Sleep regression is a common phenomenon that parents experience when their baby’s sleeping pattern changes, leaving them exhausted and unsure of how to handle the situation. If you’re a new parent, understanding sleep regression in your baby is crucial to ensure you and your baby get the rest you need. We cover everything you need about sleep regression, including its causes, symptoms, and how to handle it.
What is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is a temporary change in a baby’s sleep pattern, characterized by frequent night wakings and difficulties falling asleep. It is a common occurrence that affects babies between the ages of four and six months, again at eight to ten months and sometimes at 18 months. During sleep regression, your baby may suddenly start waking up more frequently, taking longer to fall asleep, and may be harder to soothe when they wake up.
Causes of Sleep Regression
There are several causes of sleep regression in babies. The most common reason for sleep regression is babies’ developmental changes as they grow. At around four months, your baby’s sleep cycle starts to mature, meaning they transition from the deep sleep stage to the lighter sleep stage more frequently, which can cause them to wake up more often during the night. The transition to solid foods, teething, and changes in the sleeping environment, such as a change in the sleeping schedule or a move to a new room, can also contribute to sleep regression.
Symptoms of Sleep Regression
Sleep regression is characterized by several symptoms, including:
- Frequent night wakings
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Increased fussiness during the day
- Short naps during the day
- Increased hunger
- Changes in appetite
As a parent, you may have heard of sleep regression, a temporary phase that many babies go through during their first year of life. Sleep regression can be challenging for parents and babies, disrupting their regular sleeping patterns, causing frequent night wakings and difficulty falling asleep. One of the most common questions parents ask is, how long does sleep regression lasts in babies? We explore the different sleep regression stages and how long each stage typically lasts.
Stage 1: Four-Month Sleep Regression
The first sleep regression stage typically occurs when babies are around four months old. During this stage, your baby’s sleep cycle changes significantly as they transition from deep to lighter sleep. This transition can cause them to wake up more often at night and have difficulty falling back asleep. The four-month sleep regression can last two to six weeks but typically resolves in six weeks.
Stage 2: Eight to Ten-Month Sleep Regression
The second sleep regression stage typically occurs when babies are between eight and ten months old. During this stage, your baby may have difficulty falling asleep, wake up frequently at night, and experience shorter naps during the day. The eight to ten-month sleep regression can last anywhere from two to four weeks but typically resolves itself in four weeks.
Stage 3: 18-Month Sleep Regression
The third sleep regression stage typically occurs when babies are around 18 months old. During this stage, your baby may experience a variety of sleep disturbances, including difficulty falling asleep, night wakings, and nightmares. The 18-month sleep regression can last anywhere from two to six weeks but typically resolves itself in six weeks.
Causes of Sleep Regression
Sleep regression occurs when babies experience significant changes in their development, routine, or environment. The most common causes of sleep regression include:
- Developmental changes: As babies grow, their sleep patterns change, and they may experience sleep regression during these changes.
- Teething: Teething can cause discomfort and pain, making it difficult for babies to fall and stay asleep.
- Illness: Illness can disrupt a baby’s regular sleeping pattern and cause them to wake up more often at night.
- Environmental changes: Changes in the sleeping environment, such as a new room, a different bed, or a different routine, can cause sleep regression.
Handling Sleep Regression
Sleep regression can be challenging to handle as a parent, primarily if it affects your baby’s sleeping habits. However, there are several things you can do to manage sleep regression and help your baby get back to their regular sleeping pattern.
- Establish a consistent bedtime routine: It can help your baby recognize when it’s time to sleep, making it easier for them to fall and stay asleep.
- Offer comfort during night wakings: Your baby may need extra comfort during a sleep regression. Offering soothing words, cuddles, or a pacifier can help them settle back to sleep.
- Be patient: Sleep regression is temporary, and it will eventually pass. Be patient and consistent with your baby’s sleep routine; they will eventually return to their regular sleeping pattern.
- Adjust the sleeping environment: Small changes in the sleeping environment can have a significant impact on your baby’s sleep. Ensure the room is quiet, dark, and cool to promote restful sleep.
- Seek professional help: If sleep regression persists and your baby’s sleeping habits continue to disrupt your daily routine, seek professional help from your paediatrician or a sleep consultant.
Sleep regression is a temporary phase most babies go through, and it can be challenging for parents. Understanding the causes and symptoms of sleep regression and implementing effective strategies can help you and your baby get the rest you need. Remember, sleep regression is temporary, and with patience and consistency, your baby will eventually return to their regular sleeping pattern.