6-Month-Old Sleep Regression? Here’s How to Help Your Baby Go Back to Sleep

6 month sleep regression
Overcoming the 6-month sleep regression is no easy task. Here we explain it and share tips for navigating the changes in your baby's sleep.

Having an infant in the house is a transformative experience. And as wonderful as it is to witness your little one’s first attempts at stringing a proper word together, the changes they go through don’t stop at night. By now, you’ve probably heard of how safe sleep is important for your baby, but did you know that paying attention to their sleep schedule is just as important? While younger infants primarily get their sleep in the form of short naps throughout the day, your baby will start to sleep longer and sounder in the night. However, this can change once they hit the six-month mark when they become susceptible to the infamous 6-month-old sleep regression.

Six months is a big step in your baby’s development. Milestones aside, so far everything sleep-related up until this point had been about keeping your baby safe. You may have been told to baby-proof their crib and to have them sleep on their back, all to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)–and rightly so! But when your baby hits their sixth month, you may face an entirely different problem: how to keep your baby asleep and what to do when you spot the 6-month-old sleep regression signs?

What is 6-month sleep regression?

From 4 to 6 months, babies start to make remarkable progress towards sleeping for longer intervals in the night but unfortunately, it’s not always smooth sailing for parents and caregivers alike. Some babies find it difficult to fall asleep when they are put down for bed. Sometimes this happens because the nap has gone on for too long or there is some other interruption in your sleep routine that makes it hard for them to get back into their usual sleeping pattern. When this happens, your baby might be showing signs of sleep regression.

6-month-old sleep regression is what happens when your baby’s progress towards normal sleep comes to a screeching halt. While it rarely lasts long, sleep regression can be a challenge for parents. Familiarizing yourself with infant sleep early on and developing strategies to improve it can help you immensely.

It’s around this age where parents are encouraged to consider the way they put their little ones to sleep. Things like sharing rooms as well as regular nightly routines can contribute to how well babies adjust to their evolving sleep schedules. Some parents even swear by the effectiveness of sleep training, where they use the same series of steps to get them ready for bed.

Of course, there isn’t a single “correct” way of handling these things. Even if you decide against sleep training, noting all of your baby’s quirks can help you narrow down what helps or hinders your baby’s progress towards regular sleep.

How long does 6-month sleep regression last?

Why does my 6-month-old wake up multiple times in the middle of the night?

Once you’ve established a routine and taken note of your baby’s habits, it’s easier to spot what’s bothering them when you notice your 6-month-old waking multiple times in the night. It could be anything ranging from the amount of distraction in their room or how they slept the day before.

Meeting milestones is often a strong contender for any baby’s sudden or unexplained sleep schedule interruptions. Infants grow more social and active in the day and at 6 months, they may continue practicing how to interact with the world around them past their bedtime. At six months of age, they should be exploring their senses and immediate environment such as rolling over in both directions and starting to sit without support. With all that newfound curiosity at work, going through the motions at night could be giving them something to proudly show off in the morning.

Signs of 6-month-old sleep regression

The last thing you’d want is to return to the early days of short, sporadic sleep when you’ve finally gotten used to calmer nights, which is why it’s important to watch out for 6-month-old sleep regression signs to get everyone back on track in the shortest time possible:

  • Frequent wake-ups at night (with or without crying)
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night 
  • Fussiness or crankiness without reason
  • Resisting naps

If this sounds familiar, it would be a good idea to either implement a stricter sleep schedule or consider a different approach to sleep training. According to Marc Weissbluth, M.D, pediatrician and author of self-help parenting books, things like feeding your baby before bed and engaging in calm activities to help them wind down and help put them back to sleep, but it’s important to pay attention to your timing. Your baby will send clear signs for when they’re ready to sleep, such as a slight quieting, staring off, or disinterest in stimulation like people or toys. What you want to do is to figure out how to trigger that signal using certain cues more regularly. 

How long does 6-month sleep regression last?

If you’re dealing with infant sleeping problems, you may be wondering “how long does 6-month sleep regression last?” Fortunately, it’s not unusual for sleep-related problems to get resolved within a few days under healthy management, especially if it’s an easy fix such as a change in the sleeping environment. Symptoms for 6-month-old sleep regression can vary but generally speaking, sleep regression itself doesn’t last very long. 

What causes 6-month-old sleep regression?

6-month-old sleep regression can be caused by a variety of things. It’s important to note that the changes could stem from their development or it could also be as simple as a routine problem. Here’s a quick guide to your child’s development to help you zero in on what might be causing their unexpected sleepless nights:

3-4 monthsThere are 3 main developmental events that happen for babies at this age. They’re growing, so they’re hungry in the middle of the night. They’re teething so they’re in pain and sometimes get fevers. They start rolling over on their own.
6 monthsThey’re in awe of everything! It’s normal for them to try to get things within reach and sit up without support. Physically, this also means that they get busier–even when they’re supposed to be asleep! (But don’t worry, this is an easy fix!)
8-10 monthsWe see signs of crawling! But also, babies can be more attached and anxious with separation than usual. Frequent wake-ups in the middle of the night are probably baby wanting soothing.
12 monthsWhile baby’s sleep is likely regulated at this point, your baby is reaching or has passed the walking age and, for some reason, big milestones tend to lead to sleep irregularities.
ToddlersFinally, once you no longer have a baby on your hands and they’ve been replaced by an adorable, though moody, toddler you might experience more regressions. These can be due to nightmares, toddler teething, and more separation anxiety. Hang in there, mom & dad. 

What to do when 6-month sleep regression happens?

Being a parent to an infant is no easy task. When choosing a way to sleep train your baby, keep in mind your capacity to commit and whether your chosen approach would suit you and your baby. Remember: it isn’t just the baby you should be paying attention to! Babies can pick up on a lot of things, and if you’re irritated and sleep-deprived, it might be more difficult to calm them down.

Are you in a position where you can be available to your baby or can you enlist help? Do you live somewhere that can’t tolerate noise for too long? Are you getting enough rest yourself? Not all families are built the same. What matters is learning how to utilize the resources available to you and recognizing when you need help.

Know your baby’s sleep with Cubo AI Smart Baby Monitor

how to know 6-month-old sleep regression signs?

An excellent way to keep a close eye on your baby while still keeping your own space is to invest in a baby monitor. Having a baby monitor allows you to move freely in your house with the reassurance that your baby is safe and sound.

Rollover alerts

If you’re sleep training your baby but you don’t feel comfortable leaving them by themselves, finding a baby monitor with rollover alerts could put those worries at ease. With the Cubo AI Smart Baby Monitor, you can quickly determine whether your baby just rolled over and can fix themselves or if you need to interfere before running back to the nursery.

True Cry Detection

You can also adjust the crying settings on the Cubo AI Smart Baby Monitor! You can turn on notifications so that your baby can babble without triggering the crying alerts. This is because sometimes babies might make noises during their sleep, but then go back into a sound slumber again without waking up completely. This can sometimes cause your baby monitor to alarm you as well as other family members sleeping nearby which is why having a true cry detection is not only useful, but also extremely convenient. 

Soothe from afar

A baby monitor can do wonders for parents that have to spend any amount of time away from their child. With a smart baby monitor, you can interact with your baby even from great distances, allowing you to ease your child into staying calm when alone. This also works great for parents whose goals are to put them down for sleep without feeling abandoned, easing the transition into longer periods of independence.

Implementing your schedule

Overall, the baby monitor is an invaluable tool in any parent’s arsenal. If you need to keep a closer eye on your baby, the Cubo AI Smart Baby Monitor can help solve sleep schedule pains within days by giving you more control over how your baby sleeps. When used well, you’ll be able to get your baby to sleep through the night in no time!

What if my baby’s sleep regression doesn’t go away?

So you’ve already run through the possible hitches in your bedtime routine but you’re still struggling with your 6-month-old waking multiple times in the night. Don’t panic: Bring up your baby’s sleep struggles with your pediatrician during their next check-up if you see that the regression is persistent. 

Sometimes, extensive crying (even for an hour or more) can occur for no medical reason at all. Allow your support system to back you up in your duties and call your doctor if you need extra help. 

It can be difficult to get through times of regression but know that not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s also actually brighter than you imagine. Sleep regressions are just the road to development, growth, and all the things you and your baby can look forward to really soon.

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Ximena is the Content Marketing Strategist at Cubo Ai. She follows plants, dogs, and babies on Instagram and almost no one else.