From being a sleeping beauty your baby suddenly goes sleepless. When your baby reaches 18 months of age, parents may have a difficult time putting the baby to sleep. As a parent you might not even remember the last time your baby slept really well.

The 18-month sleep regression is a period when your baby might like to stay waking up than sleep. It may be of great concern for you to see your baby protesting to sleep, or napping lesser than usual. The situation can catch you by surprise because it may spring out of nowhere and any time.

In short, you may be reminded about the waking up whole of several nights while your baby was 5 to 7 months old. The 18-month sleep regression is a bigger challenge than what you encountered then. Now your baby has grown up and is more active than a 5-month old toddler. So, to keep pace with your baby who is protesting sleep is a different challenge to tackle. Also, a 5-month old baby is never going to jump off the crib when sleep eludes. This is not the case with your 18-months old baby!

How many hours of sleep are recommended for your 18-months old baby?

Babies aged 18-months need to sleep for 12 to 13 hours over a 24-hour period. You can break it to suit your baby’s sleep patterns. If your baby naps for an hour in the noon and sleeps for 12 hours during the night, it is considered as adequate.

The 18-month sleep regression is not an excuse to let your child go sleepless. Your child needs the required amount of sleep regardless of the regression period. So, you have the added responsibility to ensure your baby gets the recommended hours of sleep.

Causes and remedies – 18 month sleep regression

From being a sleeping beauty your baby suddenly goes sleepless. When your baby reaches 18 months of age, parents may have a difficult time putting the baby to sleep. As a parent you might not even remember the last time your baby slept really well.

The 18-month sleep regression is a period when your baby might like to stay waking up than sleep. It may be of great concern for you to see your baby protesting to sleep, or napping lesser than usual. The situation can catch you by surprise because it may spring out of nowhere and any time.

In short, you may be reminded about the waking up whole of several nights while your baby was 5 to 7 months old. The 18-month sleep regression is a bigger challenge than what you encountered then. Now your baby has grown up and is more active than a 5-month old toddler. So, to keep pace with your baby who is protesting sleep is a different challenge to tackle. Also, a 5-month old baby is never going to jump off the crib when sleep eludes. This is not the case with your 18-months old baby!

How many hours of sleep are recommended for your 18-months old baby?

Babies aged 18-months need to sleep for 12 to 13 hours over a 24-hour period. You can break it to suit your baby’s sleep patterns. If your baby naps for an hour in the noon and sleeps for 12 hours during the night, it is considered as adequate.

The 18-month sleep regression is not an excuse to let your child go sleepless. Your child needs the required amount of sleep regardless of the regression period. So, you have the added responsibility to ensure your baby gets the recommended hours of sleep.

What is the duration of the 18-month sleep regression?

This sleep regression is only a temporary thing. It is found to last only for 3 to 6 weeks. It is one reassuring sign that your baby’s mental development and growth are healthy. It has also been inferred that habits the child may develop at this age may take a long time to wean. As a caretaker, it becomes essential to ensure that your child does not pick any bad habits at this stage.

How to help your child to sleep during this period?

Your child needs your cooperation to sleep at this stage. It is surely going to be a challenge. But, you can help your child by ensuring its habits are not changed and no inconsistencies creep in during these formative years. For instance, it is vital not to change your baby’s sleeping time. You may need to use the time as if no changes have happened to the routine.

Embrace the power of the routine

Parents are advised to have a simple routine which may include giving a bath to your baby, changing over to sleeping clothes, singing and reading out. Parenting needs a lot of consistent efforts. When you are trying to be consistent, your baby understands the importance of a routine. It can also help your child to mold the behaviors in line with the routine you have set. On the contrary, if your baby had been sleeping without a routine earlier, it is time to create a consistent sleeping time now. You can use a routine arrangement to set your child’s mind to get ready to go to sleep. Babies can understand the patterns and the preparatory steps taken for sleeping.

Handling your baby’s emotional needs

Always remember that the 18-month sleep regression is likely to last a few weeks only. So, once the period lapses, patterns and consistencies will ensure establishing successful sleep cycles. However, as a parent who understands your baby’s emotional needs, you can let them have a few choices. These choices may help them to establish an individual will without letting go of the sleep patterns. Doctors suggest that items such as which song needs to be sung during bedtime, type of stories to be told, etc may be left to your baby to choose.

If you still find your baby throwing tantrums and getting aggressive, you are advised to be calm. You can also pre-empt and influence them to end the fuss. For example, you can suggest “this is my favorite story and so let us read it today”. Such structured and modelled ways of managing a child’s tantrums are found to be more effective.

In sum, your child needs to understand the sleep patterns. It is possible with your consistent efforts and a structured way of preparing them to sleep. The 18-month sleep regression is thankfully not a permanent thing that lasts forever. Always remember that a few babies have gotten over the regressive period in less than 2 weeks. Hence, for your baby too it is only a short term aberration in the sleep cycle. Once you are aware of it, you will start doing the needful to tide over these few weeks. The few powerful tools by your side – as a parent – are consistency, modelling your child’s behavior as well as catering to your child’s emotional need with some choices. As a responsible parent you may have to ensure that the choices you allow do not permanently change the sleep cycles of your baby.

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