15 Month Sleep Regression: Why It Happens and How to Get Through It

Babies and toddlers go through several sleep regressions during the first two years. Just when you thought your baby would sleep through the night and take great naps, another sleep regression seems to hit. During one of these exhausting time periods, your baby will wake frequently at night, wake too early for the day, and/or take short naps. In this post, I’ll discuss the 15 month sleep regression, explain why it happens, and give you tips to get through it based on over years’ experience as a sleep consultant.

What is a Sleep Regression?

During a sleep regression that lasts an average of 3 to 6 weeks, a baby or toddler who was sleeping fine suddenly starts waking at night, taking short naps, and/or skipping naps for no apparent reason. Typically, these time periods start without warning and leave parents exhausted and confused. The good news is that it means your baby is developing properly and if you handle them properly, they don’t have to last forever. Sleep regressions happen around 4 months old, 6 months old, 8 to 10 months old, 11-12 months, 15 months, 18 months, and 2 years old.

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15 Month Sleep Regression: How Is It Different?

Most sleep regressions happen during developmental milestones. However, the 15-month sleep regression isn’t a change in how a baby sleeps like the 4-month sleep regresson. And, although some toddlers start walking around this age, it’s not as much tied to developmental milestones as the 8-10 month sleep regression.

At 15 months old, this regression typically occurs because your toddler is likely changing their schedule. This is especially true if they’ve already been walking for a while. My older son started walking around 11 months old, for example. When a toddler first starts walking, it can be exhausting. But, once they’re up and running (literally!), their schedule often changes.

How to Get Through the 15 Month Sleep Regression

If your toddler is struggling with the 15-month sleep regression, there are a few ways to get through it. Here are my tips:

  • Increase Wake Windows – If you’re still using a typical 12-month old schedule, consider increasing your baby’s wake windows to 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Although it might feel like there’s not much different month-to-month, schedules can change quickly. Check out our toddler schedules by month here. Also, keep in mind if your toddler is still taking two naps, nighttime sleep could decrease down to 10 to 10 1/2 hours. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad schedule. You might simply need to shift it forward by an hour or so.
  • Increase Solid Food – Active toddlers who are also growing at lightning speeds have very fast metabolisms. I know many of us worry about healthy weights for our children but keep in mind that it can feel like your toddler is eating more than you are on a regular basis! Be sure to offer three solid meals plus 2-3 snacks AND 16-20 oz of milk a day. Your toddler will indicate when they are done with their meal by signaling or refusing to eat. Toddlers also tend to graze a lot. You’d be surprised how often we figure out a toddler is hungry at night and that’s why they are waking up!
  • Promote Independent Play – Separation anxiety has peaks and valleys throughout childhood so if your toddler is exhibiting uneasiness, be sure to promote independent play throughout the day. If you are only separating from your toddler at night, this can have negative consequences. Try leaving the room during the day for short durations so you can show them you always come back.
  • Transition to One Nap – If your toddler is already awake 3 1/2 to 4 hours between naps and waking frequently at night or for a long period of time in the middle of the night, it might be time to transition to one nap altogether. Transitioning from two naps to one nap can be bumpy but within 2-3 weeks, your toddler should be sleeping much better at night.

Can I Do Sleep Training?

What about sleep training? Keep in mind that sleep training is NOT the answer to every sleep problem! There are many reasons babies and toddlers wake up at night. If you do sleep training such as Ferber or Cry It Out, you run the risk of having long periods of crying without success.

However, if your baby or toddler has always been a troubled sleeper, adding sleep training into the above-mentioned tips can help your child sleep through the night.

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Why Baby is Very Fussy at 3 Months: 3 Reasons and 3 Tips

Very fussy 3 month old babyIf your baby is very fussy at 3 months old, you might dread the days. You are likely tired and frustrated trying to make your baby happy all day. If this describes you, this is common and there are three primary reasons this occurs. This post will share these 3 reasons and give you 3 tips to get through this frustrating stage based on 10+ years of experience as a sleep consultant.

Baby Very Fussy at 3 Months From a Growth Spurt

Growth spurts are common throughout the first year. They tend to occur around 7-10 days old, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks (or 3 months), 4 months, 6 months, 8 1/2 months, 10 1/2 months, and 12 1/2 months old. Of course, every baby grows and develops on their unique timeline so you can’t expect them to start and end at the exact age but these are the average ages.

During a growth spurt, your baby is likely to be fussy for one major reason: hunger! Babies going through growth spurts typically get hungry very often to the point you feel like you are feeding them all day and night!

Babies going through a growth spurt also sleep a lot. They tend to get tired very quickly, take longer naps, and go to bed earlier.

Growth spurts last around 3-4 days to a week and once they are over, your baby’s fussiness should lessen.

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Sleep Regression and Developmental Leap

If your baby is very fussy at 3 months old and it comes on suddenly, they could also be going through a developmental leap. At 3 months old, many babies are becoming smoother with their physical movements and become more active. They might start rolling in one direction, from back to front, or from front to back. These developmental milestones can make your baby fussy.

In addition, this is a common age for babies to start breaking out of the swaddle. It’s a common time to stop swaddling.

During many developmental milestones, babies go through a sleep regression. During a sleep regression, your baby is likely waking frequently at night and taking short naps. The sleep regression around this time is the 4-month sleep regression. Some babies start this regression at 3 months old and the 4-month sleep regression lasts 3 to 4 weeks at its peak.

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Illness Leads to Very Fussy Babies at 3 Months

When you have a newborn, you typically keep visitors to a minimum to make sure no one unknowingly gives your baby a cold. However, eventually, you want more visitors and to get out of the house. So, a common reason for babies to be very fussy at 3 months is due to illness. It’s typically a cold though almost all children get RSV at least once in their first two years. My son got RSV within the first 3 months of his life, too.

In addition to viruses, if your baby is very fussy, you might consider if they have GERD or Infant Reflux. Taking a trip to the doctor might be in order as this is a very common condition diagnosed, now. And, if your baby is on medication, we have found that sometimes the dosage needs to be adjusted around this age. Babies grow very fast these first few months!

Also, if your baby has experienced colic, this is a common age for it to end. However, some babies don’t stop until closer to 4 months old.

What about teething?

Generally, teething doesn’t start until after 5 months old even if your baby is drooling. This is NOT as likely causing your baby’s fussiness.

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3 Tips to Get Through This Fussy Period

Assuming you’ve ruled out any health issues with your baby’s doctor, there are ways to get through this frustrating stage with your 3-month-old:

Feed Your Baby

This might seem like a no-brainer but we see some parents who are very rigid with their baby’s schedule. For example, those following 12 Hours by 12 Weeks will feed their baby only every 4 hours. During a growth spurt, though, that can lead to very long days of fussiness! In addition, in some cases, sometimes you will get short naps if your baby’s next meal is landing during the middle of a nap.

Consider increasing the size of your baby’s feedings in addition to feeding more often during a growth spurt. Or, it could be time to start solid foods with your doctor’s permission. Some doctors will add solid foods earlier if the baby has a big appetite. Generally, we try to wait until 6 months old so it depends on the baby.

Shorten Wake Windows

When your baby is growing and developing rapidly, they might get tired more quickly than they did a few weeks ago. Consider shortening the wake windows before naps and bedtime. The proper 3-month old schedule can do wonders for a fussy baby!

Wear Your Baby and Go for Walks

When babies are going through developmental leaps and/or illnesses, they often feel a bit more apprehensive about the world around them. They want to be close to you and sometimes distracted. Going for a walk with your baby in a carrier can be a great way to give them both!

Whether your baby is 3 months, 6 months, or 10 months old, they are going through a lot this first year. Hang in there and know that these stages pass quickly. As the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short.

The post Why Baby is Very Fussy at 3 Months: 3 Reasons and 3 Tips appeared first on The Baby Sleep Site – Baby / Toddler Sleep Consultants.