By Mia Stoltz Sleep Journey

Toddlerhood itself has a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to feeding and sleeping. These 2 must work together, but this is easier said than done. When you started solids at 6 months you actually (in most cases) felt, wow my baby opens their mouth and eats, easy! Forward a few months on, between 12 and 18 months, feeding becomes a whole new ball game and so does sleep, WHY?

Between the ages of 12 and 18 months (the beginning of toddlerhood), there is a lot of development taking place, from moving to speech as well as in some cases, starting to test the boundaries. In this precious time when your child is developing, the brain is stimulated and most often over-stimulated resulting in sleep issues, less sleep, or in some cases NO SLEEP. This is what you call a sleep regression. Suddenly your baby goes from a well-routined baby into a baby that does not settle, wakes up frequently, wakes up very early as well as fights naps. This will all snowball as your child also struggles to eat and becomes frustrated. If you are reading this and you are not yet at this stage, this might sound horrible and you fear for the worse, but, don’t be discouraged. There are ways you can tackle this while you are in it or before you go through it. Here are my tips to help you through it:

 

  • Make sure you have a set bedtime routine every night
  • Eliminate night feeds and rather offer comfort
  • Toddlers need 12 hours of night sleep and a 12-hour day (with a nap midday)
  • Make sure your baby gets enough protein
  • Don’t settle for early wake ups, rather treat it as if it’s still night
  • Consider working with a gentle sleep consultant for sleep training that suits your needs.
  • No screen time for 2 hours before going to bed.

Remember that if you tackle these few pointers, it will not be a quick fix. Everything you teach your toddler must be done in a consistent manner and also for not less than 10 days. We all are looking for ways to let our toddlers sleep through the night but not all toddlers can just sleep through when you want them to do so. Some toddlers will still need comfort and a feed, it all depends on your situation.

You have to make peace with it that your child will go through regressions up until the age of 3 years. The question is how do you bounce back? Good sleep habits will build a positive parent-child attachment and encourage a strong bond.

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