Why Is My Baby No Longer Sleeping?

We have to have a lil’ chat about sleep regression

During sleep regression your baby will go from sleeping soundly to waking up multiple times during the night.

Lasting between 2-6 weeks, there’s a good chance that your baby has experienced sleep regression before – many babies go through a sleep regression around 3-4 months as they transition to a sleep schedule that is closer to the adult sleep schedule.  During a regression babies are extra fussy, skip naps, and have difficulty staying asleep at night. 

Unfortunately, for many parents sleep regression returns at about 9 months. It’ll make you question all the effort that you’ve put into getting your baby to sleep through the night. It’ll also make you super tired. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel – sleep regression is a temporary phase that usually occurs in conjunction with other major milestones, such as a large developmental changes or growth spurts.

One big one: crawling.

The average baby will learn how to crawl around 9 months old, and it opens up a whole new world of exploring. As a result, babies are so excited about their newfound crawling skills, they may wake up during the night to continue testing their skills. Additionally, many motor skills are processed during REM sleep.  If you have a baby monitor in their room, you may notice them waking up at obscure hours during the night and find them crawling in their crib, trying to stand up, or babbling away. 

See related: 9 Month Old Baby Milestones  

Here are some more tips for getting through the 9-month old sleep regression:

  • Make sure to maintain a consistent bedtime routine. This means keeping bath time, story time and tuck-in time around the same time every day.
  • Add in a soothing aspect to nighttime routine: swaddling, bath, and/or baby massage.
  • On nights when your baby spends a lot of time awake, allow them to nap longer the next day.
  • If sleep regression is causing your baby to nap less during the day, try adjusting to a slightly earlier bedtime.
  • Go for a stroll. Vitamin D contributes to overall health, but it also helps babies get a good night sleep. Studies show that sunlight exposure promotes nocturnal melatonin production earlier in the day, which helps them sleep soundly later.
  • Some babies are much hungrier during periods of sleep regression, as they usually coincide with developmental and/or physical milestones. Make sure your little one is full at bedtime. Diet plays a starring role in your baby’s sleep cycle.

Here are some foods for getting through the 9-month old sleep regression:

  • Raspberries are a sweet, bright red fruit that are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, making them wonderful for strengthening your little one’s immune system. Raspberries also contain loads of other vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium, iron, folate and vitamin B6, all of which contribute to brain health, and a good night’s sleep.
  • Spinach is a leafy green known for a variety of health benefits, but many green veggies, including spinach, are rich in tryptophan. (Yes, the amino acid in turkey that makes it really easy to snooze post-Thanksgiving meal.) Tryptophan helps in the production of melatonin – the body’s ‘sleep hormone’!
  • Blackberries are rich in magnesium, a macronutrient that plays a key role in better sleep, stress reduction, and mood stabilization.
  • Bananas are a great source of magnesium. Bananas are also rich in serotonin and melatonin, both important for sleep.
  • Chickpeas are high in protein, iron, potassium, fiber and vitamins K, C and B-6. This makes them a great, nutritious dinner food, but also a good source of tryptophan.

Stay the course. It won’t last more than 6 weeks. You’ll be back to bragging about your “good little sleeper,” in no time.


Sources

Mead, M. Nathaniel. “Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health.” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 116, no. 4, 2008, pp. A160–A167. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40040083. 

Murkoff, Heidi, and Sharon Mazel. What to Expect the First Year. 3rd ed., HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. (Page 417)

“Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 15 Apr. 2016, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/.

Let’s build a healthier generation together