Learn about the most common sleep regressions and what you can do to help your baby sleep better.

newborn baby yawning and laying down

Sleep regressions can come on suddenly and seemingly from out of nowhere.

Your baby might go from sleeping longer stretches in the middle of the night to waking up every 40 minutes.

Or she may have been a dream napper and during a regression go on a complete nap strike for several days or even weeks!

They may totally blindside parents who thought they had a “good sleeper.” And unfortunately, sleep regressions are often part of having a baby and a toddler.

Learn all about the most common sleep regressions and see how you can make it through them!

new parents trying to soothe bbay through sleep regression

What is A Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is a change or disruption to your baby’s night time sleep or naps. Sleep regressions are usually brought on by physical or cognitive development.

They typically come on suddenly, out of nowhere, and leave just as suddenly.

The most common sleep regressions generally occur when your baby is hitting a major development, either physically or cognitively.

common sleep regressions and ages graphic

Most Common Sleep Regression Ages

Here are the most common sleep regressions:

Additionally, Many toddlers and big kids also experience a:

Keep in mind that turning these ages won’t trigger a sleep regression. Rather, these are the general ages babies achieve different physical and cognitive milestones that can result in a sleep regression. 

So, you may notice sleep regressions a little earlier or later as babies grow and develop at different rates.

Other sleep regressions can occur when your baby is sick, teething, or dealing with a new transition such as a move, parent going back to work, or a new sibling.

Signs of A Sleep Regression

Here are some signs that your baby is going through a sleep regression:

Keep in mind that sleep issues could also be caused by your baby needing to adjust their wake windows as well.

If the change came on suddenly, and your baby’s schedule is on track, then chances are you’re dealing with a sleep regression.

What Triggers A Sleep Regression? 

Sleep regressions are triggered by development, either physical or cognitive. 

Babies are always learning and growing, and during some particularly intense periods of development babies can get distracted by their new skills and the result is a period of tough sleep. 

How Long Do Sleep Regressions Last? 

Sleep regressions can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.

teething sleep regression graphic

Is it Teething or A Sleep Regression

Sometimes it’s hard to know what is ailing our baby.

If you’re wondering if your baby is teething or going through a sleep regression, here are common signs of teething.

Signs of teething

  • Baby is also drooling, biting, and gnawing during the day
  • Baby is fussy during the day and at sleep times
  • You can see white poking through baby’s gums

How to Handle Sleep Regressions

Sleep problems are nearly unavoidable as a parent.

All children will regress at some point in their sleep, whether it’s due to developmental milestones, teething, pushing boundaries, or needing a schedule change.

Here are some tips for handling sleep regressions.

Be on Top of Wake Windows

Check that you are following appropriate wake windows for your baby before assuming it’s a sleep regression.

Sometimes babies fight sleep because they need less day sleep or are ready to make a nap transition.

Before assuming your baby is going through a sleep regression, make sure their sleep schedule is on track.

Have a Consistent Bedtime Routine

All the physical and developmental changes your baby is going through can be hard on them.

Keep some predictability in their life by keeping your baby’s bedtime routine as consistent as possible.

Doing the same order of events each night will be calming to them.

Practice During the Day

Give your baby plenty of opportunity to practice their new skills during the day.

This means giving them ample time to be mobile and explore their new physical abilities.

Try to minimize the time they spend in a container such as a swing, stroller, or bouncer.

Fill Their Bucket

Around 9 months old, many babies get separation anxiety, which can cause a regression in sleep.

Provide plenty of emotional reassurance through hugs, kisses, and cuddles. Build your baby’s security throughout the day so they feel secure at night.

Give them Some Space

Babies and toddlers will practice their new tricks in their crib.

It’s okay!

If your baby is standing in the crib during sleep times, give them some time to figure it out instead of rushing into their room.

The same goes if your baby starts to roll over in their sleep. Give them a chance to figure things out on their own instead of immediately rushing in.

Try Not to Introduce New Sleep Props

Try not to introduce new sleeping props or unsustainable sleep associations during a sleep regression.

Do what you can to get your baby to sleep without introducing new sleep crutches and know that the sleep regression can end just as quickly as it began.

Be Consistent

Stay consistent with the sleep habits you have worked so hard on and set boundaries for your family regarding sleep at naps and night time.

If you have a toddler, they’ll push those boundaries. Consistency will be key in getting sleep habits back on track.

Sleep Train

If you’ve started habits you no longer find sustainable, you can choose a sleep training method to help teach your baby how to fall asleep on their own.

Baby D.R.E.A.M Mockup image

Get Better Sleep with The Baby D.R.E.A.M. System

If you want someone to walk you through the process of sleep training, let me help. The Baby D.R.E.A.M. System is for babies 4 months through 2.5 years old. I’ll walk you through how to establish daily routines, sleep schedules, and sleep training techniques to help you break the sleep associations you no longer find beneficial! Check it out here.

If you’ve worked really hard with setting up healthy sleep habits with your child, then stay strong through these common sleep regressions. Know that they are normal and can pass just as quickly as they started.

If you have any questions about these sleep regressions, leave them in the comments and we’ll help you troubleshoot.

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common sleep regressions infographic

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One Comment

  1. I totally have to read more about this Love and Logic, seems great! For now I think we’re having 18 months sleep regression and every next one is worse than the previous one.

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