14 Month Sleep Regression
When your 14 month old baby enters a sleep regression stage, they’re usually in the middle of a major developmental change. Their brains are developing in a major way, and it typically disrupts their sleep cycle. While these major developmental changes are a terrific thing, and a sign that your baby is at some points getting into a deeper sleep cycle just like you, it’s also bad news for parents when that 14 month sleep regression stage hits. You’ll immediately notices some changes:
- Frequently waking during the night
- Shorter naps
- Changes in how often and how much they eat
- Greater antsiness
Sleep patterns go haywire during the 14 month sleep regression. You at some point thought your little one had gotten on a nighttime sleep schedule and all was well within your household. The little one was sleeping and so were you. Now you’re experiencing many nights of up and down activity taking care of a fussy near-toddler who seems to sleep like they’re 2 months old again. What happened? Well, as the major developmental changes take place, things go haywire somewhere, and your baby begins sleeping like they’re younger again. And now you’re reverting back to rocking them to sleep again. It’s havoc in the household, especially if you have other children.
An antsy baby makes for a frustrated parent. One of the first things that you’ll experience during the 14 month sleep regression is a lack of sleep on your own and general panic over what to do. If you’re experiencing that familiar to some parents already panic during a sleep regression stage, don’t feel alone. You’re possibly living through another sleep regression or this might be your first one. Whatever the circumstances, there are a few things you can do to combat this unpleasant situation.
1. Darkness Is Your Best Friend
When your baby is in a 14 month sleep regression, darkness is going to be one of your best ways to combat the problem. If your baby’s room has any light whatsoever creeping into it, it’s highly likely that the light may sometimes activate their rapidly developing brain. Make sure to grab a pair of room darkening blinds or black out all light as much as possible. As your baby is in a room that’s darker, they may be more likely to sleep through the night. While this won’t work for all 14 month olds – some may be afraid of the dark at this point – it will certainly work sometimes for those who haven’t developed a fear of darkness yet.
2. Drowsy Bedtimes
If darkening the room doesn’t solve your problem at all or very often, you might try putting your baby to bed when they’re drowsy instead of asleep. By doing this, you’re allowing your baby to learn better how to fall asleep on their own. Drowsiness is the natural precursor to sleep, so sometimes this works very well for them. Rocking baby gently to a state of drowsiness and then letting them fall asleep on their own encourages healthy and independent sleeping habits that will help them in future sleep regressions, too, not just the 14 month sleep regression. Keep in mind, this strategy simply won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.
3. Sound Machines
Sound machines that put out white noise or other soothing sleep time sounds can work wonders for a 14 month sleep regression. Your baby’s chief loves in life right now are you and other members of the family. When they can still hear commotion in other parts of the house, and the sound of your voice, it’s likely that this may cause them to stir during the night. When you grab a sound machine, you’re allowing your baby to forget that you, and other members of the household, exist for awhile, at least while they’re trying to sleep. Loud crashing sounds will also fall away in oblivion, as the only sounds your baby hears will be white noise or other soothing sounds.
4. Earlier Bedtimes
Your baby’s nap times will usually be out of whack during a 14 month sleep regression as well. Since the nap times are out of whack, your baby may get sleep earlier than usual, and you can sometimes encourage an earlier bedtime with a “dream feeding” and a quick drowsy put down. Don’t expect this to work like magic all the time, but if you’ve tried everything else and your little one still seems to be suffering mightily from a 14 month sleep regression, it might be time to switch things up and go to an earlier bedtime for good measure. If they respond even a few nights of the week, it’ll be a relief for the entire family.
5. Feed Freely
A baby in a 14 month sleep regression is likely going to suffer from a huge bout of hunger as well. They’ll eat more often and even at odd times of the day or night, and you should be open-minded to these extra feedings. Make sure that they’re not overeating to the point of a health crisis, but if they’re hungrier than usual, don’t give it a second thought. A hungry baby is a baby that’s waking you up in the middle of the night, so throwing out a larger dose of formula or breastmilk right around bedtime or when they wake may even keep them asleep longer during those long, grueling nights for you. It’s okay. They’re changing.
6. More Than It Seems
If you’ve lived through prior sleep regressions, you know what the deal is. If you haven’t, you’re weathering an entirely new storm and might be about to crack. Take a deep breath, realize that this is all actually more natural than it seems, and get ready to continue to combat the 14 month sleep regression. Your baby is sleeping like a newborn again, and it’s time for you to brush up on all those old skills you had back in the old days. Above all, your baby needs you healthy and patient during this trying time. They’re going through a lot, too, and they don’t know that you have work the next day. They’re just trying to get their needs met.
7. Ask for Help
Parents experiencing a 14 month old sleep regression should be entirely prepared to ask for help from partners, friends, and family who are willing to help. If you have a particularly trying time at work ahead, you may need a friend to spend a night or two with you to handle these new feeding times and waking times. Nap times will prove challenging to any caregivers as well, but even a friend willing to help during the day in order to let you get a snooze or bout of rest is going to be a Godsend at this point.
8. Pediatric Advice
If you’re noticing that your 14 month old sleep regression tips aren’t working at all, it might be time to discuss things with your pediatrician and see if anything else might be wrong. While no “tips” are going to work all the time, they should at least work from time to time so that you can get a bit of a break during this waking nightmare (literally). And remember, your baby’s checkups may be scheduled anyway, so making sure no illness is causing the new sleep patterns is imperative as well.
A 14 month sleep regression is discouraging, but it’s not going to last forever. Finding ways to cope with it within your own life will be a tremendous help, as will be the volunteered services of family and friends who want to make sure that you don’t get too burned out. Speaking to your own doctor about the matter, making sure you eat enough, and making sure you do get those relieving rest periods will also be a great help do you during this difficult time. With any luck, the 14 month sleep regression will end here soon, and you’ll have a happily sleeping baby throughout the night again very soon. For now, it’s time to weather the storm.