You and your your little one are travelling along well when it comes to sleep and day to day life and then from out of nowhere it all falls apart! It is a very common story and a very common reason is - your little one is going through a regression!
For some, fear and panic can set in pretty quickly as the sleep declines and the general happy day to day life starts crumbling away. For others, a wait and see feeling and approach is embraced with the hope that it will all just fall back into place once the regression has passed.
One of the most common questions I am asked as a Baby Sleep Consultant - will the regression pass on it's own? The answer - sometimes yes and sometimes no. Not a very clear answer, I know!
Regressions can last between 2-6 weeks and after this point, if you are not seeing any significant improvements, it is most likely not going to pass without some intervention.
For a regression to pass naturally on it's own, an important factor is for the sleep to have been going well before the regression began. Therefore, if your little one is sleeping well for naps and overnight, you have a much better chance the regression will pass if you just sit back and ride it out. Knowing this, if your little one is approaching an age where a regression typically occurs and the sleep is not going well, it is a great time to do what you can to improve it so you are armed and ready for the regression!
If your little one's sleep is already not great prior to the regression taking place whether it be poor day sleep, multiple wakings overnight or both, there is an increased chance the regression will take place, make your little one's sleep even worse and once the regression has passed you will be left with a little one that is sleeping even worse than before with no light at the end of tunnel. This is where some intervention will be needed.
Intervention can mean a range of things depending on what is going on with your little one's sleep and can sometimes be quite simple like creating a routine or by reducing how much you are assisting your little one to sleep slowly each day so they can start learning to sleep in their sleep space rather than on you.
Of course, intervention can also mean sleep training (I'm not talking about Cry It Out!).
The most important things to consider if you are unsure if a regression is or has occurred, is to first look at your little one's age. Generally, regressions occur at 4 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months and 2 years. If your little one's sleep has gone downhill at around one of these ages, it is a good chance it is regression related.
Secondly, if you have determined a regression is occurring, try to keep your approach the same with your little one despite their changes in behaviour. The consistency in this is what can help a regression pass. If your little one has already been affected by a regression, look to see if you are assisting too much. Sometimes reducing your assistance is actually what they need and they will fall back into a good sleeping pattern easily.
Finally, ensure your little one is sleeping well prior to a regression. This can mean the difference between a regression causing some short term disturbance or being left with an overtired baby that seems to no longer be able to sleep.
If your little one has suffered the disruption of a regression and you are not sure if you can and should just wait to see if it will fix itself or if you do need some assistance in getting your little one's sleep back on track, book in for a free chat and we can discuss the issues and work out your best way forward.
Silent Night Baby Sleep Consultant
Helping your family achieve sleep harmony