10-month sleep regression guide: Causes, signs, tips to help baby sleep


As a parent, you’ve ridden the rollercoaster of your baby’s sleep patterns, from the sleepless nights of infancy to the relief of longer stretches of rest as your little one grows. You’ve triumphed over the dreaded 4-month sleep regression, only to find yourself facing a new challenge as your baby reaches the 10-month mark.

Suddenly, it feels like you’re back to square one, with frequent night wakings, nap resistance, and an overwhelming sense of exhaustion. It’s a frustrating experience, especially after making strides in establishing healthy sleep habits.

Read our expert-backed guide to learn more about the 10-month sleep regression: whether it’s truly a regression or simply a growth spurt, the potential causes behind it, the telltale signs to look out for, and most importantly, practical tips and strategies to navigate through this challenging period and help both you and your baby get the rest you need and deserve.

Is there a 10-month sleep regression?

The concept of a 10-month sleep regression is not as widely recognized or studied as some of the other sleep regressions that occur earlier in infancy, such as the 4-month sleep regression. However, many parents do report experiencing disruptions in their baby’s sleep patterns around the 10-month mark.

While some experts argue that these disruptions may be attributed to various factors such as developmental milestones, teething, changes in routine, or separation anxiety rather than a distinct regression, the term “10-month sleep regression” is often used colloquially to describe this period of disrupted sleep.

Regardless of whether it’s officially labeled as a regression or not, many parents find themselves grappling with similar challenges around this age, including increased night wakings, difficulty settling for naps, and changes in sleep patterns.

Growth spurt or sleep regression?

According to Debbie Gerken, Certified Registered NICU Nurse, Certified Pediatric Gentle Sleep Coach, and founder of Sleep Like a Baby Consulting, “Babies have both sleep regressions and growth spurts. They are similar in that they both can disrupt sleep and feeding patterns.”

Gerken clarifies that growth spurts and sleep regressions are different in duration and timing, “Typically, growth spurts will show an increase in a baby’s intake that will last 3-7 days, and may wake more at night due to the need to take more calories. After that time frame, a baby will settle back to their normal feeding and sleeping patterns.”

“In contrast, a regression can show changes in a baby’s mood, feeding and sleep patterns, as well as how connected and resistant to be separated from a parent they become,” she says.

Signs your baby is undergoing 10-month sleep regression

By the time your baby reaches 10 months of age, you may find yourself becoming quite adept at recognizing signs of sleep regression.

Gerken says that parents may notice several signs that indicate that their baby is in the 10-month sleep regression. These signs include:

  • Increased night wakings (especially more noticeable for a baby previously sleeping through the night)
  • Increased activity during night wakings
  • Shortened naps or resistance to naps
  • Increased clinginess to achieve comfort
  • Changes in intake (either taking more or taking less than usual)
  • Irritability that is difficult to soothe

Some other tell-tale signs that your baby is undergoing the 10-month sleep regression include:

  • Shortened sleep duration
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty falling back asleep
  • Changes in sleep routine

Causes behind your baby’s 10-month sleep regression

During the 10-month sleep regression, your baby’s disrupted sleep can leave you feeling baffled and exhausted. Broadly, your baby’s 10-month sleep regression could be caused by a mix of:

  • Their developmental leaps, like tiny teeth causing discomfort
  • Learn how to stand, walk, and cruise
  • Greater awareness of their surroundings
  • Separation anxiety

As your little one is experiencing significant physical and mental growth, it can understandably impact their sleep patterns. Plus, newfound separation anxiety may make it harder for them to settle down for naps or sleep through the night.

Around 10 months of age, a baby does go through a leap of development that may contribute to disrupted sleep. Babies are working on the milestones of crawling, pulling to stand, and even walking at 10 months of age. For there to be this type of physical development, a baby’s brain needs to develop as well.”

Gerken further explains that babies go through rapid cognitive development, which allows them to become more aware of their surroundings, experiment with cause-and-effect relationships, and understand object permanence. Object permanence is the understanding that an object continues to exist even if it cannot be seen. 

“This, in addition to the increased awareness, curiosity, and exploration that happens at this age, can lead to increased resistance to separate from their parent at bedtime, increased night wakings as their brain due to their “busy brain”, and increased restlessness as their body may have more trouble settling due to the physical development,” she says.

When does the 10-month sleep regression start and end?

The 10-month sleep regression typically begins around the 10-month mark, but the exact timing can vary from baby to baby. Some infants may experience it a bit earlier or later, but it generally occurs within the range of 8 to 10 months of age.

As for when it ends, like other regressions, there’s no set timeline. It can last anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on factors including your baby’s development and how you manage the situation.

The good news is that it’s usually temporary, and with patience, consistency, and support, you and your little one can emerge on the other side with improved sleep patterns.

Can you prepare in advance for your baby’s 10-month sleep regression?

Yes, you can definitely prepare in advance before the regression sets in.

“Parents can prepare for this sleep regression so that navigating through it may not be as challenging,” says Gerken.

Here are Gerken’s top tips to prepare yourself in advance:

  • Parents can educate themselves on what changes are happening during the regression so they can anticipate potential sleep disruptions.
  • Maintaining consistent bedtime routines and prioritizing sleep before and during the regression can also make it easier for a baby to manage through the changes they are experiencing. When a baby goes into any change, it is much harder to navigate through it if they are overtired.
  • Last, parents can optimize the baby’s sleep environment with optimum sleep temperature, darkness, white noise, and lightweight, breathable pajamas, sleep sacks, and bedding to keep baby as comfortable as possible to ensure that no further wakings happen due to other factors such as being too warm, hearing environmental sounds, or having light entering their room.

How to handle baby’s 10-month sleep regression: Tips and tricks

According to Gerken, it’s essential for parents to recognize these signs and understand that the 10-month sleep regression is a temporary phase in their baby’s development.

Providing comfort, maintaining consistent bedtime routines, and offering reassurance can help babies navigate through this challenging period more smoothly. If parents have concerns about their baby’s sleep patterns or behavior, they should consult with a pediatrician or sleep specialist for guidance and support.”

Here are some extra tips that might help you navigate your little one’s 10-month sleep regression:

1. Stick to consistent bedtime routines

Maintain a consistent bedtime routine to signal your baby that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Consistency can help provide a sense of security and predictability during this disruptive period.

2. Offer comfort and reassurance

During times of increased fussiness or night wakings, offer your baby comfort and reassurance. Respond promptly to their needs without reinforcing any new sleep associations that may prolong the regression.

3. Monitor nap times

Keep an eye on your baby’s nap times and adjust them as needed to prevent overtiredness, which can exacerbate sleep difficulties. Aim for age-appropriate nap lengths and try to stick to a consistent nap schedule.

4. Be patient and flexible

Understand that sleep regressions are temporary phases that will eventually pass. Be patient with your baby and yourself, and remain flexible in your approach to sleep routines and schedules as needed.

5. Seek support if needed

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family, or healthcare professionals if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure how to manage your baby’s sleep regression. Sometimes, just having someone to talk to can make a world of difference.


Remember to prioritize your own well-being during this challenging time. Make time for self-care activities that help you relax and recharge, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can help navigate your little one’s 10-month sleep regression with patience, understanding, and support.

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