Survive The 6 Month Sleep Regression Without Losing Your Mind!

By Paula McLaren •  Updated: 10/10/22 •  10 min read  •  Baby » Baby Sleep

We’ve all heard of the 4-month-old and 8-month-old sleep regression… But what about the 6-month sleep regression?

Let’s start reclaiming your precious sleep and bedtime routines right now!

Is There A 6 Month Old Sleep Regression?

Yes, there is a 6 month sleep regression.

In fact, a sleep regression is possible at any age from 4 months onwards. 

Around this age, the most common regressions are the 4-month sleep regression or the 8 month sleep regression.

But… the 6 month sleep regression is very possible and very real.

What Is The 6 Month Sleep Regression?

How Long Does The 6 Month Sleep Regression Last?

A 6 month sleep regression usually lasts from 5 days to a couple of weeks.

The most important thing to remember when your baby is going through a sleep regression is: it is just a phase and will not last forever.

Do All Babies Go Through A 6 Month Sleep Regression?

No. Not all babies will experience a 6 month sleep regression.

It will depend on the personality of your baby, what is going on in their development and what is happening in their environment. 

6 Month Sleep Regression Signs

The signs to identify whether your baby is going through a 6 month sleep regression or not are:

If you answered yes to these questions, then most likely your baby is experiencing a sleep regression.

But don’t worry, there is a lot you can do to get through this tricky phase without losing your routines and sanity!

7 Causes Of The 6 Month Sleep Regression

There is not always one clear reason why your baby may be experiencing a sleep regression but at 6 months old there is a lot going on in your baby’s world that can disrupt their sleep patterns.

Check out these causes of the 6 month sleep regression and see if you can identify any that may have occurred in your baby’s life recently:

  1. Your baby is having a growth spurt! All that extra energy needed to grow can easily disrupt a well-established sleep pattern.
  2. They are reaching big physical, mental and emotional developmental milestones. And all that extra brain and body activity can disrupt their sleep!
  3. You have changed baby’s environment. Moving house, going on holiday or visiting family overnight can all trigger a sleep regression.
  4. Baby’s daily routine has changed. Any major changes in routine could also upset an established sleep schedule such as starting daycare, parents returning to work or the primary caregiver changing.
  5. Your baby is experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety will make it difficult for your baby to fall asleep and can cause them to become distressed when they wake up in the night and discover you’re not with them.
  6. They’re teething! If your baby is experiencing pain due to teething their sleep is very likely to be disrupted for a short while and although this is not a true sleep regression in itself, it may trigger one. Investing in a natural teething toy can help soothe your baby resulting in helping them sleep better!
  7. Your baby is unwell. Like teething, illness may cause a sleep disruption for a short period of time and although this is not a true sleep regression, sickness can trigger a brief one. 

Do any of these causes relate to happenings in your baby’s life recently? If so, let’s dive into the tips and tricks to survive this tricky time without going mad!

8 Expert Tips To Get Through The 6 Month Sleep Regression

Having worked with many families over the years, I have tried and tested many techniques to help parents and babies get through sleep regressions as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Now…

I’m not going to sugarcoat this.

Getting through a sleep regression is tough.

I know it’s hard.

I know you’re so exhausted you can barely think straight.

And I know that the last thing you want to do is lose any more sleep yourself.

But, you need to persevere with your previously established routines and stick to your guns.

Because by sticking it out now, your baby will go back to their previous sleep routines much quicker and you won’t have to undo any bad sleep habits down the line.

Think of it like this: short-term pain for long-term gain.

Trust me.

It will be worth it.

So let’s get into my top tips to help you survive the 6 month old sleep regression:

8 Tips To Survive The 6 Month Sleep Regression

1. Establish A Healthy Bedtime Routine

If you have not established a bedtime routine now is 100% the time to do so.

Having healthy sleep habits will make it easier for you to cope when your baby decides to fight sleep.

And making it clear to your baby that the end of the day is marked by lowering the energy levels, getting into a cosy bedroom and following the same routine will give them all the right signals that bedtime is on the way.

TOP TIP: If you only have one routine that you live religiously by… make it the bedtime routine. After all… everything revolves around sleep!

2. Stick To Your Routines 

I cannot stress how much maintaining baby’s healthy daily and bedtime routines will help to keep you sane and keep their healthy development on track.

I know life gets in the way sometimes, but being super vigilant about nap times, meal times and bedtimes during a sleep regression will make your life so much easier during this time.

Remember: short term pain for long term gain.

So, if you have to cancel a few plans over the coming weeks to ensure you’re at home for naps and bedtime, trust me it will be worth it in the long run.

3. Keep Night Time Interactions Low Key

If your little one wakes at night then it’s super important to keep your interactions low-key.

Have the lights down low and do not chat to them.

A night light is a great investment for these nighttime interactions as it stops you from having to turn on a light when visiting them at night.

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4. Try Not To Pick Baby Up Every Time They Wake Up

When it comes to nighttime wakings, try to comfort your baby in the crib rather than picking them up.

Picking your baby up has the association that their sleep is over. This can then lead to difficulties getting them to fall back asleep when you put them back down.

This is especially true if your baby fights sleep during a 6 month sleep regression.

Therefore, try gently stroking their head or patting their tummy instead.

5. Encourage Self Settling

If you have not done so already, try and teach your baby to self-settle.

Allow them to spend time in their cribs while they are awake and put them down when they are not fully asleep.

And if your baby wakes in the night do not rush in straight away as they may re-settle themselves after a few minutes.

If you’d like to learn more about teaching your baby to self-settle, I have made a quick video explaining it in more detail below.

6. Make A Distinction Between Day And Night Activities

Make sure your little one makes the most of their day.

During the day, keep busy and get out into the fresh air. Encourage your baby to be engaged in different types of play and explore their world!

Then, about an hour before bedtime, begin to lower the energy levels so your baby learns that bedtime is approaching.

7. Minimise Sleep Distractions

Sleep distractions can be anything from dogs barking; post arriving; dropping a plastic tub on the floor or changes to their surroundings.

Your little one needs to be sleeping in a calm, dimly lit room ESPECIALLY when going through a 6 month sleep regression.

Some parents like to use a white noise machine and I am a huge advocate of them.

White noise machines will help to ensure that sudden changes in noise will have less of an impact on your sleeping baby which will mean you do not have to panic if you accidentally drop the TV remote!

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REMEMBER: It’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep in different locations and to different noises, but when they’re going through a 6 month sleep regression… keep things as simple as possible to make your life easier.

Naps and nighttime sleep should be taken in baby’s room and you should try to keep the noise levels down as best you can, using a white noise machine if you wish.

8. Chat To Other Parents And Share Your Experience

Sharing is a great way to help you through a 6 month sleep regression.

Knowing you are not alone or that others have been through the same thing will be very comforting.

Do a quick Google search, talk to your paediatrician or talk to your local daycare to see if there are any groups in your local area who can help you connect with other parents.

Self-Care For Parents Of A Sleep Regression Baby

Sleep regressions or sleep disruptions are common, especially in the first year of life.

Accepting this is normal and has nothing to do with your parenting will ensure that you are not blaming yourself for what is a perfectly natural occurrence.

In fact, I would challenge any parent to say that their little one has never had a blip in their sleep schedule!

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are finding it tough to be consistent with sleep routines and nap times, just hang in there, do the best you can and remember that this is a passing phase.

If you are feeling very tired, then put your little one somewhere safe, such as a playpen or crib, and make yourself a cup of tea and have a 5-minute break.

You will be a better parent when you go back after doing this.

I hope you have enjoyed this post about how to survive the 6 month sleep regression and if you know of any other parents who would enjoy this content, be sure to give it a share.

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Paula McLaren

Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and has been in the childcare industry as a Norland Nanny since 1982. Since then, her mission has been to help parents become the best they can possibly be. And each year, she continues to help more families understand their child's development, the trials and joys of parenting and of course, how to care for their little ones.

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