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Updated: Jan 9

There is no question that it is tough as a parent, when you finally get your infant to sleep on a regular schedule so that you can get back to sleep on a regular schedule, when out of the blue a curve ball is thrown in - the ever dreaded sleep regression. Your baby starts fussing more, he/she refuses to go down at night and start waking up at all hours again.... aahhhh I thought we were over this?! Well, unfortunately for all parent everywhere - its normal. Babies go through many emotional and developmental changes throughout the few years of life and their sleep is effected quite a bit, but don't worry you will have the tools to prepare for it and get through it like a champ. Here are 5 ways to survive a sleep regression!

What is sleep regression

Sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler is in a normal sleep pattern then that sleep routine is interrupted for seemingly no apparent reason. It feels like just as you've gotten your barings on your Childs current routine a monkey wrench is thrown in the mix of things. This sleep regression could last about 3-6 weeks.

Why and when does sleep regression happen?

Sleep regression can happen any time really, but most often at certain age markers 6 weeks, 4 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months and even 12 to 15 months. There can be many reasons for a sleep transition in babies but the most common are:

  • developmental milestones

  • separation anxiety

  • needing to transition to a new sleep pattern

  • major life changes like potty training, birth of sibling etc.

Sleep regression in infants can be caused by different things than in baby's for example a sleep disturbance at 6 weeks may still be caused by your infant going through a growth spurt. A 4 month old that is changing their sleep patterns may be mentally changing and growing into a completely different sleep pattern that will be more of a permanent change in how they sleep. a 8 month old that exhibits sleep regression behavior may be triggered by hitting important milestones, and their sleep patterns may also change as they physically and mentally grow. All babies are different however, and the best you can do is pay attention to patterns your baby is forming, what's going on in their lives in those particular moments and try to adjust to the new routine.

How do I know its sleep regression?

There are many signs your baby is going through a change in development and sleep regression is a part of that process. If your baby is fighting naps or bedtime, and you're finding it harder to get your baby to sleep or they frequently wake at night and fuss a lot more- chances are there is something bigger going on like a sleep regression.

How to cope as a parent and SURVIVE this!

1. The most obvious, just accept it for what it is.

sleep regression in inevitable, and it's not a bad thing. your baby needs this time to grow and transition, its just a major inconvenience for you. Tell yourself - this too shall pass and before you know it you'll all be back to sleeping a full night.

2. Get Help

If its possible to get help from your significant other or a family member so that you can carry on to function as a normal human during waking hours then by all means DO IT. No one is competing in the mommy race and you're getting no medal for any of your suffering. Prioritize your responsibilities and get help wherever you need it, this phase will not last forever.

3. Comfort your baby

There are many reasons your baby is going through a regression some of which could be separation anxiety triggered by a new environment or changes in home life. Try to make your baby feel as comforted and still connected with you as much as you can and especially at bed time. Provide a pacifier, or stuffed animal (if they are old enough) in their crib to help lessen the detachment they are feeling. This could help ease the transition making your baby feel safe.

4. Be flexible, but stick to a routine

Allow them to dictate what they need and then ease them into a new routine and stick to it. If it helps to give them a bath each night to soothe them then start doing that regularly... pay attention to what your baby needs and adjust from there. Maybe your old routine just doesn't work anymore -start a new sleep training routine and stick with it.

5. Selfcare!

Sometimes you just need to regroup as a parent. If this sleep regression thing is getting way to overwhelming - you know what I say ?! Just roll with the punches for a while and focus on YOUR selfcare first. There have been times I just threw in the towel and did something for myself (even if as simple as taking a bath) when the baby is finally down for a few... then a lot of times that small break is what I needed to get re-chared and clearly see what may be going on.

Listen, no-one says its easy being a parent. In fact its the hardest selfless thing you'll ever do in your life most likely - but its worth it in the end. Sleep regression may be a pain in the butt, but it won't last forever I promise!

Do you have a story about sleep regression you'd like to share - wed love to hear from you in the comments!

More you may like:

How to get your baby to sleep through the night according to the French.

8 Thing I didn't know would happen after having a baby

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