Sleep regressions are tough. You can go for a stretch of several months with a baby who sleeps through the night, is happy to go down for nap time, and rarely gets upset with being left in the crib, to all of a sudden be dealing with sleepless nights again like you may have done when they were a newborn.
As well as being physically draining for both you and your little one, sleep regressions can take a toll on your mental wellbeing - and it's so much harder looking after your baby when you haven't had a chance to look after yourself.
But there is hope - sleep regressions are only temporary, and we have plenty of advice to help you and your baby snooze happily again through the naps and nights. In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about the 10 month sleep regression, and how you can help your little one get through it without.
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What is the 10-month sleep regression?
A sleep regression is essentially just a period where your baby might struggle to sleep and experience frequent wakeups after a stretch of time where this wasn't an issue.
If you're dealing with a 10 month sleep regression, this likely won't be your first, as sleep regressions at 4 months, 6 months, and 8 months are also common - and remember, you've done it before, so you can do it again!
While stressful, sleep regressions are completely normal for your little one to experience, and can often be a sign that your baby is reaching exciting new developmental milestones.
10-Month sleep regression signs and behaviors
There are of few ways of figuring out whether your little one is in a sleep regression or having a few bad nights of sleep for another reason. Here are some of the most common behaviors associated with the 10 month sleep regression:
- Nighttime and early morning wake ups
- Crying and fussiness at naptime and bedtime
- Less nighttime sleep
- Shorter naps during the daytime
- Talking and trying to move around in their crib
How long do sleep regressions last?
It might feel like a sleep regression lasts forever when you're in the midst of it - but we promise it's only a temporary blip in your baby's sleep patterns. In fact, the 10 month sleep regression typically lasts between 2 and 6 weeks, so it's likely to be over within a month.
However, we understand that a month or more without proper sleep may as well be a year - so we'll be helping you out with some tips to get you and your baby sleeping again once we've gone over what could be causing the regression in the first place.
10-month sleep regression causes
Most sleep regressions are caused by your little one reaching certain milestones developmentally that then keeps them occupied at night. For example, a 10 month old who has just begun to crawl may want to practice this skill when they should be sleeping instead.
Additionally, a 10 month old is emotionally developed enough to be experiencing some separation anxiety, as they are more aware of when you aren't in the room, and that you may not be returning for some time. They may even be kept awake by teething pain - though most of us don't remember this pain ourselves, it's safe to say that it's no fun for your little one when they just want some rest!
What to do: how parents can help
Thankfully, you don’t just have to wait idly by for the sleep regression to pass - there are lots of tips that you can try out to mitigate it, and to get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night again.
- Have a consistent bedtime routine - Consistency is the most valuable tool you have in your box when it comes to sleep regression. Though it might feel like a chaotic time, keeping your baby's sleep schedule and bedtime routine as regular as you can will help to create positive sleep associations.
- Let them practice new skills during awake time - As we said before, a sleep regression often comes about because your baby has learned a new skill that they want to try out. By ensuring they have plenty of opportunities during the day to roll, crawl, and talk to you, your baby will be less inclined to do it at bedtime.
- Try our Zen Sleepwear - For babies with separation anxiety, or who just need a little comfort through their regression, our sleepwear like our Zen Sack is perfect. Gently weighted to mimic your calming touch, this wearable blanket makes your little one feel secure and snug as they drift off to sleep, and promotes self-soothing after wakeups.
- Use a sleep training method - If you haven't started to sleep train your baby already, now would be a great time to start. Just make sure that whichever method you choose - whether it's the Ferber Method, Cry It Out, or anything else - you stay consistent with it.
- Create a calm sleep space - Understandably, your baby might find it more difficult to get to sleep if light is coming into the room or if they can hear street noise outside. To combat this, you can try blackout blinds and a (baby safe) white noise machine to create a quiet and peaceful atmosphere for sleep in your baby's room.
- Reduce your number of naps - If your baby is still having 3 naps per day, it might be time to reduce that down to 2. While consistency is important, your baby may be struggling to fall asleep at night because they're sleeping too much in the day.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help - Sleep regressions can take a toll on your physical and mental health, and it's important that you have friends and family who can help to share the burden. Whether that means asking your partner to take more night shifts or having a friend come over and watch your baby while you have a quick nap, make sure that you're taking care of yourself too.
Sleep needs for 10-month olds
At 10 months old, your little one will need between 11 and 14 hours of sleep in a 24 hour cycle, including both nighttime sleep and naps during the day. For example, your baby might have 2 naps that are 90 minutes long during the day, then sleep for 10 hours at night - but this is just one example, and the sleep schedule should suit you and your baby's needs and preferences.
Remember, it's much more important for your baby to get the amount of sleep they need than to sleep on the same schedule as other babies or to perfectly follow an ideal schedule you designed before the regression started.
10 Month Sleep regression survival tips
Still looking for a few sleep regression survival tips? Here are some tricks to help you and your little one weather the sleepless storm.
- If your baby is being kept up by pain and discomfort caused by teething, try putting a teething ring in the fridge (not the freezer) so they have something cool and soothing to suck on before sleep
- Put your baby into their crib when they're drowsy rather than waiting until they've fallen asleep by reading sleep cues like yawning or blinking more frequently, as this gives them an opportunity to learn how to self soothe
- Create a soothing bedtime routine for your little one with a bath, storytime, and some cuddles to help them wind down
10 month sleep regression: mom hack!
'Parents of babies and toddlers will do almost anything to get their kids to sleep. Stand on my head while singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" backwards? You got it. For my daughter Ellie, one thing that always seems to do the trick is gently patting her back.
I have no problem rubbing and patting her back to comfort her, but it becomes a problem when her eyes would pop wide open the second I take my hand away. Before I had the Nested Bean Zen Sleep Sack, I would keep my hand on her back until I was sure she was asleep, then I would very, very slowly lift my hand off her back so she wouldn't notice the difference. It was a time consuming and exhausting process.
When I decided to try the Nested Bean Zen Sleep Sack, it made putting Ellie to bed so much easier. The Zen Sack has a very light weight made out of non-toxic poly-beads that actually mimics the feeling of my hand on her back. Gone are the days of hovering and patting until I'm sure she's completely asleep.'
- Alicia Betz, Insider
10 month sleep regression Takeaway
We understand how hard it can be when your baby isn't falling asleep - but we also know that this won't last for long, and that you and your baby can make it through this tricky time.
If you follow our tips, make sure you have support in the form of friends and family, and remember that this is only temporary, we know you can both get the rest you need and enjoy sleeping through the night again - you've got this!