You’ve probably seen this before when your baby was around 4 months, and it WASN’T fun. Your baby, who got through the last sleep regression and was finally sleeping well day and night, is suddenly waking early from her naps and up all night. You’re tired and she’s tired — it’s the 7 month sleep regression in full swing.
You know it’s a sleep regression when your baby is experiencing:
• Increased fussiness
• Multiple night wakings
• Fewer naps or short “disaster naps”
• Changes in appetite
Sleep regressions happen at various ages in a baby’s first years. Seven months can be a common time when your baby’s sleep habits unravel. Just as at the 4 month sleep regression, huge developmental fireworks are likely to blame for your baby’s sleep troubles at 7 months.
Some amazing new skills are emerging at this age. Your baby’s urge to practice them, his frustration while he masters them, and his uncertainty the meaning of his new skills — does he REALLY want to crawl away from you? — can keep him up, day and night!
Around 7 months your child may be working on or even have newly mastered:
- The pincer grasp that allows them to hold things between thumb and first finger
- Sitting up unassisted
- Creeping on their tummy or even the beginning of crawling
- Picking up and feeding themselves food
Dr. Terry Brazelton describes this in his book, Touchpoints. In the days and weeks before any major developmental progress, a baby’s normal behavior kind of falls apart. Their sleep, normal eating patterns, and even their overall mood may be temporarily unrecognizable. It takes A LOT of effort for our babies to learn these new skills by trial and error and they may just have less attention to give to their other skills — like sleeping.
How should you respond to this temporary, exciting, and difficult phase?
- Offer lots of comfort and reassurance — extra hugs and cuddles help
- More feedings — growth spurts can be part of a sleep regression
- Avoid over tiredness — stick to naps and consider an earlier bedtime if she seems extra tired or extra fussy in the evening
- Avoid old (or new!) bad habits — don’t resort to rocking or feeding your baby to sleep. Stay nearby at bedtime and use The Shuffle to comfort and reassure him
Don’t forget that this phase is TEMPORARY. It usually doesn’t last more than 2-3 weeks. While you both may be tired and frustrated now, you will be back to better nights and playful days soon. In fact, your baby may have some new skills to wow you with when it’s over!
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