Sleep Regression in Babies: Everything You Need to Know

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While you celebrate the arrival of your little bundle of joy and enjoy their cute innocent smiles and laughs, you may forget the added sacrifices you’ve got to make while your little one grows up. Most parents are warned prior about the sleep deprivation they might experience after welcoming their baby. And the reason new parents lose their sleep is because of their little one who also experiences sleep regression, especially during certain stages of their growing process.

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baby sleep regression

In this article:

What is a Sleep Regression?
What to Expect During a Sleep Regression?
What Causes Sleep Regression?
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
Do All Babies Go Through the 4 Month Sleep Regression?
How to Know if it’s Sleep Regression or Something Else?
How to Survive Sleep Regression?

A Guide for Sleep Regression in Babies

What is a Sleep Regression?

Sleep regression is a common hitch in growing babies. Your baby might have been a sleeping beauty during the first three months but as the fourth month approaches he/she might start acting fussy during the nights. This is the phase when both the baby and the parents lose their sleep. This phase is called as baby sleep regression where your baby wakes up early from naps or acts fussy to sleep. This may prolong up to 2-6 weeks. Symptoms that your baby is experiencing sleep regression may include shorter naptime, frequent night awakenings, fighting sleep, and extreme fussiness. Parents can expect sleep regressions in their babies mostly during the 4th month, 8 or 9 months, and 18- 24 months of age.

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What to Expect During a Sleep Regression?

As the baby experiences sleep regression, parents can expect themselves with sleep deprivation. Decrease in sleep increases the fuzziness and crankiness in your baby. This decrease in sleep might happen during nap times or during night time sleep, and in some cases both. Also some parents have reported that during sleep regression their babies have been clingy, much hungrier and constantly wanted to be snuggled or held.

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What Causes Sleep Regression?

The proudest or happiest moments for the parents are when their baby starts to crawl, sit up, or see the first tooth pop up. And these are the same reasons for why your baby is suffering sleep regressions. The milestones affecting your babies sleep depends on their age, most common milestones as are follows:

4-month sleep regression

  • This is the most common sleep regression age, nearly all babies experience it.
  • Can start as early as 8 weeks old to as late as 5 months old
  • Occurs mainly due to the change in the sleep cycle i.e. how often your baby shifts from light sleep to deep sleep.

8 or 9-month sleep regression

  • Can occur at 8 months old or 11 months old
  • This change is caused due to milestones such as crawling, or your infant trying to learn new tricks such as sit ups, pull up, trying to understand signs and language.

18 months or 2 years regression

  • Starts as early as 17 months and lasts up to 2 years old.
  • At this stage your toddler starts walking, talking, teething and enjoying their new found independence running and playing, and also may experience separation anxiety which keeps them up.
  • At this stage the excitement and energy of your toddler increases which obviously doesn’t let them sleep.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

There’s nothing to worry about your baby’s sleep regression since it won’t last long. It is a temporary hitch that may last for about 3-6 weeks (at any age). It may seem forever during that particular phase, but once you learn tips and tricks to put your baby to sleep, it will become easy. Some new habits may form during this stage such as rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep, picking up to sleep, etc, as you try to put your baby to sleep. But make sure to not make them a habit for long, since it may bring up new challenges in the later stages of putting your baby to sleep.

Do All Babies Go Through the 4 Month Sleep Regression?

The 4 month sleep regression is common in all babies, since it is the stage when the sleep cycle takes a permanent turn. The morning nap times decrease and learning new tricks keeps the baby up for longer time. Therefore, the 4 month sleep regression can be expected by all parents. And the other stages i.e. 8 months or 18 months sleep regression depends on the child, also just because your infant had sleep regression at 4 months old doesn’t mean they’ll suffer it again during 8 months or 18 months. No matter their age, babies suffer sleep regression as they grow.

How to Know if it’s Sleep Regression or Something Else?

There are always symptoms for every health issue. So if your baby shows any symptoms other than sleep regression then you will know. If your baby has sudden change in sleep accompanied by tooth pop in 1-3 days, or cries more than often then you might want to consult a pediatrician as soon as possible. So when there is something else bothering your baby, your intuition will tell you.

How to Survive Sleep Regression?

The first thing to do during sleep regression is to realize and accept that it won’t last long. This is a temporary and confusing problem for both the baby and parents. So focusing on the tips and tricks to deal with it will help. Here are some tips to overcome sleep regression in babies:

  • Be flexible with your nap time. Do not set timings, and go with the flow. The best can be taking naps while your baby is asleep, this will help both you and your baby get equal sleep.
  • Do not change your routines just because the nap times get a change. Try to perform your regular duties as usual while your baby is learning new things.
  • Try to stay calm and soothing environment. Avoid loud music or tiring work. Some massage and spa might help both you and your baby. Swaddling and story time should be added to your routine.
  • Keep your room dark and at a comfortable temperature. Try out while noise machine or soothing music to calm your baby and help them to sleep. This will also help relax your mind.
  • Do not make it a habit to rock your baby to sleep, or nursing and holding them in arms for too long. This will create a habit and the baby might get used to it soon.
  • Try the Zen swaddle or Zen sack to calm and soothe your baby. The lightly weighted parts help to calm a fussy and overtired baby and helps baby to relax and self-soothe.
  • Try to sleep earlier than you used to before. This will help to make up for the sleep that is lost during sleep regression.
  • As sleep regression increases appetite in your baby, extra feedings will help them put to sleep and also calms them down. Do not stress the extra feedings you might have to make during sleep regression.
  • Just because you are the mother doesn’t mean you have to do all the caring work. Put your husband on the duty to sometimes rock and put baby to sleep. Do not stress and forget about self-care.
  • Learn from other moms, and take help. Asking for guidance from your mother or other mom friends of yours will help to learn new tips and trick of putting your baby to sleep.

References

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/baby-sleep-problems.aspx

https://www.nestedbean.com/pages/surviving-sleep-regressions

Hope this article was of help for all our parents!! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy and Healthy Babies!!

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