The Relationship Between Developmental Milestones and Sleep


Nothing is more exciting than watching your little one master a new milestone…until it begins messing with your little one’s sleep. While babies are learning a new developmental skill, their brains are working extra hard to try and master this new skill which results in prioritizing learning the new skill over sleep.


You’re left with the question: How do I help my little one master milestones and still have great sleep?


Milestones, regardless of the category, have a profound effect on sleep at very predictable stages of development. Hello sleep regressions! Many parents are often startled when their once “good sleeper” begins to wake multiple times a night; however, I’m here to reassure you that this too shall pass.

Milestones can be categorized into three main categories:

  1. Physical skills (rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking, etc.)

  2. Language skills (babbling, imitating, pointing, learn new phrases, etc.)

  3. Cognitive/Social skills (understanding the world around them, for example object permanence and separation anxiety)

Milestones, regardless of the category, have a profound effect on sleep at very predictable stages of development. Hello sleep regressions! Many parents are often startled when their once “good sleeper” begins to wake multiple times a night; however, I’m here to reassure you that this too shall pass.


Here are 3 tips to help you get through sudden night wakings when your little one is mastering new skills.


  1. Physical Milestones: Prioritize Playing on the Floor

There is no better place than the floor to help your little one master new developmental skills. The floor allows unrestricted movement, which will allow your little one to wiggle, squirm, twist, and bend in all the ways in order to master their new physical skills. New learners have to practice and practice skills and even get frustrated until they reach some level of mastery. The more they practice, the quicker the skill will be mastered, helping to decrease practice during sleep times.