You’ve finally gotten into the swing of things with baby’s bedtime and you’re enjoying the utter bliss of uninterrupted sleep when BOOM — you run headlong into the 18-month sleep regression.
Hurts, doesn’t it? (We’ve been there and still have the under-eye circles to prove it).
You may be skipping the extra Zzzzs for a couple days, but the good news is it won’t be as hard to restore order as you may think.
With some expert advice from sleep guru Kelley Thompson of Serenity Sleepers and Zen Sleepwear™ on your side, this too shall pass.
What is 18 month old sleep regression?
Child development often feels like you’re taking three steps forward and then one adult-sized step back. That’s completely normal. Experts call these seeming backslides “regressions”, and they’re usually the body and brain’s way of coping with the onslaught of new information.
As your child hits new milestones at 18-months like walking and talking and deals with changes like traveling or heading to daycare, they react.
18 month sleep regression signs
“The 18-month-old regression is said to be one of the tougher regressions,” says Kelley. “Along with teething and separation anxiety hitting a peak, you now have a baby who has turned into a toddler and showing more outbursts along with throwing more tantrums.”
Some more obvious signs of sleep regression may include:
- Difficulty settling in when it’s time to sleep
- Waking up during the night with increased frequency
- Waking up earlier in the morning
- Resisting naps
How long will it last?
That depends a lot on you and your baby. As Kelley explains, “If it is a true regression, it can last for a few days to a few weeks for many babies. If the sleep foundation isn’t strong the regressions will be much tougher for the babies.”
In other words, the better your baby’s bedtime routine is pre-regression, the easier it will be for them to find their way through the meltdowns and midnight crib parties and get back to the well-rested baby you so adore.
How can I help my baby through the 18 month sleep regression?
Kelley recommends several ways to limit sleep regressions:
- Consistency: Don’t pile on more changes when your baby’s life is already in flux but instead serve as a source of stability
- Maintain Your Routines: Keep nap and bedtime routines the same but add in extra love, snuggles and reassurance
- Limit Screen Time: Screen time, especially close to bedtime, can overstimulate baby
- Hire a Sleep Consultant: An expert can help you navigate your baby’s specific pain points and keep families from getting overwhelmed
- Use the Zen Sack™: Stick with familiar Zen Sleepwear and let the gently weighted sleep sack reassure baby as they muscle through milestones and get back to the healthy sleep patterns they need to thrive