Has your baby or toddler been sleeping well for a while and then suddenly started waking in the night and or not napping or napping less? Then they might be going through sleep regression. These tend to last from two to six weeks and can be exhausting for all involved. In a nutshell it’s when your baby can’t “switch” their brain off to sleep. It’s a bit like when we as adults have a lot on our mind and we just can’t get to sleep, or wake in the middle of the night.
These can happen at any age in babies and toddlers but are most common around the following ages:
- 4 months-your baby is no longer a new-born and her sleeping habits are more adult like.
- 8-10 months: your babies mental and physical development is progressing at a very fast rate at this age and they are also likely to be cutting a few teeth as well.
- 12 months: maybe due to the same reasons as above.
- 18 months: your baby is becoming more independent at this age, might be suffering from separation anxiety and could be cutting their molars.
- 2 years: your toddler won’t be needing as much day time sleep at this stage, they might be potty training, switching to a big boy/girl bed, getting used to the idea of a new sibling. All these things might lead to sleep regression. This is also the age that many toddlers experience nightmares and maybe even night terrors.
What you can do
- Offer extra feeds if you think your child is hungry as they maybe going through a growth spurt.
- Give your child extra reassurance and cuddles. Try not to rock your child back to sleep or anything else that might turn into a bad sleep habit but a cuddle when they are upset or unsettled may help calm them.
- Play calming lullabies and lower the lights before bedtime to help your child relax.
- Have an extra nap yourself during the day so you don’t get too exhausted by the broken nights.
- Don’t panic, a sleep regression does not last forever. As long as you don’t fall into any bad sleep habits during a regression then after a few weeks your child’s sleep will hopefully be back to normal.