With four small kids, I’ve had to ask myself a few very hard questions – multiple times. And one of the hardest was this… what do you do when when your kid hits an 11 month old sleep regression?
My answer so far? You cry. A lot.
In any case, this is a throwback to a couple of years ago… back when my youngest boy was (you guessed it) 11 months old. He hit a particularly awful sleep regression. And then we hit daylight savings – and it was sadness everywhere because he was up every 2-3 hours (and so was I).
An 11 month old sleep regression affects the whole family
According to the Baby Sleep Site, an 11 month old sleep regression (sometimes it happens at 12 months) is related to your baby trying to con you into moving from two naps to one. That or your kiddo is hitting some other developmental milestone…
Well, my baby boy, one nap isn’t enough for your cranky little body. And the learning to walk at the same time? Also not helping. Your body needs **more** sleep – not less. You done been caught, mister.
So even though he fought it, we stuck to our schedule of two naps. And then we tried a few other things that had worked with our older kids. Because it’s not just baby who needs sleep – the rest of us need it, too!
How to handle the regression: get more sleep
So what can you do to combat the evils of sleep regression? Well… when you’re sleep deprived, you need to get sleep. But with a sleep regression, it’s like baby boy completely forgot how to do that. Actually, though, it’s just that awful state where you’re too tired to sleep – even though sleep is exactly what you need.
In other words, adventures help. Exhausting adventures. Exciting adventures that keep the kids awake while they’re supposed to be awake. We went hiking at a nature preserve. We went to the zoo for an epic four hour visit.
And then, after the adventure, settling into a calming, relaxing environment that oozes sleep. In our case, that means their bedrooms. Our kids’ rooms have white noise machines, fans, and minimal distractions. That way, we can remind their little bodies that they like sleep. That they need it and want it and can look forward to it. Because, really, sleep is amazing.
The other “magic” trick I’ve found is this: to send them to bed earlier than usual. An extra half an hour or so usually does the trick.
I don’t know why it works. I just know it does. And since several other baby sleep experts all tout it, it’s awesome. Plus, it means I get to go to bed earlier, too.
Daylight Savings (or any time change) can also trigger a sleep regression
I grew up in a sane state that didn’t (and still doesn’t) practice Daylight Savings. Arizona has insane amounts of sunshine during the summer, which is probably why they don’t fall for the “but we’ll have more daylight during the day!” scam.
Seriously, people. If you want to get up or go to work earlier, go for it. Then you can have more daylight *after* work and the clock doesn’t have to have an identity crisis.
But when something messes with my kids’ sleep schedule, it throws everything off for a solid week. If I’m on top of things, it’s the week beforehand. You see, the only way I’ve found to deal with Daylight Savings is to move their schedules by a few minutes each day over a week, rather than by a whole hour overnight. Because if I don’t pay attention to the insanity known as Daylight Savings, it’ll be a horror week spent in recovery.
It works while they’re little, anyway. Once they’re in school it’s a whole different ballgame. *sigh*
Traveling through time zones isn’t much different – it’s awful, too. When we go to Arizona to visit family, sleep schedules are thrown out of whack. But if we can adjust beforehand, then the adjustment isn’t as bad. Then we have spend a few days after the vacation recovering, too.
How to terrify a parent: mix a sleep regression with Daylight Savings.Click To Tweet
Consistency is the only way to handle a sleep regression
Sleep regressions, whether the 11 month old sleep regression or the 4 month or 8 month or bonus 15 month one, all stink. They aren’t fun. But the only way to help baby through the transition is consistency.
First of all, stick to your sleep schedule. Baby’s learning some new skills – that’s all this is. It doesn’t mean they’re immediately ready for a “bigger kid” schedule. And as our 4th kid is now going through her own 11 month old sleep regression, we keep her on a strict schedule, too.
Second, have some adventures. Maybe that means an outing to the park. Or going on a walk around the neighborhood – or just the backyard. Not every adventure has to be an epic zoo trip. But get out and keep the kids busy, engaged, and awake.
That way, everyone’s getting worn out by dinnertime. Then, early bedtimes all around. Our usual bedtime for the littles is 7:30. But during a sleep regression? It’s as early as 6 PM.
And you know what? I could totally join him.
In any case, what works is having a consistent schedule, good sleep hygiene (calming bedtime routines), and being active throughout the day to wear everyone out.
Want more information on sleep regressions of any and all ages? Then be sure to read this: 7 Ways to Survive Baby, toddler, & 11 month Sleep Regression.