How new motor skills effect sleep

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

So, you thought that you had nailed it – your baby has just mastered the art of sleeping through the night and bang – it’s all gone sideways because they have developed a new motor skill.  The new go to language is sleep regression but really, they are not true regressions, but progressions, we want our children to hit their milestones right?

Here is a list of motor development milestones – how they can effect sleep and what you can do to help get your infant back on track.  A previous study noted that there was a relationship between an onset of night wakings and motor development milestones – babies were found to have a harder time settling down to sleep and would appear to start waking more frequently at night, two weeks before they took their first steps. 

It also important to remember that often babies wake up at night and like to practice their new found skills as it is so much more exciting than going to sleep – in fact, they like to cry, baby, blow raspberries a little or give you a call to join them for their late night rendezvous.

4 – 6 months - Rolling over from their back to their side but can't roll back.

Once a baby starts to roll, the above scenario will have you up a couple of times in the night to help your baby roll back onto their back.  If you have not witnessed them roll from their tummy to their back then they probably can't – so you will have to help out initially.  However, once you have seen them do it – you should refrain from getting too involved otherwise they will be calling for you to come and do it for them.  

Once a baby has the ability to roll over the neck muscles are stronger and the chance of SIDS decreases.  

Lots of parents worry about their baby and this phenomenon, but once the babies’ start, there is no need to worry, and your baby is just developing normally and is building even more strength for their next amazing step.

6 – 9 month - Sitting - Crawling & standing 

Sitting – Once a baby has grown into their head they are not so top heavy anymore and they finally have the ability to sit.  

You may find that once in bed then can go from being on their back to rolling – doing a fast push up and are sat up in 5 seconds flat.  

For co-sleeping parents this can be especially challenging once there little one is awake and sat up at night, they think its super fun to poke your eye and touch your nose, normally whilst practicing the odd vowel or delightful squeal at the same time.  OUCH!

You should deal with this by laying them back down and saying a key work or shhh in a calm and collective manor, limit eye contact and don’t do anything that will get them excited into thinking it is morning time.  They may sit back up a few other times but lay them back down again.  

Crawling – This is the one that you were waiting for – your little sugar plum starting to crawl and then of course – when it happens – you realize that you had