One day you’re holding your newborn, and then, after what feels like two days, you’ve got a baby who is more than six months old. After about seven months, your baby is probably laughing and babbling, rolling around, and getting the hang of object permanence. And along with these milestones, you may also notice that your seven-month-old baby is not sleeping as well as they used to. If that’s the case, your baby might be in the midst of a seven-month sleep regression. You may not get any sleep for a couple of weeks but it’s nothing you’re not familiar with. So don’t worry: This is completely normal and something many babies experience. Here’s what to know about the seven-month sleep regression, and how parents can make it to the other side.
Baby going through sleep troubles? Check out our entire sleep regression package for baby’s first year starting with the three-month regression, four-month regression, six-month regression, eight-month regression, nine-month regression, and 12 month sleep regression.
What is sleep regression?
Generally speaking, sleep regression involves periods of time (usually between two and six weeks), when a baby or toddler who had previously been sleeping on a (semi) regular schedule goes rogue. This could involve waking up frequently during the night (and having difficulty getting them back to sleep), as well as taking much shorter naps than usual, or flat-out refusing to nap. In other words, it’s extremely frustrating for exhausted parents who thought that they’d finally get back on some type of normal sleep schedule themselves.
Starting in the 1940s, the idea of babies experiencing sleep regression has been studied by those working in developmental psychology. But after over 70 years, although scientists know that sleep regression does happen, they still don’t know why or precisely when it happens, the New York Times reports. And despite the lack of hard data pointing to a precise sleep regression timeline, there is no shortage of books and websites that present specific “stages” of sleep regression as established milestones experienced by most (if not all) infants.
On the one hand, this can be really helpful for parents who are experiencing these stages with their own child — reassuring them that their child’s sleep regression is not unusual. But on the other hand, it can also give parents something else to worry about, in terms of whether their child is developing “normally” or not. Ultimately, parents should understand that sleep regression and development looks different in every baby, so if yours isn’t following the timeline precisely (or at all), it’s usually not cause for concern. And as always, ask your pediatrician if you have any questions about this.
How many times should a 7-month-old wake up at night?
If your baby is going through sleep regression, the number of times your baby wakes up can feel like a million. So if you’re trying to determine whether your baby’s sleep schedule is off, your seven-month-old should be getting about 14 to 16 hours of sleep a day. It’s common for them to take one to three naps during the day and then get about nine to 11 hours of sleep at night. Although it can be stressful, it’s normal for babies to wake up in the middle of the night, but if those interruptions cut into your little one’s standard amount of rest, things could be off.
What happens during a baby’s 7-month sleep regression?
By the time your baby is seven-months old, chances are, you’ve already gone through at least one period of sleep regression. Though you’ll more commonly find information on six- and eight-month sleep regressions, it’s entirely possible for one to happen at seven-months. This is because there are no set timelines for babies’ sleep progressions and regressions, and, like most other parts of their development, it can differ from child-to-child.
The signs of a seven-month sleep regression are similar to the ones your baby experienced during their previous regression period:
- Being fussier than usual.
- Waking up more frequently at night, and taking longer to get back to sleep.
- Changes in appetite.
- Taking fewer naps than usual, or “disaster naps” (which are less than 45 minutes).
What do you do during a baby’s 7-month sleep regression?
Though it can be easy to get frustrated when your baby stops sleeping on their normal schedule, it’s important to remember that this is temporary, and that there are things you can do to help. And when your baby starts showing some of the signs we mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to check their temperature or for other signs they might be sick — something that can also impact their sleep schedule. If they do have a fever or appear to be unwell, call your pediatrician for instructions on what to do next.
- Give your baby extra comfort and reassurance.
- Wake them up at the same time every morning.
- Try more frequent feedings — especially if they’re going through a growth spurt
- Stick to their nap schedule and put them down earlier if you’re noticing that they’re fussy in the evenings.
Just keep in mind that as exhausting as this rough patch may be, it won’t last forever and you — and the baby — will sleep again.
What does a 7-month-old sleep schedule look like?
Babies need structure, and a great way to combat sleep regression is to put them on a sleep schedule. Check out our sample nap schedule below, but keep in mind that each baby is different. So, don’t be afraid to make it your own.
7:15 a.m. Wake up
8:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:15 a.m. 10:15 a.m. Nap
11:15 a.m. Snack
12:45 a.m. Lunch
1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Nap
3:15 p.m. Light lunch
5:45 p.m. Dinner
6:30 to 7 p.m. Begin a bedtime routine
8:15 p.m. Bedtime