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Sleep Regression in Babies – What You Should Do

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Sleep Regression And Everything You Need to Know About It

Table of Contents

Sleep regression, without a doubt, is quite frustrating. It is perhaps when the sleep patterns of a person or a child get disturbed or have a sleep cycle that they are not used to. If you are facing this problem, it is usually due to the sleep regression that should pass with the given time or consistent routines. But then what does it entail? Does a perfect child sleeper start to wake up when sleeping through the night or is it that the child starts to wail every time they are put down? Yes! In either case, the child must be facing sleep regression.

What is sleep regression? How long does it last?

It is a period when the baby(s) sleep is hindered or the child finds sleep difficulties. This generally lasts for about two to four weeks, where the sleep patterns of the baby suddenly change causing trouble baby sleep or even fuses in the middle of the night.

What causes sleep regression in the child and what can you do about it?

Sleep regression is caused by multiple factors in a baby leading to discomfort in the baby(s) sleep or even make them anxious or restless. Here are the causes leading to sleep regression that are medically reviewed:

  • A growth spurt could cause a sleep regression in the child as it could make them extra-hungry
  • If the baby has a teething pain
  • If the infant is developing something new
  • If the infant has disruptions in their routines or any chance. For instance, the chance in their daycare timings
  • As it is a new sleep environment for the baby
  • If the child isn’t well, like has a cold or an ear infection

How long does the regression sleep pattern last?

The baby sleep regression or the sleep challenges the toddler goes through lasts for about 2 to 4 weeks of time. This is the duration where the infant will learn to fall asleep or take a nap with respect to the new routine. However, this duration could sure depend on the infants as to how fast they accommodate to the new sleep pattern.

What are the signs a parent would consider as a sleep regression in the sleep cycles of the baby?

These signs mentioned below do not side any particular pattern but could vary based on the baby(s) sleep problems. The signs of sleep regressions are as follows:

  • If there are more night wakings
  • If the toddler has troubles in falling asleep at their bedtime
  • Increased fussiness or crankiness in the little one
  • If they suddenly resist sleeping

When do sleep regressions happen?

There is no period assigned or known as to when the sleep regression happens. Therefore, sleep regression can happen anytime as it is linked to unpredictable factors, for instance, disruptions in routines or an illness. But, according to the American Academy Of Pediatrics, here are a few instances where a sleep regression in a toddler could be foreseen:

  • When the infant is about the age of 3 to 4 months, the sleep regression then is often the hardest as it’s their first. The regressions then could be caused due to the pain caused by teething, and the hunger linked due to the growth in spurts.
  • In the 6th month, it is often caused by another growth spurt. But, on the other hand, the little one now is capable of sleeping well but may wake up with snuggles.
  • In the 8 to 10 months, the sleeping problems in most babies begin as they start to crawl or even stand. The night baby sleeps according to the health information could cause separation anxiety which is quite common at this age. Changes in the children cause them to wake up looking for reassurance from you during their nighttime sleep.
  • Sleep regression in the baby of 12 months could be caused by the change in their milestones as they learn to stand up. This may cause them baby sleep problems Reaching big milestones can cause temporary sleep problems or changes in their sleep habits.

18-month-olds or even 24-month-olds also face regression in sleep due to their nightmares, or if they fear the dark, teething, and separation anxiety. In these cases, parents will have to spend some time with the toddlers to help and give them sleep training.

How can you manage sleep regressions in your baby?

The best part of it all is that sleep regression is just temporary. And, to help parents go through this fussy time and also to help the infants, we have curated a list to help manage the sleep regression:

  • Parents must know and watch out for the infant’s nap cues. These could be anything that the toddler does, like rubbing their eyes, fussy, yawning, or even looking away. These would be the perfect times for parents to let the infant sleep.
  • Parents must stick to a bedtime routine, until and unless it’s a change in the environment and calls for newness. So, if the baby has the habit to eat dinner, baths, hear a story, has to be sung a lullaby, make sure it is all on point.
  • Ensure the baby has good sleep through the night. Even if the baby needs sleep in the afternoon, don’t stop them as overtired babies may have sleep problems at night.
  • If the infant starts to cry at night, self-soothe them back to sleep. Also, to avoid such a situation make sure you check if everything is in order before you leave the room. Parents may also avoid rocking, cuddling, or feeding the baby, as it might wake them up instead.
  • Retry to help the toddler with sleep training for about 2 weeks if the baby is 4 to 6 months old.
  • If you notice changes in the infant or notice separation anxiety, make sure to give them some time and attention during the day and at bedtime for them to feel secure.

Can it be prevented? And, when to contact a doctor?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to prevent it as it’s a normal part of an infant and toddler sleep cycle. On the other hand, the regression would be reduced if the baby follows a bedtime routine and schedule.

The regression will surely end on its own so you might just not need a doctor. However, if you have questions or are stuck with the baby’s regression for more than two weeks now, you may need to call the doctor for tips and insights to help the baby self-soothe and have a good sleep.

That’s all parents! This is all about sleep regression in a baby. Also, to help you make sure the baby has sound and good sleep and also to keep a check on them, you may opt to purchase the best baby monitors of 2023. Click and view the top picks from Parenthood bliss.

To Conclude

Surely, sleep regression isn’t quite a fun state to be in, but one must also understand that it is a normal state for a baby to be in and will likely pass when given time. So, in the meantime, stick to the normal bedtime and routines, and reassure the little one to help them get a safe and sound sleep for the development and the betterment of their health.

FAQs: Sleep Regression And Everything You Need to Know About It

1) At what age do babies have sleep regression?

There is no particular straight age for a baby to have sleep regressions, but it is common found in babies of 4 months, 8 months, and 18 months of age. These could be caused the disruptions in sleeping habits or disturbances due to the major changes in the milestones, environment, or separation anxiety.

2) How long does a sleep regression last in a baby?

A baby in its first 4-month sleep regression could cause a lot of problems, especially for the parents. They would stay or last for about 2 - 4 weeks.

3) How to get through sleep regression?

● Keep the baby's room dark during bedtime or have the lights dimmed. ● Make sure the room is cool enough. ● Let the baby be dressed in temperature-appropriate nightsuits. ● Avoid any noise that might wake the baby up.

Reviewed By:

Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Dr Esha Chainani is an Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon practicing in Mumbai. She aims to break the stigma around women’s health by advocating an inclusive and open practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. Esha is the author of several internationally published research papers and health articles in the media like the Swaddle. She founded Premaa, a non profit to reduce maternal morbidity and eventual maternal mortality by providing lower income pregnant women living in urban areas cell phone access through an app, to medically correct information proven to influence the outcomes of both mother and child. Her app Premaa pregnancy also has an entire section about contraception as well for a whole gamut of reproductive health. She has been on the panel for multiple health sessions including with the UN, USAID, BMC, gender at work and multiple non profit organisations. She’s also on the advisory panel of the South Indian medical students association. She is also an editor at the MAR Journal of Gynaecology. She advocates for accessible healthcare through her instagram account as well posting about reproductive health, mental health and sexual health.

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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