Surviving the 18 Month Sleep Regression

I have mentioned several times that Joshua doesn’t sleep and how me and Darren are Joshua’s comfort. We spend most of our evenings and nights helping Joshua with his sleep habits. It’s a nightmare most of the time but we still wake up smiling every morning thanks to Joshua’s gorgeous, sleepy smile. The one thing that disturbs our pattern of sleep is sleep regressions.

If you’re a parent to a toddler you will already be fully aware of sleep regressions. If you’re baby is too young to yet have gone through one, or you generally aren’t aware, a sleep regression is a period of time when a baby or child starts waking at night, skipping/fighting naps (and generally being a pain about sleep) for no apparent reason.

parenting, advice, sleep, sleep regression, toddler, children

We got through Joshua’s 4 month sleep regression, that was fairly easy. It just flew by. I noticed one at 12 months because we were just getting into a good sleep pattern and BOOM! But it was over as quickly as it started. 

And now this one.

It’s definitely been the hardest so far. With a baby waking every hour to breastfeed, it isn’t an easy task to sit up with a sleep deprived toddler for hours on end. It’s true to say that both me and Darren are beyond exhausted now. I’m just slightly glad that it happened over the Christmas period while Darren had time off work. Although it is lasting a little longer than I’d like it to.

I remember Keira going through it, mainly because she also developed a bit of separation anxiety at bedtime, but once she was asleep it was so bad (Joshua was born when Keira was 18 months old and she had started sleeping through so night times were a piece of cake).

Being a mom of 3 I thought I was pretty clued up on how to do this parenting malarkey but it just goes to show that no matter how many children you have there is always something to keep you on your toes.
I don’t know how long this regression will last, I’m really hoping it isn’t all that long, but I’ve been asking parents for their hints and tips on how they managed to get through this difficult stage of their toddlers life.

“For us, the only way we get through any sleep regression is by bed-sharing. I know it’s not for everyone, but done safely it means we all get at least some sleep!”

“For us it’s not about changing anything. Ultimately a sleep regression occurs at big developmental milestones (babies take a HUGE leap into toddlerhood at approx 18 months). With so much change happening we try and be the constant and we seemed to get through not tooo badly scathed.”
– Tessa (Little Lathey)

“Oh I know it well and I’m facing this again now at 2.5 years. Kids can be SO different I think it’s more about our own survival, sticking to routine and remembering it is just a phase and that at that age they are learning so much, discovering fear, separation anxiety and testing boundaries too. It is exhausting even if they just want a lovely cuddle and I find you get to a point where you feel you can’t go on and suddenly they have a magical night of sleep and everyone is happy again.”
– Laura (Wafflemama)

“My children’s regression was fear based. So we used the “monster spray” to keep baddies away and night lights. I like to encourage good sleep not punish bad, so not keen on reward charts at this age they aren’t waking on purpose.”
– Amy (Eps and Amy)

“A nightlight worked a treat for us. I think it was the fear of waking up in a dark room alone, also moving her to a bed so she could come into us if she ever needed us!”

– Amy (The Smallest of Things)

“Gaffer tape, a child sized cardboard box and a heady mix of Peppa pig and double chocolate cookies accompanied by a lot of coffee (for me).”

– Natasha (Mummy & Moose)

Do you have any hints and tips for those parents who may be struggling?


  1. Jones the Mam

    17 January, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Ugh. I don't envy you trying to juggle two different sleep regressions at the same time. Both ours are fairly solid sleepers and far apart enough in age for it to be manageable (so far), so not much advice here. We're about to move little one's cotbed into her own room, though, so we'll see how that goes.

  2. Bex

    14 February, 2018 at 1:53 am

    I think we’re going through this right now with Eden. What a nightmare bed times have been for the last couple of weeks. It’s now 1:50am and I’ve currently had an hours sleep between going back and forth to her and now she’s wide awake. Thought I’d check twitter and came across your post, what a coincidence! I’m pretty exhausted with it now and can only hope it passes soon. Stupid sleep regressions, grrrr xx

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