24health.info Health Sleep regression in an infant and an older child – how long does it last and how to deal with it?

Sleep regression in an infant and an older child – how long does it last and how to deal with it?


Baby girl is sleeping on blanket

Many babies are struggling with sleeping all night at some stage in their lives. They have trouble falling asleep, refuse to take nap or even start waking up very early. Sleep regression is common at several ages. Actually there are commonly 6 stages when baby’s sleep stress out many parents. When babies do not get enough sleep, the same as older people, they become easily irritated, moody and furstrated. It can affect whole family. It is not like sleep regressions occur to every single baby. Not everyone experience sleep regressions. Maybe you will be lucky enough that your baby will sleep as good as always!

What is sleep regression?

A sleep regression is a period when a child who has been sleepig well, starts experiencing disrupted sleep. Sleep regressions includes night wakings, trying to stay awake at all costs, also known as figthing sleep. If they can they might literally run away from nap time. Sleep regressions occur around 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years old. Those changes in your little one’s sleep schedule are totally normal. Sometimes sleep regressions may happen at diffrent stages of baby’s life.

What are the causes of sleep regression?

Sleep regressions may happen because of many things. Firstly, major developmental change affects sleep a lot. When it comes to growing, theres reason, your baby gets so excited and busy with newfound skills. They do not want to fall asleep but experiment with crawling, pulling yourself up, walk independently. Learning those skills is called as developmental milestones. Growth spurts are also included in affecting baby’s sleeptime. Infants may need more food than before, because of growing so fast. It may also be the cause of night waking.

Changes in sleep cycle

Then there are changes in sleep cycle. The reason of them is that your baby is growing and do not need as much night sleep or naps anymore. Often older babies need to transition to one nap per day or have couple short naps rather than just one nap. At some point their nap transition will be from one to zero. Infant needs more sleep than toddler. If your toddler refuses an early bedtime, you may try to cut off second nap.

How long your baby should sleep?

Newborns should sleep around 16 hours per day. From one to three months should babies sleep 15 hours per day. Then till around 15 months they should sleep at least 14 hours per day. Toddlers at age of 2 should be sleeping around 13 hours per day. Of course it does not have to be only nighttime sleep, and even better if it’s not. There also should be space for naps: only one nap during the day, and if necessary two naps area also okay. Sometimes your little one may need more or less sleep. It actually depends on yours baby circadian rhythm.

Separation anxiety and illness

Sometimes sleep regression happens because of separation anxiety, which is common with sleep training. Some babies are soothed just by the presence of their parent in the room. If you’ve previously found this to be working for your little one, give it a try again. Other factors like teething may also affect bedtime routine and naps too.

Mom and her baby on bed sleeping

How long does sleep regression last?

Baby sleep regressions usually lasts from two to six weeks, but it is not said that it may not last longer or shorter. It is time your baby needs to get used to new routine or recover from illness. If sleep troubles ended more quickly, they were caused probably because of teething or other temporary factors. It is important to remember that it is transisional. Your baby will likely go back to sleeping within 3 to 6 weeks.

How to help your baby to fall asleep?

It depends on parenting style, some parents assume they don’t have impact on their babies sleep. Actually, there are a few tips what you can do to improve your one’s sleep. Sometimes 3 weeks may feel like forever but fortunately sleep reggresions usually are temporary. If it happens around 8 months old then stick to the usual bed routine. You do not need to change the whole routine because your little one suddenly starts waking up. At older age you may do your research if your baby needs only one nap, rather than two naps in the day. Ensure your baby’s basic needs are met prior to laying them down to rest.

When and How to Sleep Train Your Baby?

Sleep training should start off by having parent sleep next to the baby’s crib. Parent’s presence when child falls asleep helps to calm the baby. It also prevents separation anxiety, which may lead to sleep regression. If your baby cries during falling asleep, you may soothe them by rubbing or patting their back. When baby stops crying, then you leave baby to sleep independently. First few nights may be harsh for both of you. Few weeks later, may be time for another step. For example try to leave baby alone to fall asleep and see how it goes. Also you need to set up sleep schedule and try to put your baby to sleep at same time everyday. If you already have set sleep schedule up but you want your toddler to start bedtime routine earlier, you should start windowing bedtime for a couple minutes, every few nights or weeks.

Resources:

https://www.childrens.com/health-wellness/sleep-regression-in-infants-and-toddlers

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/health/sleep-problems-in-young-children/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02646839208403946

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/07/15/730339536/sleep-training-truths-what-science-can-and-cant-tell-us-about-crying-it-out?t=1637759772247

https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/8-month-sleep-regression#what-can-you-do

1 thought on “Sleep regression in an infant and an older child – how long does it last and how to deal with it?”

  1. This is wonderful article. I’m having problems with my baby’s sleeping times. Thanks to it I found many informations and now I know I’m not the only one having problems with it.

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