6 Week Sleep Regression – 8 Best Tips For Surviving It

6 week sleep regression what to do

Medically reviewed by Raye Mariano – RN, BSN, BA

Whether it’s your first child or your fifth, the arrival of a newborn baby is such a special time for a family. You’ve been waiting what feels like an eternity of pregnancy and have been preparing for your little girl or boys arrival for months. Now that your precious bundle is finally here, you couldn’t be happier! But, this is really just the beginning and let’s face it – it’s not going to be all rainbows and butterflies.

No matter how much you prepare or how much experience you have, being a parent means you’re about to have plenty of unexpected obstacles thrown your way.

One of those hurdles that practically every parent faces is problems with newborn’s sleep: you may be dealing with 6 week sleep regression or looking for the best sleep position for your colicky baby.

Sleep is extremely important to a baby’s growth and development, so much so that it might seem like that’s all they even do in the beginning is sleep. You might be wondering how much sleep time and awake time newborns are actually supposed to have and how to deal with that 6 week sleep regression.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice or consultation.

How Much Should An Infant Sleep?

Of course every baby is different and therefore, so are their sleep patterns. What time they go to sleep, how they fall asleep, and how long they sleep for (among other things) can all vary from baby to baby.

Also, new infants don’t have regular sleep cycles yet, so don’t worry if you can’t predict when they will be tired enough for naps or bedtime.

In the early newborn phase, babies sleep for about 14-17 hours a day. That’s usually 8-9 hours of nighttime sleep with numerous naps throughout the day1.

What Is Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is a period of time when a baby who otherwise slept through the night suddenly starts having frequent night wakings, as well as nap issues. It usually happens periodically throughout the first year of life and lasts for around 2-6 weeks2.

Many babies go through this regression every couple of months usually due to growth spurts and they also tend to coincide with some of their big milestones. You’ll usually see this around 6 weeks, then again at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months etc., but it really is impossible to tell exactly when because all babies are different. For some they occur earlier or later and they may last longer or shorter.

So what does a sleep regression look like? You might observe increased crying and fussiness, less sleep overall, difficult falling and staying asleep, waking up frequently throughout the night. You may also see other things like increased hunger, clinginess, and overall crankiness. All of this comes on suddenly without warning and it’s not because of a cold or other illness.

It’s a frustrating period during which all the work you have done to establish a sleeping routine seems to have gone out the window. All of a sudden, your baby won’t sleep and wants to be held, fed, and soothed at random hours of the night or even throughout the whole night. They may also have a harder time going down for naps, or not want to nap at all.

What To Do During 6 Week Sleep Regression

Is There A Sleep Regression At 6 Weeks?

If your 6 week old baby suddenly stops sleeping like before, you are probably wondering if it’s normal. Rest assured, this is the typical age when the first sleep regression hits.

At 6 weeks old your baby probably sleeps in 3-4 hour stretches, waking up to eat and then going right back to sleep. Now, if they are having a sleep regression at 6 weeks, those longer stretches could now drop down to only 2 hours. You’ll notice your baby is harder to soothe, takes longer to fall asleep and also that baby wakes easily from their slumber.

Nothing can seem more difficult than a 6 week old not sleeping! This means less sleep for baby, which in turn means less sleep for you, your partner, and maybe even siblings.

Sleep Regression At 6 Weeks – Signs

The most common signs of sleep regression are3:

  • Frequent sudden night waking
  • Increased crying
  • Hungrier than usual
  • Difficulty falling asleep/ staying asleep
  • Shorter naps
  • Increased fussiness
  • Clinginess

Why Does 6 Week Old Sleep Regression Happen?

In the early newborn stage, sleep can be totally unpredictable. After that first month you should start to see more consistency and longer stretches of sleep. Things seem easier to manage for a while, and then suddenly you have a 6 week old fighting sleep.

Your normally sleepy baby is now up at all hours of the night and fighting going to sleep even when they are tired. Your usually even-tempered child is now fussy, irritable, and cranky. You might be overwhelmed or frustrated and asking yourself “why is my 6 week old so unsettled?”.

Here are the possible causes of sleep regressions:

  • Growth spurt
  • Mental development
  • Body’s natural circadian rhythm is regulating
  • Changes in schedule/ routine
  • Response to an important developmental milestone
  • Teething

The six week sleep regression usually happens because of a growth spurt that most babies have around this time4. Due to a rapid increase in growth, your baby is more hungry than usual. A hungry baby is a fussy baby and they are likely to be more demanding: waking up at all hours of the night for their milk.

In addition to being hungrier, a 6 week old baby is also starting to mature more mentally. They want to explore more and think about the world in more detail. This can actually become super overwhelming to an infant! They might be looking for more reassurance from mama which is why they might be so clingy during this time.

Is There A Sleep Regression At 6 Weeks

What To Do During 6 Week Sleep Regression? – 8 Ways To Help Your Baby

So how do you handle newborn’s sleep regression? Here are my best tips and tricks:

1. Recognize What You’re Dealing With

First things first, you need to realize that what you’re dealing with is a sleep regression. It can be a bit comforting to know this is another “milestone” in a baby’s development. Even though it’s no fun for anyone involved, it is normal.

This will help keep you grounded and also help you to better navigate the situation and come up with a plan of action.

Remember that this sleep regression will eventually end and you will go back to getting a better night’s sleep, sooner or later. You’ll look back on this time and be glad it’s a thing of the past.

2. Lots Of Soothing

The best thing you can do for your baby during these tough times is be their unwavering support system. While you are certainly going through a difficult time yourself, don’t forget to look at it from your baby’s perspective. Your baby is tired, hungry, frustrated, all while still figuring out how to be a human.

Give your precious baby lots of kisses, hugs and cuddles. As their primary source of comfort, you will need to give them that extra love and reassurance that they desperately need.

3. Stick To A Routine

Bedtime looks different for every family but it is usually a routine of doing the same things every night before bed. It usually involves some variation of giving a warm bath, putting on pajamas, and then maybe reading a bedtime story, for example.

The routine makes baby calm and relaxed so they can drift off nicely to sleep. Having a routine bedtime ritual helps establish healthy sleep habits and may ease some of the unpredictability of baby sleep regression.

4. Recognize Sleep Cues

Another thing that will help you deal with your baby’s erratic sleep schedule is being aware of your baby’s sleep cues. If you observe them starting to rub their eyes, yawning, drooping eyelids or becoming more fidgety then it may be time to put them to bed right now to prevent overtiredness.

If you wait too long by the time your baby is over exhausted then they will definitely be harder to soothe and coax to sleep and this will make the entire sleep situation worse.

5. Optimize Baby’s Sleeping Environment

Make sure your baby has ideal sleeping conditions to ensure they are as comfortable as possible. This means having the room a comfortable temperature, darkening the room (for example with blackout curtains), maybe a sound machine playing soft music.

Another good idea, depending on their age, is to use a sleep sack or sleep swaddle so baby is nice and snug which will surely help minimize sleep disturbances.

6. Proper Stimulation During Awake Time

One of the thing you can do during 6 week sleep regression is to provide your little one with plenty stimulation during wake windows. Remember about tummy time and practicing new physical and cognitive skills. Awake time filled up with activities (adjusted to their age of course, to avoid overstimulation) will help your baby to sleep better at night.

7. Get Outside

Since little babies don’t have a developed circadian rhythm yet, they have problems with day and night confusion, meaning they don’t know if it’s day or night. Spending time outside in the daylight with your 6 week old can help their bodies to understand that daytime is for being awake and night time is for sleep.

8. Make Sure You Have Help And Support

This can be a difficult time for you because if the baby isn’t sleeping well then you are definitely aren’t either. You are likely to feel overtired, cranky, even in a mental fog.

It is crucial that you make sure you have the help and support, emotional and physical, that you need to function properly. This could mean taking turns with your partner to take care of the baby, having a listening ear to vent to, or maybe joining a support group. Make sure you don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Why Does 6 Week Old Sleep Regression Happen

6 Week Sleep Regression Tips To Help Parents Survive It

  • Be flexible: you might have to revolve your schedule around baby’s sleep for now.
  • Find new ways to soothe baby: gentle baby massage, quiet story time, lullabies, white noise machine.
  • Try moving baby’s bedtime earlier: between 6 and 8 pm is ideal.
  • If all else fails check with your doctor.

Should You Be Worried About Your 6 Week Old Fighting Sleep?

Although it can be stressful to experience and challenging to get through, sleep regression is completely normal. Almost all parents see it at some stage during their baby’s development.

It’s important to remember that is almost certainly nothing to be concerned or alarmed about.

However, if everything you tried fails and your baby is so fussy that they are inconsolable and still not sleeping, it’s the time to get your baby checked out by their pediatrician to ensure there isn’t something medical going on.

How Long Does The 6 Week Peak Of Fussiness Last?

While this does vary by individual, this 6 week sleep regression and accompanying fussiness usually lasts between 2 to 6 weeks. When it passes, your baby’s normal sleep patterns should return as suddenly as they disappeared5.

All Sleep Regression Ages

The timing of sleep regression may be different for each child, but most common ages are6:

6 week sleep regression – As discussed earlier, this occurs due to a major growth spurt and baby’s desire to explore the world around them. This causes excessive hunger and overstimulation.

4 month sleep regression – A time when baby’s sleep patterns change and mature as they are aging out of newborn sleep cycles into adult ones. They also start transitioning to less naps around this time. Babies also start rolling at this age so they wake themselves up out of their sleep!

8 month sleep regression – This occurs because babies are more active now like sitting up and crawling. They are also developing mentally in ways that may impact sleep habits like separation anxiety.

12 month sleep regression – Babies this age are more interested in playing than sleeping! You might see them taking shorter naps and some babies even transition from two naps to one at this time.

18 month sleep regression – This is when molars come in and also baby’s language is developing rapidly. These big milestones can affect how well baby sleeps7.

2 years – Your toddler might start saying no and be more stubborn with their wants. One of the most common sleep issues that happen around this age is toddler nap strike. They might also be facing a host of new changes in their lives, like potty training, maybe a new sibling, transition from crib to a toddler bed, or they are just learning to sleep without the pacifier. Any big change can surely affect how well they sleep.

Don’t forget these parameters are just guidelines and it may not be exactly the age your baby will experience theirs. The most important thing is to have a plan to combat night wakings and to be consistent. Once it’s over, your baby will keep all those sleep habits that you worked so hard to establish. Don’t forget that this too shall pass. Good luck mamas!

Article By Raye Mariano, RN, BSN, BA

Raye Mariano is a Registered Nurse who worked for years as a labor and delivery nurse and mother/baby nurse. Now, as a stay-at-home mom to 3 kids, ages 4 and under, she remains passionate about all things pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting.

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.








About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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