What is Sleep Regression?

Sleep regression is a shift in your baby’s sleep patterns and typically occurs at four months. Your baby may go from sleeping through the night to waking up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep. Baby’s sleep regression can be a stressful time but is usually short-lived (until their next growth spurts!) 

The first sleep regression is often the hardest for parents and occurs at around 4 months

Signs of Sleep Regression

  • Sudden night wakings  
  • Fewer naps during the day 
  • Separation anxiety and fussiness 

When Does Sleep Regression Occur?

3-4 Months

The first sleep regression is often the hardest for parents and occurs at around 4 months. Teething pain, increased hunger from growth spurts, and the thrill of rolling over for the first time can prevent your baby from sleeping through the night.   

6 Months

Your baby will go through another growth spurt at 6 months and may become fussier at this time too. Waking periodically but falling back to sleep a little easier.   

8-10 Months

Babies start crawling at around 9 months and standing at 10 months, some babies will start sooner or later depending on their development phase. During this time it’s normal for the baby to have sleep problems due to separation anxiety and may wake up in the middle of the night for some reassurance.  

12 Months

Between 12-18 months, the baby will go through another sleep regression. This is an exciting time as baby transitions into a toddler and with the excitement come sleep problems. Toddler sleep issues are brought about by teething, nightmares, fear of the dark, and separation anxiety.  

What Causes Sleep Regression?

  • Growth spurts
  • Increased hunger 
  • Teething pain 
  • Developmental milestones 
  • New routines 
  • Traveling 
  • Illness 

Signs of Sleep Regression

  • Refusing to nap
  • Struggling to fall asleep at bedtime 
  • Fussy upon waking 
  • The baby is at a typical sleep regression age and going through a developmental leap (which is a good sign and will eventually pass)  

With some sleep training and time to get used to a new routine, the baby will learn to fall asleep easier

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

The four month sleep regression is typically the hardest as it’s the first but the baby’s sleep regression sessions will last 2-4 weeks at a time. The baby suddenly has difficulty sticking to a bedtime routine and does not want to stay asleep. With some sleep training and time to get used to a new routine, the baby will learn to fall asleep easier and stay asleep for longer.     

When Should I Call a Doctor?

Visit your pediatrician If your baby suddenly is struggling to sleep at night or you notice a lack of weight gain or lack of growth. If the baby is refusing food or there is a change in bowel movements. Self-care is important too so ensure you’re eating, taking water, and resting when you can.  

Can Sleep Regression be Prevented?

Sleep regression is a normal phase in your baby’s development. While it can be difficult to soothe a fussy baby, you can make your baby and yourself more comfortable when you know the triggers. Certain events such as growth spurts, developmental leaps such as learning to roll over, crawl, and walk can trigger a sleep regression phase disturbing sleep patterns

  • Stick with a consistent sleep pattern 
  • Keep a regular routine for sleep and play 
  • Taking baby for a walk in the park enjoying fresh air can soothe a cranky baby and help to destress your mind  

Tips to Manage Baby’s Sleep Regression

  • Keep an eye out for baby’s fussiness, eye-rubbing, and excessive yawning as signs of overtiredness
  • Keep a consistent routine and sleep schedule including lullabies and storytime before bed
  • Don’t immediately rush to the baby when they wake up in the middle of the night, they may self soothe back to sleep after a few minutes
  • Daytime naps are important for babies and young children so they are no overtired at night, and gives you a break too
  • Sleep training can help from four months and takes around two weeks for the baby to get used to the new routine
  • Choose a Firm and Breathable Crib Bed
  • Eliminate Crib Clutter
  • Increase daily care and attention to make the baby feel more secure at night and lessen separation anxiety  

Conclusion   

Sleep regression is difficult to handle, especially if you’re a new parent. Each child is different and will progress at their own speed. Self-care is vital so take time to meet your own needs and sleep requirements, ask for help if needed. Your child may see you like Superman or Wonderwoman but that doesn’t mean you need to run yourself into the ground. So, take that nap when you can, eat well, drink water, and enjoy fresh air, you will get through this phase.