Sleep Regression in Babies: Causes and How To Handle?
“For the past few weeks, my baby hasn’t been following his usual sleeping routine and keeps waking up multiple times at night. Is this worrisome? What’s the reason behind this? How shall I handle this?” If you are worried about this then here’s then here is all you need to know. It’s well-known that during the initial development years, your baby’s sleep pattern goes through several changes, and a common medical term used to cap those changes is Sleep Regression.
A Sleep Regression is a period when a baby who has been sleeping well (or at least well enough) experiences poor sleep. Sleep regressions can include shorter naps, extreme fussiness at nap or bedtime, fighting sleep, and frequent waking at night. – @healthlineparenthood
That is, a change in the baby’s sleep pattern is called sleep regression. Though it’s natural, it can happen any time and may last for different periods in different cases.
For how long does sleep regression last?
Be rest assured that sleep regression is just another phase of your little munchkin’s development cycle that’s short-lived. On average, experts feel that sleep regression can go away as soon as within 2-3 weeks and in some stretched cases, your baby might have sleep regression for around 5-6 weeks. The main factor that defines this “length” of sleep regression is what’s causing it in the first place i.e., how did it start? Some of the common causes of sleep regression in babies include:
- Developmental milestones like learning to sit, crawl, roll over, walk, etc.
- Growth spurts
- Any pain, illness, or teething
- Changes in the daily routine like traveling, missed naps, etc.
Did you Know?
Babies experience sleep regression from around 3-4 months, then at 8-10 months, again at 12 months, 18 months, and even at 2-years.
How to handle sleep regressions?
Being a mother, it can be challenging at times to soothe down your newborn having sleep regression but there are sleep regression handling tips with which you can manage this phase with ease. So here is what you should do:
1. Put him down drowsy but awake
Yes, in this, you’ve to allow your baby to soothe himself to sleep. You can sit on their side and give assurance both verbally and physically to let him stroll to his dreamland. However, if the baby is still crying and there are no scenes of him going to sleep, you may pick him up and rock him to sleep. It’s ok at this stage as this thing will take time.
2. Turn off all the possible light sources in his room
Do you know that if your baby wakes up at night and recognizes the darkness around him, it’ll encourage him to fall asleep again? So, keep all the sources of light in your baby’s room off while he’s napping. Similarly, at the time he wakes up, makes sure his room gets all the natural light as experts suggest that natural sunlight signals their brain about the sleep-wake cycle. And the better their brain develops itself according to their sleep-wake cycle, the higher are the chances of them getting rid of sleep regression.
3. Stick to a fixed bedtime routine
Your baby needs approximately 9-12 hours of sound sleep in the night and two-three short naps during the day. This comprises half of their day’s schedule. Apart from this, their bedtime can involve a quick bath, bedtime story, a lullaby, and every other thing you’d admire to add to the baby’s bedtime routine. However, it’s to be ensured that you “stick” to your planned schedule and that this schedule takes place at the same time each day. Any changes in this can trigger sleep regression.
4. Don’t panic listening to your tot’s cry
One common mistake many of you commit is that you attend to your baby pretty quickly at night which shouldn’t be at first. If your baby starts to cry, wait for a couple of minutes and see if he stops on his own or not. If it does, well and good. If it doesn’t, then only step out of your bed. Here again, be mindful of attending to him quietly and quickly. That’s don’t turn on the room’s light or any other light source. Sometimes too much lighting in front of his eyes may make the baby cry more!
5. Notice these sleep cues
If your baby exhibits any of the sleep cues like rubbing his eyes, fussing, yawning, or anything of a similar kind, it’s a signal that he is ready to sleep. Now, the quicker you notice these, the better will be the chances of your baby falling asleep on his own! In either case, the longer you take to recognize these cues, the more tired he’ll get. Consequently, the baby will find it difficult to sleep.
A few additional tips to deal with sleep regressions
Here are a few additional tips for you.
- Before your final meeting with your baby, give him a slight body massage while he’s drowsy.
- Take stock of the baby’s sleep environment. Is it warmer than yesterday? Is the window open and letting cool breeze in?
- A healthy baby gets ready for sleep between 6-8 pm. So, ensure that yours sleep in this frame only.
- Don’t overdo yourself. Ask for your partner’s help too.
Baby’s sleep pattern keeps changing with time and by the time he’ll reach his toddlerhood, many things will keep affecting his sleep pattern, for example, teething, weather, etc. This way, babies regress and progress in their sleep of which this sleep regression is just a part. So, chill, your baby’s sleep pattern is just experiencing some changes which will revert to normal soon.