3 Month Sleep Regression: Tips to Help You Through It

Many parents meet the 3- to 4-month sleep regression with their babies. Dr. Harvey Karp, a known expert, says it happens when sleep patterns change. Babies may sleep worse, wake often at night, nap less, and get fussy. This can happen due to their changing sleep cycles and various milestones. These may include learning to roll, teething, or becoming more aware of light and temperature.

Parents can find the 3-month sleep regression tough, but there are ways to get through it. Knowing why it happens and what to look for is key. Also, setting up good sleep routines can help your baby during this time.

Key Takeaways

  • The 3-month sleep regression is a common phenomenon caused by changes in your baby’s sleep cycles and developmental milestones.
  • Signs of the 3-month sleep regression include resistance to naps, increased fussiness, trouble falling asleep at night, and more frequent night wakings.
  • Strategies to manage the 3-month sleep regression include maintaining a consistent routine, practicing good sleep habits, and preventing your baby from becoming overtired.
  • Incorporating tools like safe swaddling, white noise, and gentle rocking can help soothe your baby during this transitional period.
  • Adjusting feeding times and managing light exposure can also help improve your baby’s sleep patterns during the 3-month sleep regression.

Understanding the 3 Month Sleep Regression

Your baby’s sleep changes a lot as they grow. The 3-month mark often brings a big change. This change can mean your baby sleeps less and maybe more cranky, due to new milestones.

What is a Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression makes your baby’s sleep schedule go haywire. Your little one might find it hard to sleep. This leads to shorter naps, lots of midnight wake-ups, and being grumpy. It happens because of your baby’s natural development, around the 3, 6, and 12-month ages.

Signs Your Baby Is Going Through a Sleep Regression

It’s good to spot a sleep regression early. Some signs at the 3-month mark include:

  • Not wanting to nap
  • More fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Waking up more at night

Knowing what to look for is key. It helps you help your baby. You can make sure they get the sleep they need,

Causes of the 3 Month Sleep Regression

During the first few months of life, your baby’s sleep patterns change a lot. The 3-month sleep regression is often because of rolling over at night, growth spurts, teething pain, and new awareness of temperature and light.

Rolling Over at Night

Your baby might start rolling over in sleep due to growing strength. This can make them uncomfortable, waking more at night. This change can mess up their sleep, causing the 3-month regression.

Growth Spurt

Babies grow quickly at this time. Physical changes may cause discomfort, shorter naps, and more fussiness. These signs show the 3-month sleep regression might be starting.

Teething Pain

Around 3 months, teeth may start coming in. This process can be painful, making it hard for babies to sleep. It can worsen the 3-month sleep regression.

New Awareness of Temperature and Light

Babies begin to notice changes in their room’s temperature and light. Too hot or bright can affect their sleep. This can also contribute to the 3-month sleep regression.

Knowing what might cause the 3-month sleep regression can help you deal with it. By understanding these reasons, you can find ways to comfort your baby. This might help them get back to a better sleep schedule.

3 month sleep regression

At 3 months, babies often change how they sleep. This can bring challenges like waking more at night and fussing with naps. There are a few reasons for this, like big steps in development and realizing the world around them.

During this time, babies might wake up more at night or not sleep well. They could also have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. This period stands out from earlier sleep challenges, like at six or eight weeks. Things like trips, teething, feeling ill, or reaching new milestones can trigger this regression.

It’s common for babies to nap shortly during this phase, like just 30 minutes at a time. But, parents can work to make these naps longer, aiming for one hour or more. Longer naps can help prevent babies from getting too tired.

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The 3-month sleep struggle signals a change in how your baby sleeps. They are moving away from newborn habits to sleep that’s more like ours. It’s a tough phase, but adapting now sets the stage for better sleep habits in the future.

Signs Your Baby May Be in a Sleep Regression

When your baby hits the 3-month mark, they might face a sleep regression. This phase has various signs. Knowing them helps you support your baby better.

Resistance to Naps

One sign is change in napping. Your baby might start refusing naps or only sleep a little during the day. It’s tough, but stay calm and keep to your baby’s sleep schedule.

Increased Fussiness

If your baby’s sleep habits change, they could become more fussy. They might cry more or be hard to soothe. Giving them extra love and care helps during this phase.

Trouble Falling Asleep at Night

Also, babies who used to sleep easily might struggle at night now. It’s tough for all, but a calming bedtime routine can make things better.

More Frequent Night Waking

During the 3-month sleep regression, babies may wake up more at night. This can tire parents out. Yet, gentle comfort is key to helping them sleep again.

Recognizing these signs prepares you to support your baby during this phase. It’s only temporary. With the right approach, your baby will soon get better sleep.

Establishing Healthy Sleep Habits

To help your baby through the 3-month sleep regression, it’s key to keep their sleep patterns healthy. Stick to the same bedtime and naptime routines every day. And make sure their sleeping area is calm, clean, and free from things that might get them off to dreamland.

Stick to Your Routine

Even when things are tough, try to keep your baby’s sleep times steady. This helps them feel safe and comfy. Good sleep habits make going to sleep easier.

Practice Good Sleep Habits

Make the sleep area just right for your little one. Let’s keep the room nice and cool, with no noise and light. This way, they should have less trouble sleeping.

Remove Distractions

Take out any exciting stuff in their room, like mobiles or hanging toys. Keep it simple and quiet for better sleep. This stops them from getting distracted as they drift off.

Preventing Overtiredness

During the 3-month sleep regression, it’s key to keep your baby from getting too tired. This can really mess up their sleep. If your baby doesn’t want to nap, aim for short rest periods to keep them calm. This stops them from getting too tired for sleep time.

Ideally, aim for naps that are over 1 hour to fight overtiredness during this tricky phase. It might be tough to keep them asleep, but it’s worth trying to make naps longer.

By making sure your baby has enough rest periods, you make the 3-month regression phase easier on them. It helps their sleep and aids in their development too.

The Importance of Swaddling

Swaddling is great for babies during the 3-month sleep issue. It makes them feel secure. It’s like they’re back in the womb. This can help them sleep better. You can use safe swaddling up to 6 months, especially with products like SNOO.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests stopping swaddling at around 2 months old. But many stop around 3 or 4 months. This is when babies start turning over. It’s safer if they don’t swaddle after this.

Babies might not like being swaddled by 4 months. Some might be okay until they are 6 months. After babies start to roll over, swaddling can be risky. It might make it hard for them to move or breathe. This can increase the chance of SIDS.

But, babies can learn to sleep without a swaddle in 1-2 weeks. Parents can try to take off the swaddle slowly. Start by letting one arm out for a few nights. Then, take off the swaddle completely.

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Make sure any swaddling you do is safe. It should allow babies to move and roll over easily. It should also help their hips grow strong. If your baby doesn’t like swaddling, there are other ways to keep them feeling safe. This can help them sleep better, but still be safe and comfy.

Using White Noise for Better Sleep

Adding white noise to your baby’s sleep is great during the 3-month sleep bump. It makes a calm, constant sound that helps babies fall asleep faster. 80% of newborns fell asleep in just 5 minutes with white noise.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) backs using white noise for sleep. They say it’s safe if it’s not too loud. But some sleep experts argue that very low white noise levels aren’t helpful.

The ideal white noise for babies sounds like the womb’s loud, steady noises. Machines and apps with deep, steady sounds are best for helping babies sleep. But it’s not good to play white noise all day. Babies need to learn ordinary sounds too.

Recommended White Noise LevelsDecibels
Calm Baby57-68 dB
Crying BabyApproximately 85 dB

The SNOO is made for babies, giving just the right amount of white noise, 57 to 68 decibels. It’s safe for their ears and helps them sleep well.

Feel free to use white noise for your child’s sleep. It’s okay to stop when they’re older and can calm themselves. White noise can make the first few months easier and help your baby sleep better.

The Benefits of Rocking and Motion

Gentle rocking and motion help calm babies during the 3-month sleep issue. Items like SNOO, with safe rocking, let babies switch to light sleep. They can stay asleep without waking easily.

A study in Current Biology showed that rocking links to natural sleep cycles. It makes N2 sleep last longer. Also, rocking and rocking bassinets lower crying and help babies fall asleep faster. Overall, they improve how well babies sleep.

The SNOO Smart Sleeper has special swaddling for safety. This bassinet gives babies and parents 1 to 2 hours more sleep each night.

In 2019, PLOS ONE reported that rocking, swaddling, and white noise help calm babies fast. These tools are great for the 3-month sleep stage. They also help set good sleep habits.

Adjusting Feeding Times

During the 3-month sleep regression, changing when your baby eats can boost their sleep. Offer more daytime eating. Also, add a “dream feed” between 10 pm and 12 am. This helps lower late-night hunger and sleep interruptions.

Encouraging Daytime Eating

Make sure your baby eats often during the day, every 2-3 hours. This keeps them from getting too hungry at night and helps them sleep better. Watch for signs that they’re hungry, like fussing, and feed them then.

Dream Feeding

Try a dream feeding to improve sleep, offering a feed while your baby stays asleep, from 10 pm to 12 am. It can make them sleep longer, with fewer wake-ups during the night. This way, they learn to sleep better at night.

The Role of Light Exposure

Showing your baby natural light exposure by day helps their sleep rhythm at night. This is great for their sleep patterns, especially during the 3-month sleep change.

The body’s internal clock, guided by a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, uses light exposure. When it’s dark, the body makes melatonin, which helps in sleeping. But, stress hormone cortisol can stop melatonin. Turning down the lights and avoiding screens before sleep can make melatonin work better. Having a very dark room to sleep in helps too.

Research shows how important light exposure is for babies’ sleep routines. Good light habits from early on can make a big difference. It might prevent health issues later, like problems with having kids, slow child growth, and more nervousness as adults.

Daytime sun and nighttime darkness are key for good sleep for all ages. Letting your baby see the sun by day and keeping it dark when they sleep helps a lot. It makes their body clock work better, even during the hard 3-month time.

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The 3-month sleep regression can be hard for you and your baby. But, with the right ways and help, you can guide your baby. It’s about knowing the reasons, spotting the signals, and using good sleep practices. These can help your baby sleep well and keep growing.

At 3 months, sleep problems are normal. Being patient and sticking to a plan are key. Stick to your usual ways, make the sleep place cozy, and use things like swaddling, soft sounds, and light rocking to calm your baby. Over time, your baby will get used to the changes. You will then notice better sleep and a happier baby.

If the 3-month sleep struggle feels too much or if you’re worried about your baby’s health, talk to your doctor or other parents. Together, you can find the best steps to take. These steps can help your baby through the tough times and back to peaceful sleep.


What is the 3-month sleep regression?

Around 3 to 4 months, babies may have a sleep problem. They start waking up more at night. They may also nap less and be more fussy. This can happen because of new skills like rolling over, growing fast, or starting to teeth. Babies also become more aware of light and temperature.

What is a sleep regression?

A sleep regression is a time when a baby suddenly struggles to sleep. This often happens around certain ages when they are learning new things. It can make them take longer to sleep or wake up often.

What are the causes of the 3-month sleep regression?

Several things can lead to the 3-month sleep regression. These include babies rolling over, going through growth spurts, or feeling teething pain. They also become more sensitive to things like light and temperature.

What are the signs that a baby is going through the 3-month sleep regression?

You might notice a few signs of the 3-month sleep regression. These can include your baby not wanting to nap, being fussier than usual, finding it hard to sleep at night, and waking up more at night.

How can I help my baby through the 3-month sleep regression?

To help your baby, focus on good sleep habits. Keep a regular routine. Make sure the nursery is free from things that might distract them.

How can I prevent my baby from becoming overtired during the 3-month sleep regression?

To stop your baby from getting too tired, make sure they have some quiet time during the day. Even if they don’t always nap, this can be helpful.

How can swaddling help during the 3-month sleep regression?

Swaddling in a product like SNOO can remind babies of being in the womb. It can calm them. If your baby isn’t rolling over yet, you can still swaddle them safely in a product like SNOO.

How can white noise help during the 3-month sleep regression?

Using white noise in your baby’s sleep routine can work wonders. It helps make a gentle, constant sound that can help your baby fall asleep and avoid waking up to loud noises.

How can rocking and motion help during the 3-month sleep regression?

Light motion and rocking can also calm a baby. Tools like SNOO offer gentle, safe rocking. This can keep babies in a light sleep without waking up easily.

How can adjusting feeding times help during the 3-month sleep regression?

Changing when you feed your baby might help them sleep better. Try to feed them more during the day. A late-night “dream feed” can also cut down on how often they wake up hungry.

How can light exposure affect a baby’s sleep during the 3-month sleep regression?

Light plays a big role in your baby’s sleep. Sunlight during the day and darkness at night helps them tell day from night. This can really help their sleep around 3 months old.