Eighteen Month Sleep Regression (2023)

Eighteen Month Sleep Regression
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Your Baby Sleep Consultant expert.

Your little one has been sleeping peacefully through the night for months now, and all of a sudden they start fighting bedtime, waking multiple times at night and having meltdowns at the drop of a hat! Enter the 18-month sleep regression!!

What is a sleep regression?

A sleep regression (or what I like to call ‘Progression) is when a baby or toddler who was previously sleeping well (possibly through the night) for a long period of time and then, all of a sudden, without any obvious cause (like illness, common cold, travelling) their sleep suddenly goes all haywire.

Sleep regressions are often connected to your baby’s mental and physical development during that age. Developmental milestones can impact their sleep and cause frequent wakings during the night as a result.

Why does this happen at eighteen months?

Between 15 and 18 months is when your baby is graduating from ‘baby sleep’ to ‘toddler sleep’. Merging naps, molars coming through, separation anxiety at a high and an explosion of cognitive development – the perfect storm for sleep disturbances. Thus the eighteen-month sleep regression occurs.

This age is also when toddlers are figuring out ‘limits and consequences’ and are starting to assert their independence and gain their independence. What happens if I bite? Can I climb on the chair? Jumping is fun! How long can I jump? What happens if I throw a toy? What happens when I sign/ask for a snack? Can I make mummy laugh again? Can I have more books at bedtime?

Your child might be learning to feed themselves, drink from a cup, or other small independent leaps, which can lead to a stronger will. As a way to show their newfound independence, they might try to resist bed or naptime.

Teething can also impact sleep as around the eighteen-month mark, the four canine teeth and first molars will start to come through, causing discomfort and disrupted sleep as a result.

A second bout of separation anxiety can be to blame as well. While separation anxiety is usually experienced at around six – seven months, it’s often at its strongest from ten to eighteen months. As a result, your child might resist naps and bedtime because they don’t want to be away from you, or they may wake up at the night and become upset because you’re not there.

How to handle the eighteen month sleep regression

First and foremost, remember that this 18-month sleep regression will not last forever. This should actually be a temporary challenge.

Your toddler might have a true regression and get better with minimal effort after a rough week or two or they might get stuck in a bad pattern that will only get better with intervention. The key to getting back on track quickly depends on how you interact with your child during what can be a tricky time. 

1.) Being Consistent

Having a consistent routine is the best way to handle this sleep regression. Your child might try to push to prolong or negotiate their bedtime routine, and it might be tempting to give in, but it’s important to set reasonable limits. Remind your child in a positive way! Make the bedtime routine sound interesting and fair.

As this is the first sleep regression where your child might be choosing not to sleep, try to let them feel some control over bedtime. Keep the routine set but try asking things about what they’d like to wear to bed, what book they’d like to read, etc. or give them jobs in the routine.

2.) Give Time to Practise New Skills

At around this time, children might have started to walk (or run!) and are beginning to say a few words. These exciting new developments may keep your little one from getting to sleep as they might be more interested in practising these new skills. By giving your child the time they need to walk and talk during the daytime, they will be less likely to stay up and do it while they’re supposed to be asleep!

3.) Limit Screen Time

At this age, your toddler might play around with an iPad or spend time watching the TV. Screen time is known to cause sleep disturbances in children so if you find your child is having a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, consider how screen time plays a role in it. Avoid screens within two hours of bedtime and switch to a calm activity that they can do before bed.

4.) Age-Appropriate Sleep Schedule

During this time, bedtime is being moved up earlier to allow the transition from two naps to one. It can be difficult if your child is becoming overtired during this period, as they will have a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep due to it. Ideally, once your child has transitioned to one nap, they should be awake for about five to six hours before the nap and then awake no more than five to six hours between nap and bedtime. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules and if your baby seems to handle bigger awake times, then it’s best to go on their individual tired signs and not so much the clock or set hours, especially leading up to bedtime. Some children need a 6.30pm bedtime and others are quite happy to go down closer to 8pm or 9pm.

5.) If You Need Help, Ask For It

If you feel that you need some extra help with getting through this baby sleep regression, hiring a My NewBorn Baby Sleep Consultant and receiving specialist advice can be the difference between night and day. You’re likely to find yourself just as exhausted as your child, and if you’re working at the same time, it might seem impossible to keep it all up. Sometimes, having professional assistance is what not only your little one needs, but what you need as well.

Feel free to reach out to your expert Baby Sleep Consultant in Sydney, Jennifer to help you through the 18 month sleep regression.

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Terms & Conditions

Jennifer is a qualified IMI Maternity and Child Sleep Consultant, Doula and MNT Maternity Nurse. These qualifications enable her to assist pregnant women with their sleep issues, support women during labour and the birthing process, guide parents during the postpartum period and educate families about their baby’s sleeping habits. Jennifer provides safe and gentle sleep training methods based on knowledge obtained during her studies, successful qualifications and 16+ years experience.

Jennifer has obtained her paediatric First Aid Training through KidZAid and is registered to work with babies and children in Australia and Europe. Techniques and methods used are all derived directly from her qualifications and from her many years of experience.

Jennifer’s advice does not replace the advice from your Doctor or Paediatrician, and her advice should not be relied upon as medical advice. For medical advice, you should always seek the advice from your medical practitioner. Therefore, you should consult with your health-care professional should you have any healthcare related questions or before embarking on a new sleep program. If a medical problem appears or persists, do not disregard or delay seeking medical advice from doctor. Accordingly, Jennifer expressly disclaims any liability, loss, damage, or injury caused by information provided to the client.

Jennifer will educate, support you and guide you through the sleep challenges needed to make change in your baby’s sleeping habits. As a Baby Sleep Consultant, Jennifer is not responsible for your application of the sleep solutions once the consultation has concluded. Once the sleep consultation has concluded it is the responsibility of the parent(s) to apply the agreed methods and solutions. Jennifer has an extremely high success rate, however, the success of Jennifer solutions is in the hands of the parents’ commitment & perseverance once the sleep consultation has ended; therefore Jennifer cannot make any guarantees of success. However, Jennifer will use her best endeavours to support you until the desired result has been achieved.

  • I agree to check with my healthcare provider/doctor if my baby has any medical conditions, which prevent them from being trained safely.
  • I agree to follow safe sleeping practices in line with SIDS recommendations (https://rednose.org.au/article/what-is-a-safe-sleeping-environment).
  • I agree to disclose any medical conditions to Jennifer, which my baby has or has had previously.
  • I understand that my customised baby sleep program is meant for my baby only and should not be shared with a third party. I acknowledge the information might not be suitable for another baby.
  • Any changes I make to my baby’s sleeping or eating arrangements are my decision and Jennifer will only make suggestions for change, of which I am responsible for choosing to implement.
  • It is my responsibility to contact Jennifer for my follow up support and send the sleep log information through to be assessed for feedback as frequently as suggested.


In-Home Cancellation Policy
To confirm any In-Home Program, the client will be required to pay a 25% non-refundable deposit to secure the booking. The remaining amount of the In-Home Program will be required to be paid on the day after Jennifer leaves your home. Any cancellations barring medical or other emergencies will forfeit the deposit. If  you cancel less than 48 hours before the scheduled visit, the full amount will be required, unless Jennifer can backfill your place with someone on the waiting list.

If your baby is a little under the weather and does not have a temperature, the program can generally proceed as planned. If your baby is sick with a temperature or has been diagnosed with a medical condition by a doctor, the program will be postponed until your baby is better. A doctors certificate may be requested.

Remote Program/Phone Consultation
To confirm the Remote Program or Phone Consultation Jennifer will be required to be paid in full before sleep plans are constructed and the phone consultation takes place.

Remote Program Cancellation policy
The Remote Program and Phone Consultations are non-refundable after the start of sleep work (i.e. when any sleep advice has been delivered to the client via email, text, phone).

Acts of God or suspected medical conditions
If an act of God, such as a fire, flood, earthquake or other natural calamity shall cause you to cancel the sleep services, Jennifer will require payment only for the time actually spent sleep consulting. 

If during the In Home program, Jennifer feels the consultation should cease due to an underlying or undisclosed medical condition, Jennifer will require payment only for the time actually spent in your home. In this case, to keep the situation fair on both parties, the hourly rate is reduced down from the normal sleep consulting fees (as per the program booked) and charged at $50ph. 

Doctor’s appointment
Jennifer requests that every client has an appointment with their doctor to ensure their baby is developmentally on track and fit for sleep training. Written medical approval may be requested for certain circumstances.

Within 25km from Bondi Beach. An additional fee of $25ph travelled will be charged if travel is over 25kms.

As the client, you knowingly and voluntarily agree to waive and release Jennifer from any and all claims of liability or demands for compensation that you may acquire during the time working with Jennifer.

By checking this Agreement, you agree to the terms and conditions detailed within.