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"Baby Sleep Regressions: Causes and Solutions"

Oh man... we have all feared them and we have all experienced them... SLEEP REGRESSIONS! Everything seems to be going fine until one day, everything about sleep flips upside down! Now your baby is waking every 2 hours at night, fighting naps and bedtime tooth and nail, and begging for old habits you thought you had gotten rid of. I hear you, I've lived through it too, and I understand!


baby sleep regression. baby awake at night
What are sleep regressions?

Baby sleep regressions are periods when a baby who has been sleeping well suddenly begins to have trouble sleeping or experiences disrupted sleep patterns.


Why do sleep regressions happen?

These regressions often coincide with developmental milestones or growth spurts. But keep in mind, most regressions are caused by PROGRESSIONS! Your baby is growing and developing new skills, which happen to affect sleep. At least they will come out of this with some new tricks! Of course some regressions can be caused by things such as life changes, sickness, teething, etc., but these can be handled the same way!


Think of it like this... you know when you have so much on your mind that it is hard for you to sleep? Same thing for your baby!


Here are some common baby sleep regressions and what may cause them:
  1. 4-Month Sleep Regression: This is one of the most well-known sleep regressions. Around 4 months of age, babies experience significant changes in their sleep patterns due to neurological developments. They may start waking more frequently at night and have difficulty settling back to sleep.

  2. 8-10 Month Sleep Regression: Around this age, babies may experience another sleep regression as they become more mobile and begin to crawl or pull themselves up. This newfound physical ability can disrupt their sleep as they practice their new skills, leading to more frequent awakenings. This is also the age where separation anxiety may develop.

  3. 12-Month Sleep Regression: At around 12 months, some babies may experience another sleep regression as they approach their first birthday. This regression can be attributed to separation anxiety or the transition from two naps to one. Increased mobility such as learning to walk can play a part as well.

  4. 18-Month Sleep Regression: Toddlers may experience another sleep regression around 18 months due to cognitive development, language acquisition, or the onset of nightmares.

  5. 2-Year Sleep Regression: Around age 2, some toddlers may experience another sleep regression due to increased independence, potty training, or fear of the dark.


Now remember, these regressions are more about the skills and less about the age, so if your baby is experiencing sudden sleep troubles at a different time than listed above, it doesn't mean it is not a regression! Think about if there is a new skill they are developing right now... that is your clue!


What do I do to get sleep back on track?

During these regressions, it's important for parents to maintain consistent bedtime routines and provide comfort and reassurance to their baby or toddler. While sleep regressions can be challenging, they are typically temporary, and most babies eventually return to their previous sleep patterns once they adjust to their new developmental stage. Keep you response consistent! Don't create new habits that you are later going to want to break. For example, if your baby continues to wake up in the middle of the night, go in for comfort and reassurance, but be sure to always return them to their crib if that is your intended sleep space for them. Each time you do enter their room, go through the same sequence of soothing events so they know exactly what to expect.


What should be soothing response be?

Don't worry, I can help with that! My course- Compassionate Sleep Training will teach you everything you need to know! You'll go through 4 modules where you will be guided through creating a sleep plan that includes how to teach independent sleep and how to respond to wake ups. All in the most gentle, responsive way that is based on child development science and a secure attachment theory.



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