A sleep training regression is defined as “a return to a former or less developed state”. The true meaning for a parent busy sleep training a small child, is just when you think everything is looking great and your little one is able to do longer periods of sleep by themselves, you may hit a night where everything has gone back to how it was the first night. In other words: Back to square one.
Is it normal during this process?
This is indeed normal! During the sleep-training process you are removing any dependency your child has on you or an item to settle at bed or nap time, or to resettle upon waking. When you stop offering this particular dependency, your child may accept it for a few nights and then start to realise this “dependency” is definitely not coming back/doing what it was doing before. Suddenly your child’s behaviour gets worse because he is fighting to get it back. Therefore, a regression.
Typically, you would observe the following:
- Day 1-2: You start with the sleep-training program. They usually resist a little but if you stay calm and consistent and positive about the change, all is well.
- Day 3-4 / 5-6: It’s going really well and you see wonderful progress! You are feeling rested and very confident.
- Day 5/6/7: Suddenly, everything seems to have taken a turn for the worse and it feels like all the progress you’ve made has gone down the drain. Your child is: often waking at night; resisting bedtime; resisting naps.
This behaviour may leave you feeling confused and worried. However, don’t despair – it will get worse before it gets better. This regression is actually normal, so do not lose all hope! Continue being consistent and keep following the plan.
With more gentle methods, you need to extend this timeline a little.
A sleep training regression is actually a sign that the training is working. You are undoubtedly on the right track! Your child is responding developmentally to the fact that he/she is not getting what they used to, to fall asleep.
Please keep faith and keep going! Good sleep is right around the corner!
Boundary pushing and limit testing are amazing things all kids do! It helps them to determine the walls within they can function. If the boundaries are clear, it’s easier for them to know in which space they can operate safely. This is exactly the same with sleep. If you are implementing a new boundary with their sleep, they are innately forced to push and see where the limits are! That is why it is such an important piece of the sleep puzzle to stay as consistent as possible. Inconsistencies confuse our babies.
How do you get through this regression?
- Stay consistent and stick to the plan we have discussed.
- Communicate your goal and plan with everyone helping you.
- Make sure that what you are expecting from your child is developmentally appropriate.
Regression from sleep training is completely normal! So if you are currently sleep training and going through this phase, hold tight, it will get better! If you need help with sleep, please get in touch, we are only a 15 min free call away.