As a new parent, you may have heard of the term “sleep regression” and wondered what it means. A sleep regression is a temporary period of time when your baby’s sleep patterns change and they begin to wake up frequently during the night or have trouble falling asleep. While sleep regressions can be frustrating, it is important to understand that they are a normal part of a baby’s development and growth. In this article, we will explore what sleep regressions are, how to recognise them, and what you can do to help your baby get better sleep.
What are Sleep Regressions?
Sleep regressions are a normal part of a baby’s development, occurring at different ages and stages. They occur because the baby’s brain is developing rapidly and they are learning new skills, such as crawling, walking, and talking as well as the fact that they are going through a growth spurt or they are teething. These developments can disrupt their sleep patterns, leading to periods of time where they may wake up frequently or have trouble falling asleep and this can last anywhere between 2-4 weeks.
The most common sleep regressions occur at 4 months, 8-10 months, 18 months, and 2-3 years old. However, it is important to note that every baby is different and some may not experience sleep regressions at all, or they may experience them at different times or intensities.
How to Recognise Sleep Regressions
There are several signs that your baby may be experiencing a sleep regression, including:
- Waking up frequently during the night: If your baby was previously sleeping through the night and suddenly begins waking up frequently, it may be a sign of a sleep regression.
- Trouble falling asleep: If your baby is taking longer to fall asleep, or they are restless and fussy at bedtime, they may be going through a sleep regression.
- Increased fussiness or crankiness: Babies who are experiencing sleep regressions may be more fussy and clingy during the day, as they are not getting the rest they need.
- Changes in nap patterns: If your baby’s nap patterns change, such as taking shorter naps or skipping naps altogether, it may be a sign of a sleep regression.
What You Can Do to Help Your Baby Sleep Better
If your baby is going through a sleep regression, it can be frustrating and exhausting. However, there are several things you can do to help them get better sleep:
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine: Having a consistent bedtime routine can help your baby relax and feel secure, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
- Avoid over-stimulation: Before bedtime, try to avoid activities that may over-stimulate your baby, such as playing with toys or watching TV. Instead, opt for calm and quiet activities, such as reading or singing a lullaby.
- Offer comfort and support: If your baby is having trouble falling asleep, offer them comfort and support, such as a soother like Jaspar or a soft blanket, or a soothing massage.
- Give them some extra attention during the day and particularly before bedtime. If your baby seems stressed out or they are suffering from separation anxiety then the extra attention will definitely help make them feel more secure at night.