-making associations with what you say (i.e. clap your hands, say bye bye, etc.)
All this happens so rapidly. It's astonishing to see in the day, but your baby's brain is literally firing up and it's hard for them to know to "shut down". You may even catch them at night, when not crying, trying out some of their learned skills. I once caught baby girl trying to pull herself up in her crib...at about 3am!
While it is frustrating at night, it is very normal and it too shall pass.
I think the 9 month regression is also tougher because it, in my case, lasts a bit longer. This is also the stage where most babies experience separation anxiety. They are weary of not seeing you or knowing if you are right there with them. They are nervous being alone and just never realized it before that they are not physically attached to you.
Of course every baby is different, but I have seen this full force.
On the one hand, I love how much my child is learning and growing. On the other, momma really wants to sleep again.
If you find you are in the same boat, here are some tips to make it through:
-give your baby lots of cuddles, day or night, it will calm them but will also remind you how loving these monsters are
-reinstate daytime naps for yourself...just do it
-try using essential oils, a calming blend, in diffusers or on your wrists, when you need to feel relaxed
-if available to you, ask your partner to give you encouragement in the middle of the night when you get up or switch off on tending to baby
-sleeping in depends totally on if you have another child, so some days ask a babysitter or family to help in the morning so you can catch up on sleep...because chances are baby is sleeping a little later into the morning