Ok so, we thought we had our toddler in a good sleeping routine. Finally, some normalcy back for the first time since he was born. Then around the 18-month mark suddenly, during the night he woke me up screaming. I ran to his room terrified wondering what was wrong, but everything seemed to be fine as soon as I pick him up. I stayed up to get him back asleep, just to have him wake up and start wailing as soon as he left my arms. After several nights of this horrendous new sleeping routine, I start searching and asking around as to what could be causing it. I soon found out that we were experiencing what is known as the 18 month sleep regression.
So, I was around 7 months pregnant when our son started the 18-month sleep regression. It…Was…HORRIBLE! I had weaned him around his first b-day, and since then he was doing great. I would rock him to sleep every night, lay him down in his crib and he would sleep all night until around 8:30 the next morning. It was awesome! I was finally catching up on some much-needed sleep. When this new phase hit, I was in such distress! Here I am, 7 months preggo and now my 18 month old son has stopped sleeping! What in the world am I gonna do when I have a new baby to take care of?????
We would spend hours rocking, trying to lay him down to have him wake up immediately screaming. I would eventually get him down, but just an hour or so later he would wake up screaming again. This went on for about a week before we finally decided that we HAD to do something!
I thought maybe the reason he was not laying down easy and waking a lot was because he goes to sleep with me holding him, so therefore when he woke up he was terrified because I wasn’t holding him anymore. So I knew we had to teach him to go to sleep on his own. We started by establishing a routine in order for him to identify when it was bedtime. Every night we would start by putting his pajamas on, then we’d brush he’s teeth, and then we would pray with him and lay him in his bed. In the beginning he also like to have his sippy cup, so I would give him water in his cup at night. I would sit by his bed in a chair and tell him it was time to go to sleep. He would stand up and cry holding on to the rail of the crib. I would get up and sooth him and lay him down again. This went on for probably a couple of hours the first night, and slowly got better every night. After about a week, when we’d lay him down he would whimper a little and just watch me until he fell asleep.
Next was the really hard part. After the nightly routine, we would lay him down as usual but this time walk out of his room. This was so hard because he would cry and it just broke my heart! We would take turns going back in to lay him down again, and tell him we loved him and that it was time to go to sleep. This went on for about two weeks. Probably the longest two weeks of our lives! But in the end he finally realized that if he needed us, we were right there to comfort him. He started falling asleep on his own, and sleeping better at night! It was so wonderful and sad at the same time. My little boy is growing up so fast! Now it’s so easy to just tuck him in, and rock his baby sis to sleep. It was so rough during those first few weeks, but I’m so glad that we stuck with it. Hopefully if your reading this going through the same thing, somehow this can help you. Just remember, every child is different and learns in their own way and time. <3 <3 <3