Before giving birth to my daughter I had no idea what sleep regression is. Now, having experienced it, I can with confidence say it is one of the least fun parts of parenthood. What is it you ask? Let me tell you all about it.
What is sleep regression?
According to SleepAdvisor, sleep regression is “a period of time when infants resting habits change, night wakings occur, and naps often become shorter”. Essentially sleep it is a time frame in which your baby/toddler goes back to how they slept before their current age. For example, if your four month old is sleeping through the night, they may wake up in the middle. Or if your one year old never struggled with going down for a nap, they may resists naps for a bit.
Why does sleep regression happen?
Sleep regression often means that your little one is reaching developmental milestones. With so many exciting changes happening and so much to learn, sleep usually takes a back seat for a little bit.
When does it usually happen and how long does it last?
Sleep regression usually occurs during times in which your little one is experiencing major developmental milestones. More specifically, around 4, 6, 8, 12, and 18 months. These changes in sleep can last from two to four weeks.
What can I do?
While it may sound unhelpful, maintaining your normal schedule as much as possible is one of the best things you can do. Consistency and routine are still important despite your little one’s struggles. Making your little one as comfortable as possible also helps. Often, their regression coincides with teething or they may not be feeling their best. If you’re child’s doctor has given you the ok, consider giving them child-friendly medication. Comfort also includes ensuring their sleeping space is encouraging sleep. Remember, these moments of regression are a normal part of any child’s development.