Spoiler alert! Babies don’t stay babies forever.
So, you’re starting to realise that your little one is growing and changing at an amazing speed. I’m sure it feels like only yesterday that you were cradling them in the hospital, enjoying that sweet, sweet newborn smell. Now, out of the blue they have become their own mini human, with their own unique personality and funky little traits starting to shine through. This brings about one of the most magical parts of being a parent: experiencing your child’s FIRSTS. The first smile, first roll, first tooth, first step. There are so many firsts and new experiences in those early years with your little one, that it truly is just such a special time.
However, these exciting developmental milestones do come with their challenges. And if you haven’t already, I’m sure you will quickly begin find that adjustments need to be made to suit your little one’s new lifestyle. In-between baby-proofing the house, stocking up on dummies and freezing baby teether’s, one area that many new parents often forget about is how these milestones impact your little one’s sleep.
Cue the term I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again, “sleep regression.” Sleep regressions are little hiccups you start to notice as your child begins to develop. As a result of these developments, your child’s habits and behaviours begin to change, and so do their sleep patterns. That perfectly curated sleep routine that has been working flawlessly for the past few months no longer has the same effect. Sleep regression is a permanent change due to your little one’s maturing and often appears around the same time as developmental milestones. During this stage, your child is working hard to master and learn their new skill and as a result, their sleep is impacted. We go into further detail on sleep regression in our blog here .
Okay, great. So we know what sleep regression is and what to look out for, but what about developmental milestones? What exactly are these magical things?
Well, developmental milestones are advancements in your child’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills that transpire at various ages. These fun and exciting changes begin to occur the second your little one comes into the world and will continue for years to come! while most babies tend to reach certain milestones at similar ages it’s important to remember that no two babies are the same. All babies develop at their own pace some will race ahead and others will be a little behind, both are okay!
Common Developmental Milestones:
You’re probably reading this right now and thinking how can one tiny little human go through so much change in such a short amount of time? Well, let me tell you, this is only the beginning. But don’t worry, as overwhelming as it may seem, you and your baby will get through this, and positive sleep will be achieved. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
1. Monitor your little ones awake window.
Does your little one need an extra 15 minutes of awake time to burn off that last bit of energy before their nap, or do they need to go down 15 minutes earlier due to their bodies working in overdrive trying to perfect their new skill? Watch bubs awake window for these tell-tale signs and adjust their routine to suit. For more details on awake windows read our full blog here.
2. Be conscious of the pre-sleep feed.
Try to have their milk feed in the first half of their awake window. This ensures that bub doesn’t use their feed as an opportunity to reboot and get a second wind, making for a very difficult wind down time for mum!
3. Your little one knows how to fall asleep
Try not to panic! Don’t start forcing them to go to sleep by doing things that you wouldn’t usually do. This will only frustrate you and bub when it’s not working. Instead, stay calm and confident. Allow your bub some space and time to calm themselves before you go in to help them settle down again. It’s also important to note your own energy before you enter the space. Bubs are extremely sensitive to picking up on emotions, so you want to ensure you’re demonstrating the type of energy that you want your little one to mirror.
4. Positive reassurance is key.
Your little one is having difficulty settling because they are going through a monumental change within themselves. They are trying to navigate this new change just as much as you are, and it is equally frustrating for them as it is for you. Possibly even more-so as it requires a lot of energy and patience on their end. Sometimes all they need is a little bit of extra love to know that they aren’t going through this alone. A few cuddles, back rubs, and positive good night phrases are sometimes all that is needed.
5. Don’t worry so much!
If your little one gets back up again, don’t rush in to repeat the process over again. You have to give bub some more time to figure it out on their own. Your little one will lay down and go to sleep – they don’t forget!
The first few days may be a little tricky to navigate, but what gets them through is you staying super confident and consistent with what you have always done. Every child is different, and your little one will go through these stages at different times to other children, which is completely fine! If you’re wanting some further guidance when it comes to navigating developmental milestones and sleep, check out my age-appropriate sleep routine guides here.