I remember hearing about this whole "sleep regression" thing and thought that it was just bullshit. To me, it sounded like a huge growth spurt that resulted in frequent feedings and cuddles. Whatever, been there done that! All babies go through growth spurts and I've survived them just fine, so far. Boy, was I wrong... sleep regression SUCKS!
First off, I was quite wrong about what a sleep regression entails. Babies go through this six times by the time they're two years old, all for different reasons. At four months old, my babe is going through a change in his sleep cycle that will match that of an adult. Rumour has it this regression only lasts for two-three weeks, but can continue for upward of six weeks!
So, how am I dealing with this? Well, the last two weeks I was in complete denial. However, I've slowly began to say goodbye to the times when baby T would fall asleep practically anywhere and for long periods of time. I'm realizing that the way we sleep and cuddle is changing and it won't ever be the same again. It's bitter sweet, but it's just another milestone to accomplish with my little baby.
Onward and upward, it's time to come up with a game plan because his sleep regression doesn't seem to be ending any time soon. Currently, I'm a walking, talking, barely functioning (but still hitting the gym), tired momma. Baby T has been waking me up every hour, but sometimes he'll give me an extra 30 minutes. Is he hungry? Nope! Is he wanting to play? Definitely not. He's transitioning from one sleep cycle into the next, but instead of waking up briefly and going back to sleep (like adults), he wakes up and fusses until I pick him up and give him some boobie milk. He isn't used to this new form of sleep, so I have to help him fall back into a new cycle.
What I've learned is that my babe doesn't fall into a deep cycle of sleep right away, like he used to, so I have to nurse and rock him to sleep and then wait a good 30 minutes before putting him down. This allows him to enter a deep cycle of sleep without disruption. If I were to put him down too soon, then he would wake up and I'd have to start all over again. A child's sleep cycle lasts from 30-45 minutes, after that a child will lightly wake up and then fall back into another sleep cycle. Now, for our precious little babies, their sleep cycles last from 45-50 minutes... sound familiar? If you remember what I had stated above, Tyrus was waking me up every hour, sometimes every 90 minutes. What I was uneducated on is why he was waking me up, he was transitioning into another sleep cycle but unsure of the feeling, so he needed to be cuddled/nursed back to sleep. Make sense now? This knowledge has helped me to not be so frustrated during this time in our lives, but it sure doesn't take away the tiredness.
In the end, this is all the advice that I can offer... be patient. This time in your life is very short, although it may not feel that way right now. You want to cherish these little memories and soak in your tiny baby before s/he no longer wants to cuddle. Also, remember to make time for yourself. Even if you take 20 minutes to relax in the tub, do it! Ask your partner or a family member to watch baby, they'll be fine. You deserve some lovin', too! De-stress, relax, and remember that it's okay to cry.