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September 02, 2021 2 min read

If you ask any parent about sleep regressions, you’ll be met with a grimace and a shudder: even the best sleepers go through them!

So what ARE these regressions, and how might they affect your baby? Let’s dig in and find out!

A sleep regression occurs when your baby, who may well have been sleeping well prior, suddenly has difficulty settling to sleep, or staying down during their sleep time. Regressions can be short, or they can be long: and they often coincide with developmental milestones that are happening in your little one’s life.

Is your baby:

Suddenly becoming fussier at bedtime?
Taking longer to get to sleep?
Waking more frequently than usual?
Feeding more throughout the night?

All of these are signs that a regression may be occurring, and that your baby’s sleep will very likely be affected. Your baby may also be teething, working on new and exciting skills (like rolling over or pulling to stand) or even just in the midst of a growth spurt – these are very common events that often lead to sleep regressions.

Oh, and parents? You’re not going to like this part. Sleep regressions can occur at various times in your child’s early years. The most common time frames are:

4 months

6 months

8 months

12 months

18 months

2 years

If you’ve got some time on your hands and want to learn more, you can click on each age to read through it in greater detail.

For now though, you’re tired, you’re frazzled, and you’re probably wondering what happens next. Take comfort in knowing that most sleep regressions are temporary, and last approximately 2-4 weeks. Each baby is different however, so make sure you follow your baby’s cues and you’ll get through it together.

In the meantime, we have compiled some handy tips for you to assist with your baby’s sleep regressions.

  • Stick to your usual sleep routines. It might be tempting to get by using any means necessary in the wee hours of the night, but if you adhere to your usual sleep practices, it will help baby to remember what they need to do.
  • Keep your baby’s sleep space consistent. Make sure that their sleep setting is safe and familiar, including the use of an age-appropriate swaddle or sleep suit.
  • If your baby is distressed during these wakeful periods, comfort and soothe her in a way that works for your parenting style. Some babies may work themselves up and require your help to get through the regression, while others may fuss periodically before eventually settling back to sleep.
  • Reach out if you need assistance! It might feel lonely, especially when you’re sleep deprived yourself, but you are NOT alone. If you have concerns, consult your GP, Paediatrician or other baby health services.

With a little bit (ok, a LOT) of patience and some time, your baby will get through these regressions and go back to their usual sleeping patterns. In the meantime, grab yourself a coffee and take comfort in knowing that there are countless other parents out there right now going through the EXACT same thing as you!

Part 2: The 4-Month Sleep Regression


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