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Regressions, Leaps and Teething Tigers

There are various schools of thought on sleep regressions and whether they even exist. The same goes for leaps and the extent of pain caused by teething. I can definitely say I was glad to blame some unsettled behaviour on a leap when my darling son was around 4 or 5 months old. Was it a leap? Maybe, maybe not. Could he have been overtired, bored or overstimulated? Possibly! We will never know, and If it makes you feel better to have a reason for uncharacteristic behaviour, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving it a label.


Whether your baby is going through a leap, regression or teething, you need to remember that there will always be something. There will always be a myriad of excuses to explain why sleep has declined and really, it shouldn’t be that hard.


Here are the real reasons why sleep has declined:

1. Your baby was sick or teething and you helped them get to sleep and they are now accustomed to this level of assistance.

A note on teething: We expect babies to go through a whole lot of pain when teething due to the connotations that tooth ‘eruption’ portrays. This pain should last no longer than 3 days per tooth. If your baby was absolutely fine throughout the day, it is unlikely they are waking in the night due to teething.

2. Your baby has outgrown their routine.

They may be ready to drop a nap or maybe just stay awake for 15-30 minutes longer. If they are under-tired you will see resistance to naps, bedtimes, early rising and/or wakes after midnight.

3. They are struggling with dropping a nap.

Many babies struggle with dropping a nap. Dropping the third nap is by far the most difficult nap to drop. Try and reduce the nap to 10 minutes before dropping it altogether. Once baby no longer falls asleep for nap 3, bring bedtime to 6pm to compensate.

4. Premature dropping of a nap.

Especially with nap 3, it is often the case that baby finds it difficult to fall asleep for the nap that is about to become redundant. Parents take this as a sign it is no longer needed, and this can become disastrous and be the beginning of months of sleep disruption. The same is common for 12 month old's who miss their first nap for 1-3 days. In 95% of cases, dropping nap 1 at 12 months is going to end badly.

5. Co-sleeping or contact-sleeping on holidays.

You’ve gone on holidays and end up bedsharing to avoid waking up family, friends or fellow holiday-makers. Once you return home, you can bet your bottom dollar your child is going to try and keep this arrangement. It is important to be firm from night 1 of returning home. One night of bedsharing when you get back home will make the process a lot harder than it needs to be. Camp out by the cot if need be but set the tone from night 1.


If your good sleeper has suddenly developed a sleep aversion, there is definitely an explanation. If you think a developmental leap or newly acquired skill is to blame, wait it out. If after 2 weeks things haven't improved, it is time to look at other reasons that could be causing the issues.


If you are sick of making excuses for poor sleep, get in touch today and let's find a way to move forward.


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