6 Month Sleep Regression: Signs, Causes, and Tips
Sleep regressions are tough and can affect not only the baby but even parents who are less rested and sleep-deprived. And the 6 month sleep regression is a milestone for many reasons and can occur anywhere between 5 and 7 months of age.
The 6-month mark is a period of significant development, but sometimes that progress can hit a setback and cause sleep difficulties. How?
Keep reading to know more about the 6 month baby sleep regression, its causes, and ways to cope with the sleep issues.
What Is the 6 Month Sleep Regression
Babies who self-soothe are generally considered better sleepers by parents than those who constantly need assistance. These babies are considered ‘non-self-soothers.’ However, infants who do not develop the ability to self-soothe can create turmoil in some families.
The 6 month sleep regression is similar to your baby’s usual slumber schedule. These periods of change may feel longer if you’re a new and exhausted parent; fortunately, they aren’t long-lasting. Speaking of which, how long does the 6 month sleep regression last?
How Long Does the 6 Month Sleep Regression Last
Sleep regression can occur at any age between 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 18 months and 2 years. Depending on different babies, these developmental milestones can be exciting and challenging.
And fortunately, like many other stages in a baby’s life 6 month sleep regression is also short. These periods of change usually are temporary and last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, so long as your child gets used to their newfound skills and realises that nighttime isn’t the right time to try them.
Symptoms of the 6 Month Sleep Regression
Following are the 6 month old sleep regression signs you might notice in your child’s behaviours.
Experiencing sleep regression is all about disrupted sleep. You may notice more night awakenings than usual for no apparent reason.
Disrupted and fragmented nighttime sleep can affect the baby’s daytime behaviour. The signs and symptoms of sleep insufficiency include persistent sleepiness, like rubbing their eyes during the day and feeling irritable and fussy.
Remember, babies typically take several naps during the day. The average sleep duration in 5 to 6-month babies ranges from 12-16 hours per 24 hours, and it is normal, so they aren’t making up for the lost night’s sleep.
Causes of the 6 Month Sleep Regression
Although short-lived, having a baby calling you out in the middle of the night isn’t pleasant. And the reason behind the 6 month sleep regression varies; it may include:
Motor skills, such as rolling over from side to side, often peak before the baby masters a new skill. Between 4 and 6 months, most babies can flip from one side to the other. This newfound skill might keep them up in the wee hours too.
Babbling is a stage in child development and a state of language acquisition, babies experiments with uttering articulate sounds but does not yet produce any recognisable words. This new skill might sound adorable and could keep your baby busy in their cribs, even at night.
Creeping and Crawling
Creeping and crawling is another motor development that shows your child is gaining tremendous muscle development and learning how to balance and coordinate their hand and leg movements even at night.
Starting to Sit
Between 6- 7 months of age, your baby might develop another motor skill and try to sit. This involves both coordination and muscle strength. Moreover, 90% of babies achieve this milestone between 5 and 9 months of age.
6 month sleep regression might cause separation anxiety, due to which babies often get clingy and cry if the parents leave them, even for a short time. Separation anxiety is most common in children from 6 months old to 3 years of age.
Teething can be another sign of sleep regression. It usually starts around 4-8 months and can cause irritability, disrupted sleep, swelling or inflammation of the gums, drooling, loss of appetite, rash around the mouth, mild temperature, diarrhoea, increased biting and gum-rubbing and even ear-rubbing.
How to Cope With Sleep Problems in a 6 Month-Old
When a 6 month sleep regression occurs, it’s an opportunity for parents to try teaching her to settle herself back to sleep. Following are tips for sleep training 6 month old.
Review Safe Sleep Guidelines
When toddlers start rolling on their own, it is important to put them to bed on their backs and to keep soft items out of their cribs. It’s a safety guideline against serious injuries and deaths from SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.
Follow a Regular Sleep Schedule
Creating a consistent sleep schedule is a key factor in promoting healthy sleep and development in early childhood while maintaining stability in your baby’s sleep pattern.
Institute a Bedtime Routine
Following the same general daily routines every night is a way to signal to your infant that bedtime is approaching, and research has demonstrated that engaging in a regular bedtime routine is beneficial for multiple aspects of early childhood sleep.
Facilitate Your Baby Falling Asleep in Bed
When the baby starts showing signs of drowsiness, such as eye rubbing or getting fussy, get them ready for bed. Tuck the babies into their beds while they are still sleepy but not yet asleep; this helps normalise their bed as a place to drift off to sleep.
Minimise Distractions to Sleep
When it’s time to sleep, ensure toys and distractions are cleaned up and the child’s sleep area is quiet and dark.
Reinforce a Day-Night Distinction
At birth, infants lack a regular circadian rhythm and sleep across multiple intervals throughout the 24 hours. However, as the child develops skills and perceptual abilities, reinforce a day-night distinction by increasing the daytime activity for your confused toddler, mainly if it includes exposure to natural light.
When to See a Doctor
The 6 month sleep regression can be tough, and it is doubtful to be anything serious. However, you can always raise questions about a baby’s sleep during routine check-ups.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary that is concerning, do bring notice to the paediatrician. Unusual behaviours like stunted growth, reduced appetite or feeding, reduced urination or bowel movements and laboured or abnormal breathing.
6 month sleep regression is a milestone of many developments, sleep disruptions, and other symptoms that come with it. Although it is easier said than done, try to hang in there and follow the aforementioned tips when facing a 6-month sleep regression.
How do I get past the 6 month sleep regression?
One way to cope with the 6 month sleep regression is sleep training. You could try teaching the baby to settle back to sleep. This is called sleep training. Also, by creating a predictable routine for nap times and bedtimes.
Why is my 6 month old suddenly waking at night?
As mentioned in the article before, babies experiencing a sudden setback in their sleep routine at the 6 month mark is due to 6 month sleep regression.
Should I let my baby cry it out during a sleep regression?
If your toddler suddenly starts crying in the middle of the night, give them a few minutes to fuss before you respond. This is a type of sleep training that involves teaching the baby to settle back to sleep.
What age do babies sleep from 7 pm to 7 am?
Your baby will usually be able to sleep through from 7 pm to 7 am at around 4 months old, around which you can drop the nighttime feeding as well.
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