5 Sleep Regression Stages: The Definitive Guide


Young Children on Kozy Koala’s Daycare Nap Mat

Sleep regressions are super confusing yet also so much fun. As a parent, you can never be prepared for how different each day and stage will be. Sleep regression is one of the most difficult stages to understand as it affects your baby in various ways. If they are teething, they might cry all day, or if they’re hungry, they might want to breastfeed all night long. They might not sleep at all one night, or wake up wetting the bed every single night. Sleep regressions can present itself in many different forms but here are some of the top five stages you might see your little one go through.

5-12 Month Old Sleep Regression:

Your baby will start to get more teeth as well as begin crawling and walking. During this sleep regression, your baby will be teething and will absolutely hate it. This will make them super cranky and hard to sleep. Teething babies need to be held and rocked a lot more, and they will wake up in the middle of the night due to the discomfort. 

Your baby will also be transitioning into solid foods, which might affect their feeding schedule and make them wake up even more frequently. Your baby will also be transitioning into a more regular pattern of sleep, which will be very strange for them. 

They might have regular nap times that can be very structured, or they might not nap at all. The timing of when your baby falls asleep and wakes up is also going to change. This is normal, and your baby will get used to it soon. You can also try giving them a blanket to clutch while they’re falling asleep as they might be afraid of the dark.

12-18 Month Old Sleep Regression:

The main focus of this sleep regression is on mobility and language development. Your baby will be crawling, walking, and just generally exploring the world more. This will make it very challenging for your baby to get the sleep they need. They will wake up more frequently and for longer periods since they are now mobile. 

They will also now be able to fully understand you and what you’re telling them, so you might have to find new ways to get them to go back to sleep or just stay calm. Your baby will usually be transitioning from one nap a day to two naps a day. If they’re still on one nap, this will make getting them to sleep a lot harder since they might be tired for more extended periods of time. You can help them get into a more regular nap schedule, and maybe nap in a dark room.

18-24 Month Old Sleep Regression

During this sleep regression, your baby will now be walking, talking, and exploring even more. Your baby will be entering the terrible twos, so they will be super moody and hard to calm down. They will cry more often, and they’ll want to be held more often. This two-year-old sleep regression is more based on your baby’s developmental stage than it is on their actual age.

 The baby will mostly be in this sleep regression when they start showing the signs of being a two-year-old. Your baby is growing out of the need for naps, and this might make them really crabby and hard to calm down. If your baby used to nap, and now they don’t, it’s okay. You don’t have to force them to nap if they don’t want to. You can help them get into a more regular nap schedule, and maybe nap in a dark room.

24-36 Month Old Sleep Regression:

This sleep regression is a little different from the others. Your baby will still be teething, they might be constipated, they will be going through puberty, and they will be entering school. This might make your baby very cranky and hard to sleep. Your baby will still be teething, and this will make them very irritable and hard to calm down. You can try to help them with this by giving them cold teething toys. Your baby might be constipated, so they will be very uncomfortable and might cry all day. You can try to help them with this by giving them prune juice. Your baby might be going through puberty, and this will make them cry more often and be very moody. You can try to help them with this by giving them hugs and reassuring them that you’re there for them. Lastly, your baby might be going to school and getting ready for the big world. This can be super scary for both you and your baby, and they might cry more often. So be supportive, extra attentive and calm them down to sleep.

Why is it so difficult to get your baby to sleep?

Babies and children sleep much lighter compared to adults. The only way for them to truly fall asleep is to fully relax their bodies and minds. So make sure you provide them with soft baby sleeping mats that are comfy. Also, it is really difficult for babies when they’re in bed all alone. It’s essential to have a secure attachment with their mother and feel safe while they’re sleeping. This is why it’s so important to have your baby sleep next to you for the first six months.

As you can see, sleep regression can happen at any time, and it can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. It’s super important to remember that this is normal and all babies are different. There are tons of ways to help your baby with sleep regression, and it’s important to figure out what works for your baby. The important thing to remember is to be patient and make sure to rest when you can.