When you have a baby in the house, sleep is often a luxury that feels slightly out of reach. This can be especially true when your little one goes through a sleep regression. A part of your baby's early years, sleep regressions are often frustrating for the parents or caregivers who'd just like the baby to get some rest. They also, more often than not, resolve themselves relatively soon. Some sleep changes that begin as sleep regressions, however, eventually begin to seem less-than-typical. There are some signs a sleep regression has gone too far and isn't normal, but, unfortunately, many of them aren't so obvious.
Sleep regressions can form temporary sleep habits or alter sleep habits that have been painstakingly reinforced by parents and caregivers. It can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get your little one through a sleep regression, whether it's holding them all night long or letting them sleep whenever they're able, throwing your established routine right out the window. Even the most normal of sleep regressions can feel interminable, but these signs could mean that it's more than just a regular old sleep regression and you might need to step in and take action.
1. It Lasts Longer Than A Couple Weeks
Typically, a sleep regression lasts anywhere from a week to 10 days, as Leigh Anne O'Connor, a lactation consultant and parenting coach, tells Romper. If it lasts quite a bit longer than that, chances are it's not entirely normal and there might be something else going on.
2. You Worry They're Not Eating Enough
"I’ve seen this a lot where [the] baby was getting enough food in the early weeks, but the milk supply starts to dwindle, and then the baby just is not settled because the baby is not getting fed enough and then they’re not sleeping because they’re hungry," O'Connor says. Oftentimes, in O'Connor's experience, this is the result of a tongue tie, which can be fixed.
3. They Seem To Be Uncomfortable
A longer-than-normal sleep regression could be signaling that the baby's experiencing discomfort. O'Connor says that it's possible that your baby has a food intolerance, which might mean a breastfeeding mom needs to alter her diet in order for the discomfort to let up and normal sleep patterns to resume.
4. You Notice A Lot Of Drool
If your baby's sleep regression just won't let up, it could be alerting you that they're teething, says O'Connor. Of course, teething is a normal process, but the sleep effects your baby is experiencing that goes along with it isn't a regular old sleep regression.
5. You Know Something Isn't Right
If you just sense that this so-called sleep regression isn't normal, it likely isn't. According to The Baby Sleep Site, if lack of sleep is affecting you or your baby's ability to function or live your lives, regardless of exactly how long it's gone on, it's probably time for you to take action.