I’m not gonna lie, this month has been tough. I try not to pay much attention to all the hype around “leaps” and “regressions” because I don’t like having the expectation that my baby is going to be fussy and have multiple night wakings at certain ages.
Also, if multiple night wakings are an indication of a regression, that would mean my 15-month-old has been in a regression since the day he was born. 😆
I’m not saying they aren’t real. The four month sleep regression of waking up every 30 minutes ALL night long definitely proved that they are real. I’m just saying I don’t want to go into each new phase expecting my little one to sleep worse or be cranky.
If these issues arise, so be it. I’ll deal.
Well, these issues definitely arrived this month. The 15-month sleep regression is just as real as the four month one. The night wakings are more frequent, naps are under protest, any form of schedule is out the window, and my shirt is constantly being tugged at for one more feeding – or “bobs” as my little one calls them.
So, how am I dealing with this?
Like I said before in “Breastfeeding: month 13,” I cannot handle schedules. Every day is a new adventure, and schedules make me feel tied down, worried about time constraints, and stressed out.
But I do stay consistent with certain routines, especially for sleep times and mealtimes. The actual times these routines take place varies day to day, but I try to stay consistent by keeping the sequence of events the same.
For example, the time we wake up in the mornings varies, but it’s usually sometime between 6:30 and 8:00, depending on if my older kids have school, if we had a rough night from teething or sickness, etc.
But once we’re up our current routine is:
- Nurse in bed
- Get up and tell daddy, brother, sister, and our pets good morning to (usually this involves giving everyone a good morning hug)
- Diaper Change
- Feed the pets (He loves “helping” make their breakfast)
- Take the big kids to school (But usually my sweet hubby is around and takes them)
- Empty dishwasher (Another task he loves helping with)
- Brush teeth & get dressed
- Outside time & walk a dog
Sometimes there is an extra nursing session in there if he doesn’t eat much breakfast, but for the most part I try to stick with this routine, and my little one loves it. It helps him to know and expect what comes next, and it’s made our mornings run a lot smoother. In fact, when the big kids leave for school I don’t even tell him, “Time to do dishes,” anymore. He just runs over to the dishwasher.
This can be hard depending on the weather, but I have found that a little sunshine and fresh air does wonders mentally and physically. I make an effort everyday to get outside with my little one, because without that outside time we both tend to get a little stir crazy. Plus, studies have found “that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors” (childmind.org).
Also, I have found that a little outside time really helps wear my little one out, and helps him sleep better.
Follow the sleepy cues
This is a phrase I get SO tired of hearing, because sometimes it’s hard to read our little’s cues! But all we can do is try our best.
When I do catch my little one’s sleepy cues in the right window of time I can usually help him fall asleep quickly by breastfeeding or laying down with him in bed. I know some babies are able to fall asleep on their own at this age, but other babies (like mine) still need help, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing to parent your baby to sleep as long as you and your little are still happy with the situation .
Lowering/letting go of expectations
The other way I cope is by lowering my expectations, or just letting go of them altogether.
My stay-at-home mom expectations before I was actually a SAHM (or maybe society’s expectations?):
Stay-at-home moms have all the free time in the world, therefore the house must always be perfect, clean and organized, kids must be constantly engaged in educational non-electronic activities, every meal must have kale and quinoa and be made from scratch, and of course, a stay-at-home mom must always look fresh, clean and put together.
Free time?! I can’t even use the bathroom without my little one trying to climb in my lap. My house is far from perfect, my kitchen sink doesn’t stay clean for more than 5 minutes, my carpet is usually extra fluffy from the layer of pet hair, and “being caught up” on laundry is not a thing – as long as there are tiny humans and furry beasts in this house, there will always be more laundry. Also, I’m not against letting my kids watch TV or use electronics, I don’t cook every meal from scratch (or with kale and quinoa), I don’t wash my hair as often as I should, and I live in yoga pants.
So, this side of stay-at-home mom life almost sounds a little sad. But it’s really not. It’s okay that I don’t have free time. It’s okay that my house is messy. It’s okay that I don’t make every meal from scratch. And it’s okay that I live in yoga pants.
Being a SAHM is not about perfection. It’s about taking care of your family and your home. It’s about loving your husband and supporting him. It’s about loving, teaching, and nurturing your kids. They don’t need perfection, they just need YOU.
When you let go of these high expectations, it’s easier to relax and enjoy life, and enjoy your family. You don’t have to worry about how you should be doing this or how you have to do that or how your kitchen has to look a certain way. You can just sit back and enjoy the beautiful mess of motherhood.
After all, it doesn’t last forever. There will be a day that our homes will be clean, the fingerprints will be gone, and the toys won’t be scattered everywhere. And our hearts will crave to have these chaotic days back.
If all else fails, “Bobs”
Seriously, I don’t think I would survive these sleep regressions without boobs. They seem to fix everything – sore gums? Boobs. Tired? Boobs. Temper tantrum because mom won’t let you eat dog food? Boobs.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times that I need a break from breastfeeding, and I try to redirect by offering a snuggle or a cup before I offer boobs.
But during these hard days of regression or developmental leap or whatever you want to call it, redirection does not always work, and I’m happy that I have something that does.
Anyone else out there dealing with a 15-month regression? Let me know if you found this useful and feel free to share what’s working for you and your little one.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a beautiful day!