Ace has been on the schedule he set for himself since he started sleeping through the night at 8.5 months.. until now. Alex put him down at 7 pm like we do every night after bath, probiotic, teeth brushing, story time..but this time he popped right up onto his feet and started crying. This never ever happens! So we decided to "give him a few" and see if he calmed down and went to sleep. He didn't. & I caved. I went into his room to calm him down and let him know everything was ok. He would fall asleep in my arms and wake up wailing as soon as I put him in his crib. My next bright idea was to try getting him to sleep by getting in the crib. He fell asleep and I wiggled myself out of my shirt and snuck out. I figured if I left my shirt behind he would think I was still there. He slept for about an hour and a half before he woke up crying and I brought him into our bed. I was defeated. But I KNEW I didn't want this to be a thing.
The next day he refused to nap. After a poor night sleep he also wouldn't take a nap? This was weird. We put him down at 7 pm again. He stood and fussed for 1 hour straight as we watched on the camera. It took everything I had to not go into his room. We never needed to use "cry it out" before so this was completely new.
After the first hour straight of making a crying/fuss noise he continued to stand at the edge of his crib tightly holding onto the railing for another TWO HOURS AND 45 MINUTES before finally passing out. He was falling asleep standing up and his head kept rolling backwards. I had to continue to remind myself that he was fed, clean, safe and comfortable. It took everything I had to not rush into his rescue. The next two nights were very similar. I got a good look at how strong willed Ace truly is. Three days straight of ZERO naps and minimal sleep at night.
Everything I read said he was trying to drop a nap and/or developing mentally. When the fourth night came we let him stay up until 8 pm. We were waiting for signs he was ready to go to sleep. He went to sleep! No crying. No standing. The next day he took one long nap in the afternoon. The shift was over! I also noticed that he seemed to be responding to me in a more communicative way after this. He would say "woof woof" when I asked "what does the doggie say" and he could point out where my nose and hair were. Before he would do this sometimes, but it was never a given. All of these changes effected his sleep (and ours).
This was the first sleep regression we truly felt and I was very proud with the way we handled it. I could see how a time like this is the perfect time for creating unwanted habits or situations. The desperation is real! Reminding myself that there is a difference between what Ace wanted and what he needed was huge for me. Also, that it was temporary and he didn't develop a sleep problem overnight. For anyone that is dealing with a regression, remember that babies thrive on routine. Try to stick to what you have always done even if it doesn't seem to work while you're going through it.
By the way, we also graduated Ace to a 7:30 pm bedtime through all of this and now he is sleeping later in the morning too. It ended up being a positive experience! (aren't they all?)