10 Month Sleep Regression
For parents who didn’t experience the 4 month sleep regression with their babies, the 10 month one can come as a particularly unpleasant awakening. Some parents may not even understand what’s going on. Your baby has been sleeping through the night like clockwork – okay, not quite like clockwork but pretty darn good – and now suddenly it’s like you’re raising a newborn again. They’re waking up hungry, cranky, and needy during the nighttime again, and you’re at a loss as to what’s going on.
How much should a 10-month-old sleep?
The first year of life will include between 12-17 hours of sleep a day. Some experts provide an even smaller window for a frame of reference, but that’s the full range of what experts estimate. Your baby doesn’t know about experts, though, so don’t feel like something is wrong if one day your baby snoozes an extra hour or has a rough night and is up longer than usual. As babies get older, they tend to sleep more frequently through the night. Newborns don’t at first know day from night, so that’s out the window for them. They’ll be up at 3 AM just wailing away for some food. Sometime after the first few months, sleep tends to even out during the night.
Why does sleep regression occur?
And then something odd happens. Your normally nighttime snoozing baby begins to act like a newborn and wake up during the night. They’re crying, antsy, and fighting sleep. If your baby is close to 10 months old, this could be the dreaded 10 month sleep regression nightmare that a lot of parents go through. There are many sleep regression stages, but it’s the 10 month one that’s most likely to take parents by surprise. By this time, you think you have this routine down pretty good and nothing is going to stop you now. And then, your baby stops you at 3 AM again, and you’re very confused.
What Is Sleep Regression
A 10 month sleep regression is just a different sleep regression stage. Common other stages are 4 months, 8 months, and 18 months. Each of these stages will catch parents off guard, so if you’re over there lost as to why your 10 month old is acting like a newborn again, you’re not the only one. Many parents will experience the 10 month sleep regression stage. You’re going to find that during a sleep regression stage, your 10 month old goes back to waking up during the night just like when they were a newborn. Besides being startling, it can also mean the end of a good night’s sleep for you, too.
Babies change so quickly. They’re the epitome of change, always changing, always growing, and always progressing (except when they regress as in this instance). It’s simply a matter of your child’s natural sleep cycles changing and them going back to a previous stage of sleep pattern. The 10 month sleep regression will cause a good number of parents to question what they did wrong and how they can correct this terrible mistake, but the truth is that the 10 month sleep regression is perfectly natural just like all the other sleep regression stages. As a parent, you can only respond to it, not prevent it or stop it.
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When your child was a newborn, you were probably also caught off guard by the wakefulness of your baby at night. It’s this experience that will best guide you through the 10 month sleep regression. All of the techniques that you used with your newborn can be used with your 10 month old to help yourself when the 10 month sleep regression stage hits. Sure, you can’t keep your 10 month old asleep on all nights, and they’re going to wake whether you like it or not, but this time you’re not blindsided like you were with the newborn. You have coping strategies, and you’ve known your child for 10 months now, so you have a better idea of how to soothe them and help them sleep.
Surviving The 10 Month Sleep Regression
Coping strategies for restless infants abound. Other parents just like you learn what works, and you now have a toolbox of your own to get through the 10 month sleep regression and any other sleep regression stage that may come after it. You’re getting to be a wizard at this parenting thing. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself during the 10 month sleep regression.
- Go back to days of old and remember how you helped your child get back to sleep when they were a newborn. Now apply these same strategies
- Help make life consistent for your 10 month old and stick to sleeping schedules to ensure security and natural rhythms
- Remove anything from the room that might be distracting your 10 month old from a peaceful slumber
- Make the room as dark as possible so that your 10 month old isn’t stimulated by light
- Make sure that your 10 month old is getting sufficient exercise and play during the day so they’ll be more tired at night
Going back to the early days when your child was a newborn will also give you the tools you need to cope with your own lack of sleep. If your baby is keeping you up at night again, you may need to give a gentle prod to a partner or friend who can help you when things get too overwhelming. You have to function, too, so if the 10 month sleep regression makes you feel down and out, you have to reach out for help if there is any. It’s hard for some people to ask for help. No one wants to bother someone they love. For the good of your baby, and you, you have to get over this reluctance and reach out sometimes.
Nighttime Sleep Will Return
It may have been a tremendous relief when your baby began sleeping through the night on most nights, so it’s natural that it will be a huge disappointment when this stops happening for awhile. The 10 month sleep regression seems like a step backward, but it’s actually a step forward for your baby. It means they’re progressing into a new phase of life and perhaps more stimulated by the world around them, all those new faces and things they’re absorbing. Their sleep cycles are changing, and it’s going to take awhile, but your child will eventually sleep during the night.
Separation anxiety can also cause difficult sleeping. If your child has separation anxiety, this may be something for you to discuss with your pediatrician. You can also ask helpful friends and family if they’ve ever experienced a child with separation anxiety during the night and how they solved their own problem. Whatever is causing the wakefulness on any specific night, it’s nothing you’re doing wrong as a parent. The 10 month sleep regression is going to happen no matter what you do (if it happens). Not every parent will have a child who gets a 10 month sleep regression. Those are some lucky parents, but if you’re reading this you’re not one of those lucky parents.
A sleep regression at any age is not a parent’s fault, and it’s not a sign that anything is wrong with your baby. It’s not a sleep disorder or illness. It’s just something that happens in the lifetime of those fascinating beings we call babies. Their world is very different than ours, and changes are coming much more quickly for them. Like all other things that you do as a parent, helping a child find a gentle, soothing slumber during a sleep regression stage is something that you will learn from and that will bring you and your child closer together.