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Overcoming Baby Sleep Regression

Sleep Regression & BabiesThree weeks ago I wrote a post about Little Miss’s recent bout of sleep regression. I soon noticed an increase in visitors searching the exact same topic.  Apparently this is quite the popular topic for parents so I decided to attack the topic again and go a little further into detail on what sleep regression is and how it effect babies.

In a nutshell, sleep regression is the interruption of your baby’s otherwise normal sleeping routine. Parents of good sleepers (Like me!) will notice the biggest change as their once sound sleeper has turned into a crying monster incapable of sleeping for more than a couple hours successively. While sleep regression seems to effect babies at around the same developmental ages, the cause can be very different.

Like I said, there are many things that can shake up your baby’s sleep routine. The first step to fixing the problem is figuring out what can cause sleeping problems. Here are a few common things that can cause a fussy sleeper.

  • A new bed time routine
  • Room temperature too hot, or cold
  • Unfamiliar noise while sleeping
  • Growth spurt causing hunger
  • Developmental milestones
  • Illness
  • Teething

How to Overcome Baby Sleep Regression

Trying to force a baby to sleep is kind of like hitting your head on the wall…. It feels good when you stop. A better plan is to consider what has changed recently in your baby’s environment or sleep routine. Some causes are easily discovered such as illness, or hunger. While others are not so obvious and require more investigation and experimenting.

Confront the problem logically:

  • Undue any changes to the bedtime routine or give your baby more time to adjust.
  • Adjust room temperature to see if it makes any difference.
  • If your baby is waking up hungry at night (And used to sleep through the night) a growth spurt may be the culprit. Growth spurts usually take place at around four, six, and eight months. If you find your baby waking up looking for a snack, try feeding her more during the day.
  • If your baby has recently learned to roll over, sit up, etc they may want to practice their new skills at every chance they get. And what better place to practice then in their crib? Unless you plan on tying them down, the best solution is to give them plenty of time during the day to exercise and hopefully get it out of their system.

As a new parent, this could be the first large test of your patience. The most important thing for you to remember if your baby is going through a sleep regression is to be patient. Sleep regressions are usually temporary and once the underlying causes clear up, sleep will return.

In the meantime, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on any late night infomercials you’ve missed.


  1. I’ve just ran into sleep regression, and onto this blog as well…you are great, thank to you I now understand what the heck is going on a few days/nights already, and yes, it is a patience test….hope to pass it 🙂

    Thank you Clever Father 🙂

  2. My 16 week old son seems to be doing this. It started with refusing to go to sleep at his normal bedtime. Now because I’ve worked really hard on the routine he’s in bed between nine and ten. But he’s not staying asleep. I thought it might be teething but he doesn’t seem in pain. Then i thought it might be hunger but he won’t finish host bottles. The only day he’ll sleep is if he’s being held. I hate holding him while sleeping. I find it so dangerous. I’ve been wanting to move him into host own room but with him waking up every twenty.minutes to an hour there’s no way.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Thanks for the comment Samantha. Hopefully you found a couple tips to help you with your little guy.

    Has being held become a regular routine? Maybe his is just to darn comfy being held as opposed to his own crib? What if you made his own bed extra cozy? Does he react well to being swaddled?

    How long has he been waking? Its flu season, so maybe he has a bit of a bug? We can always tell when our daughter is about to get sick by the way she sleeps.

    Also, you mentioned that he doesn’t seem to be in any pain but have you felt his gums to see if there are any pesky teeth trying to break through?

    I’m sorry that I have more questions than answers, but hopefully it’ll give you something to think about and have a ‘aha!’ moment!

  4. My 4 month old has just started waking every hour to nurse for 5 minutes and then go back to sleep. I have tried to let him fuss a bit to see if he’ll go back to sleep. He’s below the 3rd percentile for weight so we need to be giving him as much milk as he wants, but I’m an active duty Marine that has to wake up every morning at 5 to feed him, pump, and get ready for work. It’s really starting to get me down. Going to start trying these out…

  5. My 4 month old baby just started doing this as well! I’m hoping it’s a growth sprut as previously she used to wake up only once to eat but now it’s back to twice again plus some dummy runs as well! Any idea how long this lasts for really? I was just starting to get used to just one feed at night! 🙁

  6. Im pretty sure my son (15 weeks) has hit a sleep regression! He was sleeping perfectly till 7am every morning but the last week has been 6am, 5:30am then 4:30am this morning!! I tried letting him talk it out but the talking turned into a cry that wouldn’t stop. I ended up just feeding him the two last morning & putting him back to bed & he went back to sleep till 7am both times. I’m just worried that he’s going to develop a pattern of feeding that early!? HELP!! I miss my sleep!!