April 15, 2019

The Two Year Sleep Regression I Didn’t Know Was Happening

Ok, I’ve had two pretty good nights of sleep in a row which is a HUGE deal based on the past few weeks we’ve had. I thought it was just teething pain to blame for Lola’s early risings for a few nights but then we added in some extra middle-of-the-night wake-ups and difficulty falling asleep and I began to question what was happening. Then things got newborn-level extreme with Lola waking up after only being asleep for 2-3 hours at night and she would be up for 90 minutes or so, just totally awake, until I could get her back to bed only to wake up 3 more times before getting up for the day at the jolly old hour of 5:15. After that we had a night or two of her getting up almost every hour on the hour so I ended up sleeping on the floor next to her bed because it was too tiring to walk her back to bed each time she came into our room and I could just tell her from the floor to get back in bed and lay down again.

We tried the easiest to understand ok-to-wake clock I could find for a week, and while she thought the bunny on the clock was cute, she definitely wasn’t getting the concept of staying in bed just because the bunny was in bed. Like, did not care about that bunny and his sleeping schedule. Combine that all with being already exhausted at the end of each day from Lola’s extreme fussiness/clinginess/tantrums and it was a recipe for feeling completely insane and that kind of “drunk” tired that I used to feel back in the thick of the newborn days. I had to take Lola to an appointment after one of the worst nights she had and I told Todd I had to take a nap before leaving because I didn’t feel like I could safely drive her there myself. Now I realize that while I thought her extreme fussy behavior during the day was teething-related (and she is pushing through two molars right now so that’s why I assumed that) I now realize that it was probably mostly due to getting such poor broken sleep at night (and her short day naps) so she was feeling just as crazy and cranky as I was except that she was allowed to let it all out in public. Anyways, after a complete meltdown with 90 minutes of ugly crying one night after she finally fell asleep I started looking up some podcasts and blogs about what might be going on and that’s when I found out there’s such a thing as a 2 year sleep regression and ever single thing we were experiencing, they were describing! Lola’s done a lot of things a little early so going through it at 23 months isn’t that surprising for her but I just didn’t even know it was a thing to be prepared for so I had no idea why our life was completely upside down or what was happening.

At the same time based on reading more about it I think the fact that we had moved Lola to a toddler bed a month before was really making things worse for this regression. We made the switch because of my low back issues making it hard for me to get her in and out of such a low mattress in a crib (low so that she couldn’t climb out) and it went really well for a month…until she finally realized she could get out whenever she wanted. I think it just hadn’t crossed her mind before that! While I know that a lot of kids do super well moving to toddler beds early, we’ve just had weeks of struggling to keep her in the bed and all the taking her back in over and over, the ok-to-wake clocks, and other tricks just weren’t doing anything. The last night we spent over an hour taking her back again and again and I finally just came to the conclusion she wasn’t ready for all that freedom yet. It’s too temping for her little brain to stay in as she desperately wants to be out where we are. She wasn’t grasping the clock idea and I know for sure a sticker chart wouldn’t make sense to her yet either (although I do plan to try that clock again later—I think it’s so easy for little kids to understand with the pictures rather than just a color signaling when to get up and it cam highly recommended from a friend too).

Anyway, we decided to put the crib side back on (she had a convertible crib with a toddler rail like you see above so it was pretty easy to switch back) and I think we are just going to keep her in that until she’s closer to 3 or until I see other signs that she would be ready to handle all that freedom better. We are definitely not out of the sleep regression yet (but ohhhh man do I hope we are like 90% of the way through!) but it feels better to know why it’s happening and that it won’t last forever even though it feels like it. Just wanted to give you other moms a few months behind us a clue to what may be in store for you in case you didn’t know and for those of you currently going though it now hang in there. I’ve definitely hit my quotient for crying a few times over after she’s in bed and I do think it helps to just let it allllll out every so often or you feel like you will literally explode if you try and keep it in. Now, I’m off to get what sleep I can!

xo. Laura

9 thoughts on “The Two Year Sleep Regression I Didn’t Know Was Happening

  1. Wendy

    This post comes at an acutely perfect time for me – I have a 21 month old going through an early 2 year regression as well (although haven’t switched beds yet) and I thought it was teething too (which is also happening) – we have tried everything and last night was our most intense one – up the second we leave the room, screaming, the works. And she slept like it was her job until now! Thank you, thank you – makes me feel a little less nuts (but no less tired, haha).

  2. Nicole Roe

    We started with the bunny clock and now have a Hatch once they could grasp it (5&3 when we switched) but both my older boys climbed out of their cribs at a year so we had to switch. It was exhausting. My youngest is newly 2 and has yet to climb so fingers crossed he will stay for a while.

  3. Sarah

    Hi Laura. My kids are older now but I remember how hard it was to have kids in the toddler age group. All I can say is that it WILL get easier and that I think you’re doing an amazing job. I love following your adventures online. Know that there are a lot of us out there, cheering for you!
    -Sarah in San Diego.

  4. Sarah Conley

    Hang in there, Laura. I promise it gets easier! When my son was about two he just stopped taking regular naps. Ditto for my daughter. I wonder if you eliminated the nap her nighttime sleep would improve.You’re doing great!

  5. Jill Gautreau

    Hi Laura! I would strongly encourage you to follow takingcarababies. She advises keeping toddlers in a crib for as long as possible for this reason and talks about transitioning back to crib if necessary. I understand how difficult this age can be!! Prayers your way!

    1. thebandwifeblog Post author

      Yes, I asked her for advice and they were super sweet and fast to respond! 🙂


  6. Chelsea

    I have a little guy who needs extra night snuggles too. I started giving him a full fat yogurt/banana/a few berries smoothie before bedtime with some fish oil in it. If you need another thing to try!

  7. Jayanti

    I have this happening too and you know what really helps? Just letting my son finish his sleep with us in the bed. He lies absolutely still because he knows otherwise it’s back to the cot, and he eventually drifts off. I got so sick of the nighttime battles, we just let him sleep with us when he wakes up sometimes very early on.


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