In a perfect world, babies would always sleep through the night. Moms and dads would wake perfectly rested each morning, and life would be wonderful.
As all parents know, this is hardly the case.
Babies are notoriously bad sleepers. They wake throughout the night, demanding to be held or fed. Even if your baby is sleeping well through the night, there's always the dreaded sleep regression. You might find yourself struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep after these late-night wake-ups.
What is sleep regression? When does it happen? More importantly, how can you survive a sleep regression with your baby? Keep reading for everything you need to know. The more prepared you are, the better equipped you'll be to handle sleep regression with patience!
What Is a Sleep Regression?
When a baby who was previously sleeping well experiences a setback in their sleeping habits, this is a sleep regression. If your baby has a sleep regression, he or she will wake up frequently throughout the night, even if they had no trouble sleeping before.
As you can imagine, this is very stressful for both parents and babies!
Not only does the parent's sleep suffer, but the baby will be fussier throughout the day. For parents who experience postpartum insomnia, this can feel like an impossible situation. One of the biggest challenges with sleep regression is that it seems to come out of nowhere.
Babies can go from sleeping perfectly one night to barely sleeping at all! Luckily, this is only a temporary setback, and your baby will return to regular habits soon.
When Does Will Sleep Regression happen?
Sleep regression can happen at any time, but it's most common at these times in your baby's early life:
- 3-4 months old
- 8-9 months old
- 12-16 months old
Again, this will depend on your baby's specific sleep patterns. Sleep regression is caused by a change in your baby's sleep cycle. At around 4 months old, babies begin to cycle through all 4 sleep cycles instead of just 2. This means they'll have a bit of an adjustment period.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
How long can you expect to deal with the dreaded sleep regression? While this will vary by baby, it's typically a period of 2 to 6 weeks.
If your baby has struggled to sleep through the night before a regression, this could last even longer. There's no single answer to how long this will last, but you can take steps to make sleep regression less unpleasant for everyone.
Tips for Surviving Sleep Regression
Unfortunately, there's no way to completely avoid a sleep regression altogether. This is a natural sign of your baby's sleep cycle developing. There are things you can do to help your baby (and yourself) fall asleep fast and stay asleep. However, try these tips below to ease yourself through this difficult time with less stress.
Tip 1: Establish healthy sleep habits
If your baby is used to you soothing him or her to sleep each night, whether this is through a pacifier, rocking them, or breastfeeding, this could get in the way of healthy sleep habits. When babies have help falling asleep, they're not able to get back to sleep on their own. Instead, break these sleep associations with a soothing bedtime routine.
The same goes for you, mama. As a parent, you also need healthy sleep habits to keep yourself healthy and sane during this process. Creating a nighttime routine or using a natural sleepytime product helps this along.
Tip 2: Keep quiet
If your baby is sensitive to sounds, keep their sleeping space quiet. Using a white noise machine will help with masking any sounds during nap time and bedtime. If you need to stay up, listen to a podcast or music quietly or stay in another part of your home.
Tip 3: Adjust the baby's bedtime
If the baby is taking fewer naps during the day, push up bedtime. Putting them to bed earlier, even if it means dropping the last nap altogether, could lead to more hours of sleep. Adjust the baby's bedtime as needed until you find what works.
Tip 4: Put your baby down when they're awake
It's tempting to only put your little one down when he or she is already soothed to sleep, but remember what we said about sleeping habits.
Your baby needs to learn how to fall asleep by themselves. Putting baby down to sleep when he or she is drowsy but still awake is key. Soon, this will feel more natural.
Tip 5: Don't forget your own sleep
If you're not getting the sleep you need, you can't care for your little one properly. Using aromatherapeutic products like the Full 8 Hours sleepy time scrub can help lull you into dreamland even after a stressful day.
Adding a relaxing Bonding Bath with chamomile, lavender, and calendula helps both you and baby feel more relaxed at bedtime. To keep yourself awake during the day, use our natural Morning Matcha Face scrub to greet the morning. These products are made for you, mama, so use them to your advantage!
Survive Baby's Sleep Regression
Sleep regression is never easy to deal with, especially when you're trying to get enough sleep at night. Luckily, a bit of preventative action will go a long way towards helping you and baby have better nights.
Keep in mind that sleep regression is only temporary. A better night's sleep isn't so far away after all! Just hang in there and try to be kind on yourself. You've got this, mama.