Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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Is there a 10 Month Sleep Regression? Everything you need to know

The 10 month sleep regression is associated with the eruption of a number of teeth and motor leaps such as pulling up to standing or cruising, and these changes distract your little one from relaxing into sleep.

What is a sleep regression? 

Anytime you hear sleep regression, think growth and distraction.  Your little one is growing physically or neurologically and that is distracting them from relaxing down into sleep. 

Causes of the 10 Month Sleep Regression:

  1. Motor Leaps
  2. Teething 

What are the signs of a sleep regression? 

  1.  Bedtime resistance:  more resistance and more time to fall asleep where baby was previously going down fine. 
  2. Increased night waking: often every 2.5 to 3 hours in the night where baby was previously sleeping in stretches longer than 6 hours.
  3. Shorter naps where baby was napping for an hour or longer. 
  4. Early morning wake ups such as 5 or 5:30 am where baby previously made it to 6 am. 


How long does the sleep regression last? 

How intensely a child feels a sleep regression and how long it lasts is related to the cause of the regression and a child’s temperament.  Some kids are more flexible than others whereas some kids feel things more intensely. 

For a motor leap, it will last until the child has mastered the motor skill.  This can often be 1 to 2 weeks in length.  

Teething can be more challenging at this age since there is often an eruption of teeth at the 10-11 month age.  Upper and lower lateral incisions are often erupting and for late teethers the upper central incisors. The pain with teething occurs before the teeth have cut through the gums.  Once you can see the teeth the pain has receded.  So teething is often a hind sight diagnosis of what’s been happening.   For one tooth coming through it could take 1 to 2 weeks for that tooth to protrude once you have the first signs of teething pain.  During that time the pain might ebb and flow.  You might have a terrible day but then have a fine day the next day.  This can be very confusing to parents, but is completely normal.   If one tooth takes 1 to 2 weeks you can imagine that if you have multiple teeth erupting this could take even longer!  Many parents report 4 week of on and off disrupted sleep and the most common sign with teething is 5 am wake ups.  Your baby surfaces from a sleep cycle and is then distracted by the discomfort in her gums and can’t relax back down into sleep. 

This chart from the American Dental Society shows the average ages of tooth eruptions.


What Can You Do To Ease the 10 Month Sleep Regression? 

Just because your baby is distracted at sleep time, it doesn’t mean that they are not capable. Continue with your bedtime and nap time routines but offer more attention as needed.  Consider the root cause of the regression - teething or motor leaps.  How can you help distract your child from what’s distracting them?   

Motor leaps:  Offer plenty of time to practice during the day and practice helping your baby to learn to sit from standing. 

Teething: Can you offer any pain relief before naps or at 3 am to help with those early wake ups? 

Summary

Sleep regressions can happen at any age if your child is growing physically or neurological and is distracted.  Try to address the root cause to eliminate what is distracting them.  Stick to your regular routines and timing.  Know that this too shall pass eventually. 

If you’re struggling with sleep but it’s not a regression, or you’re not sure if it’s a regression, take our simple 6 question sleep quiz to find out WHY your baby keeps waking up at night.


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