Sleep, an essential element for the growth and development of your child, can sometimes be a challenging aspect of parenting. This is especially true when your child hits the 15-month mark, and you find yourself dealing with the dreaded 15-month sleep regression.
Understanding 15-Month Sleep Regression
Sleep regression is a period when a child who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking up at night and has difficulty falling asleep or taking shorter naps. The 15-month sleep regression is unique as it’s not tied to developmental milestones like other sleep regressions. Instead, it occurs because toddlers are changing their schedule, often transitioning from two naps to one.
Signs of 15-Month Sleep Regression
Your child may be experiencing the 15-month sleep regression if they suddenly resist falling asleep at bedtime, wake up frequently at night, start fighting naps, or wake up early in the morning before 6:00am. They may also appear more fussy, irritable, or clingy than usual.
Causes of 15-Month Sleep Regression
Several factors can trigger the 15-month sleep regression. Teething, particularly the emergence of the first molars, can cause discomfort that disrupts sleep. Motor leaps such as mastering walking can also interrupt nighttime sleep. Additionally, your child may be testing boundaries, manifesting as a desire for parental presence at bedtime.
Dealing with 15-Month Sleep Regression
Extend Wake Times
One strategy to combat sleep regression is to extend your child’s wake times by 15 minutes. This helps them feel ready for sleep and can make the transition to sleep smoother.
At around 15 months, your child may be going through several developmental milestones that could be affecting their sleep. For instance, they might be learning to walk, starting to use more words, or mastering the use of utensils. These exciting developments can sometimes make it hard for them to wind down and go to sleep.
For example, if your child is learning to walk, they might want to practice this new skill instead of going to bed. To address this, you could set aside some time during the day specifically for your child to practice walking. This way, they won’t feel the need to practice at bedtime.
Maintain Consistent Routines
A consistent bedtime routine could look something like this:
- Dinner at 6:00 PM
- Playtime until 6:30 PM
- Bath time at 6:30 PM
- Storytime at 7:00 PM
- Bedtime at 7:30 PM
By sticking to this routine every day, your child will know what to expect and will be less likely to resist going to bed. It’s also important to maintain a consistent nap schedule during the day. If your child is transitioning from two naps to one, try to make this transition gradually and at a consistent time each day.
Avoid Unwanted Habits
When your child is going through a sleep regression, it can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get them to sleep. This might include rocking them to sleep, letting them sleep in your bed, or giving them a bottle to soothe them back to sleep in the middle of the night.
While these strategies might work in the short term, they can lead to unwanted habits in the long term. For example, if you rock your child to sleep every night during the sleep regression, they might start to depend on this to fall asleep even after the regression is over.
Instead, try to soothe your child in their own bed and encourage them to fall asleep on their own. This might be challenging at first, but it will help them develop better sleep habits in the long run.
When your child cries in the crib, check in briefly at set times to offer reassurance that it’s time to sleep.
Sleep Training Help
Here are some resources that can be helpful during sleep training:
- Books: There are several books available that provide comprehensive guides to sleep training. Some popular options include “The No-Cry Sleep Solution” by Elizabeth Pantley, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Dr. Marc Weissbluth, and “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” by Dr. Richard Ferber.
- Online Guides: Websites like Baby Sleep Site and Precious Little Sleep offer free articles and guides on various sleep training methods. They also provide personalized sleep plans for a fee.
- Apps: Apps like Huckleberry and Baby Sleep Pro provide sleep-tracking features and personalized advice based on your child’s sleep patterns.
- Pediatric Sleep Consultants: If you’re struggling with sleep training, consider seeking help from a certified pediatric sleep consultant. They can provide personalized advice and support based on your child’s specific needs. The International Association of Child Sleep Consultants has a directory of certified consultants.
- Parenting Forums: Online communities like BabyCenter and Reddit have active forums where parents share their experiences and tips about sleep training. These can be a great source of support and advice.
- Pediatrician: Your child’s pediatrician can provide guidance and rule out any medical issues that could be affecting your child’s sleep.
Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It may take some trial and error to find the right sleep training method for your child.
Helpful Apps for 15-Month Sleep Regression
In the digital age, there are numerous apps designed to assist parents during the 15-month sleep regression. These apps provide resources, tools, and personalized plans to help establish healthy sleep habits for your child. Here are a few that you might find helpful:
- Huckleberry: This app is renowned for its SweetSpot nap predictor, which can help you determine the best times for your child to nap. It also offers sleep tracking and analysis features to help you understand your child’s sleep patterns better.
- Baby Sleep Site: This app provides comprehensive guides and personalized sleep plans to help your child sleep better. It’s like having a sleep consultant in your pocket.
- The Wonder Weeks: This app helps you track your child’s mental development and alerts you to upcoming “leaps” or regressions, which can affect sleep.
- Sleepy Sounds: This app offers a range of soothing sounds, lullabies, and white noise to help your child fall asleep.
- Baby Sleep – White Noise: This app provides a variety of white noise sounds that can help soothe your child to sleep.
In conclusion, while the 15-month sleep regression can be a challenging time for both parents and toddlers, it’s important to remember that it’s a temporary phase. With patience, consistency, the right strategies, and the aid of these helpful apps, you can guide your child through this period and establish healthy sleep habits.
✒ Last Updated: November 14, 2023
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