When does the 18 month regression usually start? (is there a wider age range)
Just like most other regressions every child may go through it at different times.
Not all babies will hit it right at 18 months old, some may catch it a month or two early, while others hit it after they have turned 18 months old. There are many factors that go along with this regression, such as milestones, brain developments, separation anxiety, rapid growth, along with outside factors such as teething, travelling, and childcare transitions. These are just a few areas of what we can see during the 18 month regression.
What causes the 18 month regression?
There are various reasons that can contribute to this regression. Some of the main areas that effect this regression can be the 2-1 nap transition, major milestones taking place in a little ones life at this time, their vocabulary is exploding at this time and they are learning to use their words along with their actions more often. There can be rapid growth along with brain developments taking place around this age. Children are learning various amounts of skills and many times they will want to work on these big skills during their sleep. As you can see at this age a child is growing, developing and learning at a fast rate and sleep is vital, but during all of these major transitions, sleep can sometimes be effected temporarily until everything has resettled itself during this time.
The 18 month old regression is said to be one of the tougher regressions. Along with teething, separation anxiety hitting a peak, you now have a baby who has turned into a toddler and showing more outburst along with throwing more tantrums. They have a load of things going on and trying to deal with it all around this monumental time in their life. When our babies are sleep deprived the effects of all of this will magnify and make the tantrums, teething, separation anxiety and all other milestones happening even tougher.
How long does the 18 month regression last for?
If it is a true regression, it can last for a few days to a few weeks for many babies. If the solid sleep foundations have been missing regressions will be much tougher for these babies and parents. In turn you will not see them go back to healthy and age appropriate sleep until the sleep fundamentals are set into place.
How do I know if it's regression or something else?
Many parents will believe their child has been going through a sleep regression for months, when in reality they baby or child does not have the proper and age appropriate sleep foundations set into place, so once they get over the regression hurdle their sleep is still off track. If after a few weeks your child is not settling back into a normal sleeping routine, we would need to dig deeper to see if there is another outside factor affecting the sleep along with how we can get the proper and age appropriate sleep day and night on the right track.
Is there any way to avoid or prevent the 18 month regression?
A baby or child that has solid sleep habits and foundations set into place, will usually make it through the regressions with more minimal issues, or be much less intense than babies who are already not sleeping well and than on top of it have to go through the 18 month regression. It is never too late to start healthy sleep habits for your child, it will help the entire family be more well rested.
What are your best tips and advice for handling the 18 month regression?
Consistency is key- this is extremely important, too many times parents start making changes or moving around too much to see if they can quickly fix the issue and it makes things last much longer or worse in the long run.
Maintain your routines- You want to stick with your nap and bedtime routines, give extra love, snuggles and reassurance during this time. They are growing and developing during this time and they need to know that some things will still be stable and solid during this time.
Limit screen time- A lot of times we forget that during the day and evening, screen time can overstimulate especially in the evenings when we want to promote a calming and relaxing atmosphere as we prepare for bath and bedtime routines.
Hire a Sleep Consultant- No family should have to go through sleep changes alone, it is becoming much more common for families to reach out to specialist, such as sleep consultants to have the one on one support and help to get their baby or child on the proper sleeping path. Every child is going to have different sleep needs that must be met. It can become very overwhelming for families to try and navigate this alone, reaching out for additional help and support to finally have a baby or child with healthy and age appropriate sleep is priceless.
Any regression can seem overwhelming and daunting, but remember children are looking for parents to help guide, support and help them through the transition and changes. The regression will be temporary if it is truly a regression, and there is light at the end of the sleep regression tunnel. There is no better time than now to invest in the rest that your child and entire family deserves and needs.
Do you have questions or ready to take the leap to better sleep for your little one, I am ready to help you solve your sleep issues once and for all. Click HERE to sign up for a free 15 minute call and lets chat about your child’s sleep struggles.