Baby sleep regression | All that you should know

Babies are a source of pleasure and feelings that help their parents to get rid of all the fuss of daily routine; in fact, not only the parents but many around. It is very lucky and joyful if you have a baby.

Sometimes, it is not always the same unfortunately. Imagine if you are trying to sleep after a tough daily routine. Suddenly, your baby wakes up and starts crying mid-nigh, and you do not know the reason. Surely, it will not be joyful. 

One will think of more drastic causes that halted a baby’s sleep who slept well last night. Fortunately, there is no need to worry. This disturbance in your baby’s sleep routine could be sleep regression.

This article will help you identify sleep regression in your baby and will give you tips to manage this taxing period.

What is a baby’s sleep regression?

Sleep regression is a period when a baby who used to sleep well suddenly develops an uncanny habit of waking up more times. Not only wake up, but your baby will cry as if he/she is uncomfortable.

In these periods it is a lot harder to settle your baby. Most parents get amazed by the fact that last night their baby slept the whole night. The next night he/she is not only regretting to sleep but gets grumpy and often cry.

It is usual in babies and appears like your baby is protesting against a nap. Every normal baby goes through these periods of sleep regression.

Why sleep regression occurs or what really happens?

Sleep regressions are transition periods. Obviously it is not meant that your baby is going to have a tail but adapting new habits, physical growth, and brain development.

Your baby is constantly adapting to the environment and new habits; like responding to words, crawl, sit, eating more food, and many more. All these are transition and these will affect your baby’s routine (mostly sleep.)

Every baby develops his/her own sleep cycle as time passes. Although these transitions come with less sleep but are important to a baby’s growth. In simple words, these need to happen.

How to manage sleep regression period?

Mainly sleep regressions stay for a temporary time period. These are the times when your baby is about to develop new habits; Instead of just passing these periods anxiously.

You can use some tricks to not only pass this time fluently, but you can help your baby to adopt some good habits too.

Time to practice for your baby- Give your baby some time to practice (During day time) new habits like; a rollover or crawl. This will help your baby to calm his/her appetite for mastering these techniques during the day instead of night.

Chalk out a feeding/eating routine- Make sure to continue the routine of feeding/eating your baby had before. Babies are curious to learn in these periods and might regret to feed/eat without having a proper meal.

Good feeding/eating routine during the day and before bed will not let your baby feel hungry mid-night. Avoid feeding if your baby awakes mid-night as he/she may develop a habit of expecting the same response every time around.

No lights while sleeping- When your baby is sleeping, try to keep the room as dark as possible. Darkness will encourage more sleep and will make your little one fall back asleep if he/she gets up too soon.

On the other hand, natural sunlight in the morning is beneficial. Light will stimulate your baby’s brain to develop the sleep-wake cycle.

Make a Routine- If you know your baby’s overall sleep time for a day. Make a routine of naps during the day, and do not force your baby to sleep for too long during day time. Try to keep more sleep time for the night.

Set a timetable- Make a timetable for yourself and your baby that corresponds to both of you. Your baby’s bath time, changing clothes, playtime should not interfere with your work routine.

Keep it simple and quick- If your baby wakes up at night, do not rush. Wait for a while and let your baby settle him/herself. If your baby does not get settled for two to three minutes, then it is time to respond.

Avoid turning on the lights when your baby gets up at night. Do not try to talk or play. Keep the process as quick and quiet as possible. This will invigorate your baby that night time is for sleeping.

Sleep regression chart:

Here is a chart that can guide you about how much sleep your baby needs during the regression period according to his/her age. Slight deflection in ages is regrettable.


    Age       Cause # of naps Night sleep Total sleep hours
4-months Development,

Awareness, longer

to get into a deep sleep

3-4 naps 9-10 hours 14-16 hours
8/9-months Motor skills, early

Transition signs

2-3 naps 10-11 hours 14 hours
12-months Crawling, standing,

Object permanence

2 naps 10-12 hours 14 hours
18-months Language, Anxiety,

Independent toddler

1-2 naps 11-12 hours 13-14 hours
24-months Language, full

fledge toddler and

testing the limits

1 nap 11 hours 12-14 hours

Some frequently asked questions:

baby sleep regression ages

How to identify a sleep regression?

In reality, there are no particular signs of sleep regression. Most usual is identifying a sudden alteration in your baby’s sleep routine. In simple words, when your baby does not sleep well; mean It is a sleep regression.

Some other symptoms would be changes in eating routine, more fussiness, multiple-awakenings during the night, and reduction in overall sleep time.

Good thing, along with all this, is your baby is growing and adapting to the environment.

Any particular ages for sleep regression?

Some common ages for sleep regression are;

4 months old

8 months old – 10 months old

17 months old – 18 months old

24 months old

Some babies might go through sleep regression with a slight distinction to these common ages.

How long asleep regression period last?

Usually, at any age, a sleep regression lasts for 3-6 weeks. Asleep regression does not last for more than 6 weeks. However, it is important to keep in notice that your baby does not develop a habit of any technique you use in this period to soothe him/her.

Some babies might regress for a night or two only, and some could face sleep setbacks for a month or so. Some might go through these regression periods without any apparent change in sleep patterns.

How to differ if it’s a sleep regression or some other issue?

It is very simple to differentiate between a sleep regression and any other issue in your baby’s sleep! Simply check, the sudden change in your baby’s sleep pattern is accompanied by any other symptom like some illness of any kind.

It could be some other issue than sleep regression, however, if there are no additional signs and just a change in sleep pattern. It is a sleep regression.

Does every baby go through 4-month sleep regression?

4-month sleep regression is the most common of all but not compulsory. In fact, all regressions are not compulsory at a particular age.

It depends on your baby, whether his/her body requires the development or not.

Your baby will go through these transition periods according to his/her needs moreover if a baby goes through a 4-month sleep regression. It is not compulsory he/she will get through 9-month or 18-month sleep regression too.

Tips corner:

These sleep regression periods are not easy for both the baby and the parents. You may need some help from others to pass this time or some extra attention. Here are some tips for you to try and cope with this tough time.

  1. Try to continue the earlier schedule and techniques to keep your baby calm. Your baby is going through a transition period that might be uncomfortable for both of you. Continue to use the same soothing techniques.
  2. Basic soothing techniques include swaddling, shushing, side or stomach positioning, swinging, and sucking. These are very helpful for babies of all ages.
  3. Your baby might sleep in a carrier or sling for one day, and the next day he/she might not. In simple words, you should be ready to experiment with distinctive ways to soothe your baby every day.
  4. Try to give extra love and attention to your baby. Hugs and kisses will make your baby feel comfortable.
  5. Keep a check on your baby’s habits. Like too much crawling or rolling over may hurt them or make them too tired.
  6. You should get some time for yourself also. Take some help from your loved ones to attend your baby. Meanwhile, you can sleep for an hour or two.
  7. Rubbing eyes, yawning, disinterest is signs that your baby is tired. You should respond quickly to let your baby sleep. Otherwise, an overtired baby is not easy to handle.
  8. Last but not least is to seek advice from your baby’s doctor or experienced mothers to help yourself manage these periods.


Sleep regression corresponds to body development. It will test your parental skills but are important for your little one’s development. You can happily intake these periods by taking them as learning curves for your baby.

Avoid using the same technique to soothe your baby too often as he/she might get the habit of it. Keep yourself calm and give some time to yourself also. Take sleep regression as positively as you can to avoid Anxiety.

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