At ten months, everything seems to be going great until the dreaded sleep regression strikes. No parent ever thinks that it can happen to their child and it was no exception for me. My little bundle of joy seemed to be acting all grown up by sleeping full nights, and as a parent, I was in a celebratory mood.
You can guess how much frustrated we grew when sleep regression happened.
10.5/11 month sleep regression got me like pic.twitter.com/vRuG79KDoa
— Megan Stewart (@itsmegansoitis) January 5, 2018
It took a significant number of worry, research and a call to a pediatrician friend to realize that it was something ordinary among growing toddlers.
It took some effort to guide the child back to his old sleeping ways, and below we share some of the tips learned along the way.
Bur first, it is essential to understand what 11-month-old sleep regression is.
Are there other types of sleep regression?
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So, what is 11 months sleep regression?
Sleep regression is a term that parents learn after getting their first child – unfortunately in a rude way. When it occurs, the baby seems to be fighting sleep with all their energy. It looks as if they are on a campaign to eradicate sleep under all circumstances.
The condition almost always catches parents unawares. Parents often think their little bundle of joy is finally out of the woods only for it to strike without warning.
Believe me, if you have no idea what it is when it happens, it can cause parents some considerable grief.
Nothing is more painful than watching your son or daughter struggle at the middle night. Lack of sleep can even exacerbate depressive symptoms in mothers, and so it is never that easy.
For a sleep regression to occur, your child must have been sleeping well for the previous eight months or so.
Everything changes on attaining or approaching 11 months.
But sleep regression is not as a result of the routine change such as coming from a long trip or even illnesses. If left untreated, sleep regressions can easily make toddlers overtired, and challenges falling and remaining asleep. It can affect their other daytime activities considerably.
Different Types of Regressions
The first time researching about sleep regression was not easy, to tell you the truth. There are varying kinds of sleep regression that occur between four months and two years – yes, two years.
But this shouldn’t worry you too much as children are different and may respond differently to each.
1. The Four Months Sleep Regression
This happens together with other permanent changes. In other words, the regression is developmental, in nature, and it indicates that your baby is ditching the baby ways and starting a new phase in their lives.
In fact, the little one starts sleeping more like you and the transition is not an easy one.
To call a spade a spade, this is not actually a real regression. The real meaning of sleep regression is that sleep will eventually revert to normal – it is on a break of sorts. But in reality, this is not what actually happens, and the changes are there to stay.
The cognitive changes are what affect the toddler’s sleep patterns.
The four months sleep regression comes with a lot of fussing and night waking, as well as, shorter naps.
2. The Eight Months Sleep Regression
This sleep regression characterizes the developmental milestones occurring between eight and ten months. It is at this time that your child shows some tangible progress and begins to crawl, cruise and pull up using items.
There is also some psychological development happening at this time, and your baby is learning a few words here and there – a truly happy time for any mother when the child finally says, mama.
The child also experiences some teething troubles at this time and there a significant amount of waking as a result.
Despite, the associated problems, there’s indeed a silver lining in all this.
All the changes occurring at this stage requires practice, energy and time.
However, this practice can happen at the wrong time of the day. For them, shutting down the brain can be a challenge. It can be a skill they need to learn, and so they stay awake for longer.
If your son has no self-soothing skills, then he may start fighting off your efforts to sooth them to sleep. They may actually find them stimulating and that fifteen minutes rocking becomes thirty minutes – it can really drive you up the wall.
The eight months sleep regression is usually the most aggressive and very tiring for parents. The remedy is to ensure their sleeping space is as conducive as possible and nothing stimulating. Some items can be stimulating such as the crib sheets pattern, the wallpaper and the toy across the room.
3. 11 Month Sleep Regression
This regression doesn’t seem to affect a lot of children like other types. It is not so much about sleeping but naps. Many parents usually find that the children are refusing the second naps. They try their best to get by with only one.
The majority of parents wrongly assume that their son is transitioning and becoming more mature. However, it is too early for that and is not ready until fifteen months.
4. 18 Month Sleep Regression
The 18-month sleep regression is a little different from 11-month-old sleep problems as your son or daughter is now a big baby – a toddler. Your son can throw tantrums, talk a bit and walk. They are exercising their newly-found independence and can say no.
Separation anxiety is a reality at this stage, and the child may show annoyance when you leave their room. Furthermore, teething is usually a problem as the babies are getting their first molars – experiencing painful gums.
5. 2 Year Sleep Regression
There isn’t much clarity on this type as there is for others. To be honest, several reasons may cause this to happen. For starters, the child staying longer awake can have an impact on how long they sleep.
Your daughter is also undergoing a number of transitions such as potty training – yes, this is a significant one. They may also move from the crib to kid’s bed, and nightmares may be a common thing for them.
11 Month Sleep Regression Tips
Just because your child is undergoing some developmental milestones doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do. The following tips proved useful for me, and my son was back to his normal sleep hours.
- Adjusting the Naps: the underlying assumption is that later or fewer naps will be sufficient. However, this is not usually the case and typically results in more problems. Ideally, if it becomes a habit for them to rise earlier than is normal for them, then adjusting the nap time to be a little earlier is more appropriate.
My bundle of joy started waking at 6 AM than the usual 7 AM. Adjusting the naptime from 9 AM to 8 AM proved helpful in adjusting.
The primary objective should be to maintain the old routine as much as possible. Just because they are learning new skills doesn’t mean they are ready for the next leap in life – the new schedule for bigger kids. Keep them on a strict schedule, and everything will fall into place – for the better, of course.
- Limiting the Morning Nap: you should make sure your daughter doesn’t sleep excessively during the morning nap. Cap it at about one hour so that it will not affect the afternoon nap.
- Offer Comfort as is Necessary: as you are conducting sleep training, ensure that the child is as comfortable as possible. Curdles and extra kisses are alright but be careful not to create sleep associations. Avoid nursing or rocking her to sleep.
Steer clear of old habits as they can quickly become sleep associations. Keep off that pacifier as much as possible. And if necessary, you can add a sleeping pillow for kids or a firmer mattress to support their spine.
- Consistency: sleep regression is not some kind of condition from mars and is not a new thing. To cope effectively, you should not attempt to change anything every time he wakes up as it will make him stay longer. Don’t start a new routine at this time when they have a sleep regression.
You know what makes the 4 month sleep regression even more fun? Having a cat who has discovered how to lean into the pack and play and meow sharply in the baby’s face every time I put the baby back to bed after a night feed. Well played, cat. Well played. pic.twitter.com/Tlk82TZAOi
— Arley Cruthers (@Arley_McNeney) February 28, 2018
What you should realize is that regression is a normal thing. It happens to every child, and you should not overreact.
However, some toddlers experience it more than the others. Regardless, the manner in which you deal with it matters a lot.
The 11-month-old sleep regression is not like the 5-month-old sleep regression or any other for that matter. Dealing with it requires a high-level consistency, and it can mean several weeks or a few days of sleepless nights.
To maintain consistency, you may need to adjust their nap times to accommodate their new wake up times and ensure maximum comfort for them.
My son was a quick study, and it didn’t take long before he was back to his healthy sleeping habits. For us, the above tips proved critical in helping him; they may work for you – they should!