Did you know that developmental milestones often affect a child’s sleep habits?
Uggghhh! Suddenly, your perfect little sleeper is waking early or in the middle of the night. Do not panic. When children are reaching a developmental milestone their sleep habits are often affected.
One of the first developmental milestones that affects lots of infants sleep is learning to roll over. My little man could roll onto his back but like must children he could not roll back over so he would not fall back to sleep. Instead, he would cry for help to roll back over and then he would be awake for a little while. This is also the time that most infants are removed from the swaddle to give them the ability to use their arms to roll back over (https://parentingfoundations.com/swaddle-swaddle-loaded-question/). In this situation, the best way to get back to the lovely sleep pattern is to practice rolling over during the daytime. Once your child masters rolling over they will simply roll over and go back to sleep.
The next few milestones are crawling, pulling themselves up, and walking. It is very common for infants to try to practice their newly found skill when they have a normal wake period.
Prior to these milestones, your child was probably a great sleeper. Now you find yourself going into your child’s room to help them lay down because they can stand up but are too scared to get down. In the moment, this is frustrating; however, it is a sign that your child is meeting one of the many milestones that he/she will achieve at his/her own time.
Now for the confession: Even sleep consultants go through this.
Currently, our little man is waking up at 5:30 AM (YUCK!) to go to the bathroom. He just started potty training. We are about 4 weeks into his new ability to use the toilet/potty. He is extremely proud of himself. He has surprised both my husband and me with his ability to stay dry from 7:00 PM until 5:30 AM. I assumed that he would not stay dry overnight. For the past week he has been waking up and going back to his crib but he does not go back to sleep. I do understand that this too shall pass. I am really hoping that it passes soon!
Often it takes 4 to 6 weeks for a new behaviour to become perfected. So I have about 2 weeks left (Ugh!). The thing that keeps me going is when our little man does his happy dance after he uses the bathroom successfully.
The thing to remember when your little one is going through a developmental milestone is that patience is important and that your little sleeper should return. I certainly hope our little man masters his new developmental milestone soon and gets back to his lovely sleep habit (7:30 PM to 7:00 AM).