If your baby was sleeping well throughout the night, but suddenly their sleep patterns have changed for the worse, they might be going through a sleep regression. Sleep regression in babies is a temporary change in a baby’s otherwise sound sleep schedule which causes them to wake up frequently in the middle of the night, experience poor naps, and behave extremely fussy. In this guide by Baby Brezza, we’ll go over the baby sleep regression process, what it looks like, and how you and your little one can cope with it in the best, easiest way possible.
When it comes to new babies, sleep regression is not one of the fun factors. These hiccups are common and can happen when a baby passes through a major developmental stage, such as learning how to flip over, crawl or pull up. Sleep regressions can be exhausting and frustrating for parents, but it’s a sign that your baby has hit a new and exciting growth milestone and that their sleep cycle is maturing. Baby sleep regressions come and go, and by being able to understand when your little one is going through one of these difficult stages, you’ll be much more set up to help them get through it.
Signs of Sleep Regression
- Frequent nighttime waking
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Increased fussiness and inconsolable for no reason
- Change in appetite
- Shorter nap times
- Disturbed sleep
- Increased impatience
What Ages Do Babies Have Sleep Regression?
Babies may experience their first sleep regression when they are 4-months old. Often mistaken for the duration of the sleep regression, the term “4-month sleep regression” actually refers to the age when the baby's sleep cycle is temporarily disrupted. The four-month sleep regression is most common, but not all babies experience it. You may luck out and have no trouble at the 4-month age mark. However, out of all of the baby sleep regression ages, the four month mark is a very common time for parents to deal with.
At the four-month mark, babies start a 4-staged sleep cycle and learn how to help themselves get back to sleep when they wake up through a process called “self-soothing”. In some cases, sleep regression can also occur later at 8 months, 10 months, 12 months, or even 18 months depending on how your baby develops.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
Sleep regressions may last for different durations depending on your baby’s age and environment, however they typically last for two to six weeks. In many cases, babies learn how to self-soothe and fall back asleep on their own. As adults, we are used to rolling over or changing positions when we wake up uncomfortable, but babies have not learned that skill yet. It is important to keep in mind that these regressions are temporary and your baby will move on to sleeping even more comfortably after the regression is over. When they learn to flip, rollover, or crawl, their pattern will likely return to normal. If they have regressions at an older age, it may be due to other factors such as stress, anxiety, or nightmares.
Do All Babies Go Through Sleep Regression?
No– not every baby experiences sleep regression; moreover, not every baby goes through sleep regressions within the same timeframes. The baby 4-month sleep regression period is, however, a very common milestone: in fact, it is the most common regression time among babies. Ensuring an environment that encourages more rest is crucial to getting through this often difficult time, so using soothing methods, blackout curtains, and plenty of time are essential to the process.
How to Help Your Baby’s Sleep Regression
The best way to deal with sleep regression is to be patient and wait for them to pass. However, here are some tips and advice that might help you and your baby during a sleep regression period.
- Stick to a regular bedtime routine for your baby to easily associate with sleep time. Maintain consistent timings for activities such as dinner, bath, story-telling, etc. before bed.
- Create the right atmosphere to make your baby feel calm and relaxed. Our Baby Soothe Massager is the perfect tool to help your baby relax before bed and provides fast relief from gas, fussiness, and discomfort.
- Simulate feelings that trigger a calming response in your baby. For example, the Smart Soothing Mat mimics the sounds and motions of the mother’s womb which help activate your baby’s natural calming reflex and provides stimuli that connect your baby to calm and soothing memories in the womb.
- Help them stay comfortable all night with our 3 in 1 Swaddle Transition Sleepsuit or 2 in 1 Swaddle Transition Sleepsuit which keeps them warm and swaddles them in a hug to provide comfort, without restricting their natural movement.
- Stay consistent with bottle feeding. Many 4-month-olds still eat once or twice at night, which is when an automated formula dispenser like the Formula Pro Advanced can be handy. However, if your baby is waking up more often than normal at times they don’t usually eat, soothing techniques are a better way to help them for a natural sleep routine.
Sleep regression may be exhausting, but it is a sign that your baby is working towards self-soothing sleep habits that will be better for them (and you!) in the long run. Explore Baby Brezza’s NEW! line of Sleep & Soothing products to help your baby naturally calm themselves for a better sleep experience.