Parenting is exhausting enough without a sleep regression. But when you add in that, sleep disturbances, and poor sleep hygiene? Everyone’s health suffers – and so does our parenting! And that’s simply because we’re too tired to be as present, as calm, and as patient as we would be if we were getting adequate sleep.
Anyway – I know you get it. That’s why you’re here. But I’ve been in your shoes – we’ve had four kids who were awful sleepers. So let me share with you all of the sleep regression-related advice, tips, tricks, and guidelines that have worked for our family. That way, you can see what’s worked for my family – and what hasn’t. And then hopefully, you’ll see sleeping babies and toddlers sooner rather than later. So here’s to us – may we all find some better zzz’s!
A Sleep Regression is Nature’s Way of Reminding You Who’s Boss
Our firstborn son slept great for the first 18 or so hours of his life. You know – while we were still at the hospital. Then we came home and I swear that boy didn’t sleep a full night until he was a year old. And just when we’d think he was about to settle into a reliable pattern? He’d hit some milestone and regress.
By the time we brought my daughter (our fourth child) home, though, we’d gotten a lot better at anticipating what would happen. We still didn’t get a proper night’s sleep until after she turned one, but we’d gotten better at knowing what to do. And we knew how to manage those nasty sleep regressions so that they were hiccups, rather than derailments.
In any case, how you manage a sleep regression will vary depending on the baby’s age, temperament, and a few other factors. But since categorizing by age is easiest, let’s start with that.
Managing Infant (Newborn to 6 months) Sleep Regressions
Remember those trimesters? Well, there’s actually a fourth one – and it’s the first few months of your baby’s life. If your baby is anything like mine, there’s not a lot you can do during those months. And that can be 100% normal. Even so, here’s what worked for us.
- Guess What? Sometimes a Baby Sleep Regression Just Happens. Yup – and it’s no fun. But this will help you see that you can do this – and that you’re doing a great job, too.
- How to Survive A Baby Sleep Regression (Even When You Share a Room). Sharing a room can make sleep training harder – or easier. It just depends. But in case it’s in the “harder” category, here are some tips that’ll help your nights go better.
- The 2 Types of Infant Sleep Changes You Need to Know About. Really – there’s just the two. And it’s broken down so you can see when you need a fellow parent’s advice – and when you need to talk to your doctor.
- There seems to be a particularly nasty regression right at four months of age. Here is What You Need to Know About the 4 Month Sleep Regression.
Managing Sleep Regressions in Babies (6-18 months)
By this age, most sleep regressions are related to your baby reaching a milestone. So there’s a lot more wiggle room as to the exact month, because not all babies learn to sit up, crawl, or walk at the exact same age. Again, totally normal. But each of these articles will give you the tips and tricks that worked for us.
- There’s a lot of fake news out there about sleep regressions. So here are 7 Myths About the 8 Month Sleep Regression Debunked.
- Of all of the regressions, in my opinion, the one that happens at about 11 months (or somewhere between 10-12 months) is the worst. Here is How to Survive the 11 Month Old Sleep Regression. This is my most popular post on kids who won’t sleep, so it’s a great spot to start.
- Oh, and while you’re dealing with the worst sleep regression of all, here’s How to Get an Overtired 11 Month Old to Sleep.
- If you just need a quick refresher on what to do, then you’ll want to read 7 Ways to Survive A Sleep Regression at Any Age.
And if you’re looking for more, make sure you follow my Sleep Regression Pinterest board – because that way you can find what you need that much faster.
Guess What? Bedtime is Important
We found that managing bedtime was vital to managing sleep regressions. In fact, that was one of our biggest discoveries – and not something explicitly mentioned many other places. So to help you get a better handle on bedtime, here’s what has worked for us.
- Science Says an Early Kids Bedtime is Good for Mom’s Health. Not that we needed a study to prove that, but yeah. Everybody needs more sleep.
- 3 Reasons Why Your Kids Love that Bedtime Routine. It may take them a while to admit it, but our kids like their bedtime routine. Now that they’re getting better rest, anyway!
- Not sure when bedtime should be? Here is How to Set the Right Sleep Schedule for Your Kids.
- And here’s our bedtime checklist – just for you. Our Ultimate Bedtime Checklist
There’s a reason parents joke about bedtimes being their favorite time of day, y’all. Because, once you get things into a gentle routine, it’s magical.
“Why won’t they let me be? I just need to rest, that’s all, to rest and sleep some, and maybe die a little.” – George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords
My Must-Have Sleep Regression Resources:
Y’all, a quick heads up: affiliate links are headed your way. Learn what that means.
- When you’re exhausted, parenting is a lot harder. We found that relying on Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay made things a lot easier. Especially when we were too tired to read.
- We got a lot of our best ideas for getting our kids to sleep already from Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, MD.
- Honestly, though? Our secret weapon is a white noise machine and/or a fan in the room.
- Want more help? Join my Sleep Regression Support Group on Facebook!