2 Month Sleep Regression
When your child is around eight weeks-old, you will get to experience 2 month sleep regression. Welcome to the club!
Sleep regression occurs when a child who may have actually been sleeping okay suddenly doesn’t want to sleep or wakes up often. You will already be so sleep deprived those first eight weeks that the 2 month sleep regression can feel like a real slap in the face.
Luckily, there are ways to survive it. You need to know what to do, what not to do, and why your baby is suddenly the party-all-night type.
What Sleep Regression Looks Like:
- An obviously exhausted baby who won’t sleep
- A baby who can’t soothe himself back to sleep
- Clingy, needy behavior
- No consistent sleep pattern
When you start to see the signs of the 2 month sleep regression, these are the dos and don’ts to stick with until it passes.
Avoid Extreme Sleep Training
It’s tempting to grab a book or follow instructions on a website that tell you all you need to do is let your baby scream his head off all night to cure sleep issues. This is not wise with a two month-old for a variety of reasons.
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Your child will still wake up at night to eat, receive a diaper change, and cuddle. All of this is normal. When the 2 month sleep regression sets in, it can feel like this behavior goes into overdrive and that nothing soothes your child, but leaving him alone to wail in the crib is not the way.
Babies can’t be spoiled because their parents love them and check in too much. Your child is also not able to manipulate you at 2 months old. He just doesn’t have the skill set for that task. If he’s crying or upset when sleep time comes around, he is legitimately reaching out for your help because that’s what he is programmed to do.
While it’s fine to start gently getting a baby to self-soothe and put himself back to sleep at some point, a two month old is too young for the kind of cry-it-out approach that some people advocate. In fact, that’s not great for any baby, but especially a child who is so young and already struggling through 2 month sleep regression.
Put the Baby Down Drowsy
While hard-core sleep training is a no the first two months of a child’s life, you can still put your child to bed drowsy. A child who falls asleep in your arms is going to notice the shift to the crib. This can cause him to wake up, and if he’s going through 2 month sleep regression, he’s going to have a very hard time getting back to sleep.
Place your child in his crib very drowsy but not fully asleep. Let him figure out how to go to sleep on his own as long as he’s not in distress. The hope is that if he wakes up often due to sleep regression, he will know how to fall back to sleep without waking up the entire household first.
Check the Food Source
It’s normal for a child to go through 2 month sleep regression, but it’s still wise to make sure other factors don’t exacerbate the issue. Problems with food can definitely make sleep regression worse.
Breastfeeding moms need to make sure they are producing enough milk and feeding their child often. He will eat often and needs all the nutrients from the milk to develop.
Moms who use formula should see if their child is having a reaction right after every meal. If so, it may be worth switching formula or talking to the pediatrician about possible solutions.
It’s also possible for spicy foods that pass through mom’s breast milk to upset the baby. A child who has a particularly hard time sleeping after mom eats a spicy taco may have an upset stomach.
Make sure your child is growing properly, and if you have concerns, see the pediatrician. If your child isn’t getting enough food or isn’t absorbing it for some reason, he can have a ton of problems attached to that issue.
Don’t Ditch the Routine
Bath time, story time, and cuddle time can start to feel a bit absurd when you realize they are not going to be followed by sleep time. Two month sleep regression means the same routine that might have worked well before suddenly does nothing. Still, don’t abandon the routine.
Babies need routines, even if results vary. The 2 month sleep regression will throw everything out of sorts, but a nap and bedtime routine are still important and should be followed. Routines help your child understand patterns and give him some calm in the face of massive changes in his brain and body.
When the 2 month sleep regression ends, you won’t regret staying the course since your child will suddenly respond to the routine positively, just like before.
Expect Night Feedings
Night feedings are not a sign of sleep regression. Sure, if your child is waking up to feed all the time, that may have to do with sleep regression. However, a two month-old is not going to get through an entire night without one or two feedings.
Don’t refuse to feed your child at night in the hopes that he will fall back to sleep. This can lead to failure to thrive which occurs when a child doesn’t hit physical and mental markers at the right time and begins to struggle.
Refusing to feed a child at night won’t make the 2 month sleep regression end sooner. It will just add more problems to the mix. Have the bottle or the breast ready to go at night.
Check for Teeth
How can such a tiny human being have teeth? While it doesn’t always happen, it is possible for a child as young as two months old to be teething. This process is not comfortable, and your child will show you signs.
Signs of Teething in a Young Child
- Constant need to bite or gnaw on things
- Disrupted sleep
The two month sleep regression and teething can overlap, and that creates a special kind of crazy around naps or bed time. Talk to your pediatrician about age-appropriate ways to soothe the pain of teething. Also, give your child a ton of grace. The process is painful.
Don’t Try Stomach Sleep
At least one well-meaning person has already told you that babies used to sleep on their stomachs and it was fine. Research now says it’s not, so don’t let your child stomach sleep during the 2 month sleep regression in hopes that it will solve the problem.
It’s true that babies like to sleep on their stomachs, even when they shouldn’t. Many try to roll over at night, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. A child can suffocate if he sleeps on his stomach and somehow gets his head in a position where he can’t get enough air. Since it can be hard for a child to roll from his stomach back to his back, he’ll be stuck in that position.
Sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) has also reduced since parents started putting kids to sleep on their backs. While researchers aren’t sure of the exact connection between a child sleeping on his back and a lower SIDS risk, the decrease can’t be ignored.
The 2 month sleep regression will pass, so don’t make any rash decisions that put your child at risk.
It is possible to endure 2 month sleep regression. Know that this phase will pass and your child will sleep better in the future. Until then, do what you can to survive.