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When Does Sleep Regression Happen?

by | November 24, 2018

You’ve likely spent many restless months training baby to doze off peacefully through the night and just when you think you’ve got it handled, sleep regression starts. And this is potentially, the worst nightmare for tired parents. If you find yourself caught up in the same situation, continue reading further to know more about it.  

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What is sleep regression?  

Sleep regression is when your baby was sleeping well, possibly even through the night, for a long period of time and then, bam!! Out of nowhere, their sleep patterns go haywire. Sleep regressions can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks and often coincide with milestones. Sleep regressions tend to happen at 6 weeks, 3-4 months, 6 months, 8-10 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years old.  

sleep regression
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Here’s a likely sleep regression timetable.

6 weeks:

Newborns go through a series of growth spurts causing increased hunger and fussiness. Babies grow so fast at this stage and it takes a lot of work.

4 Months:

By 4 months, your baby’s sleeping patterns change and they start sleeping more like an adult – that means frequent night waking and lots of fussing, as well as shortened naps.

6 Months:  

Some babies go through a growth spurt at 6 months so increased hunger can occur, which means more waking up at night.

8 Months:

This one is thanks to the developmental milestones that are happening around 8 months.Most babies at this age are learning to crawl, to pull up, to cruise, etc. There’s also a lot of brain development happening at this stage, as well as cutting teeth. This all adds up to more night waking, shorter or skipped naps, and a pretty cranky baby.

12 Months:

You might find that your baby suddenly starts refusing his or her second nap, but don’t give in. Most toddlers really aren’t ready to transition to just one nap a day until about 15 months.

18 Months:

Now your baby is a toddler, walking, talking and throwing tantrums. This regression has a lot to do with your toddler’s new-found independence. Separation anxiety also messes with sleep patterns, teething is still a factor at 18 months, cutting those molars can be very painful.

2 Years:

There are a variety of factors that can cause this one. Your 2-year old’s awake time is getting longer, but as they make that transition, it can disrupt sleep. Lots of toddlers begin having nightmares, even night terrors. They could be potty training or transitioning to a big bed. All of this can lead to exhausting sleep irregularities.

The good news is that a true sleep regression should only last for a couple of weeks at the most.


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Julie Nealon

Associate Editor, New York USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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