How To Manage Sleep Regression in Babies

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What Is Sleep Regression?

Sleep regression is a temporary disturbance in the sleep cycle of babies and toddlers. They have difficulty going to sleep or wake up often during sleep. It is most common in their first year of life, predominantly at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, and 18 months.

Causes of Sleep Regression

There are various reasons behind sleep regression. In the first year of life, there are a lot of developmental changes in the baby’s brain which may cause difficulty in sleeping. Learning new milestones like rolling over or crawling may also contribute to sleep regression as it makes babies move more at night since their brains are preoccupied with learning new skills. Sleep regression after 6 months is due to major changes in physical and emotional development, teething pain, disturbance in sleep due to travelling or increased hunger due to growth spurts.Sleep may also be disrupted due to illnesses like ear pain or colic pain. Gastroesophageal reflux can also disturb a baby’s sleep because it gets aggravated when lying down.

Signs of Sleep Regression

Difficulty falling asleep, waking up fussy or cranky, waking up shortly after putting a baby down to sleep, refusing to sleep despite being tired, not being attentive to stimulating factors are some signs of sleep regression. A spell of sleep regression lasts for two to six weeks.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, infants (4 months to 12 months) should sleep 12 -16 hours per day including naps. Children 1-2 years should sleep 11-14 hours per day. If your baby is sleeping fewer hours than what is listed above, this may indicate sleep regression.

Tips For Dealing With Sleep Regression

Lack of sleep can be very frustrating and tiring for a baby and a mother. It’s a difficult thing to manage but there are certain ways to deals with this:

1. Stick to a regular bedtime routine and maintain good sleep hygiene. A baby’s room should be cool, have dimmed lighting, be a screenfree environment and can have white noise as per parents’ choice.
2. Follow a presleep routine. Give them a warm shower and a nice massage. Feed them well, sing songs or read a story to them.
3. Give attention to sleep cues like yawning and rubbing eyes.
4. Babies are able to soothe themselves after 3 months, so don’t pick up the baby at immediately when they make noise, wait for few minutes until they go back to sleep. If they continue to cry, then pick them up.
5. Bear in mind that your baby’s sleep routine evolves with time. It can be unpredictable at times.
6. When they are learning how to stand, they might not know how to sit down. So, if in theirsleep they wake up and stand in the crib, help them lie down and teach them how to sit down during the day.
7. Offer them a soft blanket or soft toy to cuddle with (but not before the age of 1 as it can be a choking hazard).
8. Stay calm, it will pass. Ask family members to babysit and try to catch up on your sleepif youve been up all night with your sleepless child.
9. Don’t compare your baby’s sleep with other babies because not all babies sleep same.
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