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14 Month Sleep Regression: Unconventional Tactics to Overcome It

“Sleep like a baby” – that’s a phrase often used to describe a night of peaceful, uninterrupted slumber. However, any parent who has gone through the 14 month sleep regression knows just how ironic those words can be. This phase, which typically occurs around 14 or 15 months of age, can be a real nightmare for exhausted moms and dads.

Imagine this scenario: your little one, who was previously sleeping through the night, suddenly starts waking up multiple times, screaming and refusing to settle back down. Or perhaps they’re fighting bedtime tooth and nail, making the once-sacred routine a battle of wills. It’s enough to leave even the most patient parent feeling frazzled and sleep-deprived.

But fear not, dear reader, for we’ve got your back with some unconventional tactics to help you and your toddler conquer this dreaded sleep regression. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Understanding the 14 Month Sleep Regression

Before we get to the solutions, let’s first explore what’s behind this maddening phase. The 14-month sleep regression is often attributed to a perfect storm of developmental milestones, separation anxiety, and changing sleep needs.

The Science Behind Baby Sleep Cycles

To better grasp the regression, it’s helpful to understand the basics of baby sleep cycles. Unlike adults, babies cycle through light and deep sleep stages more frequently throughout the night. During these lighter stages, they’re more prone to waking up – and that’s when the real fun begins.

Melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone, also plays a role. As babies approach toddlerhood, their melatonin levels can fluctuate, throwing off their sleep patterns. Establishing consistent bedtime routines and creating a sleep-friendly environment can help regulate their internal clocks.

Is there a sleep regression at 14 or 15 months?

Absolutely! While every child is different, many parents report significant sleep disruptions around the 14 or 15-month mark. It’s a common stage that most little ones go through – a rite of passage, if you will, into the wonderful world of toddlerhood.

Developmental Progression

At this age, babies are making leaps and bounds in their physical development. Learning to walk, stand, and climb opens up a whole new world of exploration – and a whole new set of challenges when it comes to sleep.

Imagine trying to sleep when you’ve just mastered the art of walking; your little body is buzzing with excitement, and your mind is racing with all the possibilities of your newfound mobility. It’s no wonder they have trouble settling down!

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14 Month Sleep Regression: Unconventional Tactics to Overcome It. Image Credit: Canva

Separation Anxiety

Then there’s the emotional component: separation anxiety. Around 14 months, many babies become acutely aware of their parents’ absence, leading to bedtime battles and frequent night wakings.

One minute, they’re contentedly drifting off to sleep, and the next, they’re sitting up in their crib, eyes wide and searching for you. It’s heartbreaking, but also a normal part of their development.

Next step advice: As frustrating as it may be, try to respond to your little one’s separation anxiety with patience and reassurance. Establish a consistent bedtime routine that includes quality time together, and consider leaving a piece of your clothing or a familiar stuffed animal in their crib as a comforting reminder of your presence.

What causes a sleep regression at 14 or 15 months?

While developmental milestones and separation anxiety are major contributors, there are a few other culprits that can exacerbate the 14 month sleep regression.

Big Transitions

Around this age, many babies are also transitioning from two naps to one nap per day. This shift in their sleep schedule can throw off their rhythms and lead to overtiredness or under-tiredness – both of which can wreak havoc on nighttime sleep.

Changes in Sleep Needs

As babies approach toddlerhood, their sleep needs evolve. Some may require more sleep, while others may need less. This can be a tricky dance as you try to balance their changing needs with your own desperate desire for a good night’s rest.


Let’s not forget the ever-present specter of teething. Those pesky little teeth can cause discomfort and pain, making it difficult for your little one to settle down and stay asleep.

Next step advice: Try to be flexible and observant during this transitional phase. Pay attention to your baby’s cues and adjust their nap and bedtime schedules accordingly. And don’t forget the teething remedies – frozen washcloths, numbing gels, and plenty of cuddles can go a long way.

What are some signs of a 14-15 month sleep regression?

If you’re noticing any of these signs, chances are you’re in the midst of the dreaded 14-month sleep regression:

  • Frequent night wakings
  • Difficulty falling asleep at bedtime
  • Shorter nap durations
  • Increased fussiness or crankiness during the day
  • Resistance to going into the crib or bed

Don’t worry; these are all perfectly normal behaviors for this stage. But that doesn’t make them any less exhausting for you, the poor, sleep-deprived parent.

Frequent Night WakingsYour toddler wakes up multiple times during the night, having difficulty staying asleep.
Bedtime BattlesYour toddler resists going to bed, crying or protesting when it’s time to sleep.
Shorter Nap DurationsNap times become shorter and more disrupted compared to before.
Increased FussinessYour toddler seems more irritable, fussy, or cranky during the day due to lack of sleep.
Resistance to Crib/BedYour toddler refuses to stay in their crib or bed, preferring to be held or rocked to sleep.
Signs of the 14-Month Sleep Regression

Unconventional Tactics to Overcome the 14 Month Sleep Regression

Now that we’ve covered the whats and whys of this phase, let’s get to the good stuff: the unconventional tactics that may just help you and your little one reclaim those precious hours of shut-eye.

The Power of White Noise

White noise can be a game-changer when it comes to promoting better sleep. The constant, soothing sound helps mask disruptive noises and can even mimic the familiar womb-like environment your baby experienced in utero.

Whether you use a dedicated white noise machine, a fan, or a white noise app, experiment with different volumes and sounds to find what works best for your little one.

Next step advice: Introduce white noise gradually, starting with lower volumes during awake times, then increasing it during sleep times. Be consistent, and use the same white noise source each night to create a calming association.

Baby Massage and Relaxation Techniques

Touch is a powerful tool when it comes to soothing a fussy baby. Consider incorporating gentle massage or relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine.

Not only does massage promote bonding and connection, but it can also help release muscle tension and calm your little one’s nervous system, making it easier for them to drift off to sleep.

Aromatherapy, using calming scents like lavender or chamomile, can also be a helpful addition to your relaxation routine.

Next step advice: Attend a baby massage class to learn proper techniques, or look up online tutorials. Start with a gentle full-body massage, then move on to specific areas like the back, legs, and feet. Encourage deep breaths and slow, rhythmic movements.

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14 Month Sleep Regression: Unconventional Tactics to Overcome It. Image Credit: Canva

The Bedtime Routine Revamp

Speaking of bedtime routines, this is a prime opportunity to mix things up a bit. If your current routine isn’t working, don’t be afraid to shake things up and try something new.

Maybe your little one would respond better to a calming bath followed by a lullaby and gentle rocking. Or perhaps a quiet story time and gentle stretches would help them wind down more effectively.

The key is to experiment and find what works best for your unique child.

Next step advice: Get creative and involve your little one in the routine revamp. Let them pick out a special stuffed animal or blanket to incorporate, or make up silly songs or dances to get them giggling (and hopefully, sleepy!).

White NoiseUsing constant, soothing sounds to mask disruptive noises and mimic the womb environment.
Baby MassageIncorporating gentle massage techniques to promote relaxation and bonding before bedtime.
Relaxation TechniquesUsing aromatherapy, gentle stretches, or other calming activities to help your toddler wind down.
Bedtime Routine RevampUse aromatherapy, gentle stretches, or other calming activities to help your toddler wind down.
Unconventional Tactics for Better Sleep

Can we sleep train during the 14-15 month regression?

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely continue (or start) sleep training during this phase. However, it’s important to approach it with patience and understanding.

Your little one is going through a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally, so the techniques you used when they were younger may not work as effectively. Be prepared to adjust your methods and expectations accordingly.

Next step advice: If you’re sleep training during the 14-month regression, be consistent, but also flexible. Don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than expected – this phase is temporary, and your efforts will pay off in the long run.

How can I help my baby get through the 14-15 month sleep regression?

In addition to the unconventional tactics we’ve already covered, there are a few more strategies that can help your little one navigate this challenging phase.

Practice New Skills During Awake Time

Remember how we talked about all those exciting new milestones contributing to the sleep regression? Well, one way to help your little one burn off that excess energy is to encourage plenty of skill practice during awake times.

Set up a safe space for them to practice walking, climbing, or any other new skills they’re working on. The more opportunities they have to explore and master these abilities during the day, the less likely they’ll be to try them out in their crib at night.

Plan for Active Awake Time

Similarly, make sure your toddler is getting enough physical activity and playtime during their awake hours. A well-exercised body is more likely to settle down for rest when it’s time to sleep.

Go for walks, hit the playground, or have a living room dance party – whatever gets their little bodies moving and grooving. Just be mindful of timing; you don’t want them to be overstimulated right before bedtime.

Consider Changing Sleep Needs

As we mentioned earlier, your toddler’s sleep needs may be shifting during this phase. If you notice that their current nap or bedtime schedule isn’t quite cutting it anymore, don’t be afraid to make adjustments.

Perhaps they need an earlier bedtime or a later wake-up time. Or maybe they’re ready to drop that pesky morning nap altogether. Pay attention to their cues, and be willing to experiment until you find the sweet spot.

Coping Strategies for Exhausted Parents

Let’s be real – the 14-month sleep regression can be utterly draining for parents. While you’re doing everything you can to help your little one, it’s equally important to take care of yourself during this challenging time.

Self-Care and Support System

First and foremost, prioritize self-care. I know, I know – easier said than done when you’re running on fumes. But even small acts of self-kindness, like taking a warm bath or enjoying a cup of tea in peace, can work wonders for your mental and emotional well-being.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. Enlist your partner, a family member, or a trusted friend to spell you for a few hours so you can catch up on some much-needed rest.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

The 14-month sleep regression can be a breeding ground for stress and anxiety, especially if you’re already feeling overwhelmed. Find healthy ways to manage these emotions, whether it’s through exercise, meditation, journaling, or seeking professional support if needed.

Remember, taking care of your own mental health is just as important as tending to your little one’s needs. A well-rested, balanced parent is better equipped to handle the challenges of this phase.

Self-CarePrioritizing activities that rejuvenate you, like taking a bath, enjoying a cup of tea, or reading a book.
Support SystemAsking for help from your partner, family members, or friends to get some rest.
Stress ManagementFinding healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety, such as exercise, meditation, or seeking professional support.
Humor and PerspectiveMaintaining a sense of humor and reminding yourself that this phase is temporary.
Coping Strategies for Exhausted Parents

What can I do to help my toddler with separation anxiety?

Separation anxiety is a big contributor to the 14-month sleep regression, so it’s important to have some strategies in your arsenal to help ease your toddler’s distress.

Use a Visual Timer

Visual timers can be a game-changer when it comes to helping toddlers understand transitions. Use one during your bedtime routine to give your little one a visual cue of when you’ll be leaving the room and when you’ll be back.

Consistent Routine

We can’t emphasize this enough: a consistent bedtime routine is key during this phase. The more predictable and familiar the process is for your toddler, the less anxious they’ll feel as you prepare to leave them for the night.

Handling ‘Fetch’ Games

It’s not uncommon for toddlers to start playing “fetch” games at bedtime, repeatedly calling for you to come back into the room. As tempting as it may be to oblige, this can reinforce the behavior and prolong the separation anxiety.

Instead, be loving but firm in your response. Let them know you’ll check on them in a few minutes, and then follow through – but don’t linger too long, or you’ll inadvertently restart the cycle.

Avoid Sneaking Away

On a related note, never sneak away from your toddler’s room once they’ve fallen asleep. As tempting as it may be to make a stealthy exit, this can backfire in a major way if they wake up and find you gone without warning.

Importance of Boundary Setting and Communication

While it’s important to be understanding and patient during this phase, it’s also crucial to set loving boundaries and communicate age-appropriate expectations to your toddler.

Explain (in simple terms) that you’ll be leaving the room, but you’ll come back to check on them. Reassure them that you’re never far away, and that their crib or bed is a safe, cozy place for them to sleep.

Picky Eating: A Normal Toddler Phase

Another common challenge that can coincide with the 14 month sleep regression? Picky eating. It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to go through phases of being more selective with their food choices, but this can impact their sleep if they’re not getting enough nutrients and calories throughout the day.

Too Busy To Eat

At this age, your little one is likely too busy exploring and playing to sit still for extended periods of time – including mealtimes. They may start out eating well, only to lose interest and wander away from the table halfway through.

Bedtime Snack

One strategy to help combat this is to offer a nutrient-dense bedtime snack. A small serving of whole grains, protein, and healthy fats can help top off their fuel tank before a long night of sleep.

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14 Month Sleep Regression: Unconventional Tactics to Overcome It. Image Credit: Canva

Transitioning Away from Night Feedings

If your toddler is still nursing or taking a bottle overnight, this can also contribute to disrupted sleep patterns. While it’s a personal decision when to wean, many experts recommend phasing out night feedings around the 14-month mark.

This transition should be done gradually and with lots of love and patience. Offer extra cuddles, stories, and reassurance to help them adjust to the new routine.

How long does the 14-15 month sleep regression last?

Here’s the good news: the 14-month sleep regression, like all other phases of childhood, is temporary. Most experts agree that it typically lasts anywhere from 2-6 weeks, though some particularly stubborn cases can extend a bit longer.

The key is to stay consistent with your approach, whether that’s sticking to a solid routine, continuing (or starting) sleep training, or implementing some of the unconventional tactics we’ve discussed.

With time, patience, and a healthy dose of humor (because let’s face it, some nights will be downright laughable), your little one will eventually emerge from this sleep regression phase.

Changing Sleep Needs: One Nap Transition

Around the 14-month mark, many toddlers are also transitioning from two naps per day to one longer afternoon nap. This shift in their sleep schedule can certainly contribute to the overall regression chaos.

Gradual Transition

The key to a successful one-nap transition is to take it slowly. Start by pushing the morning nap a bit later each day until you’re able to consolidate it into one midday snooze.

Be prepared for some protest and crankiness as you make this adjustment – it’s a big change for their little bodies and minds to adapt to. Offer plenty of comfort, patience, and perhaps an extra snack or two to help them through the transition.

When to Seek Professional Help

While the 14-month sleep regression is normal and temporary, there may be instances where you need to seek professional guidance. If your little one’s sleep issues persist well beyond the typical 2-6 week window, or if you have concerns about their overall development or well-being, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician.

They may recommend working with a certified sleep consultant or child psychologist to develop a more personalized plan for addressing your specific situation.

At the end of the day, trust your parental instincts. You know your child best, and if something doesn’t feel quite right, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.


Phew, we’ve covered a lot of ground, haven’t we? From understanding the root causes of the 14-month sleep regression to exploring unconventional tactics for overcoming it, this guide has hopefully provided you with a comprehensive toolkit for navigating this challenging phase.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Thousands of parents before you have weathered the storm of the 14-month sleep regression, and they’ve all emerged on the other side – bleary-eyed, perhaps, but victorious nonetheless.

So take heart, dear reader. Arm yourself with patience, creativity, and a healthy dose of humor. Lean on your support system, prioritize self-care, and trust that this too shall pass.

And when those long, sleepless nights feel never-ending, remind yourself that you’re not just helping your little one through this phase – you’re also creating cherished memories that will one day be looked back on with a mix of exhaustion and endearment.

Because at the end of the day, these fleeting moments of parenting a toddler are both utterly maddening and incredibly precious. Savor the snuggles, laugh at the tantrums, and know that you’re doing an amazing job, even on the nights when it doesn’t feel like it.

This too shall pass, and before you know it, your little one will be sleeping through the night once more. But the lessons you’ve learned, the bonds you’ve strengthened, and the unconventional tactics you’ve mastered? Those will stay with you forever, arming you for whatever adventures lie ahead in this wild and wonderful journey of parenthood.

So keep on keeping on, warrior parent. You’ve got this – and we’ve got your back every step of the way.

FAQ – 14 Month Sleep Regression

Is the 14-month sleep regression inevitable for all babies?

How can I tell if my baby’s sleep issues are due to the regression or something else?

How can I deal with my toddler’s separation anxiety at bedtime?

My toddler seems overtired but still won’t sleep well. What gives?

When should I seek professional help for my toddler’s sleep issues?

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14 Month Sleep Regression: Unconventional Tactics to Overcome It. Image Credit: Canva
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