18 Month Sleep Regression–BEWARE MOMS!

By RaddestMom

Sleep regression happens with almost every child at some point. The most common phases are 4 months, 9 months, 12 months, and 18 months. 18 Months is the mack daddy of them all. Because you baby is now more cognitive at 18 months, they are aware that they are ALONE & can cry, scream, jump up and down, throw things, and yell MAMA till you come and sooth them back to sleep. Sleep regression is when your baby who was sleeping just fine suddenly doesn’t want to sleep anymore and makes your life miserable.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.13.45 PM

For the last month, my daughter, who was a solid sleeper through the night since she was 6 months old (with the exception of the occasional sleep regression milestone that lasted at most 2 weeks), decided she didn’t want to be put down in her crib pretty much ever. She refused to be put down for naps as well as bed time. She only wants me to rock her till the point where my butt is numb and I start hearing voices in the sounds of the rocking chair creaking.  If she was super exhausted and couldn’t fight it anymore, she would be put down, then wake up hours later screaming & throwing a tantrum. I even got the point where I said, “ok, I’m fine with putting her in bed and letting her sleep with us.” Yeah, right. That did not work. When she would get in bed with us, she just wanted to talk & play rather than sleep. If I try to let her cry it out in her crib, she just throws a tantrum for a few minutes, lays down as if to recharge her batteries for a minute, then gets up and screams even louder.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 8.17.12 PM

If your child is going through this right now, RELAX….it’s completely NORMAL!!!! That’s the good news. I feel like my brain is fried right now. When your kid isn’t sleeping, they aren’t just tired….they’re ANGRY. They throw tantrums easily, they don’t want to eat as much, and they are pretty much unpredictable and terrifying. The good news is, it will pass. In the past, if Pearl’s sleep regressed, It would always resolve itself within a couple weeks. The truly shitty part of the 18 month regression is that it usually lasts 2 months. So, yes, you will be completely sleep deprived and feel like you have a newborn for 2 months. I’m at the one month mark, now. It also seems that my friends with babies Pearl’s age are going through the same thing. Bless them!

Pearl and her best friend Olive who is the same age and also struggling with sleep

Pearl and her best friend Olive who is the same age and also struggling with sleep

Feel free to comment in the comments section with advice, support, and help for other moms who are going through this same thing! Share your stories with us, mommas.

XO

Lisa O

46 Comments on 18 Month Sleep Regression–BEWARE MOMS!

  1. Aj Courchesne-Burton
    October 27, 2013 at 8:18 pm (11 months ago)

    around that time is when sleep problem happened with my daughter but she also had hearing problem. If you have any hearing problems in you family and your child is prone to ear infections get it checked out. My daughter had to have tubes put in last year because of the pressure from the fluid in her ears bothering her once she was laying down. Also if you child snores it’s a good sign of ear problems. Good luck. I know we were lucky because she didn’t need her adenoids or tonsils taken out at the same time.

    Reply
    • irene
      July 13, 2014 at 11:11 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi i have a 16month who’s always been a crybaby since birth and to the date sometimes she fights her sleep even when its nap time. She snores occasionally but its not too loud and on my side of my family there is hearing problems my two youngest brothers wear hearing aids and now im worried this problem may be whats caused her sleeping problems please if there is any info you can help me with let me kno did your daughter get better after they put the tubes in her ear
      ear

      Reply
      • RaddestMom
        July 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm (2 months ago)

        My daughter has never had tubes in her ears. If i’m not mistaken, tubes are for chronic ear infections? If you suspect she has a hearing problem, maybe go to a specialist.
        Lots of children fight their sleep and cry. That’s why they call them babies :)

  2. Rebecca Michi - Children's Sleep Consultant
    October 27, 2013 at 8:22 pm (11 months ago)

    It is tough isn’t it?

    I am a no cry children’s sleep consultant and know how much a challenge those regressions can be. The best advice I have is to help as much as you need to and try not to introduce ant habits which may need to be broken when over the regression (such as nursing or rocking). This is always easier said than done. it’s tough when you are tired and have been up for hours (or more!), but DO try.

    We also have the time change happening next weekend, this will add another possible complication to your toddlers sleep!

    Reply
    • Madeleine
      May 3, 2014 at 5:22 am (5 months ago)

      Oh my goodness. I just read this and this is my life at the moment. Bedtime is a battleground! My little girl just turned 18 months and screamed for an hour and a half last night while I tried to get her to bed. I ended up taking her in my bed and two hours of wriggling and giggling later (I ignored it all) she passed out. I then put her in her own bed. Both me and my husband are exhausted!

      Reply
  3. ameirah
    October 27, 2013 at 8:24 pm (11 months ago)

    its so hard to be a toddler

    Reply
  4. ellie ruff
    October 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm (11 months ago)

    I am now just beginning to approach the end of this phase with my son. I started giving him a warm lavender bath at night and giving him warm milk and I’ve been making sure to not let his strict schedule slip because I notice it ends up causing problems again in this area. Lately what’s been helping is making a quiet area. How I did mine was I picked a quiet secluded area in the house and made a small cozy tent then placed it right in the corner.there’s a small area rug, bookshelf and dimmer lit light (enough to read though) with some books about sleep and I have a scented lavender pillow he can snuggle with while we read and relax. We put about an hour aside before bed and spend it in our quiet corner. No t.v, no toys nothing that will distract jim (unless its a toy he sleeps with.) This has been a huge help and also gives us a great time to bond before bed so that we don’t fall behind if its been a busy day! Good luck! ! :)

    Reply
    • Rita Evelyn Yáñez
      October 27, 2013 at 10:57 pm (11 months ago)

      Very good advice, very good. I didn’t have that issue with any of my children but my eldest did have night terrors and I would not wish this on anyone. It lasted…YEARS. Try that! But please know that what I believe I’m commenting on is the best advice anyone could give here. Pay attention to what the other comment says about ear infections, this is also correct. Have the child checked out first! All my kids, three boys, slept with me until the age of four years. They nursed on demand, they were fine, LOL they remember nothing, but when they graduated to the big boys’ room, they gave me no trouble, but then again there were other kids in there (my stepson and my eldest, then the next youngest). I pray for new moms because it’s not the easiest time. And when you have a child that has some issue like this — on top of everything else you’re juggling — I do feel for you, I really do. If you are a working mom, all the more concerning. You are likely the most tired of all. Take naps any time you can and forget about the house cleaning! Just make sure it’s clean enough and safe for your kids. Other than that you’d better get as much sleep as you can, when and how you can! God bless you, mommies and daddies, I wish you all the best. Mine are now 20, 15, and 13 years. My kids are my WORLD!

      Reply
  5. Blanca Wolford
    October 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm (11 months ago)

    Thank you for sharing Lisa!! Hope you both get some sleep soon.

    Reply
  6. Carla
    October 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm (11 months ago)

    Yes! Happened to us! This is a hard one. I layed on the floor by the crib and just kept offerring Mia my hand to hold(through the bars). Eventually she would lay down and take it and either fall asleep or calm down enough to be able to leave. She trusted me, I couldn’t just let her down by leaving her to cry alone when she needed me. Laying down on the floor kept the boobs out of the equation and that way I felt like I could learn how to comfort her without them. Good luck mamas!

    Reply
  7. Jan
    October 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm (11 months ago)

    Ethan loves his routine of getting a snack and a drink of chocolate milk and mama or dadda reading a book before bed. He of course picks out the book, sometimes 2 or 3..

    Reply
  8. Claudia
    October 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm (11 months ago)

    I feel for you. Truly. Luckily, both my girls were great about sleep. Routine is consistent. They love routine. I have a 6 yr. Old and a 2yr 3months old.

    I do explain to my two yr. Old that its nap time. Once or five times she had protested and cried, but naps are crucial for them and our sanity. I let her cry as I’m tucking her in and leave the room. She has cried as im leaving. I have wanted so many times to go in the room and hold get.RESIST!!! She no longer cries and sleeps two hours. .. Yes all through the night as well.

    It took about five times of full throttle crying but I have my sanity and she is happier after naps.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

    Reply
    • M.b.v
      November 30, 2013 at 4:48 pm (10 months ago)

      How long would you let her cry before going back in?

      Reply
  9. Mandy
    October 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm (11 months ago)

    We just went through this. It hit at 19 months and lasted a solid 2.5 months. She would only sleep if I stayed in the room with her. That meant staying in there during a 2 hour a nap, staying for at least 1 hour while she fell asleep and then if she woke up in the middle of the night and found we were gone she began screaming again. We tried letting her cry it out, but she’d go at least 2 hours screaming at the top of her lungs. She’d scale the crib and come running in the other room. We refused to pick her up and rock her to sleep, but sometimes the cuddles were needed to calm down. We tried EO’s, they’d work a day or 2 and then we’d protest again. I didn’t have a diffuser then, but do now in case she starts back up. Eventually I bought a clock (OK to wake) that changes color when it’s time to get up. I don’t know if the phase was just ending or if it was the clock… but she got it and stays in bed!

    Reply
  10. Emily H
    October 28, 2013 at 4:45 am (11 months ago)

    My daughter is 15 months and has been doing the same thing for the last few weeks. She almost got herself out of the crib last night! It is very scary and draining. After reading this I feel much better! Thank you so much for sharing this. xx

    Reply
    • Gem
      August 31, 2014 at 5:23 pm (3 weeks ago)

      Hello there, i know you posted this a while ago but my 15 month old son is going through this and I’m wondering how long it will last!

      Reply
  11. Elena
    October 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm (11 months ago)

    Omg I’m so glad you posted this! My son is 19 months and I’m going through this!

    Reply
  12. Alexandra Madhavan
    November 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm (10 months ago)

    Going through it right now, and almost to the 2 month mark! My daughter doesn’t wake up but she talks in her sleep A LOT!!!!

    Reply
  13. Katy Larsen
    November 18, 2013 at 8:47 am (10 months ago)

    Lisa,

    I heard of your loss story of your sweet baby boy this year. I am so terribly sorry. I lost my daughter Hannah at 18w4d. I’m currently working on a few projects and was wondering if you could help me to promote them—they are pregnancy and Infant loss related. If you could email me to discuss that would be great. If not I understand and pray for peace for you on this journey we call life.

    XO,
    Katy

    Reply
  14. Marilee
    November 21, 2013 at 12:02 am (10 months ago)

    I headed this off starting at birth with my twins. I had a rule of no talking at night.
    I would read stories and turn on their aquarium or Leap frog Todd music. Kiss them love them and they would drift off to sleep.
    Any night wakings I would change them, nurse them meet their needs for soothing, but I would not talk or whisper or make noises.
    In the morning when it was time to get up I would greet them with bid smiles, telling them good morning, and chatting them up through diaper changes nursing and breakfast.
    ]Nap time was Nap time, same ritual stories, nursing clean diaper, aquarium or Todd. When one of them woke up I would smile and be ecstatic to see them but silent until we left the room so that Brother could stay sleeping. Once out of the room I would say hi baby, good sleep! We will let brother sleep ok? And play and nurse and diaper change until Brother woke up.
    I did not have the regression issues, or if I did they had each other to keep company.

    Now if they were sick in the middle of the night I did the same as naps,removing the awake one so as not to wake the sleeping one.
    But anyone with twins knows they do most things within minutes of each other.. LOL
    But even a few minutes of alone time is a blessing with more than one baby in the house.

    I hope this can help Moms with newborns.. It might be difficult to instill this after 4 months of age.
    Good Luck!

    Reply
  15. Jane
    November 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm (10 months ago)

    It’s so reassuring to know we’re not the only ones going through this. Our twins are 19 months and seemed to begin their regression aka tired parents and grumpy toddlers hell about a month ago. We’re experimenting with earlier/shorter naps so they’re more tired at bedtime. This has helped a bit but not stopped the persistent waking throughout the night (1-6 times)
    Keep chanting ‘it’s just a phase, it’ll get better soon’ I really hope that’s true!

    Reply
  16. Lori
    November 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm (10 months ago)

    Wow, I feel I had written this and forgotten I’d done it! That’s about how exhausted I am riht now as we’re about 3 weeks into this. I just keep thinking, “Is this really going to end…ever?” Is it possible for her to go back to that perfect, textbook baby that lays down, maybe whines a bit, but then goes to sleep on her own??!? We dread both nap and bedtime and it seems she’s been sleeping anywhere BUT her crib, just for both of us to get a few hours of sleep in. She’ll go down at night, never early anymore, but then wakes about 3 hours later with the same screaming. Ahhh….

    Reply
  17. M.b.v
    November 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm (10 months ago)

    I’ve been going through this for almost 2 months now with my 18 month old. I’m losing my mind! It was originally just night time or early AM wake ups. Now she is fighting naps and sleeping for only 30 minutes. She has also begun fighting going to bed at night. I want my 12 hour a night sleep champ back! What do I do?? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
  18. samantha etienne
    December 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm (10 months ago)

    my little girl is 19 months, and have been going through this for the last 3 weeks – driving me insane. she starts crying as soon as I walk with her into her bedroom, like she knows its time for bed. she does start crying when its time for her nap during the day but goes down much better after a few cry’s. I’m hoping its not anything more sinister than just sleep regression. she does clearly seem distressed, but we have been having her in our bed a lot and sleeps fine with us – but i’m not a big advocator of getting into the habit of having children in bed a lot but I have been really weak recently…..please tell me this is just a phase :(

    Reply
  19. Exhausted
    December 4, 2013 at 8:51 am (10 months ago)

    We are going through this phase now, ad it is exhausting! Our 18 month old son will cry and scream for hours ( 3 – 4 hrs). When we finally get him to sleep, the second he wkes up and see’s he is alone in his room the wailing starts. We are soooo sleep deprived right now we are considering just letting him sleep in our bed until he’s ready to sleep on his own.

    Reply
  20. Karen E. Hall
    December 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm (10 months ago)

    Lisa, I’m so glad to have found this blog. You’re a very talented writer and I look forward to each new entry. Like so many others, I watched the reality show when Jack was younger and I’m so proud to see what he’s become now. Best of everything to y’all and your sweet family.

    Reply
  21. B
    December 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm (9 months ago)

    My 17 mo old is going through this right now too! I’m so upset for her and me. Where did my sweet sleep angel go? How am I supposed to not rock her if I don’t she will scream for an hr ?

    Reply
  22. Mimi
    January 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm (8 months ago)

    What are you doing to get her back to sleep during the middle of the night when she is screaming and just wants to be held or go to your bed?

    Reply
  23. the knackered Devonian Mum
    January 23, 2014 at 1:05 am (8 months ago)

    Christ! Thank you for this, I thought I was doing or had done something really wrong, I’m beyond exhausted but will keep plodding. Thank you again

    Reply
  24. Bonnie
    February 10, 2014 at 11:53 pm (7 months ago)

    Eeeek! Where’d you go, we miss you so!!

    Reply
  25. Kimberly M.
    February 26, 2014 at 9:14 am (7 months ago)

    My daughter is almost 19 months old and I feel like this is what I’m going through. And it’s rough. My sanity is done by 5pm when her dad comes home from work

    Reply
  26. Becca
    March 5, 2014 at 6:35 am (7 months ago)

    Going through this with my son and didn’t even put the pieces together. He’s 19 months and for the past couple weeks he has been waking up at the worst hours! The only thing that works is milk and me staying up for a while to entertain the idea that it’s time to get up. Then when I’ve had enough he goes back to sleep with “doggie” his fuzzy blanket that almost never leaves his side.

    Reply
  27. Lauren
    March 13, 2014 at 1:31 am (6 months ago)

    My 17 month old is going through this. We get a night here and there still that she sleeps 13 hours straight like usual, but the biggest thing now is screaming and protesting when she gets put to bed. Before I could put her to bed and she may have chatted to herself for a couple of minutes then dozed off…see you 13 hours later! I miss that….
    Her nap has dropped from a good solid 2 hours in the middle of the day, now I’m lucky to get an hour. Because of this she’s a little green monster by the time bed time comes and is even harder to get to sleep because she’s over tired from the night before and her shorter nap.
    I’m not sure whether to let her just cry it out or keep going back into her. I’m not sure what may cause a negative effect. (Listening to her crying now…it’s been 15 minutes and I’m not sure if she’s going to calm down). Put bonjela on her gums just in case, but that’s not helped. Ahh this is very very draining, especially at the end of the day when I’m used to sitting down and relaxing after she’s in bed. Glad I’m not the only one who’s going through this. Hope it passes soon. . .

    Reply
  28. Lisa
    March 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm (6 months ago)

    My 21 month old just started going through this….we are on day 7 and I cringe every time I have put her down for nap/bedtime. I’m so very drained especially with juggling a 4 month old who doesn’t sleep through the night yet…..I’m glad this is normal and that I’m not alone. This too shall pass….I’ve gotta keep telling myself this is just a moment in time…..deep breathes!

    Reply
  29. Nancy
    March 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm (6 months ago)

    Dearest Lisa, Am sad that you no longer blog. You were my inspiration to begin making baby food for my grandson. Initially saw your blog linked to a site about babies and healthy eating. My grandson is 15 months old, still only 4 teeth, so your video’s opened my eyes to the possibilities of what could be prepared and frozen… and especially organic. He went from loving vegies, thanks to your blog(s) to recently tossing them off his highchair to Dudley their dog. .. so am attempting smoothies with that hidden spinach. Been researching do it yourself freezer smoothie kits… with fresh vegies and fruits. Maybe you would consider that as a topic should you blog again. It was important for me to finally take the time to thank you! Understand that I am not of the age you have and are reaching however seniors… almost (no AARP card yet) can always learn and I thank you. And finally there are no words, cards, vacations, shoes and even chocolate that can take the pain of your loss.. may God continue to give you strength it shall come. Always remember that silent and listen have the same letters.. hand written in a note from my Dad when hubbie and I lost our fist. Always ask him what it meant… he said in time we would understand. all the best Lisa. Warmest Wishes and thank you again for the jump start.
    God Bless,
    NLJ

    Reply
  30. Emily
    April 1, 2014 at 7:44 am (6 months ago)

    My daughter is 18 months and for about 2 weeks now she has been horrible to get to sleep and is sleeping beauty when it comes to waking up in the morning. Her normal schedule was wake up time 8:30-9 nap around 1-2 and nap time was a hr sometimes 1 1/2 then bedtime 9:30 we were dead set on 9:30 and she would go right to sleep. She cut her first set of top molars about 2weeks ago and her bottom first set of molars are coming in oh boy!!! She now wants to sleep till 10-11 (if I wake her at her normal wake up time she’s a monster) and it takes her about 2-3 hrs to take a nap the. We lay her down strictly at 9-9:30 and she won’t fall asleep till 12-1. A lot of changes have happened in her life in the past month I lost my at home babysitting job so now she doesn’t have her friends here for extra stimulation. We’ve got our new dog in the house with us so that’s extra exciting for her. We’ve had her sleeping in her toddler bed since she was 13m and she did great with the transition with no problems but now that she’s 18m and this sleep regression has set in she’s up and out of that bed before I can shut the door. This is all new to me bc she’s been a great sleeper since she was a month old sleeping straight thru the night and taking good naps. It’s been stressful dealing with this change and not going to bed till 1am. We’re gonna start spending more outside time with her when my husbands gets home from work and about a hr before bed with no tv and a warm bath and warm bottle hopefully that helps

    Reply
  31. Mandy
    April 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm (6 months ago)

    My beautiful baby girl slept through the night from 5 weeks.. Now 10 weeks later she’s hit the 4 month regression and it’s with a vengeance!

    Reply
  32. Erin W
    April 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm (5 months ago)

    mine did it at 15 mos…moved her to a bed …problem solved…and fyi -she had slept right tnrough the night from 2mos of age…would kiss her..put her down (on tummy) and close the door…never heard a peep until 7am…then 1 night decided she would not sleep and would have nothing to do with her crib…

    Reply
  33. Glenn
    May 20, 2014 at 11:58 am (4 months ago)

    My DG decided to start this last night she has always been not the best sleeper waking at least once a night but she went to bed with no trouble not a peep and if she woke it was a bottle and straight back to sleep. But last night and tonight omg what a temper I did the last regression at about 6 months I let her cry it out then only went back in when she was quiet rubbed her head and told her she was good looks like i am going to have to do it all over again. Tonight she was screaming so I told her until she calms down I wasn’t coming in the room but then she stopped wanted her bottle and tried to trick me in saying all finished once I took it off of her and walked out she started again. 20:00 now few noises but think she has got the hint it’s funny but at 6 months it didn’t bother me but this one gives me a lump in my throat. Just need to stick it out again good luck to any one else doing this

    Reply
  34. Brooke
    June 16, 2014 at 4:49 pm (3 months ago)

    This is exaxtly what I am going through!! My son was an awesome sleeper. 11-12 hours a night plus a 2-3 hour nap. Then out of no where he was waling multiple times a night screaming. I did not know what to do. I was so upset but thank God I found this info about sleep regression because honestly I have never heard of it before. And what made all this worse for me is I’m about to give birth to my second son in two weeks! I was having break downs thinking how am I going to get through this and what the heck was going on with my good little sleeper! I am so happy knowing this will come to an end soon!!!

    Reply
    • Madeleine
      June 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm (3 months ago)

      Well, I have to say that now at nearly 21 months my little one is sleeping through the night again! Phew! She went from waking every night wide awake to an unsettled period where she slept through one night and then woke the next and then back to sleeping through. There is light at the end of the tunnel! During the unsettled period she was definitely having a growth spurt because she was waking up hungry. Good luck and hope it doesn’t last long for you.

      Reply
  35. mummy me
    June 22, 2014 at 6:31 pm (3 months ago)

    Omg I’m going nuts!!!!! My son has never been a good sleeper. Around sleep regression milestones didn’t last week’s but months at a time so as soon as one ended another began. He is now 19months old he slept through th e night for a week 4 1/2 week’s ago! This is definitely the hardest time as he gets out of bed full of energy countless Times. Im ttrying to keep my cool but when I’m the only parent that gets up with him in the night and also work full time. I’m starting to get more then a little frayed around the edges!! Feeling helpless exhausted and laughed at my a rebellious little boy I know this will end and hate to put a large negativity to my amazing experience being a first time mum, but I will nevwr have anymore children now

    Reply
    • Madeleine
      June 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm (3 months ago)

      Well, I have to say that now at nearly 21 months my little one is sleeping through the night again! Phew! She went from waking every night wide awake to an unsettled period where she slept through one night and then woke the next and then back to sleeping through. There is light at the end of the tunnel! During the unsettled period she was definitely having a growth spurt because she was waking up hungry. Good luck and hope it doesn’t last long for you

      Reply
  36. Brandy
    August 9, 2014 at 10:55 pm (1 month ago)

    This makes me feel much better! I’ve been trying to figure out why my 18 month all of a sudden REFUSED to sleep and was throwing tantrums!! I thought maybe teething, gassy, etc…. This article makes sense and makes me at peace ( In a way)this shall pass too!!! Love my Luke and I’m here for you, tantrums and all:))

    Reply
  37. Tara
    August 26, 2014 at 6:57 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I must be the only one who hasn’t experienced this at all. I bed share with my LO who is almost 19 months and thankfully have never had issues like this!

    Reply
  38. Amy Blank
    September 11, 2014 at 3:37 am (1 week ago)

    Omg you couldn’t of said this any better. For 2 weeks now he wakes up a lot at night the. Stays up for a good 2 hours and then up real early in the morning for the day all hyper. I hope it ends soon this momma needs sleep.

    Reply

Leave a Reply