Here's What Causes All Those Sleep Regressions

by Mishal Ali Zafar

Getting your baby on a nighttime routine feels great. Finally, you feel like you've got this whole sleeping thing under control and totally know what to expect each night. Then, out of the blue, your nights are turned upside down, and you find yourself starting from scratch. When your baby changes their sleeping patterns, it's called a sleep regression, and they occur as your baby grows and develops, so it's good to be clued in on which developmental milestones cause sleep regressions.

According to Sleep Tight Consultants, sleep regressions are when a baby or toddler suddenly changes their normal sleeping patterns, like waking up at night, or skipping naps, with no obvious reason. It's not a one time thing either — sleep regressions will occur throughout your baby's life as they grow and develop.

Your baby's first developmental milestones that will cause a sleep regression are at 4 months, when your baby begins sleeping more like an adult, and at 8, 9, or 10 months, when your baby begins crawling, cutting teeth, and absorbing language, explained The Baby Sleep Site.

The next sleep regression will likely show up at 12 months, Sleep Tight Consultants suggested, in connection with your baby beginning to walk and refusing to take naps during the day.

The Baby Sleep Site noted that the last sleep regressions usually come at 18 months, when your toddler is talking, walking, cutting more teeth (including molars), and becoming more independent, and at 2 years, when they may start having nightmares, their awake time grows, and they face big life changes like potty training, a new sibling, or leaving their crib behind for a big-kid bed.

Kim West, also known as the Sleep Lady, explained on her website that during your baby's sleep regressions, along with decreased sleep, you can expect your baby to be hungrier, to need more cuddle time, and to be crankier than usual. She also noted that luckily, sleep regressions will only last between two to six weeks, and that offering your baby extra feedings, extra comfort, and an earlier bed time, can help you move through the sleep regressions with ease.

So which developmental milestones cause sleep regressions? Pretty much all of them. But that doesn't mean you have to be miserable. By knowing that there's an end in sight and that your baby's just going through some growth can make it better. (So can coffee. Just a tip from me to you.)