The 6-Month Sleep Regression: Secrets for Revitalizing Your Infant’s Sleep Routine
8. 8. 2023
17. 7. 2023
You’ve probably heard that 6 months is the marker for significant developmental changes in babies. And you’ve counted the days till your baby can sleep all night so you can get some rest as well.
You notice your baby isn’t sleeping as well as before, and you begin to worry.
Sleep regression in 6-month-olds is normal. And in this guide, we’ll be exploring the causes, symptoms, and remedies to the 6-month sleep regression.
Understanding the 6-Month Sleep Regression in Babies and How to Manage It
The 6-month sleep regression is a period in infant life when their sleep reduces below normal. It typically occurs when they are 6 months old due to developmental changes in their body. This regression is normal, and you can handle it using white noise, sleep schedule adjustments, and sleep sacks.
What Causes the 6-Month Sleep Regression?
Your 6-month-old baby is finally adjusting to a sleep routine that’s beneficial to them and comfortable for you. Suddenly, it struggles to sleep as well as before, and you find yourself at the very beginning.
You can admit it:
That sounds like a tiring scenario, but if it sounds familiar, your baby might be experiencing the 6-month sleep regression.
What causes this sleep regression? And, should you be worried?
In this section, we will explain some of these causes and how they affect your baby’s sleeping routine.
1. Increased Mobility
By six months, babies become very motile. Unicef says babies typically begin to roll in both directions and can probably even sit at this age.
Now this is a good thing. However, the only disadvantage is that, in some children, it triggers their activity at night.
If your baby just learned to sit or roll over, they might spend their time exploring their new superpowers. And at night, this might become a routine.
They become hyperactive and more sensitive to their surroundings, thus eradicating sleep from their minds.
2. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is when your child suddenly becomes nervous once they lose sight of you. When this happens, they might begin to cry, kick their feet around, or flinch away from strangers.
Separation anxiety is quite common in children. However, it can be a primary cause of sleep regression in 6-month-olds.
The National Health Service (NHS) reports that separation anxiety typically occurs in children between 6 months and 3 years of age. This anxiety could begin when you lay them in their crib to sleep.
Once they lose sight of you or sense that you’re not around, the anxiety sets in and disrupts their ability to sleep.
This is a major cause of 6-month sleep regression.
3. Dietary Changes
A change in your baby’s diet can directly affect how well they sleep.
Hang on. I’ll tell you how.
Babies find it difficult to sleep when hungry. They don’t like discomfort, and being hungry for them is one of the most discomforting situations.
If you change your baby’s diet or the time you feed them, it will affect how hungry they will be before bed.
If you feed your baby close to bedtime and you shift feeding time to hours before bedtime, they will be hungrier before bed.
And if the baby sleeps, they might wake in the middle of the night hungry, thus disrupting their sleep cycle.
At the end of the day:
Continuing this routine would cause a noticeable regression in your baby’s sleep.
As a parent, you can agree that teething is one of the developmental processes that cause infants pain and discomfort.
And as we mentioned earlier:
Just like adults, babies don’t like discomfort or pain.
When your baby starts teething, there is a high chance they won’t be able to sleep at night.
If this is the cause of the 6-month sleep regression in your child, you might notice the baby crying often. They might also present signs such as fevers or headaches.
To relieve the pain of teething, you can offer them a cool treat, get chew toys, or massage their gums.
What Are the Symptoms of the 6-Month Sleep Regression?
Hear me out:
The 6-month sleep regression presents various symptoms, showing a decline in your baby’s sleep. Here are some of them:
- Difficulty falling asleep: This might occur due to the baby’s restlessness or discomfort.
- Shorter naps: This could happen if the discomfort sets in during the baby’s nap.
- Increased waking at night: In some babies, this could result from a change in diet, discomfort, or various developmental processes like teething.
- Waking up early: While this shouldn’t be a problem, babies don’t usually wake up early, so it’s a red flag. Causes of this early waking could include discomfort, hunger, or pain from developmental processes like teething.
The thing about the symptoms we’ve listed above is they can last for quite a while, for instance, several weeks. And you can easily monitor them with a sleep tracker.
These symptoms can cause distress to both the baby and the parent.
On the one hand, the baby loses the adequate sleep needed for growth and development. On the other, the parent spends more time and effort trying to put the baby to bed.
To this effect:
We can say that though the 6-month sleep regression might be normal, it can get uncomfortable depending on how you manage it.
How Can Parents Manage the 6-Month Sleep Regression?
Here’s the good news:
You can survive the 6-month sleep regression. All it takes is a little management.
In this section, I will provide some tips for managing the 6-month sleep regression.
Let’s head right in!
1. Establish a Sleep Routine for Your Baby
The thing is:
Babies like patterns. They want some form of consistency, especially regarding sleep and food.
If you establish a routine for your infant, they will follow right along. You can offer them more naps in the daytime and earlier sleep at night.
Following this constantly, in the long run, would better their sleep cycle.
2. Limit Stimulation Before Bedtime
Your 6-month-old is already excited enough because of all the new things they are learning. So, you have to help them get less excited before bed.
But no pressure:
Limiting your baby’s stimulation before bed is easy. All you have to do is avoid any situation triggering the baby’s excitement or nervousness.
Ensuring the room is quiet, with dimmed light and no toys in their crib, is a good way to start. This way, you don’t have to worry about your baby spending time playing rather than sleeping.
3. Use White Noise
White noise has proven to be an effective tool for calming your baby before bed. It mimics the sounds of the womb, making them less fussy and more comfortable drifting to sleep.
Applying white noise, and pairing it with a comfortable environment for your baby, increases their ability to sleep safely and properly.
When managing sleep regression, you must be patient with your baby and apply the techniques persistently.
Sleep regression is temporary, and with a little help, your baby will pass the phase.
4. Ensure a Comfortable Sleeping Environment
Some developmental processes, like teething, are uncomfortable for babies and can reduce the quality of their sleep.
To help your baby thrive through the 6-month sleep regression, you must ensure they are as comfortable as possible. This means you must monitor your baby to know what they like and what they don’t.
Your baby might feel comfortable sleeping in the crib rather than the bassinet. In such scenarios, you should know when to switch from bassinet to crib so the baby can sleep better.
When Should Parents Seek Help for the 6-Month Sleep Regression?
The 6-month sleep regression is a phase that’s supposed to last no longer than two to six weeks.
Once you notice a continuous decline in sleep that lasts over a few weeks, you should seek professional help. Thus, refer to your pediatrician or a sleep consultant for assistance.
If the sleep regression is causing noticeable distress or discomfort to your baby, that’s a red flag. In this case, also, it’s best to consult a professional as soon as possible.
A professional has more knowledge about sleep regression. Hence, they can help you find a solution so you and your baby can get the rest you need.
So let’s recap:
The 6-month sleep regression can be daunting and worrisome for parents. But if you know what to do, you can manage it and ensure your baby’s rest isn’t affected.
Some possible causes of the 6-month sleep regression include increased mobility, separation anxiety, dietary changes, and teething.
It typically presents symptoms like difficulty sleeping, shorter naps, frequent waking at night, and waking too early.
To manage the 6-month sleep regression, you have to improve the conditions your baby is sleeping in. Here are some ways you could do this:
- Establish a sleep routine
- Limit stimulation before bed
- Use white noise
- Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment
The 6-month sleep regression is a temporary phase and shouldn’t last more than a few weeks. If it causes distress or lasts longer than it’s supposed to, refer to a pediatrician or sleep consultant for help.
And that’s it!
If you found this article helpful, let me know in the comments. Also, if you have a question, suggestion, or concern, I’ll be glad to entertain them.
FAQ: 6-Month Sleep Regression
Developmental phases such as increased mobility and teething could cause the 6-month sleep regression. Other common causes of this state include dietary changes and separation anxiety in babies.
To help your baby cope with the 6-month sleep regression, you must establish a sleep routine. You should also limit stimulation before bed, ensure their comfort, and use white noise to help the baby sleep better.
The 6-month sleep regression is only temporary and should last a few weeks. So, if it persists past two to six weeks, you should report to a professional like a pediatrician or sleep specialist for help.
No, it is not. Interestingly, the 6-month sleep regression is actually a good sign. It shows that your baby is crossing new milestones of development. So, the 6-month sleep regression is normal.