Celebrating as your baby achieves her milestones is one of the most exciting aspects of parenthood, as you observe your baby learning new things and achieving greater independence on their own. However, sometimes even when things are cruising along smoothly for a period of time, they can then come crashing to an abrupt halt, or even more alarming, things can start to slip backwards! This is called a regression and they’re very common, so there’s no need to worry just yet.
Most of the time regressions will sort themselves out, for example a child who’s just started talking, may revert back to using body language to indicate what they’d like for dinner, instead of using their newly learned words.
Any variation on regular routine, or change in life events, can cause regressions. For example, starting at a new childcare center, or having daddy travel away for work, can trigger a regression in a little one. Often you may not even realise the direct reason for the regression. Importantly, any noticeable regression should only be temporary, but if you are concerned, do pop along to see your healthcare professional.
Sometimes it’s been known that children use regressions to exert power. Small children generally don’t have much control over their lives, and they’re not yet able to be involved in decision making processes. So for a child, sometimes their life feels as if everyone’s telling them what to do and that they have no say in the matter. But soon enough, they realise that they can control toileting and eating and to some extent, sleeping as well, and so they may use these elements as a method of expressing some control over their lives.
If you find your child is regressing in some of his or her behavior, such as speech, bed wetting or feeding for example, try to ensure you create and maintain a regular routine. Sometimes, when routines are changed, children revert back to what comes naturally, rather than their current stage where they have to work a little harder to continue a newly learned behavior.
Often parents observe that their baby appears to be regressing when it comes to sleeping. What used to be a perfectly calm bedtime routine, can suddenly turn to howling chaos! Why? Well it’s because your baby is learning so many new things, and has so much going on, that it can cause anxiety or feelings of insecurity in your beautiful little one. Try to remember that these moments will pass, and that any regression is only a temporary state. Be sure to provide lots of extra cuddles and kisses, and sometimes, that’s all your baby needs to get right back on track!