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Should I Wait till Regression Is Over to Sleep Train?

Dec 18, 2023

You might have heard about sleep regressions—those frustrating periods when your baby's sleep patterns seem to do a 180-degree flip. They can be tough on both you and your little one. But here's the thing: waiting for a sleep regression to pass before addressing your baby's sleep issues might not always be the best approach.

Let's dive into the reasons why you don't need to wait for a sleep regression to be over before you sleep train, backed by research and my own experience as a sleep consultant and a parent.

Understanding Sleep Regressions

First, let's get on the same page about what a sleep regression is. Sleep regressions are temporary phases when your baby's sleep becomes disrupted. They can happen at various stages of infancy and toddlerhood, often coinciding with significant developmental milestones. During these regressions, you might notice that your little one who was once sleeping peacefully through the night now wakes up frequently, fights bedtime, or has difficulty settling down.

Here's where the misconception lies: Many parents assume that sleep regressions are the sole cause of their baby's sleep woes. While it's true that developmental leaps can trigger sleep regressions, they're not the only reason why your baby might be struggling with sleep.

Reason 1: Habit Formation Matters

Research suggests that the early months and years of life are critical for establishing healthy sleep habits in babies and toddlers [1]. Waiting for a sleep regression to pass before addressing your baby's sleep issues can inadvertently reinforce habits that prevent them from learning to sleep more independently.

Imagine this: Your baby wakes up multiple times during the night during a sleep regression, and you respond by rocking them back to sleep or offering a feeding every time they cry. While this may provide immediate relief, it can create a sleep association where your baby relies on your intervention to fall asleep.

Over time, this sleep association can become deeply ingrained, making it even harder for your baby to learn self-soothing skills and sleep through the night once the sleep regression ends. By proactively addressing sleep challenges, you can help your baby build healthier sleep habits that serve them well in the long run.

Reason 2: Your Well-Being Matters Too

As parents, our primary focus is often on ensuring the well-being of our children. However, it's crucial to remember that your well-being matters too. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on your physical and emotional health [2]. When you're consistently waking up multiple times during the night to tend to your baby during a sleep regression, it can lead to fatigue, irritability, and even postpartum mood disorders.

Waiting for a sleep regression to pass without taking steps to address the sleep disruptions can prolong your own sleep deprivation. By actively working on sleep solutions, you're not only helping your baby but also safeguarding your own mental and physical health, which is essential for providing the best care for your little one.

Reason 3: Building Confidence and Independence

Another critical aspect to consider is your baby's developing confidence and independence. Sleep regressions often coincide with periods of rapid cognitive and physical growth. Your baby is learning and evolving at an astonishing rate. By actively helping them navigate sleep challenges, you can empower them to build confidence and independence in handling sleep disruptions.

Responsive sleep training methods that focus on understanding and meeting your baby's needs without letting them cry it out can promote secure attachment and self-soothing skills [3]. These skills are invaluable not only for better sleep but also for your baby's overall development and emotional well-being.

Reason 4: Long-Term Benefits

When you choose to actively address sleep challenges, you're investing in the long-term well-being of your entire family. By teaching your baby to sleep independently and self-soothe, you're setting the stage for restful nights not just during sleep regressions, but for years to come.

Imagine a future where your toddler has the skills and confidence to settle down on their own and sleep through the night consistently. That's a gift that keeps on giving, providing peace and rest for your entire household.

Taking Action: A Balanced Approach

Now that we've explored why waiting for a sleep regression to end might not be the best strategy, it's essential to highlight that taking action doesn't mean ignoring your baby's developmental needs. It's about finding a balanced approach that considers both their growth and their need for restful sleep.

As a sleep consultant and a mom, I encourage parents to explore responsive sleep training methods that respect your baby's individuality and needs. These methods focus on understanding your baby's cues and addressing their sleep challenges with patience and empathy.

Research suggests that responsive sleep training methods can be highly effective in helping babies and toddlers learn to sleep independently and self-soothe [4]. These methods promote secure attachment and foster a positive sleep environment, ensuring that your baby feels safe and comforted even during sleep regressions.

Join Our Free Training Webinar

If you're ready to take proactive steps to address your baby's sleep challenges and unlock better sleep for your entire family, I invite you to join our upcoming free training webinar. We'll dive deeper into responsive sleep training methods, share practical tips, and provide guidance on helping your baby sleep more soundly through the night.

To secure your spot in our free training, simply drop the comment "SLEEP" below, and we'll send you all the details


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