So, you’re done handling those 12-month-old sleep regressions, and you might be hoping for smooth sailing from now on, but the bad news is this is not always the case.
Your little one is finally 15 months old and you’re trying to figure out a schedule for your their sleep. Just when you feel you’ve figured it all out, you end up with your toddler waking up at night all grumpy!
Sleep regressions are temporary interferences with your child’s sleep stemming from the huge developmental milestones they are achieving. These might last for 2-4 weeks and require caretakers to be flexible. Disrupted sleep could be due to hunger, a bright room, or a late bedtime routine.
Your little one might be having the notorious 15-month sleep regressions, but do not worry here is all that you need to know about this how to tackle it!
What Is Development Leap At 15 Months Old?
Your little one has come a long way and now that they are 15 months old, they would be undergoing many developmental changes or leaps as we may call them.
During this time, you might have noticed how your toddler has become clingier, anxious, and irritable, and this might worry you. Simply put, your child might be in a developmental leap. Now, the obvious next question is what exactly is a developmental leap? These are times of intense mental development a toddler undergoes during the first 2 years of development.
During this time your child might develop sleep regression, become crankier, and could have trouble with separation anxiety. For most toddlers, during the first 20 months of life, major changes occur in their minds, which affects their sleep cycles and mood. Developmental leaps during the first 12-15 months of a child’s life occur as they encounter new skills, such as walking and talking.
In their little minds, toddlers at this age start understanding the idea of perception, interpretation, action, and result. Linking their knowledge to consequences, these young minds have a lot going on and hence might experience a variety of mood changes as well as sleep cycle disruption.
Do Developmental Leaps Affect My 15-Month-Old’s Sleeping Habits?
With major mental developmental change comes sleep regression and mood changes. You might encounter the following issues:
Sleeping Resistance And Trouble Settling Into Sleep
You might notice your toddler resisting sleep and having a harder time unwinding. This occurs as they are growing physically and mentally. Separation anxiety, especially while sleeping, is quite common among these 15-month-old children, and they might have trouble settling into sleep. They might only sleep when you are around.
Waking Earlier Or Waking Up Late At Night
With a brightly lit room, it might be difficult for your child to stay asleep early in the morning. So, try to make your child’s room “pro-sleeping.”
Your child may have trouble staying asleep during the dark hours of the night. This might be due to the different ideas and questions that occupy their little minds during their developmental leap. With late sleeping comes a bad sleeping routine, which ends up affecting their energy throughout the day, making them irritable and cranky all day long. It might not be easy for them to fall asleep when they’ve slept multiple times throughout the day.
Fighting Short Naps Throughout The Day
Daytime sleep might affect sleep cycles but are very common, as they do not get their sleep at night. Daytime sleep, in turn, affects night sleep and now you have a vicious cycle on your hands! Nap transition from two naps to one nap per day might help you slowly get rid of these short naps.
Are There Sleep Regressions At 15 Months Of Age?
As soon as you’re done tackling your child’s 12-month sleep regression, you might end up facing the 15-month sleep regression cycle. During the 15-month sleep regression, your child might be up at night multiple times and take naps throughout the day. You might also notice a change in feeding patterns and mood.
This could be due to several reasons. Sleep regression during the first few months of life occurs due to the neurological development going on inside your little one’s mind. Additionally, around 12–15-month sleep regression might be due to nap transition.
Why Do 15-Month Sleep Regressions Occur?
Unlike the previous regressions you’ve dealt with up till now, the 15-month sleep regression is different, as it principally stems from nap transition.
Other transitions such as the 4-month sleep regression or the 8-month sleep regression occur primarily due to the underlying neurological and physiological alterations in your little one’s body.
As your child is growing, they need to drop down naps, and it is surely not easy. A consistent bedtime routine as well as a nap routine might help your baby transition through this change.
By the age of 12 months, some children resist sleeping throughout the day, making it easier for parents to transition them into a one-time nap routine rather than two naps throughout the day.
These children take shorter naps at first and end up skipping a daytime nap altogether. This transition is not an easy one, so try to be patient with your child, and do not rush!
Now with the primary reason aside, other factors that contribute to the 15-month sleep regression include the major developmental milestones your child is experiencing around this time. From coordinating moves to exploring new skills, these little muffins have a lot going on, so it’s quite natural for them to have sleep regression.
As your little one grows older, you realize that they’ve grown a bit clingy. It might not be easy for them to sleep independently, and they might cry whenever you leave the room.
While they grow independent in terms of motor skills, they can’t help but cry whenever they lose sight of you. Your presence induces confidence in them, and they learn the idea of object permanence. This means that they have realized that your absence does not mean you’ve vanished, but it means you’re far.
Keep in mind that this is not a cue to start old habits and try to transition slowly through this phase. Always remember, patience is key!
Teething Or Nightmares
With a set of cute little teeth on their way, your 15-month-old might experience sleep regression thanks to these little monsters! Fear of the dark might also be the reason behind the 15-month sleep regression.
With new play skills, your little one might prefer practicing them oversleeping. Skipping naps altogether or resisting sleep might play into the 15-month sleep regression.
3 Signs Of The 15-Month-Sleep Regression
If you are suspicious that your child might be having the infamous 15-month sleep regression, then here are a few signs you should look out for:
Resists Sleeping And Crying During Bedtime Routine
Your child might start resisting sleep by taking shorter naps. You may notice them crying as soon as you start the bedtime routine. Unlike before, your child may also have trouble falling asleep. These little muffins might also cut off their naps and just stay up for a longer period exploring the world.
Waking Up Late At Night Or Waking Up Early Morning
You might find your child up and awake late at night. And for some children, waking up early in the morning is the new norm. Night wakings occur frequently during the 15-month sleep regression.
Cranky And Clingy Throughout The Day
Now that your little one has not been sleeping well, they might seem a bit off and dull. They might even cry more near the end of the day, especially when it is time to sleep.
Is It Okay To Let My 15-Month-Old Cry It Out During Sleep Regressions?
The cry-it-out sleep training method is not the gentlest out there, but it surely is quite popular. Sleep training with this method might require parents to let their children cry when they get up in the middle of the night or just when they are about to sleep. But if you can’t stand the idea of your child crying, you might prefer other methods. For most parents, this is the last resort.
But before you let your child cry it out, make sure your baby’s room is dimly lit and sleep-friendly. Try to avoid this method when you are starting to wean at nighttime. After setting your nighttime routine, place your toddler in their crib and make sure their field is free of pillows and stuffed toys that might keep them up. Next, you should let them be and leave the room. But make sure you keep a close eye on them.
If you feel like they are crying too much, you might enter the room after 3 minutes and soothe them for no more than 2 minutes. The next time you leave, enter after 5 minutes if your kid is still crying. Each night you can increase the time between visits. Consistency is key in this method, so try to get your partner on board and keep moving forward slowly and patiently. Try to avoid this method with very young infants and keep an eye out for other reasons for sleeplessness, such as the temperature of the room.
What Can Be Done For My Baby’s Sleep Regressions At 15 Months Of Age?
The first thing you should do is consult your pediatrician, as they might be able to guide you in a better way. You can also try the following ways to help your child get back to undisturbed sleeping.
Explore In Awake times And Extend Wake Windows
Let your little one explore throughout the day, practicing their new skills will help them feel more tired when it is bedtime. New skill practice throughout the day makes it less interesting during the night. Active awake times are essential for a good night’s sleep.
As your little one grows, their wake windows might need a bit of adjusting. Add 10-15 minutes to each awake time, but make sure the transition is slow and you don’t leave them overtired.
Set A Predictable Bedtime Routine
Setting a good bedtime routine surely makes it easier for your toddler to understand the cues you are giving. Sticking to a bedtime routine, such as reading storytime books or singing a lullaby, might help your little one feel comfortable and all set to sleep!
Sleep Training: Don’t Let The Old Habits Sneak In!
Healthy sleeping habits are crucial during the early years of development, as these go a long way. Consistent good sleeping habits might help you help your toddler get through the 15-month sleep regression. Sleep training by conditioning your toddler by dimming lights or draping curtains might also help you get through a sleep regression.
Should You Ever Ignore Sleep Regressions In Your Baby?
Reaching out to a doctor should be the first thing if you feel like your toddler is unfit or having disruptive sleep regressions. Loud snoring, night wakings during nightmares, or loud breathing are warning signs and should be addressed immediately.
Though the 15-month sleep regression is not as common, most children that have it handle it well with support and care. Do not worry, as the 15-month sleep regression lasts for less than a month for most toddlers, but be sure to rule out other factors that might be causing sleep disturbances.
Final Thoughts: The 15-Month Sleep Regression
With growing age, children undergo major developmental changes that leave a long-lasting impact on their brains. Such developmental leaps are seen during the first 2 years of life and sometimes accompany sleep regression.
Sleep regressions are short-lasting disturbances in the sleep cycle of a child, which might be due to an underlying illness, neurological development, or nap transition. The 15-month sleep regression is usually due to nap transitions. Teething, nightmares, or developmental leaps are other causes of sleep regression at this age.
With growing curiosity children tend to stay awake for longer periods and skip naps throughout the day. If your child is facing a sleep regression, they might become more irritable, experience late-night wakings, and have trouble falling asleep.
Parents tend to sleep-train their children by setting a bedtime routine and trying the cry-it-out method. If you suspect that your little one is having sleeping issues, consult a doctor first to rule out any underlying problem.