11 Month Sleep Regression
Some babies will never have what is known as a sleep regression. For those lucky few parents, they’ll never know what it’s like to have an 11 month sleep regression that results in your baby suddenly waking up crying in the middle of the night like they’re 2 months old again. In general, the first sleep regression hits at about 4 months of age, leaving many new parents bewildered. Things seemed to be progressing so nicely! Your baby was, for the first time in their life, sleeping through the night, and that translated into a full night’s sleep for you, too.
Signs and Causes
What causes these so-called sleep regressions? Funnily enough, it’s because of your baby’s progression. As your baby hits developmental milestones or a growth spurt, the phenomenon of the sleep regression might kick in. As your infant’s brain develops, and they go through physical growth spurts, they’re going to suffer from regressions into earlier sleep stages. Maybe they’re mastering the art of taking those first steps or another physical accomplishment, and it disrupts their sleep. Whatever the causes of their sleep regression, it can leave parents feeling bewildered and panicked.
Signs of a sleep regression include:
- More hunger
- Waking at night
- Shorter naps
- More overall grouchiness
What’s causing an 11 month sleep regression will always be a bit of a mystery, but what isn’t a mystery is that the whole family’s sleep may suffer during this time. If you’re facing an uphill battle and at wit’s end as to what to do for your little one’s 11 month sleep regression, prick up your ears and pay close attention to the following potentially helpful tips to fight through this difficult – and exhausting – time.
1. Fuller Feedings
A little one’s mind is full of new activities and skills at 11 months old, just in time for that 11 month sleep regression. Part of the reason they might be waking more at night is that they’re focused on more fun daytime activities, like their latest toys or even television and time with friends or siblings. Are they eating enough? By feeding them in the day and right before bed so that they’re fuller at bedtime, you’re fighting off that nighttime wakefulness that sometimes comes along during the 11 month sleep regression. The whole family will appreciate a baby that doesn’t wake up at 3 AM because they were more interested in playtime during the day than their feeding times.
2. Focus on Routine
Your baby’s nap time routines and feeding routines are of the utmost importance during the 11 month sleep regression. They won’t prevent it from happening, but they might give you a few nights of peaceful sleep a week until this fiasco is over. Your baby needs to make sure that they get the near 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period that they need (in addition to two daytime naps, usually one in the morning and one in the evening). Some parents want to juggle the routine during this time, and there’s nothing wrong with that if the regular routine isn’t working, but once you get a routine you think might work set up, don’t push it. Stick to it!
3. Avoid Nighttime Stimulation
If your baby continues to cry for a few minutes after they wake up at night, it’s definitely time to spring into parent gear and go attend to their needs, but it’s not time to read to them, play with them, or make as much noise as possible. Your goal at this point in time is to change them, feed them, or gently drowsy them back to sleep, not to stimulate them in any way with a lot of noise, conversation, and playing. While there will be parents who want to “tire out” their little ones, this is better to do before bedtime, not in the middle of the night when they wake up. To help fight off the 11 month sleep regression, simply attend to their middle of the night waking with a feeding, comfort, or a diaper change, and do it as quietly as possible.
4. Detecting Sleep Cues
When your 11 month old is tired, their actions will let you know. They might rub their eyes, yawn, or get sleepy eyed. That’s your cue to get them into a quiet environment and sleep (the quieter the better). Many parents will make sure that their children have a “sound machine” that puts out gentle white noise so that household noises don’t disturb their baby during naptime or even sleep time. During an 11 month sleep regression, this is especially important. Their sleep environment should be for sleep only. Don’t keep toys in their that distract them or have them in a noisy environment for nap time. Do whatever you can to make their sleeping environment quiet, dark, and soothing.
5. Take Time for Yourself
An 11 month sleep regression will take a drastic toll on parents and possibly other siblings. If you’re noticing that the whole family is feeling ragged and tired from a baby going through an 11 month sleep regression, it’s time to take action and make sure that everyone has time out to rest and feel refreshed. Making sure everyone eats healthy during this time period will be more important than ever, as you keep the troops together while your baby goes through this time of development and improvement. That’s right, an 11 month sleep regression is often a sign that your baby is going through major developments and a growth spurt. That’s actually a good thing. Your job is to make sure everyone else stays healthy, too.
6. It’s Not Forever
When the 11 month sleep regression hits, everyone will likely feel like this is going to go on forever (or already has). While those feelings are perfectly normal, it’s not true. Your baby’s sleep regression will end, and order will soon return to your household and your sleeping patterns. Before then, it’s likely that you’ll have to work through a few sleepless nights here and there. You might even take a day or two off of work during this period to recoup. Don’t feel bad for this. Many a parent has to slow down a little bit during a baby’s sleep regression. Do what’s healthy for you.
7. Ensure Baby Isn’t Sick
A baby’s pediatrician is often a best friend to babies and worried parents at this time. Make sure that your baby’s newfound sleep pattern is indeed a regression. Don’t just take it for granted. The next appointment they have, you can have a doctor make sure that they’re not sick, and if you’re overly concerned, you can make an appointment immediately. If you’re dealing with an 11 month sleep regression, it’s possible you’ve already lived through a sleep regression before, so you may know the signs of what it looks like. If you have any doubts, talk to your baby’s trusty doctor. It’s what they’re there for.
8. Involve the Entire Household
If you have other children in the household, you can calm them as well and let them know what might be going on. You don’t have to give them a classic rundown of what a sleep regression is and why it’s happening, but you can explain it’s a normal thing, and that order in the household will return soon enough. If they get worn out, or have even been helping you, then they might need a day of rest of play, too. Older siblings are often the most helpful household members during this period, but they need to avoid burnout too, and deserve a special pat on the back if they’re being especially helpful.
9. It May Occur Again
As your 11 month old’s sleep regression subsides, and order is restored, just know that another sleep regression may arise later on. Many babies go through several sleep regression stages during the time they’re growing up. Maybe yours went through several and now you’re just trying to come up with new solutions for this one, or maybe this is the first time you’ve heard of sleep regression. Either way, it’s comforting to know that there are things you can actively do to remedy this situation and make it easier (even if you can’t prevent it altogether).
As a concerned parent, you’re doing the best you can to make sure that your baby’s needs are met, but not at the expense of your own needs or the rest of the family. Partners, siblings, friends, and family can all step in to help you get a few more zzz’s, even if it’s just a nap during the day while they’re visiting. Watching your baby for even a few moments while you can recoup or step away is a Godsend. Never be afraid to reach out to the people who love you for help. It’ll make you better able to help your little one, too.