If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I completely understand as a Mother myself exactly what you’re going through, I promise it WILL get better. I’m so glad you found your way here to read more about the top baby sleep regressions; you’re in the right place!
You’re most likely here today to digest all the information possible about the FIVE baby sleep regressions that your child will likely experience on some level in the first two years of life. And boy is it a long two years, ladies.
Not even I can stop or foresee the madness brought down by the five sleep regressions that children can experience. Some children will breeze a couple of the regressions with no noticeable problems, while others will force you to kiss those date nights goodbye (at least temporarily).
Sleep regressions occur at/around the following months: 4 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 24 months.
Regressions are commonly paired with developmental leaps, such as rolling from front to back, cognitive developments, walking, potty training, etc. These infant regressions can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, and then tend to simply disappear….IF you respond appropriately to the common characteristics seen in children caused by a regression.
Not sure if your baby is experiencing one of them now? Here are the top characteristics of a sleep regression (some differ by age but I’ll dive into more detail below):
Random and/or frequent night wakings *most common*
Split Nights (waking for hours at night ready to play)
Early Rising (waking for the day before 6am)
Separation anxiety from main caretaker(s)
Increased fussiness during the day
Extremely long naps (3+ hours)
Protesting naps or nap refusal
Loss of appetite
Sound familiar?? (If you haven't already, download your "Pin" button because you're going to want to pin this page for future reference, trust me!) So grab a cup of tea or glass of wine and scroll through the most honest breakdown of the five sleep regressions, and how Levana, a baby motion monitor, can help your peace of mind while your child passes through one of these disruptions. And peace of mind is truly priceless.
4 MONTH REGRESSION
Possibly the worst for families, and most unavoidable. So unavoidable that I dedicated an entire sleep survival guide to this regression! The “dreaded” 4-month regression, also commonly referred to as "Wonder Week 19", is the time that your baby experiences a cognitive explosion of sorts; noticing siblings, surroundings, animals, etc., and finally begins to understand their part in the world around them. Due to discovering all these new ideas and surroundings, babies will become highly distracted, thus daytime nutrition can take a dip, causing baby to begin waking more frequently at night to obtain missed calories that he is used to receiving during the day. Other commonalities of this regression are somewhat random and increased night wakings, possibly every 2-3 hours, similar to the patterns of a newborn. These are caused by the cognitive leaps, deeper sleep patterns developing, and just plain becoming overtired during the day due to the all the advances.
If your baby is already in the nursery during this regression, I recommend using a product like the Levana baby motion monitor during this time to put your mind at ease. This monitor called the “Oma Sense”, simply clicks on to baby’s sleeper outfit, and monitors your baby's breathing movements and alerts you if no movement is detected. This product also uses a patented algorithm called WakeUp™ Technology that is used stimulate baby and encourage the return of regular movement. This is an advantage as most other movement monitors strictly notify the parent, without attempting to solve the issue. If regular movement doesn’t occur five seconds after the first alert, an emergency alarm with sounds and LED lights will alert parents to assist baby. Cordless, battery-powered and completely portable, Oma Sense is ideal for bassinets and playpens, and can travel anywhere! (This monitor is ideal for babies under 6 months, who have not yet begun rolling to tummy.)
8 MONTH REGRESSION
Now this could come slightly early, slightly late, or in my case, collide with the 12 month regression based on your child’s development. This regression is partly to blame on those big gross motor skill advancing: crawling, cruising the furniture, and pulling to stand. Another common sign of this regression is the lack of adequate napping totals. Most babies are beginning to drop from three to two naps around this age, however most parents will find that during this transition, some days those two naps aren’t quite enough, but three naps are TOO much. If you can guarantee your child reaches around 2.5-4 of total napping hours per day, your baby will likely be well rested. A child that doesn’t reach napping totals at this age will likely experience night wakings and early rising. At this age, if you’re experiencing short naps and restless nights, I would highly recommend considering the Infant Sleep Survival Guide, which is packed with all the modern techniques and tricks only previously shared with full time clients!
12 MONTH REGRESSION
Similar to the 8 months, this regression could be slightly early or later, depending on when your little one begins to walk. I often compare this to an adult learning how to fly- imagine all the plans you would have in your head, dinner in Vegas, maybe shooting over to Paris really quickly to see the Eiffel Tower- and BAM, someone tells you “lay down and go to sleep.” You can see why a baby would protest naps, and bedtime suddenly at this age, and often their brain processes this “new look on life” at night, causing the excitement to bubble over and increase night wakings. Babies at this age will also likely want to practice standing/walking in their crib too- and NO, they won't lay down. Try to encourage baby to lay down at nap time and bedtime, but don’t repeatedly lay them down, this will only overstimulate (and possibly entertain) your child and keep them from reaching those vital daily napping totals, which would be around 1.5-2.5 hours per day at this age.
18 MONTH REGRESSION
Separation anxiety peaks at this age, causing some children to cry out at night JUST for reassurance from their main caretaker. Early Rising is also common, as are “split nights”, where baby wakes 2-3 hours earlier than usual, is up for at least an hour, acting like they are completely ready for the day- don’t be fooled- treat these wakings like a night waking and encourage your child to go back to sleep. Language development is also happening fast at this age- finally we are able to somewhat communicate past pointing & grunting (well almost anyways). Cognitive leaps with verbal advancements can be extremely exciting and entertaining to parents and their children! Or if you're lucky, going through their entire repertoire next to you in bed, on vacation, at midnight, while you are silently begging them to fall back asleep and cursing yourself for having that second glass of wine. They KNOW when you have a second glass of wine. I don’t know how, but they do.
And Finally.....THE 24 MONTH REGRESSION
Aww the Terrible Two's. This regression is most due to another round of separation anxiety, possible changes in a child’s home life (starting daycare, new sibling, toddler bed transition, etc.) and learning to assert themselves and be more independent. Some parents are even tricked into thinking that their children no longer need a nap (it's a good idea to keep it until at LEAST 3 years old) therefore resulting in an overtired child, who will wake more frequently at night, or experience Early Rising before 6am.