If your great sleeper starts showing signs of sleep problems, and out of nowhere refuses to go back to sleep after waking up at night, they are likely going through a sleep regression. This article will show you the signs of sleep regression, and how to handle it when it hits.
What Is Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is a short period of time when a baby who usually sleeps well has trouble falling asleep or wakes up fussing during the night. Sleep regression can range in length from two to four weeks, and often happens at certain ages.
It can be caused by a few factors, such as:
- A growth spurt, making your baby hungrier
- Teething pain
- Disruption in their normal routine
- Illness such as an ear infection or a cold
- A new developmental milestone
Signs Of Sleep Regression
The signs of sleep regression vary from child to child and will differ based on the cause of the sleep regression. However, here are a few common signs that your baby is going through a sleep regression:
- Frequent waking up at night, more than usual.
- Trouble settling own and falling asleep at bedtime.
- Increase in fussiness or irritability.
- Resisting naps during the day.
How To Handle Sleep Regression
Sleep regression is usually only around for a few weeks, and with a few tips, you can manage sleep regression to help both you and your baby get enough rest at night.
Know your baby’s cues
Become familiar with your baby’s sleep cues, such as yawning, fussiness, or rubbing eyes, so you can put her down to sleep before she becomes overtired. Once you miss this window of opportunity, it will be harder to get your baby to fall asleep.
Stick to a routine
The best thing you can do is to stick to a consistent bedtime routine. Have dinner, bath time, stories, or lullabies at the same time and routine each night. This helps your baby realise it is sleep time and will help them fall asleep easier.
Ensure your baby naps
Babies who nap during the day are more likely to fall asleep better at night. If your baby is not napping during the day, they might be overtired at night, and then have trouble falling asleep.
Let your baby self-soothe
If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and is fussing or crying, leave them for a few minutes. She might self-soothe back to sleep. If not, enter the room and check all is okay, give her some reassurance and leave. Avoid rocking and cuddling as this might cause her to want to wake up regularly for your attention. Repeat the reassuring words and pats until she falls asleep.
Consider sleep training
If your baby is between 4 and 6 months old, you could consider sleep training. Sleep training should work by 2 weeks.
Give her more security
Your baby might be stressed by changes in her life, such as separation anxiety with being away from you. Pay her some extra attention during the day to help her settle better and feel more secure at night.