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4 Tips To Dealing With Baby Sleep Regressions

When you finally feel like you’ve created a consistent sleep routine…Bam! They start to wake up in the middle of the night! This inconsistent sleep pattern in young children is known as sleep regression and we’ve got tips to help you deal with them.

In this guide, we will explore:

  • What is sleep regression?
  • Why it happens, and when it happens 
  • Tips to help navigate through this phase

What Is Sleep Regression?

Sleep regression refers to a bout when a child who’s a good sleeper suddenly starts experiencing disruptions in their sleep patterns. For example, a baby who typically sleeps throughout the night may start waking up multiple times, or they may start fighting you and getting fussy whenever you try to get them to take a nap.

This regression usually lasts between 2 and 6 weeks and can be a frustrating experience for both parent and child. But on the bright side, you can rest assured that sleep regression is temporary and can be managed with a few changes in routine.

Common Sleep Regression Ages And Why They Happen

Most children experience sleep regression at three specific ages. These are 4 months, 8–15 months, and around 2 years old. At these ages, the little one is going through significant physical and emotional developments, which interfere with how well they sleep. Let me break it down for you. 

The 4-month Sleep Regression 

At around 4 months old, your little one’s sleep cycle will change permanently. Instead of automatically drifting between cycles as they did before, they now start to wake fully between each cycle. So, if you have developed the habit of feeding, patting, or rocking your little nipper to sleep, they will be looking for that when they wake between cycles. And that automatically means that you’ll be awake whenever your baby wakes up. 

The 8–15 Month Sleep Regression 

At this age, your baby becomes a little busy bee; they’ll be finding their voice, learning to crawl, and pulling up on furniture to stand up. These milestones bring so much happiness to both baby and parent. However, the little one may also start waking in the night or during naps to practice their newfound skill!

Milestones aside, the separation anxiety in most children peaks at this age, meaning your little one will become clingy and hard to settle during bedtime and naps. Moreover, they might refuse to take two naps as they did in the earlier months, causing significant changes in their routine. Luckily, the 8–15 month sleep regression only lasts a couple of weeks on and off, and you can cope if you adjust accordingly. 

The 2-year Sleep Regression 

Just when you think it’s over, your baby becomes a toddler, and a lot of independence comes with that. You should brace yourself for the terrible twos roller coaster. At this age, your little one will be so preoccupied with all the amazing things they can do that they sometimes refuse nap times altogether. 

Many parents think that it is okay to drop nap time, but they are wrong; most 2-year-olds will get overly tired without it. Again, this regression will also pass as long as you keep your toddler’s sleep schedule consistent.

How To Deal With Sleep Regression In Children

  1. Create a bedtime routine. 

If you haven’t yet, start a soothing bedtime routine with your little one and make it predictable. For example, you could start with a bath, put their pyjamas on, and then read a picture book before kissing them good night. This way, you will make an emotional connection with your baby at bedtime, making them feel secure and ready to sleep.

  1. Put your baby in the cot while they’re still awake. 

Try not to let your little one sleep while being rocked or in your bed. Instead, put them in the cot while they are drowsy so that they fall asleep themselves. The goal here is for the baby to learn to self-soothe, so you won’t need to help them whenever they wake up. 

  1. Don’t rush In. 

I know it can be difficult not to rush in and rock your little ones whenever they wake up crying in the middle of the night. However, if you do it continuously, they will always rely on it to go back to sleep. By 4 months, it is okay to let your baby cry for a little while to see if they’ll settle down on their own. If you must go to them, pat their back soothingly instead of picking them up, and then leave the room when they are calm but still awake. 

  1. Wean off nighttime feedings. 

Between 4 and 6 months old, most babies can go through the night without eating because they get enough calories during the day. So, if you think your little one is ready, start weaning them off of nighttime feeding gradually.

Conclusion

Sleep regression can be a challenging phase for parents, but it is important to remember that it is a normal part of your child’s development. By understanding the reasons behind sleep regression and implementing some helpful strategies, you can navigate through this phase with confidence. Remember, you aren’t alone.

Wishing you restful nights and happy parenting!

P.S. Got any questions or topics you’d like us to cover in future newsletters? Drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to help!

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