Have your baby’s sleep patterns changed, and you are wondering if he’s suffering from sleep regression? The first year of a baby’s life can be tough, exhausting, and stressful. Sometimes he sleeps in long stretches, while other times he awakens all night. Some parents can’t figure it out, but most of the time, the baby is suffering from infant sleep regression.
Sleep regression is common among infants. It occurs at different points during the first year. Baby sleep regression ages are classified as 4 months, 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, and 12 months. In addition, a 2-year sleep regression also exists. When a baby is going through any of these regression stages, he shows some behavioral changes like more frequent night waking, trouble falling asleep at bedtime, increased fussiness, and suddenly resisting naps during nighttime or daytime. But don’t worry. These regressions won’t last more than 2-6 weeks, and your little angel will be able to sleep safe and sound like before.
These toddler sleep regressions happen due to various physical and mental developmental milestones a baby achieves during the first two years of life. During these learning phases, his mind keeps on running and can’t shut itself off, which leads to the child’s discomfort and sleep distortion and causes sleep problems. However, setting a baby’s sleep cycle can make these infant sleep regressions go smoothly.
What Is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is a phase lasting two to six weeks when a child experiences some behavioral changes with a noticeable decline in mature sleeping patterns. A child’s sleep changes when he grows. They might skip a nap, wake up early in the morning and frequently disturb you during night sleep. All these nap troubles are a sign of sleep regression.
These changes sometimes frustrate parents, and they consult physicians about whether it is normal for their child to skip a nap or have an extra nap. Let me tell you, all these changes are completely normal. They won’t last more than a few weeks, and eventually, your child will learn to cope with them.
What Triggers Sleep Regression?
Your baby may be experiencing developmental changes as a result of his age. A child’s body and brain development occurs rapidly during their first year, and with that, they learn new skills. In addition to flipping over and crawling, infants are also learning to move for the first time. The idea of perfecting all these new skills makes him restless, even when he falls asleep.
Therefore, you don’t need to worry. Try to relax your baby with extra care and love, and he’ll eventually make his way through this stage.
Some other reasons for sleep regressions could be:
- Emotional changes due to traveling or separation anxiety
- Changes in routine
- Growth spurts
- Other health conditions like eczema, and asthma
Signs of Sleep Regression and What to Do About It:
Most sleep regressions can have some common signs shared by infants suffering from this issue.
- Frequently waking up at the night time
- Short naps
- Fighting sleep
- Bare-minimum nighttime sleep
- Increased crankiness in behavior
- Extra fussy than usual
How Do I Know If My Baby Is Having a Sleep Regression?
The easiest way to know whether your child is suffering from sleep regressions is when a good previously sleeping baby finds difficulty falling asleep and wakes from his nap multiple times. Even a sleep-trained child can have sleep regression problems.
Your child may show some specific behaviors like:
- Shorter naps than usual
- Unstoppable cries
- Fussiness during sleeping hours
- Tired during the evening
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
Surviving Sleep Regressions at Any Age
Surviving baby sleep regressions is not easy. It’s traumatizing for the infant as well as his parents. Here are 3 tips you can act upon to survive sleep regression at any age:
1. Try to set sleep patterns: A permanent bedtime routine will help the infant’s biological cycle to cooperate, and he’ll be able to get as much sleep as possible.
2. Give him a calm environment: A peaceful surrounding is surely helpful for the kid to sleep early and long.
3. Nutrition: Give him the nutrition he needs to keep up with all the biological changes going on.
What Are the Most Common Sleep Regression Ages?
Infants share almost the same biological cycles like the age of teething, crawling, and grasping things. But sleep regression is not one of them. It varies among babies. Another interesting fact about sleep regression is that, although it is pretty normal, not all babies get them.
The most common baby sleep regression ages are 4 months, 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, 12 months, and as mentioned earlier a 2-year sleep regression as well.
4-Month Sleep Regression
It is the first ever sleep regression a child faces. It comes with issues like restless sleep, night wakings, and crying out of nowhere. The main reason could be teething and growth spurts. While the excitement to roll over the first time also triggers tiredness in the baby.
The 4-month sleep regression doesn’t bother the sleep of the infant, but it can permanently change the sleeping patterns of your baby. Now your baby will have more deep sleep, but during the sleep regression ages, you have to handle sudden night wakings.
6 or 7-Month Sleep Regression
Some researchers count 6 months while others count 7 months of sleep regression in their research. However, we classify this stage of sleep regression as the sleep disturbances and disruptions your child may face at the age of 6 or 7 months. You recognize these disturbances as they came out of nowhere and wake up your child from a deep sleep. In such circumstances, parents are frustrated and get easily worried about their child’s health.
Having an infant of 6-7 months makes you realize that he follows the oddest hours of sleep. He has maximum hours of restlessness; for example, he’ll wake you up in the middle of the night, crying as loud as possible. Not only that, his sleeping time will be much shorter than usual.
8-Month Sleep Regression
This stage is classified as 8-month sleep regression, but it usually occurs at age of 8-10 months. It is also the result of developmental changes. Not only this, the baby grows central incisor teeth in this period, which is painful and creates fussiness.
Separation anxiety is common in the 8-month sleep regression. Infants crawl and try to stand up and master this skill, so they seem frustrated and restless. Overtiredness, short naps, missing third naps, and not following bedtime routines are classic signs of suffering from an 8-month sleep regression.
If teething hurts your infant badly and he cries a lot, you can ask a health specialist about solving this issue.
12-Month Sleep Regression
This stage of baby sleep regressions is not so common among infants. For some, it can occur at the age of 11-12 months. While for others, it does not happen at all.
This stage classifies some mature behaviors like associations with ones around him, awareness of his environment, and social skills development, which may cause restlessness in infants. As they start standing up around this age, they get exhausted easily. Despite the tiring routine, short naps persist during this 12-month sleep regression.
2 Year Sleep Regression
It’s the last stage of sleep regressions during his 2-year journey as an infant. After passing through various stages of toddler sleep regression, parents try sleep training the kid. Some of the issues that persist during this period can be:
- Waking up in the middle of the night horrified.
- Separation anxiety returns.
- Decrease in the number of daily naps.
To help their kid under these circumstances, parents usually console their kid so he doesn’t get frightened at night. Moreover, increasing the wake time between the afternoon nap and the night’s bedtime also helps him sleep better without interruption. These healthy sleep habits are helpful to set more mature sleeping patterns.
Sleep regression is classified as an unanticipated change in the sleeping pattern of an infant. It affects babies up to 2 years at various stages. However, all babies are not affected by these sleeping disorders, but it’s quite normal to have them.
These sleep regressions show some developmental changes your child is going through. A normal sleep regression doesn’t last more than 2-6 weeks. But remember that it will eventually be over and your kid will be able to sleep again peacefully without any distortions.
But you have to play your part in this regard. Give him the comfort and care he needs and try managing his bedtime routine. In addition, give him proper nutrition, as it is the time for mental and physical growth. Hug your baby when he feels down or feels separation anxiety. Try to wake him up early in the morning if he feels tired during the evening.
Chase his sleep patterns and never leave him alone. Be patient and he’ll make it through this stage of life like a champ with your support. If you have any queries or suggestions, reach out to us anytime.