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How To Survive Sleep Regression: The Complete Guide For New Parents

dad holding a sleeping baby

Parenting comes with lots of joys as well as difficulties. Sooner or later, sleeping woes are bound to be one of your parenting challenges.

If your little one had a consistent sleep schedule and suddenly has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep during naptime or bedtime, say hello to sleep regression.

No matter when it strikes, surviving a sleep regression is exhausting for everyone. But don’t be discouraged — the good news about sleep regression is that it will pass and you and your baby will get back to nights of sound sleep.

But that knowledge doesn’t make the sleepless nights and tough days any easier! So, to help you in the meantime, the Newton Baby experts explain what sleep regression is and offer tips for surviving it.

What Is Sleep Regression?

Before we talk about what a sleep regression is, let’s talk about what it isn’t! There are a few other reasons your baby might suddenly have trouble sleeping.

Your newborn may have an unusual sleep schedule if they’re still dealing with day/night confusion. Traveling and daylight savings time can also both throw a wrench in your baby’s sleep patterns.

mom and smiling baby on an airplane

If you’re breastfeeding, your baby’s sleep disturbance could even be due to something you ate. And, of course, your little one might have a hard time sleeping when they’re sick.

First, you’ll want to rule out these other causes of poor sleep. Once you have, you can safely assume you’re dealing with sleep regression if your little one was sticking to a good sleep schedule and suddenly has problems falling asleep or staying asleep for naps or nighttime.

Sleep regression usually revolves around developmental milestones when your baby’s body and mind are busy growing and changing!

Exactly when a sleep regression strikes will depend on your particular baby. Generally speaking, little ones can go through a sleep regression at four months, six months, eight to 10 months, one year, 18 months, and two years.

(But don’t let that long list overwhelm you! Your baby probably won’t go through each possible sleep regression.)

Surviving a sleep regression means you and your little one getting the rest you both need by helping them learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own.

Here are Newton Baby’s best tips for making it through your baby’s sleep regression.

7 Tips For Surviving Sleep Regression

mom holding baby boy over her head

1) Maintain Healthy Sleeping Habits

There are a few steps you can take to promote sound sleep. If you’re already doing these things, continue during a sleep regression. If you aren’t, now is a good time to start.

  • Make the room dark at bedtime. Dim the lights or hang blackout curtains if necessary.
  • Keep their room cool.
  • Dress your baby in temperature-appropriate pajamas.
  • Be quiet while your little one is sleeping! Try using white noise in their nursery to drown out other noises.

2) Practice Safe Sleep

A night of sound slumbering is important, but sound and safe sleep is even more important!

In addition to the healthy sleep habits listed above, make sure that you’re doing everything you can to promote safe sleep.

Choose A Firm Crib Mattress

Wide awake baby going through a sleep regression lying in a crib

For safe sleep, your baby’s mattress should be firm, not soft and fluffy. But firm doesn’t have to mean rock hard and uncomfortable.

Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress is the perfect combination of comfy and safe — comfortable enough to allow your little one to “sleep like a baby” but firm enough for safe sleep.

Check The Fit Of The Mattress

Whether you have a mini crib or a standard-sized crib, double-check to make sure the mattress fits correctly inside the crib. The fit should be snug with no big gaps between the edge of the mattress and the inside of the crib. A large gap can pose a safety risk for your baby.

As a rule, when the mattress is inside the crib, you should not be able to place more than two fingers between it and the crib frame.

Share Your Room, Not Your Bed

It’s safest for your baby to share your room (but not your bed!) for the first six months or year of their life.

Instead of letting your baby snooze in bed with you, put their bassinet or cradle in your room so they’re close enough for you to check on them and feed them easily.

Put Your Baby To Sleep On Their Back

Your baby will need tummy time during the day to develop their muscles and grow big and strong! But when it’s time to lay them down to sleep, the safest position is on their back, not on their side or their stomach.

Use A Breathable Mattress

Newton Baby breathable crib mattress

If your baby rolls onto their stomach while they’re sleeping, a breathable mattress will help reduce the risk of suffocation.

The Newton Baby Crib Mattress allows for the best breathability because both the mattress and the mattress cover are breathable.

Bonus: It also helps regulate your baby's body temperature and reduces dust mites and allergens!

If you already have a crib mattress, consider using Newton Baby’s mattress pad on top of it to add a layer of waterproof, hypoallergenic, and breathable protection.

Keep Blankets, Pillows, And Toys Out Of The Crib

This sleep safety tip might be especially important if you’re thinking about giving your child a comfort object during a sleep regression.

To provide your little one with the safest possible rest, you’ll need to keep all toys, pillows, blankets, and crib bumpers out of the crib until your baby is a year old! You’ll also want to make sure the bedding is not too loose.

Give Your Baby A Pacifier At Bedtime

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, allowing your baby to use a pacifier while they snooze is another way to promote safe sleep. Just be sure the paci doesn’t have a strap attached, which could be a safety hazard.

If you’re breastfeeding, wait until your newborn has gotten the hang of nursing (around a month) to offer a bedtime binky. Giving your infant a pacifier too soon could lead to nipple confusion.

3) Stick To Your Routine

mom reading a book to her baby boy during a sleep regression

It’s never too early (or too late!) to create a pre-naptime and pre-bedtime routine. If you already have one, keep it up during a sleep regression.

This consistency will help your baby realize that it’s time to wind down and sleep.

If you don’t have a sleepy-time routine, decide what works for your family and stick to it. It may be a bath, putting pajamas on, reading a book, singing a song, and then giving them a bedtime kiss.

4) Respond To Your Baby’s Sleep Cues

Don’t wait until your little one is overtired and crying to put them to bed! A baby who is too tired will probably have more trouble falling asleep.

Instead, respond to the signs they give that show they’re ready for bed — they may yawn, move more slowly, stare off into space, lose interest, rub their eyes, or become fussy.

It will also help to learn your baby’s sleep schedule (which may be changing during a sleep regression!). Their ideal sleep schedule has less to do with an exact time and more to do with a certain number of hours since they last woke up.

5) Lay Your Baby Down When They’re Sleepy

sleepy baby laying in a cradle during a sleep regression

As hard as it can be during a sleep regression, don’t wait until your snuggly baby is completely asleep to put them in bed. Instead, lay them down when they’re relaxed and drowsy so they fall asleep by themselves.

This is important because it allows your little one to learn how to fall asleep and put themselves back to sleep without help from you.

6) Try Sleep Training

Speaking of falling asleep by themselves, that’s exactly what sleep training is about. Teaching your baby how to soothe themselves can be especially helpful when you’re in the throes of a sleep regression!

Sleep training isn’t right for every family, but there are several different techniques you can try until you find one that works for you and your little one.

7) Take Care Of Yourself

Your baby isn’t the only one whose sleep is disturbed during a sleep regression. You’re probably tired and groggy, too!

Part of surviving a sleep regression is taking care of yourself. Ask for help from family and friends so you can grab a few minutes (or hours!) of shut-eye.

Survive And Thrive During Sleep Regression

In the end, sleep regression is just another parenting hurdle that you will get past!

Give your sweet baby extra love when they’re cranky, and keep them safe while they sleep with a breathable Crib Mattress. Plus, don’t forget to show your tired self some TLC.

Follow our tips for surviving this difficult time and soon sleep regression will be a thing of your past!

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