Sleep regressions are tough - not only is your baby not getting enough sleep, but neither are you, and the more sleep-deprived you are, the less happy and healthy you all become.
But if there's one thing that makes sleep regressions worse, it's reading horror stories about them being never-ending from random sources online that you can't verify, or hearing unwanted advice from a friend of a friend that this (somehow) could have been prevented.
That's why we're here to clear up some of the myths that surround the six month sleep regression and give you some great tips to get you and your baby sleeping soundly again.
Wait…is there a 6 month sleep regression? And if so, how long does 6 month sleep regression last? These are just a few of the many questions we’ll address in this guide to navigating the six month sleep regression.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll feel more confident in how to handle sleep regressions with grace so you and your baby can both sleep soundly. Let’s not waste any time - is sleep regression at 6 months common?
Is There a 6 Month Sleep Regression?
First things first…is there a 6 month sleep regression you should prepare for? Or, if you’re currently at the six month mark and your child won’t sleep, perhaps you’re wondering if this could be the culprit.
The answer is yes - there is a 6 month sleep regression. While it won’t plague every parent, it’s a very common sleep regression to account for. That being said, you should know the sleep regression signs so you can differentiate between the six month sleep regression and other potential reasons your baby won’t sleep.
The six month sleep regression is a period of disrupted and inconsistent sleep your baby may experience at around 6 months after a period of consistent sleep patterns and habits. You may find that your baby is fighting sleep, waking up in the night more frequently, and causing you to miss out on sleep too!
Six month sleep regression myths vs Reality
We know that an infant sleep regression can take a toll on the whole family, so we’re setting the record straight on five common misconceptions about the six month sleep regression.
Baby Sleep Myths & Truth
All babies should sleep through the night by
4 months old.
4 months is often the time that a
baby may be physically able to sleep through
the night, but many babies need a night feed
until around 6 months, if bottle fed, or 9
months, if nursed. Not all babies are the
My baby deserves that I get up with him each
time he cries.
Babies deserve the gift of sleeping
well. By teaching them how to fall asleep and
back to sleep on their own, you enable them to
avoid sleep problems that can go into their
childhood and adulthood.
My baby wakes several times through the
night because he's hungry.
If your baby is over 4 months and
wakes several times through the night, it's
probably not because of hunger. It's because
he needs better ways of falling back asleep.
I'll wait until my baby is a toddler to help them
With toddlers come increased
persistence. Working on your baby's sleep
sooner rather than later can help avoid habits
that are really hard to break.
If I get my baby tired enough, she will sleep
through the night, or take a long nap.
Over-tiredness actually causes
difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying
asleep, and increased waking in the early
A baby will sleep through the night when they
reach a certain weight, such as 12 pounds.
Sleeping through the night
depends on the development of a baby's nervous
system AND the ability to learn how to fall back
asleep without help. A baby could be 12 or 15
pounds, and these things still may not occur.
My baby should never cry during the night.
A little fussing or crying between
sleep cycles is very common. When a baby
knows how to sleep, they simply go into their
next sleep cycle. Many babies can learn this
skill using gentle sleep coaching methods.
Babies wake because they are breastfed.
Infants wake because their
nervous system is still immature and incapable
of sleeping through the night. Older babies
wake because they are unable to soothe.
My baby is happy and does not need to nap.
Babies and toddlers compensate
tiredness by appearing even more alert.
Myth: Every baby has a 6-month sleep regression.
Almost all babies go through sleep regressions, and this sleep regression at 6 months is especially common. However, regressions are often associated with developmental leaps, so they’re more associated with the developmental stages than a specific age.
So, this sleep snafu can occur anywhere between 5 and 7 months of age, not just at the six month mark, despite usually being called the six month sleep regression.
Myth: By 6 months my baby should sleep through the night.
About 38% of 6 month old babies don’t sleep for what is considered a full night, or six hours plus, without the occasional wake-up. And even at twelve months, about 28% of babies still have not reached that coveted sleeping through the night milestone.
So, take comfort in the fact that you’re in the good company of many other parents who have to navigate this shortage of baby sleep with their little ones. Learn about the signs baby will sleep through the night in our blog.
Myth: I can prevent the 6 month old sleep regression altogether.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to control how your growing little one reacts to the growth and development that comes along at this age.
But, the good news is, you can help ease its effects by preparing for inevitable sleep hurdles. Even something as simple as a consistent newborn bedtime routine can help set your baby up for success in sleep training and healthy sleep habits in the future.
Myth: My baby’s sleep schedule will never be the same.
Sleep regressions don’t last forever! Typically a baby's sleep regression will last two to six weeks. By using some simple strategies to aid your baby in their growth journey, you’ll get over the hump sooner than later.
As we mentioned, a sleep regression is normally a result of your baby developing in some way — whether they’re learning to sit up, crawl, or chew. So, a pro tip is to help your baby practice their new skill a lot (like a lot, a lot) during the daytime, so when it’s time for bed they're ready to rest.
If you're finding that your baby is still not sleeping soundly after a couple of months, you may want to seek medical advice from your baby's pediatrician to rule out any other problems.
Myth: I should do whatever it takes to comfort my baby while they’re restless.
Routine for our little ones is always crucial and that is especially true during a sleep regression for a couple of major reasons.
First of all, a steadfast bedtime routine helps signal to your baby when it's time to start getting sleepy. This day-after-day routine may help you kick the 6-month sleep regression faster.
Second, you don’t want to foster bad habits. It’s completely okay to give extra snuggles and comfort, but it’s also important to maintain some sense of normalcy to avoid developing sleep associations with things like nursing or rocking.
This is to avoid letting your baby become dependent on those things to fall asleep after a night waking and worsening any separation anxiety they may be developing naturally at this age.
A great way to set your baby up to successfully self-soothe through any sleep regression is to use gently weighted Zen Sleepwear to mimic your touch, so they can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Zen Sleepwear: a mom hack for dealing with the six month sleep regression!
'So far SO GOOD! We have used the sleep sack for the last 3 nights now, the first night we saw improvement but the second and third he slept through the night! We had him sleeping through the night before but since his 4 month sleep regression we have been struggling to get him back to that, this sleep sack has helped tremendously. He is now 6 months and back to sleeping through the night thanks to this sleep sack!'
- Abbie C., Zen Sack review
Tips for Dealing With the 6 Month Old Sleep Regression
Here are a few quick tips to get your baby sleeping again during the six month sleep regression:
- Create the right sleep atmosphere - if you live in a busy city with bright lights and loud noises, you can try using blackout blinds and a (baby safe) white noise machine to keep a tranquil feeling in your little one's sleep space.
- Keep up your sleep schedule - panicking and changing up your little one's schedule is likely to just confuse them, and won't solve the root causes of the sleep regression. Instead, you should stick to your routine to give your baby a sense of familiarity.
- Put baby to bed when drowsy, not asleep - putting your baby down in their crib when they're drowsy encourages them to learn how to self soothe, even if it's only for a minute or so before they're completely fast asleep!
- Try sleepwear like our Zen Sack - gently weighted to mimic your soothing touch, this wearable blanket is suitable for 6-month-olds and can help them learn to self-soothe - ideal for sleep training! Learn more about the benefits of sleep sacks in our blog, and see firsthand what makes our weighted sleep sack so great.
- Play during awake time - if your baby isn't sleeping because they want to practice a new milestone skill at night, give them plenty of time to try it out during the day instead.
Common Sleep needs for 6-month olds
At the 6 month mark, your baby will be needing between 12 and 15 hours sleep per day - this is referring to both naps and bedtime, not just nighttime sleep alone.
For example, you could have 2 naps a day that are 2 hours long each and 8 hours of sleep at night, or 2 naps that are 3 hours long and 7 hours of nighttime sleep - whatever schedule works best for you and your baby.
If your baby is going through the 6 month regression, don't be too tempted to change up the schedule right away, as consistent sleep schedules are the key to getting your little one's sleep back on track.
Don't worry if your child's sleep routine doesn't exactly match someone else's for their baby of the same age - every baby is unique, and different families have different needs to meet. As long as they're getting all the sleep they need in a day, you've got this!
Learn more about how much a newborn sleeps in our blog. We have guides on the typical 6 month old sleep schedule, 6 month old wake window, and more. But let’s get to a key question on every parent’s mind as they suffer through the sleep regression 6 months babies deal with: how long does 6 month sleep regression last?
How Long Does 6 Month Sleep Regression Last?
One of the most common questions parents have about the 6-month sleep regression is, understandably, how long does 6 month sleep regression last?
While it's difficult to provide an exact timeline that fits every baby, most experts agree that the 6-month sleep regression typically lasts between two to six weeks.
This period can vary based on numerous factors such as your baby's temperament, any new developmental milestones they're reaching, and external factors like changes in their routine or environment.
Factors That Can Extend the Regression
- Teething: As mentioned earlier, teething can exacerbate sleep issues. If your baby is teething, this period might last a little longer.
- Illness: Babies are more susceptible to catching minor colds or viruses, which can throw off their sleep even more during a regression.
- Changes in Routine: Any significant change like starting daycare, a parent returning to work, or even a family trip can extend the period of sleep regression.
- Introduction of Solids: Some babies might experience digestive discomfort when they begin eating solid foods, which can disrupt sleep patterns further.
Signs The Regression Is Ending
You know you’re nearing the end of this challenging period when:
- Your Baby Starts Adapting to New Skills: As your baby gets more comfortable with their newfound developmental skills like sitting up or crawling, they're less likely to practice these in the middle of the night.
- Decreased Night Wakings: You may notice that your baby starts to wake up less frequently during the night and finds it easier to go back to sleep without intervention.
- Increased Daytime Alertness: Improved sleep usually leads to a happier, more alert baby during daytime hours.
- Return to Previous Sleep Patterns: If your baby had a fairly consistent sleep routine before the regression started, a return to this pattern is a clear sign things are getting back to normal.
If you find that your baby's sleep regression lasts longer than six weeks, or if you observe signs of illness or extreme discomfort, consult your pediatrician. Long-lasting sleep issues could be an indicator of other medical conditions that may require attention, such as sleep apnea or allergies.
Is it 6 month sleep regression or teething?
Though you might consider these two things separate, teething is actually a factor that can contribute to your baby having a sleep regression.
Regardless, a few ways to see if teething pains are to blame for a lack of nighttime sleep is to check for symptoms such as a flushed cheek, a high temperature, or red and sore gums.
If this is the case, you can try remedies like rubbing a wet finger gently on their gums, or giving them a teething toy that has been cooled in the fridge (not frozen).
Hopefully, you can start to get your baby's sleep back on track with these tricks! We have a detailed guide on home remedies for teething baby at night if you’d like guidance navigating this troublesome time. And with that said, it’s time we wrap up this guide to the sleep regression 6 months babies commonly face.
Key Takeaways From Our Conversation on the Sleep Regression 6 Months Babies Commonly Face
The six month sleep regression isn't a walk in the park, but with the right knowledge - and maybe some Zen Sleepwear - you'll find this period of your baby's sleep much easier to navigate. So stick with the facts, maintain a consistent bedtime routine, and we know that you'll do great!
Learn about the other common sleep regressions, including 8 week sleep regression, 4 month sleep regression, 8 month sleep regression, 10 month sleep regression, 18 month old sleep regression, 4 year old sleep regression.
We also have great resources on dealing with your baby fighting sleep, how to get 5 month old to sleep through the night, when should kids stop taking naps, how to get newborn to sleep, baby separation anxiety, how to sleep train, why your newborn won't sleep unless held, how to hold a baby, and more.
Remember - sleep regressions are only temporary, and you're doing a great job! To help your child get a good night’s sleep, invest in the premier weighted sleepwear online at Nested Bean. Our bamboo sleep sacks and winter sleep sacks are must-haves in your arsenal. But, we also offer weighted newborn swaddles, zipper swaddles, bamboo swaddles, and transitional swaddles.
Learn about the difference between a sleep sack vs swaddle and see which is right for you in your parenthood journey. Then, conquer the 6 month sleep regression with confidence and grace - you and your child both deserve a good night’s sleep, after all!