A child at 3 months is sufficiently adapted to the new conditions of his life. Sleep still takes up most of his life. The baby normally needs to sleep about 15 hours a day. Good sleep allows him to actively develop and assimilate the information received during the day.
Babies at 3 months may go through a sleep regression due to intense growth and development. It is caused by a jump in mental development and some physiological changes in the body.
The intensive growth of the child leads to a constant change in sleep patterns. Wakefulness during the day increases to one and a half hours. The kid learns about the world and learns new skills during this period. This leads to frequent sleep failures.
Symptoms of Sleep Regression
Parents are in constant tension for the first months. They are just beginning to get used to the more or less established regimen of the child. This is because the baby constantly rearranges its rhythms of sleep and wakefulness.
Sleep regression in children can occur at any age. You need to know the main symptoms to recognize it:
Does not want to fall asleep
You may notice that the baby does not show signs of drowsiness and fatigue during bedtime, especially for a night’s sleep. He is alert and not in the mood for sleep at all.
During the day and especially in the evening the child becomes very capricious. There is no good reason for this. His whims are not justified by any significant and visible problems.
Sleep habits stop working
Previously used rituals and techniques before bed does not work. The kid is awake, playing, does not show a desire to go to bed.
The baby reacts violently to the slightest stimuli. Differs in high emotionality and activity.
Disruptions in appetite
A child during this period may refuse to feed or eat a lot and for a long time.
It is important to correctly identify the symptoms to make it easier for parents to understand their child during the period of sleep regression. Being able to quickly diagnose a problem is a good skill for new moms. It is worth consulting a doctor if the symptoms are more advanced. This may indicate a concomitant disease.
Although the symptoms of regression give a negative connotation, they do not carry any danger. This is only a temporary period in development that will soon pass.
Does Every Child Have Regression?
It is not at all necessary that you will have to face a sleep regression exactly at 3 months. The regression is most noticeable at the age of 4 months according to the observations of doctors. It can appear at 6, 9, and 12 months. There are also completely different age periods of regression. This is very individual and cannot be predicted for a specific child.
Everyone’s sleep regression proceeds according to its scenario. Sometimes mothers do not complain at all about the baby’s sleep pattern and simply adjust to its rhythms. They say that the child is as stable as possible in the ratio of sleep and wakefulness.
Every mom should be aware that sleep regression is a natural process. It does not worsen the health of the baby. Regression is not a deviation. Any child can have sleep disturbances at certain periods of his life.
Night and Nap Changes During 3 Month Sleep Regression
The structure of sleep in a child changes slightly by the age of 3 months. This age is characterized by an increase in the duration of the phases: superficial and deep. The baby may wake up between the phases as it is not yet able to smoothly transition into them.
The total duration of sleep per day should be 15 hours. A child has about 5–6 hours of daytime sleep and 9–11 hours of sleep at night.
Characterized by 3-5-time dreams during the day at 3 months. The duration of daytime sleep can be different. Sometimes they are short – from 30 to 40 minutes. It can be 2 or even 3 hours long. The number of naps per day depends on the duration of sleep.
A child at 3 months of age can sleep 6-8 hours at night without awakening. These indicators change if there is a regression. The baby can wake up every 2-3 hours with a total of 10 hours of sleep.
Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 3 Month
The age of 3 months is no longer a newborn baby. He has grown significantly and made a breakthrough in development. There are many discoveries during this period, including the acquisition of skills, abilities, and experience.
Knowledge of the world, interaction with the environment, contact with people – all these are great achievements for a child of 3 months. Many changes occur at this age and the physiological level. All of them can affect sleep regression at 3 months.
Consider a few developmental changes that affect sleep regression:
1. Conscious movements
The actions of the baby are less reflex and begin to be conscious. The child gradually and very confidently tries to control his every movement. The development of the brain helps control the body. The kid increasingly pulls his hands into his mouth and gropes for his legs. He gradually studies himself and his environment. A child at this age purposefully holds objects in his hands and looks at them.
At 3 months there is a direct connection between movement and attention. The child fixes his gaze on the object and turns his head in the direction of its movement. Such a breakthrough in development directly affects sleep.
2. Auditory and visual skills
A child at 3 months sees and hears much better. These skills contribute to a more successful receipt and assimilation of information from the outside. The kid analyzes and processes at night everything that he saw and heard while awake during the day.
The development of the sense organs leads to very active brain activity in excess, which can disrupt sleep patterns. There are frequent nocturnal awakenings, unreasonable crying, and overwork.
3. Ability to recognize emotions
This developmental change results from improved vision and hearing. A 3-month-old baby already sees his mother’s face well. He likes her smile, notices her joy, sadness, and bad mood. It is still difficult for a child to analyze such emotions, but he divides them into negative and positive.
The child feels very strongly if the emotional background around him is negative. Such abilities lead to instability of the nervous state of the baby. He can sleep badly, wake up often, cry for no reason.
4. Desire for interaction
The communication skills of the child are necessary for him to know this world. They are quite well developed by 3 months and help the baby in interactions with people.
Parents at this age are no longer afraid of infections and viruses. There are often guests at home who seek to communicate with the baby and he reciprocates them.
The child may become overexcited by receiving too high a dose of intercourse. This will lead to sleep disturbance. This is especially fraught with a poor night’s sleep. It is better to move the time of the guests to the morning in this case.
5. The first rudiments of speech
A child at 3 months can pronounce some sounds due to the activity of brain development and communication skills. He likes his sound, intonations, all kinds of sound vibrations. The child tries himself in them and experiments.
This huge leap into a new stage of development will certainly cause a violent reaction in the psycho-emotional sphere. Excessive excitability and sleep disturbance may appear.
6. Strengthening the skeleton
One of the symptoms of sleep regression is crying for no reason. Do not think that any long crying has no reason. Many neonatologists claim that at 3 months the baby is actively growing and the skeleton is strengthening. The child may be disturbed by aching pains in the limbs with spasmodic development. The baby’s sleep becomes restless and intermittent due to these physiological characteristics.
7. Enlargement of the stomach
The active growth of a baby at 3 months also causes transformation indigestion. The stomach expands and nutritional requirements increase. The child needs a larger portion of milk at one time and this needs to be controlled by the mother. Feeding frequency decreases and duration increases.
The baby will constantly wake up at night in search of food if he does not eat enough during the day at 3 months.
8. Increase in the subcutaneous fat layer
By 3 months, the child is rounded, gaining weight well, acquires a more human appearance. There are round cheeks and folds on the body. This is evidence of the development of the subcutaneous fat layer. Its increase can affect sleep regression.
This change in development contributes to slightly better thermoregulation. Do not be afraid of hypothermia at 3 months. The baby does not need to be tightly wrapped up and protected from the cold. This can disturb his sleep and lead to diaper rash.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
Sleep regression takes place in several stages. The duration of the process may be different in each of them. It depends on the individual characteristics of the child and the conditions created for him.
Sleep regressions up to 4 months are imperceptible for parents. More noticeable sleep disturbances are observed at 4, 8, 12 months. Sleep regression can last from 2 to 4 weeks in a normal state. Sometimes the duration of the regression is 6 weeks. This is usually facilitated by a strong psycho-emotional load.
It is necessary to help the child adapt to changes in his development to avoid long periods of regression. Good helpers are physical exercises, massages, long walks in the fresh air, hardening.
How to Deal with 3 Month Sleep Regression
If you notice obvious signs of sleep regression in a child of 3 months, then the process has already been started. It will flow along its path and you can only help the baby to step over this stage as quickly as possible.
It is not always possible to reduce the influence of all factors. You can apply some proven tricks and tips. They will help to cope with the regression period.
1. Ensuring comfort
A child at 3 months is most vulnerable to irritants. It uses all the senses to understand the world. The baby can be frightened by sharp sounds, fold in clothes, and prevent the sun’s rays from sleeping. Watch out for conditions that help children sleep soundly. Choose a high-quality mattress, only natural fabrics for bedding and underwear, monitor the air temperature and humidity.
2. Habitual rituals
All children are very conservative. They quickly and easily get used to the procedures repeated from day to day. These actions can calm the kids. The predictability of the world and its stability is the best sedative. Introduce rituals before bed. These can be obligatory bathing, light massage, feeding, subdued light, pleasant music.
3. Early bedtime
You can help the child during the sleep regression period with the help of early bedtime. The main principle is not to delay the rituals. Mothers play with their children for too long and do not look at the time. The process of laying down a baby at 3 months should not exceed 30 minutes.
It is necessary to take a break if during this time the child does not show signs of drowsiness. Then start anew the whole ritual process.
4. Lack of passive wakefulness
A baby at 3 months is awake a lot during the day. Regression at this age often occurs when learning a new skill and you need to help the child develop during the day. Constant training in mastering new skills helps children to adapt. Passive wakefulness during the day can lead to an increase in activity in the late afternoon.
The worst scenario for a baby is to lie in bed all day doing nothing. Help your child to be active. Show pictures, move objects, give him different textures.
5. Do not restrict movement
The active growth and development of a baby at 3 months should not meet resistance. Many children at this age begin to try to roll over on their side. They enjoy this process.
The muscles of a 3-month-old baby are quite strong. He holds his head well, lies on his stomach, looks at the world. Attempts to roll over significantly expand its capabilities. Try not to hinder the movement of the child both day and night. Fasten less in a stroller or sun lounger. Do not put in a cramped bed.
6. Avoid negative associations
Children can remember events well at the age of 3 months. They easily recognize mom and dad, rejoice at their appearance and positive emotions. Negative associations are fixed in the memory of the child for a long time and can significantly complicate the process of falling asleep.
In no case should you react with negative emotions and a loud voice if the child screams a lot before going to bed. It is worth hugging the baby, stroking, attaching to the chest, calming. Otherwise, the process of going to sleep will become something bad for him forever.
7. Don’t use games before bed
Rituals before bed should be unambiguous and soothing. It is better to postpone active games and developmental activities for the first half of the day. Eliminate games, loud music, bright lights, and mental development when putting your baby to sleep at night.
The brain and body of the child must rest before a night’s sleep. Games interfere with relaxation and during the period of regression can only aggravate the situation.
8. Fresh air
It is not necessary to circle around the house three times a day to provide oxygen to the baby. It is enough that the air in the room is always fresh. Regular airing will help this. Do not go for a walk with a stroller if the weather is bad. Fresh air can enter through the window.
Many mothers practice sleeping on the balcony. Warmly dress the baby and take it to the balcony in the stroller. This significantly saves time and during the period of regression will help to establish a daily routine.
FAQ about 3 Month Sleep Regression
New moms who experience sleep regression for the first time may not know how to handle the situation. Too many questions arise when studying this process. Information comes in huge chunks and is sometimes difficult to filter.
The most common questions about sleep regression at 3 months:
Q1: How to understand that this is exactly a sleep regression at 3 months?
A1: You can understand several obvious symptoms:
- Abrupt change of regime;
- The child cries a lot and often before going to bed;
- The usual ways of laying do not work;
- Frequent nocturnal awakenings;
- The previously calm child became fussy and anxious;
- There are no symptoms of viral and colds.
Q2: Why was there no regression before, but appeared at 3 months?
A2: Regression can go unnoticed for up to 4 months. Some moms don’t see much change in their sleep patterns at all. A 3-month-old baby makes a big developmental leap which can contribute to sleep regression. The baby’s sleep is more stable up to 3 months.
Q3: A child at 3 months old began to wake up frequently at night, what are the reasons?
A3: There can be many reasons. The active development of the brain and the perception of new information can provoke an overexcitation of the nervous system. Children at 3 months become very sociable, they hear and see well, perceiving the world with all their senses. Sleep phases are intermittent.
Q4: How to set yourself up for positive if the child goes through sleep regression?
A4: Change your attitude to the question. Accept the fact that regression is normal. Adapt to the floating mode of the child. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Smile more often to the child.
Q5: How long does a 3 month sleep regression take?
A5: The duration of any sleep regression is very individual. Symptoms in most cases last 2 to 4 weeks.
Q6: Do I need to go to the doctor during a sleep regression?
A6: The help of a doctor is not needed if you have accurately determined that this is a regression. It is not a disease and no treatment is required. You just need to wait.