Has your baby’s sleep been disrupted with night waking, extra fussiness, inconsolable crying and extreme hunger right at the 6 week mark? The first sleep regression your baby will go through in all of the sleep regression phases begins at 6 weeks, but so does the 6 week growth spurt. How to tell if this is the 6 Week Sleep Regression, the 6 Week Growth Spurt, or both!
Is it the 6 Week Sleep Regression or a 6 Week Growth Spurt, or Both?!?
Right around 6 weeks, many parents notice their baby suddenly has a hard time sleeping; naptimes are a struggle and they wake easily, and nighttime sleep is a wreck. Suddenly, you feel like things are moving backwards around sleep!
While this doesn’t always mean your baby is experiencing a sleep regression, let’s first look at the signs of a sleep regression.
Signs Your Baby is Going Through the 6 Week Sleep Regression:
- Uncharacteristic night waking
- Uptick in fussiness and crying for extended lengths of time
- Extreme crankiness
- Changes in hunger (eating less or eating more)
- Trouble with naps (missing naps all together or shortening them on their own)
- Clinginess and needing to be comforted by Mom/Dad more often
At the 6 week mark, your baby is also going through a major growth spurt and while they may check all the boxes of a sleep regression, you have to consider this rapid development too! According to the book, The Wonder Weeks, growth spurts occur at weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46 and 55 – that’s a whole lot of growth spurts!
Signs Your Baby is Hitting a Major 6 Week Growth Spurt:
- Fussier than usual
- Extreme crankiness
- Increased hunger and feedings
- Baby wants to be held more often
So which one is it – a sleep regression or growth spurt? Actually, they can be both!
6 Week Sleep Regression & Growth Spurt
It’s important to remember that a growth spurt will normalize again soon and your baby will return to sleeping soon. Most sleep regressions last 2 – 6 weeks (anything longer than this is a bigger issue), and your baby is leaning on you for comfort during this tiring time.
She may be hungry and also wanting to feed for extra soothing, and fighting sleep often, but the best thing you can do is stick to your routine, comfort her how she needs without creating negative sleep associations (rocking her to sleep, nursing to sleep) which can undo all your work to this 6 week stretch.
Sleep regression phases typically appear around these ages:
- 4 months (read about the 4 month sleep regression)
- 8-10 months (read about the 8-10 month sleep regression)
- 12 months
- 18 months (read about the 18 month sleep regression)
- 2 year old (read about the 2 year old sleep regression)
Tips to Help You Survive the 6 Week Growth Spurt & Sleep Regression:
- Know a sleep regression and growth spurt are temporary and will not last forever. You may have to adjust your schedule a little, but things will normalize soon.
- Try out soothing equipment such as a swing, getting outside for a walk in the stroller for movement to soothe him to sleep, and a baby carrier so you can have your hands free.
- Additional feeding are temporary; if breastfeeding too often becomes painful, look to other feeding solutions like using a bottle and asking your partner for help.
- Help you baby relax before naptimes and bedtimes with a warm bath, baby massage, dimly lit room, swaddle and white noise machine.
- Try moving your baby’s bedtime earlier to help accommodate the extra tiredness they’ll experience. Remember, putting baby to bed later than normal or after the point of being overtired does not mean they will settle to sleep easy – in fact, it’s the opposite. They’ll fight sleep and be more restless.
- Be cautious with how you help your baby; don’t’ create any sleep associations that will hurt sleep habits in the long run. (rocking our baby to sleep or nursing your baby to sleep instead of placing them drowsy in their crib.)
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Helpful Resources for Handling Sleep Regressions
Surviving Your Child’s Sleep Regressions Ebook not only gives you an detailed reasoning behind sleep at every age, but also strategies to help you through the 18 month sleep regression and 2 year old sleep regression. You’ll know how to spot a sleep regression coming on, and be equipped with strategies to help you understand the root cause and developmental leaps behind your baby’s sleep struggle.
For a more thorough explanation and resource of keeping a routine, Check out the Master Routines & Schedules Ebook which is 97-pages of jam-packed information and 40+ sample routines. All the tools, sample schedules, sleep tracker and strategies for every age and stage of development for 2 weeks to 5-years-old.
Learn how to start the process of creating a routine, establishing wake up and bedtimes, strategies for working through nap transitions, prepping for daylight savings time to keep your routine on track and logging your baby’s sleep patterns to rocking a solid schedule through every age of growth.