Sleep Regression vs. Sleep Training

Sleep when the baby sleeps. That’s a common piece of advice that new parents will hear. It’s an excellent tip, but what if your baby doesn’t ever seem to sleep? Does your little one have bad sleeping genes? Are they going through a sleep regression? Will they ever grow out of this stage and learn to love sleep?

What Is a Sleep Regression?


Have your child’s sleep habits changed out of the blue? If your infant or toddler was resting well and now wakes up every 20 minutes, has a hard time falling asleep or skips naps, well-intentioned friends may tell you to research sleep regressions.

In an effort to stop walking around like a zombie, you scour the internet and find lots of information. According to some experts, a sleep regression is a period of about three to six weeks during which a baby or toddler’s sleep patterns change.

Your little one may wake up frequently during the night. They may fight naps. They may seem fussier than usual and even demonstrate changes in appetite.

Some say that sleep regressions come about when babies are working on developmental milestones. Because their brains and bodies are focusing on sitting up or learning to recognize patterns, sleep is disturbed.

But that idea is controversial. How many of your friends have had infants who were sleeping through the night? Then, they go on vacation or deal with an illness and go right back to square one?

If your child really had the skills to go to sleep and stay asleep, they wouldn’t “regress.”

How to Handle Sleep Problems at Different Ages

Some researchers have found that infants develop sleeping issues at regular intervals between 5 and 75 weeks of age. But the studies that have come up with these findings are small, and some used methods that could be problematic.

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3 Months

 When they’re around 3 or 4 months old, babies often begin teething or rolling over. Growth spurts can also make them hungrier and cause them to wake more at night. This is a great time to make sure that you’re instilling good sleep habits by putting your baby to bed while they’re still awake. Doing this teaches them how to go from alert to asleep on their own.

6 Months

When they’re about 6 months old, many babies go through another growth spurt. They also begin babbling. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going through a sleep regression. By 6 months, a baby should be able to sleep for about 8 hours without feeding or snuggling. But they’re also getting smarter. If they haven’t been taught how to fall asleep at bedtime, they may seem like they fight rest more than ever.

9 Months

 Children are completely capable of sleeping all night and taking great naps by this age. Developmental milestones, travel and teething shouldn’t interfere with rest. But a little one who hasn’t learned sleeping skills may be awakened when they’re going through these changes. When you teach your child to sleep, they should be able to consistently rest whether they’re on vacation, sick or teething.

12 to 15 Months

 Sleep issues don’t stop when your baby becomes a toddler. Many children shift their sleep schedule between 12 and 15 months. At this age, separation anxiety could be an issue. So could the fact that your child is likely going from two naps to one. Still, sleep training can give your child the healthy habits to rest despite these changes.

18 Months

 At 18 months, kids become more independent. Your toddler may throw epic tantrums at bedtime. Is it separation anxiety? Are they trying to exert their control? A child who hasn’t learned how to sleep will get frustrated when their body is tired but their mind hasn’t learned how to fall asleep.

2 Years and Beyond

 If you believe what you read on the internet, you might assume that you’ll have to deal with sleep regressions every 4 to 6 months until your child is in school. You don’t have to resign yourself to that advice. The fact is that most people aren’t well informed about healthy sleep habits. Therefore, they don’t understand what’s going on when their child has issues getting rest.


By the time they’re 2 years old, a child who has been taught how to sleep shouldn’t be going through “regressions.” You shouldn’t have to manage slumber anymore if you started instilling positive patterns and reinforcing them early on.

Why Won’t My Baby Sleep?

 When you read about infant sleep on the internet, it may seem as though there is no hope. If your child is going through developmental issues, do you just have to deal with poor sleep until they make it through the phase? Sometimes, babies are just babies. We can’t always understand why they do what they do. But you can encourage healthy sleep habits to promote your child’s wellbeing and potentially circumvent some of these so-called sleep regressions.


As an adult, you probably have some idea of the things that you need to do to get a good night’s rest. But you didn’t learn how to sleep overnight. Either somebody helped instill good sleep habits in you, or you learned by trial and error. The problem is that many adults don’t have good sleep habits because they didn’t learn them as babies.

Newborn Sleeping Schedule


Many parents make the mistake of assuming their child is having a sleep regression when they’re really just shifting their schedule. Through the toddler years, children will have different sleep and nap needs. If they’re dropping their nap, maybe it’s time to adjust the schedule.


Parents may have a rigid idea of what healthy infant sleep entails. But they may need to change their expectations. Learning about infant sleep is an excellent way to consider what your baby really needs for healthy rest.


At Pam Nease Sleep, we can help you get to the bottom of your child’s sleep issues. We can help you develop an appropriate newborn sleep schedule, navigate developmental changes and learn what to do if you’re facing a behavioral issue or separation anxiety. Whether your little one is 10 days or 10 years old, they can develop proper sleep habits that can help them go to bed without complaint and settle when they do wake at night–even if it’s in the middle of one of these sleep regression phases.

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If you are:
1. tired of scouring the internet
2. ready for a simple step by step plan that does not involve CRY IT OUT
3. want someone to “vent to” and “yell at” other than your spouse, even it
4. want a “quick fix” coupled with LONG TERM, potentially LIFE TIME outcomes
5. value expert & professional advice from someone you can trust with the most precious gift we are ever given … a child even when they don’t sleep 😉

Then, I invite you to join the 1000s of happy sleeping families we have personally guided to long
term peaceful sleep.

Book your FREE Initial Sleep Consultation here: