Is your 9-month-old little one having troubles sleeping at night? Are you having sleepless nights trying to make her fall asleep and failing at it? Here’s what you should know.
What is sleep regression?
Sometimes, a baby’s sleep pattern changes abruptly. The baby who once slept well, may start sleeping less, wake up more often or find it harder to fall asleep or settle especially during the night. This sudden shift in sleep pattern is commonly known as sleep regression. Although sleep regression is seldom troublesome for parents, it is a part of the development of the baby.
Sleep regression is generally common during the first year after the birth of the baby. It is first visible when the baby is around four months old. Sleep regression also hints at the development of the child’s cognitive senses. The sleep regression at the age of nine months generally happens because the baby feels her first pangs of separation anxiety, causing sleep disruption.
What causes sleep regression in newborns and toddlers?
Sleep regression maybe a by-product of many difficulties the baby might be going through. Although it is normal amongst 9-month-old babies, the parents must be aware of some of the common causes behind sleep regression.
If the child’s sleep regression is aided with moaning, painful crying or clinginess, you must check for illness. Often, fever is one of the reasons behind sleep regression. Seasonal allergies are common amongst toddlers, causing breathing problems.
Food allergies are another reason. Many toddlers are allergic to certain essential food items like milk and meat proteins. It is vital to detect such allergies at an early stage.
At 9 months, the baby learns to crawl, roll, sit and even make attempts to walk, causing temporary sleep regression.
During this period, the awareness of the child expands and she tries to be independent, which comes with a sense of insecurity. This often leads to separation anxiety causing disruptions in sleep and the need for reassurance, especially at night.
Newborns are blessed with the virtue of falling asleep almost anywhere and everywhere. But, at 9 months old, when the baby’s cognitive senses are developing, she might have a tough time falling asleep in foreign and unknown places. The changes in surroundings are difficult to adjust to for most babies. This also leads to difficulty settling back into normal surroundings when the baby is back at home.
Potty training or bathroom training is another important factor that causes sleep regression. The uneasiness that a 9-month-old feels when she faces the urge to excrete can alone cause many sleepless nights. The baby develops an awareness that the parents will assist her every time she cries or moans, thus, the lack of parental assistance at nights causes anxiety and results in sleep regression.
Switching beds mean disturbing the surroundings the baby is trying to adapt herself. Therefore, switching beds leads to anxiety, as well, disturbing the toddler’s sleep pattern.
At 9-month-old, when the first incisors start growing, the baby feels the urge to bite or chew on something to relax. The inability to chew on anything may frustrate the child leading to crankiness and loss of sleep.
Signs of sleep regression
If you feel your baby’s sleep is regressing, look out for the signs to understand what exactly is responsible for your child’s loss of sleep.
At about 9-month-old, babies require a minimum sleep of 12-15 hours in a day. Inadequate sleep might make a baby fussy and cranky.
- Frequent night waking
If your baby who was previously a ‘good-sleeper’ is staying awake at nights, it is a sign of sleep regression.
- Restlessness (including trouble falling asleep)
If you find your baby stirring all night and having difficulties in falling asleep, it might be because she is going through a phase of sleep regression.
- More daytime sleep
If your baby is sleeping all through the day, it might be because she was awake at night. This shift in sleeping hours also hints at sleep regression.
A toddler going through a 9-month sleep regression may act upset or cry when the parent is not around or, hold on to your fingers tightly when you are around her.
How long does sleep regression last?
The 9-month sleep regression is temporary. It mainly happens due to the child’s development of the cognitive senses. Once she learns to adjust herself to her surroundings. Sleep training the child has a lasting impact and is very helpful. She automatically learns to ease up at nights and fall asleep into her regular sleeping shifts without much fuss.
What is the 9 month sleep regression?
It is a time, at around 9 months of age, when you find your toddler having trouble falling asleep. This period is known as the 9-month sleep regression.
- Creating an optimal and comfortable environment to help your baby settle into deep slumber helps in preventing sleep regression. Removing all gadgets and toys that can disturb a child’s sleep when she accidentally wakes up at night can maker her fall back to sleep easily. Keeping the baby’s room dark, cool and free from sound also helps. It is also necessary to calm your baby into sleep and most importantly make sure to feed her well and change her diapers before putting her off to sleep.
- Providing support for your baby’s separation anxiety and reassuring her that you will be present at all times helps the baby sleep peacefully.
- Consistent nap and sleep schedules are the keys to manage sleep regression. Babies tend to thrive tremendously on set routines and setting a sleep schedule benefits both the parents and the child in the long run.
- Putting the baby down to sleep in a drowsy state, but awake helps in managing sleep regression. Sneaking out once the baby is drowsy worsens the separation anxiety which may transcend even into adulthood.
When to consult a doctor for sleep regression?
Although sleep regressions are temporary, if you feel your child is ill, we suggest you consulting a paediatrician as soon as possible. However, if the general sleep regression persists for weeks, a child specialist must be contacted immediately.