I know I risk getting things thrown at me for saying this but trust me I do appreciate it fully, so please refrain from hating me quite so much...Joshua has always been a very good sleeper. I've said this before and I do know how lucky we are that thanks to Gina Ford he was sleeping through the night from three months onwards. Even when he was very poorly in hospital at 7 months he slept through the night despite his pain and confusion. Even his colds, throat infections etc have never stirred him from sleep. He has had the odd night terror but always settled himself so imagine my suprise recently after 14 months of full nights sleep when everything started to unravel. And as a result I became a cross between a walking zombie and a crying looney.
No-one had ever warned me about the 18 month sleep regression. Personally I feel like there is some sort of toddler sleep conspiracy going on with the health visitors. They could have pre-warned me about this but no, they thought they would just let it arrive and become the dictator of this house without so much of a flimsy leaflet or website recommendation for advise. Cheers for that ladies!
If all of a sudden your usually well sleeping child decides to do a complete u-turn on their night time habbits for no real reason then this is likely the cause. Between 18 months and 2 years is when this is likely to occur and it can last between anything from 2 weeks to four months. It usually takes the pattern of lots of regular night time wakings which usually but not always will happen a few nights a week. If you are unlucky it's a nightly thing consistantly until the phase is over. After this period has passed your toodler should return back to their normal sleeping habbits, whatever that may be for your own child.
Caused by a combination of things. Obviously we all know that at this stage the back teeth are going to be causing grief which never helps but you may not know that the 18 month period is when a toddler experiences prime seperation anxiety. This means when they wake in the night they are hard to settle unless you are in the room with them. I can vouch for this because everytime I would leave the room after settling Josh, no matter how sleepy he was he would fight his sleep and get upset again. It was quite heartbreaking because he's never been clingy so it was very hard for me let alone him!
As well as these things the whole idea of toddlers is that they are gaining independance so combine having seperation issues with a child who decides they don't want to go to sleep then you are looking at a spate of difficult nights ahead. Sorry!
Throw in growth spurts, illness, the normal night terrors, or them worrying about something and you can begin to understand the reasons behind the wakings. Understanding all this was a real help for me because the sudden change in sleeping habbit really took the rug from under my feet and I was beginning to panic. Knowing it has a name and is common has really reassured me. It's also helped to reconfirm how I deal with it. As all children's sleeping habbits look different, we will all handle this phase differently. Some mummies (and daddies too!) will have the child in bed with them, some will use controlled crying. I tried Josh in bed with me and daddy was relegated to the sofa but it meant we were both wide awake for over three hours at a time which made us both grumpy the next day. I also have always used controlled crying with Joshua thanks to the Gina Ford routine, so as much as I wanted to cuddle him back to sleep I knew I couldn't suddenly start doing the opposite to everything we had already done. Poor thing would be confused as well as everything else! So we now adopt the controlled crying side of things and I feel more confident handling things this way.
However it's not easy to suddenly go back to a broken nights sleep after you've had full nights sleep for such a long time again. I've felt like a bit of a wobbly mess when it approaches nap time and bed time, I guess I've been a bit fearful of what is ahead! Last night for example Josh had cried himself to sleep, which is another sign of this phase (he hasn't done that for a long time either) when he finally got to sleep my neighbour was banging his door so loudly almost as if he was trying to play the drums with the door. Put it this way Josh started howling immediately and so the neighbour got a mouthful from me. I wasn't polite about it. We are having enough issues with sleeping in this house without adding an inconsiderate neighbour to the mix!
So if this all sounds familiar to you then your toddler may well be going through the 18 month sleep regression. I hope that writing this can save a few mummies a panic few days/weeks wondering what's gone wrong (like I did) and blaming themselves while also feeling zombie-fied due to sudden sleep deprevation!
See what I mean though?! I bet lots of you are going "Wow this makes sense, I hadn't even heard of this!" but yet no-one tells you do they? CONSPIRACY I TELL YOU!
Love Chloe xx
Please visit my blog HERE