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The Three-Month Sleep Regression

The face of no sleep and the guilty face who's been causing it.

Before having a baby of my own, I really didn’t know much about them.  I fully expected a wailing, sleepless, little bundle to march its way into our lives from the get go, but up until now I had been pleasantly surprised.  Fern has actually been a great sleeper.

The first 6 weeks were rough, but I think all babies are like that and understandably.  They’re just hungry little beings who need to wake up constantly to eat.  It was hard, but then we put Fern in her own room around the six-week mark and the results were nothing short of miraculous.  Almost immediately Fern started sleeping through the night.  The first few nights we got 5-6 hours, which we were thrilled about, and then shortly afterward Fern fell into a routine of sleeping anywhere rom 7-10 hours each night.  The heavens opened up and angels sang.  It was amazing.

This continued for weeks, but now at 3-months-old we are experiencing some serious sleep regression…as in worse-than-the-newborn-days kind of sleep regression.

Read more after the jump…

I have no idea what brought this sleep regression about, because we haven’t been doing anything differently, but now my formerly great sleeper is waking up every 1-2 hours just like when she was an infant.  It’s worse than the infant days though, because she’s much harder to soothe back to sleep.

Our usual routine for the past month-and-a-half has been that Fern takes periodic cat naps during the day (never in her bed, despite my best attempts) and occasionally I can get her to take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon if she’s in her swing.  I know the lack of naps and swing chair napping is less than ideal, but I’ve really been trying, just not having any success.  Up until now I haven’t been too worried about day time naps though, because she always slept so well at night.

Our night time routine is that we usually start getting Fern ready for bed around 9:00:  PJ’s, swaddle, nursing, bottle, and then I lay her down to sleep with no problem.  For the past week though, she’s been really difficult to get to sleep and once she is asleep, she usually fusses a couple of times within that first half hour and I have to go in and soothe her back to sleep.  Then, for the rest of the night she’s up every couple of hours.  I have to go in and lay by her and nurse her back to sleep and just when I’m ready to get up and sneak back to my room, she’s awake again and we start the whole routine over again.  She seems to be sleeping so lightly which has been the other difficult part.  We use a white noise machine for her throughout the night, but she seems to still be startled by little sounds even over the white noise.

I googled “sleep regression” and read that they usually tend to happen around four months, but can sometimes happen at three months (Yay!  I hit the anti-lottery!).  With everything I read though, there was no particularly good advice for how to get through the sleep regression.  I don’t know what to do and I feel like a walking zombie.  I’ve only gotten like 10 hours of sleep in the past four days and I don’t know how much longer I can function on so little sleep.  I know I’m not the first parent to go through this, but it feels really intense and unmanageable right now, so I’m requesting your advice.

Did your baby go through a sleep regression?

What helped/how did you get them back to a normal sleep schedule?

Any help and encouragement is much appreciated!

•Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.

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