You've finally gotten your baby to sleep through the night, which means you can rest easy too. But then, all of a sudden, your little one has started waking up again. This is certainly a WTF moment for new moms, and it's called sleep regression. And if you're a normal human, it's totally valid to scream from the rooftops, when does sleep regression end?
Unfortunately, there's not an easy answer to this one. As psychotherapist and sleep expert Heather Turgeon told Babble, sleep regression occurs at different stages of your child's development. So, you might be dealing with it for a while as your baby matures into a toddler, and then again into child. The good news is, according to Turgeon, a waking baby (or toddler) is a sign of brain development. In other words, sleep regression happens because your child's brain is changing, growing, and becoming more advanced. For example, sleep regression at four to six months happens because, quite literally, your baby's brain is doing incredible new things for the first time. According to the United States Library of Medicine, a baby's brain at four to six months experiences cognitive and sensory milestones.
These milestones, as noted in the same article, include increased memory function, play development, hand-eye coordination, and recognizing you as mom. These are all wonderful and vital things in your child's development. The downside:e because your child is more in touch with his or her environment, he or she is likely to rethink (literally) sleeping. But this is totally normal, and according to Turgeon, a couple weeks is necessary to re-establish a sleep routine. Motherhood Support confirmed this assessment, claiming that it can take up to four weeks to end sleep regression. But, just think, although this might cause you duress in the moment, sleep regression is most likely happening because your child is getting smarter and more independent, and questioning routine. How cool is that, come on?
OK. Now your baby is a toddler. Sleep regression might happen again. Turgeon explained this as yet another sign of healthy brain development. Just think of how many more things your child is experiencing in life. With these new experiences, as well come anxiety and imagination all sparked by being a little person in a big world. In her book The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep — Newborn to School Age, Turgeon explains that when your child hits the toddler stage, you might need to overhaul your sleep routine if sleep regression occurs again.
Speak with your physician if you think that your toddler is experiencing separation anxiety or any other type of discomfort due to the life changes he or she is experiencing with well, growing up.