It’s your baby’s half-birthday!
And to celebrate this golden age, they seem to want to be awake to celebrate every moment of it.
Yep, the 6-month sleep regression is quite an event.
To add to it, you may have just been through the 4-month-sleep regression just two short months ago.
If you need to hear this right now, know that this will pass.
Sleep regressions are a normal part of many babies’ development — and they don’t last forever.
We’re going to take you through what causes them, how long they usually last, and how to survive them.
In this article: 📝
- Why is my 6-month-old not sleeping well anymore?
- Is it a 6-month growth spurt or sleep regression?
- How long does the 6-month sleep regression last?
- How can I get my 6-month-old to sleep through the night?
- 6-month sleep regression: the final word
Why is my 6-month-old not sleeping well anymore?
There are many reasons your baby’s sleep may be disturbed at this time of their lives.
The 6-month mark is a particularly significant chapter in babydom.
While all babies develop at their own pace, it’s common for them to be encountering some important milestones at this time.
They’re reaching to grab toys, rolling over, and developing their motor skills.
And adorably, they may have started to giggle.
There’s also a whole world out there that they’re getting to know, complete with new people, sounds, and shapes.
As they develop an increased awareness of their environment, it’s totally normal for them to get overstimulated by all the wonders they encounter.
And with all these physical, social and cognitive leaps going on, it seems reasonable that their sleep could be impacted.
They’re also learning to sleep more like grown-ups.
Newborn babies sleep a lot (as in 14 to 18 hours a day) and in shorter bursts.
When they’re born, their circadian rhythms (the body’s internal clock) are nowhere to be seen, and their bodies are still figuring out that daytime is for waking and nighttime is for sleeping.
But by the time they get to 6 months, they’re more accustomed to the world of light and dark.
They’re sleeping in longer stints and spending more time in a deeper sleep.
They may also be sleeping through the night (meaning for 6 to 8 hours at a time).
And while these are all remarkable developments, they can come with some growing pains.
Just because they hit a regression at 6 months doesn’t mean all the progress has been undone, though.
In fact, quite the opposite is true
So don’t worry that you’re going backward.
It’s likely that they’re just getting used to all the newness that’s coming their way right now.
This is a common time for those first tiny teeth to emerge.
Cutting teeth is no easy feat and can make sleep more challenging.
So if you’re wondering if it’s a 6-month sleep regression or teething?
Well, it could be both.
Is it a 6-month growth spurt or sleep regression?
6 months old is a common time for a growth spurt.
Your baby may be doing more cluster feeding at this time, meaning they feed for longer and more often.
And while this can be challenging while it’s happening, it’s actually your baby’s genius way of stimulating your milk supply.
(Breastfeeding is a supply and demand situation.)
While they’re not the same thing, growth spurts, and sleep regressions often coincide — so it could be both.
As your baby grows and changes, both physically and mentally, their sleep can be affected.
It’s also totally possible for them to have a growth spurt without a sleep regression.
No one way to be a baby.
6-month sleep regression signs include:
- Fighting sleep, either at nap time or bedtime
- Waking up frequently at night
- Taking shorter naps
- Skipping naps
- Fussiness and crying, both when it’s time to sleep and when they’re awake
If you are at all concerned about the rate at which your baby is growing or about whether or not they’re getting the sleep they need, check in with your pediatrician.
You don’t have to play guessing games when it comes to your baby’s well-being.
How long does the 6-month sleep regression last?
If your 6-month-old wakes multiple times at night, you’re probably wondering when this is all going to end!
There’s good news here.
They don’t tend to last longer than a few weeks and sometimes can resolve within one.
If they go on longer than this or are accompanied by symptoms like fever, diarrhea, or trouble breathing, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
In some cases, sleep disturbances can be the result of infection, illness, or something not entirely within the normal milestones.
Seeing your doctor will put your baby on the road to recovery quickly and bring you more peace of mind.
How can I get my 6-month-old to sleep through the night?
A 6-month-old sleep schedule looks something like this:
- Two naps during the day, that last somewhere around 3 to 4 hours in total
- A good long nighttime sleep (with the dream being 11+ hours)
Again, it’s important to note that all babies are different and have varying sleep styles — so this is a very rough guideline.
Whether your little one was sleeping through the night and has now hit a snag in their sleep patterns, or is still learning to sleep through the night, these tips can help.
- Try your best to be consistent with nap times and bedtimes.
- Start developing a bedtime routine that makes them feel comforted and at ease. Cuddling, singing, and rocking for the win.
- Put them down to sleep when they’re drowsy but not asleep yet. That way they’ll learn to go from one step to the other themselves.
- Before putting them down to sleep, try to eliminate any potential obstacles to sleep. It helps if they’re well-fed and their [diaper is changed].
- If they wake up in the middle of the night, give it a moment before heading in to soothe them. They may very well be able to do the job themselves.
- Experts advise that you start sleep training somewhere between 4 and 6 months. For tips on the different methods and how to get started, head here.
Through all this, continue to follow safe sleep guidelines.
That means putting them to sleep on a flat surface, in their own baby bed (like a crib or bassinet), and making sure that there are no loose items like blankets or toys that might be a suffocation hazard.
6-month sleep regression: the final word
While sleep regressions can be exhausting to live through, they’re usually a sign that your baby’s developing exactly as they should.
That being said, we know that this can be an exceedingly challenging time.
It’s important that you look after yourself and your own needs through this time — easier said than done, but do what you can.
This means napping when they nap, making sure that you get nutritious meals during the day, and taking the pressure off yourself to do this all perfectly.
And call on your partner, friends, family, and Peanut community whenever you need to.