Has your baby been suddenly waking up at night crying or taking short naps? Check out these 6 month old sleep regression signs to look for.
Your little guy used to sleep so well. You’d simply nurse him to sleep for bedtime, and he’d snooze for a good eight-hour stretch before waking up to eat just once a night. He’d fall back to sleep for another three hours before it was time to start the day.
Daytime naps weren’t too difficult, either, what with long ones throughout the day. It didn’t take much to get him into a deep sleep—a pacifier or white noise machine would do the trick.
But now, at the 6 month mark, your baby’s sleep habits have gone down the drain.
These days, his sleep cycles mean waking up every two hours at night and only going back to sleep with nursing. He’s up at four in the morning like clockwork, intent on crawling, babbling, and rolling. And forget about naps. Sometimes you have to put him in the stroller just to get him to finally sleep.
6 month old sleep regression signs to watch out for
No wonder you’re tired. It’s easy to get confused about these sleep problems and changes in behavior, especially when no one tells you about any of this. You worry about how long this will last, or whether you’re doing something wrong to have caused these developmental changes.
Don’t worry, friend. More than likely, your baby’s sleeping patterns are signs of the 6 month old sleep regression.
Our pediatrician told us this typically happens around this time, despite having had good sleep before. This can happen because of growth spurts or from a developmental milestone like teething, solids, or separation anxiety.
So, what are a few 6 month old sleep regression signs to watch out for? Take a look at these top culprits:
1. Your baby plays instead of sleeps
Putting your baby to sleep used to be so easy. You’d lay him down and know that he’d be asleep within minutes.
These days, it takes him forever to fall asleep. You’ll find him trying to crawl on his fours, scooting his body forward and back. Other times, he’s rolling like a barrel from one end of the crib to the other. And he talks and babbles away instead of dozing off to sleep.
The same is true when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Sometimes, he’s still awake even though he usually falls asleep after a feeding.
This is understandable, considering that he’s realizing all the new things he can now do. When you feel yourself getting frustrated, think about his point of view and how cool it must be to discover new skills.
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2. Your baby wakes frequently through the night
Playing and babbling might be cute, but hearing your baby wake up crying throughout the night is not. In the past, she could easily sleep through the night—if not for the whole stretch, then at least several hours. Now, night waking and crying are becoming more common, and multiple times at that.
I knew my babies were going through a regression when, instead of their usual full stretch of sleep, they’d wake up crying all night.
This is yet another clue that your little one is going through a rough patch in her sleep schedule. Maybe she feels afraid to be alone in the dark, or has grown used to being put to sleep that she can’t soothe herself anymore.
3. Your baby wakes up to feed
One of the perks of weaning nighttime feedings is that your 6-month-old can fall asleep on his own without needing to wake up to eat.
But these days, it seems like he can only fall asleep by feeding. Sometimes he’s not even eating at all, but sucking for comfort and cuddles. Other times, he truly is hungry and is waking up wanting to eat.
Disruptions in your bedtime routine can cause him to revert to middle-of-the-night feedings, such as being sick or going on vacation. Or he could be going through a growth spurt and needing extra calories to tide him over.
4. Your baby isn’t interested in naps
In the past, your baby took predictable naps throughout the day. You could even time it down to the minute, from how many naps he took to when he would wake up.
But now, he’s simply not interested in naps any longer. You can’t spot his sleep cues as well. It takes him forever to finally fall asleep, only to wake up soon after. Shorter naps are becoming more normal, as is his fussiness and grumpy mood from not getting enough sleep.
Erratic sleep patterns usually told me that my babies were ready to change their sleep routine. I’d play with start times, extend how long they’d be awake, or even transition to dropping a nap.
As your baby grows, he’ll likely need fewer naps than he did when he was a newborn. Coupled with his desire to explore new abilities, and naps aren’t a big priority for him as much.
5. Your baby fights sleep
It’s not so much that your baby won’t sleep so much as he fights it to begin with. All the usual tactics like bouncing on a yoga ball or swaddling just aren’t working any longer. And any time his eyes begin to droop, he’ll snap them wide open, almost upset that he had succumbed to falling asleep.
Dealing with a baby fighting sleep is exhausting, especially when you know he needs the sleep (as do you). More than likely, he’s overtired to the point that he has a difficult time falling asleep.
Experiment with naps and bedtimes and avoid stimulating activities to help him catch up on lost sleep. Consider sleep training to help him sleep on his own. You might also want to put him down earlier than usual for all his naps to shorten the time he’s been awake.
If your baby suddenly doesn’t sleep well, watch out for 6 month old sleep regression signs that are all too common for this age.
He plays in his crib instead of falling asleep, or wakes up frequently throughout the night instead of sleeping the whole stretch. He might be waking up to feed at night again, whether for comfort or to meet his growing needs.
Naps are all over the place, from taking forever to put him down to missing them completely. And he fights sleep hard, screaming and squirming as if trying to stay awake as long as possible.
Rest assured friend, these signs likely point to the 6 month regression. Like all phases, this too will pass, and your little one will start sleeping well once again.
Get more tips:
- What to Do When Your 6 Month Old Baby Won’t Sleep Unless Held
- The Biggest Reason Your Baby Will Not Sleep (Even After All This Time)
- “At What Age…?” Baby Milestones You Don’t Always Hear About
- Why I Regret Rocking My Baby to Sleep
- How to Stay Calm when Your Baby Won’t Nap
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