All You Need to Know About Sleep Regressions

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Sleep Regressions: Are they fact, or fiction?

Parenting websites, blogs and Facebook groups are full of questions about infant and toddler sleep regressions. “Beware the 4-month sleep regression” is the doom-and-gloom advice you will get from knowing parents and others who have already weathered this storm. But are sleep regressions even real? The simplest answer is that yes, they are real, although they do not happen to every child and they do not happen with the predictability that the internet may suggest.

When and Why Do They Happen?

The most famous (and most dreaded) sleep regression happens at around 4 months after the baby’s due date. This is actually a really big milestone because your baby’s sleep transitions from their newborn pattern to the adult circadian rhythms that he or she will have for the rest of their life! Because of this progression in sleep pattern, babies will have predictable sleep cycles at night with very brief wakings in between (we actually all wake up in the night in between our sleep cycles!). If your baby doesn’t know how to self-soothe upon waking in the night they will need help falling back asleep, which can lead to multiple wakings and fragmented sleep. There are also sleep regressions around 8 months, 18 months, and 2/2.5 years of age. These are all due to large periods of growth and development that cause the baby or child to have difficulty sleeping as their brain will favour working on skills rather than sleeping!

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So What Can You Do?

The best way to handle a sleep regression is to first take a big deep breath, and then be steadfast in your consistency. Sleep regressions are temporary and will resolve on their own unless you fall into bad habits and create patterns out of desperation that weren’t there before. Continue with the same sleep times for nap and night, the same bedtime routines and the same wakeup times. Allow your child the time and space they need to sort out their sleep again and it will return before you know it. Sleep regressions can be very frustrating for parents because we know how important sleep is for our little ones, but remember that this period of development is temporary. Hang in there, you’ve got this!

Sleep Consultant Kayla Ginsler
Sleep Consultant Kayla Ginsler
Kayla Ginsler is a Family Sleep Institute certified Child Sleep Consultant and a Registered Social Worker. KAYLA’S SLEEP STORY Kayla’s first son was a terrible sleeper! She sought out a sleep consultant when his sleep felt more challenging than she and her husband could manage. Kayla knew that she needed someone to hold her accountable, walk through the sleep training process with her, and guide her through the steps to improve her son’s sleep. Kayla’s sleep consultant helped them get his sleep on track and his struggles resolved faster than they could have imagined! When her son was sleeping better Kayla’s own mood was much improved, and she was better equipped to cope with the demands of raising an active baby. PAYING IT FORWARD By this time Kayla had been working as a Social Worker for almost a decade, after completing her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto. Kayla supports parents of children with special needs or mental health concerns, and loves to witness the happiness and pride parents feel when they see the changes they are hoping for. Her personal experience with a sleep consultant piqued her professional interest in the field. Kayla was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo and has lived in Waterloo Region for most of her life. She is thrilled to be offering sleep consulting in Waterloo Region and beyond! Kayla’s second son, much to her dismay, was also a bad sleeper, and she felt so strongly about getting him the sleep he needed that she decided to pursue education in sleep consulting so she could help other parents solve their sleep struggles. BETTER SLEEP, BETTER DAYS Kayla believes in empowering families to feel confident in helping their baby or child achieve better sleep. When a child is sleeping poorly, it can affect the entire tone of the family – there is stress and tension and anxiety and fatigue. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bedtime can be a quiet, beautiful time with your children and Kayla feels privileged to have the opportunity to help you find the calm for your family.

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