“Sleep Regression”, a phrase every mom fears because it usually means that your baby’s sleep patterns will be thrown off from the normal routine. All that hard work and now this? What was the point of sleep training in the first place? Today I want to walk you though what a sleep regression is, why they occur, when to expect regressions, and how you can help as the parent.
What is a sleep regression?
A sleep regression is simply a period of time (2-6 weeks) when your child that was sleeping (through the night, taking long naps, and easily going down for sleep) now wakes constantly throughout the night, takes short naps, and or resists the onset of sleep. Your baby may experience all of these symptoms or just one of them. All babies do not react the same to each regression they go through. For instance, my son Jude always shows his sleep regressions in his naps while others may see their baby’s sleep regression only at bedtime or in the night.
Why sleep regressions occur?
So why does this happen? Sleep regressions are accompanied with your baby hitting a big milestone in development such as: rolling over, crawling, pulling up, walking, finding their hands, babbling, etc. These milestones are necessary for your baby to grow and develop. Commonly these new skills your baby learns can and do disrupt their normal sleep patterns. This is why you’re all nighter all of a sudden became a baby who is waking every 2 hours during the night. This rapid development your baby is encountering sometimes causes disruption in their sleep patterns. While yes a sleep regression sometimes means less sleep, realize that it also means that your baby is learning and growing in a new skill which is GOOD!
When do sleep regressions normally occur?
Typically you will see your little one go through 6 major sleep regressions in the first two years of their lives occurring approximately at 4, 6, 9, 12,18, and 24 months. These regressions don’t always happen exactly at these time intervals and some baby’s will have the regression occur a little before or after the given age. For instance, my son almost always would show regression signs 2-3 weeks before the given regression age. Your baby may be the same or may show regression signs weeks after the regression age. Like I always say, all baby’s are different!
How you can help your little one make it through the sleep regression?
The great news is with all of this is that you can help! Each regression accompanies a new skill that your child is learning. The best way to manage the regression is practice, practice, practice the skill that is being developed. If it’s rolling, when your baby is awake practice rolling. If it’s walking, make fun obstacle courses for you little one to do in between naps. Other things you can do will be in my “Sleep Regression Survival Guide” that you can download for free off my website! Go ahead and download the survival guide now and have it for reference when your baby goes through their next regression.
What do I do about my babies sleep during regressions?
Like I said before, these milestones that coincide with sleep regressions affect your baby’s normal sleep patterns. This can result in more wakings at night, short naps, and resistance to the onset of sleep. My BIGGEST advice for getting through this rough patch is to not create any new bad habits that will out live the regression. Remember regressions only occur for a short period of time. The last thing you want to do is create a new habit (rocking, nursing, swinging to sleep) during the regression and and it continue beyond the regression period. Although your baby may have a hard time with sleep while going through the regression, your consistency and routine is what they crave! If your baby has been sleeping independently before the sleep regression don’t change things now! Be consistent in how you approach night wakings, naps, and bedtime routine like you were before the regression began. Before you know it the regression will be over and your schedule will be back to normal! If you do get stuck and create a new habit of dependent sleep with your baby contact me! I would love to create a custom plan for your baby and get your family back on track!