What to Expect from Your Baby’s Sleep Regression

What to Expect from Your Baby’s Sleep Regression, Savannah Walsh holding her youngest child in a frost covered yard.

Your baby was sleeping so well—what happened?! Savannah Walsh shares everything she knows about sleep regression and tips for getting through it.

MyRegistry contributing writer Savannah Walsh is a Canadian blogger, a mom of five little ones, and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style.

 

I remember when I was pregnant with my eldest, everyone loved to tell me “Say goodbye to sleep!” and “Be prepared to never sleep again!” The thought was daunting, and I really thought it was the end of my “sleep life.” Then she was born, and I realized that for the most part? It wasn’t true at all. Sure my sleep changed—it was broken, and naps were suddenly a thing again—but overall I was still getting sleep.

Hey, I must have gotten a good baby, because this wasn’t what I was told to expect. Everything was fine. And to be honest, things were more than fine. She started sleeping eight hours straight from 6 weeks old (I was unfairly lucky). So to heck with all the haters!

Then BOOM, the four-month sleep regression hit.

Suddenly we were up every hour, and she wouldn’t go back into her bed at all. She would only sleep while I rocked her in my arms, and she wanted to nurse every two hours again. OHHHHHKAAAAY. Gotcha, folks. I take it all back, because yup, this sucks.

But why didn’t anyone properly talk to me about it? What even is a sleep regression? How many are there? And how long do they last? Or like Joey says through a pretend smile, “Haha, when does she stop crying all night?” (You know I gotcha, Friends fans.)

So, what is a sleep regression?

A sleep regression is when your baby goes through a shift in their sleep and their sleeping pattern changes. Usually it results in them being up more than usual, not wanting to be put back down, only wanting to sleep on you, or not wanting to sleep at all.

What causes a sleep regression?

Sleep regressions are believed to be caused by developmental milestones. Usually you will notice the sleep regression starting around the same time as new skills are developing.

How many sleep regressions do babies have?

The most common sleep regressions are 4 months, 8 months, and 18 months, but there are often some mini regressions in between.

How long do sleep regressions last?

All kids react to sleep regressions differently. For my own, I normally expect the regression to last four to six weeks.

Do all kids have sleep regressions?

Most kids do go through the regressions, yes. I will say, with our second child, he was such a poor sleeper from the beginning that we never necessarily noticed the specific regressions.

How can I fix a sleep regression?

I wish I had an easy answer. In truth, there’s no way to simply “fix” a sleep regression. Everyone has their own beliefs and methods around sleeping, which they figure out through trial and error. Some people sleep train, some change their entire sleeping arrangement, and some continue with their normal routine. You really have to figure out what works best for you, your baby, and your family and then make decisions based on that. My best advice is to really follow your gut, and don’t worry about what other people think about your sleeping situation with your baby, especially during a regression.

I wish people had been honest with me from the get go about sleep with a baby instead of making jokes and scaring me with “You’ll never sleep again!” I wish they’d shared their real struggles with sleep regressions and how it is OKAY. Regressions pass, you get into a routine, and you figure out what works best for you and your baby. And mama, I promise you: You will sleep again.

In our house we don’t sleep train, and we ride the wave out to the best of our ability by supporting each other and our baby through the transitional period. But over the past eight years and at least 15 sleep regressions (I need a cup of coffee just thinking of it that way!) we’ve learned some tricks that have really helped us along the way, and I want to share them with you.

White noise machine

First things first. A white noise machine is on my must-have list for a baby from day one, especially with multiple children in the house. But in a sleep regression I find it an extra must. The white noise can help them stay asleep, which is half the battle. My personal go-to sounds are the vacuum, rain, or ocean.

In Canada

White Noise Sound Machine, ammoon
White Noise Sound Machine | Walmart Canada
$36.90

In the U.S.

White Noise Sound Machine, Tomshine
White Noise Sound Machine | Walmart
$33.49

Weighted sleep sack

Weighted sleep sacks can be a fabulous tool during a sleep regression. A few of my kids would go straight back to sleep once I had picked them up and had my hand on them. The weighted sleep sack helps them feel like they’re still being held or have a hand on them.

In Canada

Nested Bean Zen Sack, Nested Bean
Nested Bean Zen Sack | Amazon Canada
$59.99

In the U.S.

Nested Bean Zen Sack, Nested Bean
Nested Bean Zen Sack | buybuy BABY
$39.00

Snuggle Me Organic*

Our Snuggle Me has saved us so many times. The Snuggle Me is a patented sensory lounger that hugs your baby’s sides when they’re placed in it, mimicking mom’s or dad’s arms, so the baby thinks they’re being held. The Snuggle Me is an amazing option for supervised naps during the day, because a well-napped baby tends to sleep better at night.

*Please note: American and Canadian sleep recommendations both conclude that loungers are not safe for overnight use. The Snuggle Me Organic is intended for supervised sleep only.

In Canada

Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger, Snuggle Me
Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger | Well.ca
$149.99

In the U.S.

Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger, Snuggle Me
Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger | Target
$99.99

In Canada

Snuggle Me Organic Cover, Snuggle Me
Snuggle Me Organic Cover | Well.ca
$59.99

In the U.S.

Snuggle Me Organic Cover, Snuggle Me
Snuggle Me Organic Cover | Target
$48.49

Diffuser and oils

I personally sleep a lot better with a few of my favorite essential oils diffusing by me. Certain scents bring me a lot of comfort and serenity, making it easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I like to use some of my kid-safe oils, especially during sleep regressions, with the hope of helping my baby stay asleep longer too.

In Canada

VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser, VicTsing
VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser | Amazon Canada
$38.99

In the U.S.

VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser, VicTsing
VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser | Amazon
$28.99

In Canada

Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil, Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil | Amazon Canada
$10.88

In the U.S.

Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil, Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy Lavender Essential Oil | Amazon
$7.49

In Canada

Plant Therapy KidSafe Synergy Essential Oil, Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy KidSafe Synergy Essential Oil | Amazon Canada
$24.46

In the U.S.

Plant Therapy KidSafe Synergy Essential Oil, Plant Therapy
Plant Therapy KidSafe Synergy Essential Oil | Amazon
$11.95

Bath products

During a sleep regression I try really hard to stick to a consistent bedtime schedule, and a bath can be an amazing start to bedtime for some babies. Choosing calming baby oils and bath washes can help baby understand that we’re coming up to bedtime, and that means time for sleep.

In Canada

K'Pure Naturals Sweet Mama Body Oil, K'Pure
K'Pure Naturals Sweet Mama Body Oil | Well.ca
$17.99

In the U.S.

Little Twig All Natural Baby Oil, Little Twig
Little Twig All Natural Baby Oil | Amazon
$11.98

In Canada

K'Pure Sleepy Time Foaming Baby Wash, K'Pure
K'Pure Sleepy Time Foaming Baby Wash | Well.ca
$7.99

In the U.S.

Little Twig All Natural, Hypoallergenic Baby Wash, Little Twig
Little Twig All Natural, Hypoallergenic Baby Wash | Amazon
$11.15

When you’re creating your baby registry, be sure to consider the upcoming sleep regressions. Having these things on hand may just help you get better sleep.

Coffee!

And when all else fails, COFFEE. Add a coffee fund to your registry under the cash gift option, or add a few gift cards for your favorite coffee shop. It’s a perfect little gift for you that, trust me, at the end of the day is the only thing I can always rely on during a sleep regression.

In Canada

Starbucks eGift Card, Starbucks
Starbucks eGift Card | Amazon Canada
$100.00

In the U.S.

Starbucks eGift Card, Starbucks
Starbucks eGift Card | Amazon
$100.00

I hope I’ve shed some light on the darkness of sleep regressions for you. I promise, even though it may seem like a sleep regression will never end and this is the end of your “sleep life” for good, you will sleep again. I am off to bed now, as my little guy is finally back asleep (we are just starting to come out of our four-month regression ourselves). Stock up on coffee and take a nap, mama—you will get through this!

About the Writer
Canadian blogger Savannah Walsh is the mom of five little ones and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, postpartum struggles, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style. Savannah has created a space for moms from all walks of life to connect over motherhood by telling the real-life story of a regular mom, including the tough parts of motherhood we sometimes shy away from. When Savannah had her first baby, she knew very little about the mom world and quickly felt overwhelmed by the number of options available to her, from baby brands to parenting advice. Over the years, she’s tried just about every baby and kid product there is, along with developing her own parenting style and devising ways to stay sane while balancing a busy household. Savannah joins us every month on MyRegistry to share her stories, mom tips, and favorite baby products.

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