3 Month Sleep Regression: Why It Happens + Tips from an Expert
Sleep regression can be a tough adjustment for both baby and parent. The 3-month sleep regression is likely to occur around the same time that baby is receiving a lot of stimulation from the world around them and is transitioning into longer periods of nighttime sleep.
So what causes the 3-month sleep regression and how can you and baby make it through? We consulted with Pam Edwards, expert toddler sleep coach at Little Ones, to find out.
Why Does It Happen?
According to Edwards, the 3-month sleep regression is likely to occur around the same time that baby is developing and interrelating with the world around them. During the third month of life, baby has:
- Become more aware of their environment
- Developed a startle reflex
- Gained strength in their head and neck to hold up voluntarily
These developmental milestones, while exciting, can also be overwhelming to a baby. At the same time, “the sleep cycles of three months old are more unpredictable than it was at one or two months,” according to Edwards. This means that baby can wake up more often during the night and have a hard time settling back into sleep.
How Can I Help My Baby Get Through It?
Edwards says, “Although this can be a hard time for some families, sleep regressions remind us of the importance of strong sleep foundations as they can help to make the transition smoother.”
Here are some tips from Edwards on how to get through the 3-month sleep regression:
- Develop and maintain a consistent bedtime routine: Daily routines that include bedtime rituals such as massage, bath, and book can provide comfort to baby and help the transition to sleep.
- Swaddle baby: Swaddling is great for calming baby and making them feel secure.
- React quickly when baby wakes: It’s important to soothe baby right away and not allow them get too worked up while trying to settle.
- Put your baby in a sleep sac or sleep bag : Using a sleep sac or sleep bag that is the right size for baby can help keep them safe and secure while they sleep.
- Make daytime naps frequent: Daytime naps can be a great way to give baby some extra rest and combat their nighttime wakeups.
- Remember that this stage won’t last: The 3-month sleep regression is just a stage and baby will eventually transition back to a more predictable sleep schedule.
In general, it is important to remember that your baby is growing and developing rapidly. Taking extra time to connect and bond with your baby during this phase is crucial for their wellbeing and can help make the sleep regression more manageable during the nighttime hours.