Catherine Completely Baby Sleep Consultant

Catherine Thompson
Baby Sleep Consultant & Owner of Completely Baby

If you’re baby’s sleep suddenly changes – don’t panic! – it’s actually a healthy sign.

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It’s a happy milestone for every parent – when your baby starts to sleep soundly through the night. It feels like you’re making progress, and you can return to some sort of normalcy with your own sleep routine!

So, what do you do when your baby, who’s been sleeping well, starts to refuse to settle, repeatedly wake in the night and skip nap-time in the day?

Read on if you would like to learn more about my gentle approach to managing sleep regression or book in a 15 minute free chat here to discuss how I can help

Do You Need Help With Your Baby Or Toddlers Sleep?

I am a highly experienced baby sleep consultant with a unique educational and healthcare background.
Click Below NOW to book in a free chat with me I would love to see how I can help!

Baby Sleep Regression

First of all: don’t panic! This is a common experience for many parents and babies, called sleep regression. Baby sleep regression refers to the periods (usually between 2-6 weeks) when your baby regresses with their sleep progress. There’s a variety of reasons why this might happen, but rest assured, it’s normal. In fact, it’s a healthy indicator your baby is developing.

Sleep Progression Not Regression

I like to refer to baby sleep regression as baby sleep progression.

One of the main reasons your baby will regress with their sleep is because they’re going through a developmental milestone. They’re growing! It could be anything from teething, a physical growth spurt or cognitive (brain) development. Your baby goes through a lot in their first year of life, so it makes sense all this growth can cause some disruptions.

Other common sleep regression triggers, not necessarily related to growth, to look out for include:

  • Disruptions to your baby’s regular routine.
  • Travelling and sleeping in a new environment.
  • Common illnesses they may be recovering from.
  • Emotional stress, such as separation anxiety.

When Do Baby Sleep Regressions Occur?

Although it might feel random, baby sleep regression happens at set points during your baby’s first year.

Most babies go through cognitive development – you might also see this referred to as mental or brain development – around the same age points. These are called ‘leaps’ (again, you might see them referred to as mental leaps or cognitive leaps). Each leap is an indication that your baby is developing and comes with the possibility of learning new things. Baby sleep regression is often tied to these key leaps.

There are many developmental leaps throughout your baby’s early years, and they’ll relate to different things. The most common leaps, based on my experience and research, for baby sleep regression ages tend to be:

  • 3 weeks old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 8 months old
  • 10 months old

Not all babies will experience a sleep regression at these ages, but it’s pretty common.

What’s Going on for Your Baby During these Leaps

It’s beneficial to understand what’s going on exactly for your baby during these points to prepare yourself mentally. Being prepared and knowing what’s happening can help you – and baby – through this time.

Here’s a little breakdown to help:

Do You Need Help With Your Baby Or Toddlers Sleep?

I am a highly experienced baby sleep consultant with a unique educational and healthcare background.
Click Below NOW to book in a free chat with me I would love to see how I can help!

3 Week Baby Sleep Regression

You might experience this one anytime around the 3-5 week mark with your baby. Since birth, your baby has been bombarded with new sensations, both externally and internally. Your baby is becoming more alert and aware of their surroundings, and all their senses are growing. Your baby is becoming more engaged in their environment for the first time – sleeping is just not as exciting.

4 Month Baby Sleep Regression

Around this age, your baby is just starting on some major physical milestones – including rolling over. This is one of the first milestones where your baby uses different muscle groups and body parts to move, so it’s a big deal for them! In their eagerness, your baby might be waking more and having a hard time settling down. They’re also more and more aware of their surroundings – sleeping is hard when there’s so much to see.

6 Month Baby Sleep Regression

Sleep is vital at all ages for babies, but six months is a big step.All that physical development, growth and consequence movement will lead to your baby needing one other crucial thing: food! You may find your baby goes from sleeping through the night to waking and wanting to be fed. This is normal, given all the extra calories they’re now burning.

8 Month Baby Sleep Regression

At this age, babies go through some significant physical development changes. They are learning to crawl and pull themselves up on the furniture – it’s exciting for them! At this age, babies also learn objective permanence – this is the understanding that objects (and people) continue to exist even when they cannot be seen or heard. It’s easy to see why this development might keep baby awake at night! They’re now aware you or their favourite toys are still around, even if they can’t see you/them. Their language skills are also developing, and they’re starting to understand more words and what they mean.

10 Month Baby Sleep Regression

At this age, your baby is starting to recognise objects, sensations, toys, and people. They’re also learning that all these things belong in different categories – for example, they’ll recognise that a banana is a food, but their stuffed teddy is not! This leap into the world of categories affects every one of their senses and is a big development stage.

How Can You Help Your Baby Through these Times?

Once you have a better understanding of what your baby is going through during a sleep regression, you can begin to put in place little actions to help and support them through it. Every baby is unique, and some things will work better than others.

As their parent, you know them best, so observe them, learn from them and don’t be afraid to listen to your intuition and follow their lead. If something doesn’t work for you and your baby – that’s okay.

Here’s a short list of things you can do to help everyone get through a baby sleep regression:

  • Stick to their routine as much as possible – include calming activities, like a warm bath and/or a massage.
  • Avoid too much stimulation close to bedtime.
  • Use strategies for day naps you know work – a car ride or a walk in a pram – to encourage sleep.
  • Create the ideal sleeping environment: keep your baby’s room dark and cool (not too hot) to encourage sleep.
  • Follow their lead during the day: whatever they’re interested in, give them time to engage and play with it to help tire them out.
  • Be reassuring and soothing: offer lots of positive communication, verbal reassurance and cuddles to help them feel safe and secure.

Sleep Guidance FAQs

  • Why do babies experience sleep regression?Answer: Babies go through developmental milestones throughout their first year. These can be cognitive or physical and can disrupt your babies established sleep routine. It’s completely normal.
  • How do I know if my baby is experiencing a sleep regression?Answer: You’ll probably find they stop sleeping through the night, wake up regularly and either avoid daytime naps or only have very short naps.
  • How do you survive a baby sleep regression?Answer: Remember that a baby sleep regression is only temporary – usually between 2 and 6 weeks. Try and stick to your baby’s routine as much as possible, offer lots of reassurance and don’t panic! You’ll get through it.
  • What else might be causing my baby sleep regressions?Answer: Developmental growth is usually the main cause, but other things to be aware of include disruptions to their routine, travelling and being in new environments, emotional stress or separation anxiety, and common illnesses like a cold or ear infection.

Next Steps

Although a sleep regression may only last 2-6 weeks, that can feel like a really long time when you’re going through one!

If you’re struggling to get through a sleep regression – I can help. As a Sydney Based Sleep Consultant I’ve worked with hundreds of parents and their babies, and I can provide you with the advice and guidance that will see you through subsequent regressions too.

Book a completely free chat with me today, and let’s help your baby on their way to better sleep.

Book your free call here today

Related Tag: Baby Sleep Consultation

Catherine Completely Baby Sleep Consultant

Catherine Thompson
Baby Sleep Consultant & Owner of Completely Baby

Did you find this article helpful? I am a highly experienced baby sleep consultant with a unique educational and healthcare background who supports tired parents to help their babies find sleep more easily. If you want to chat about your situation please book in a free chat today by clicking the below button now! Alternatively you can text or call me on: +61 406 344 010.