From what I know about sleep regression, it seems to go hand-in-hand with growth spurts and cluster feeding. Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less)." Folks often refer to "4 month" and "9 month" sleep regression. It basically means your baby goes from sleeping longer stretches to sudden being up every couple hours again just like a newborn. Now, some cluster feeding is necessary to boost your supply back up... but I think nurslings get into a habit after a week or two where they want to be on the boob, even though they aren't hungry. It does through a wrench in the system and leads to questioning your parenting style for sure. I know I was close to caving to the "cry it out" pressures of my peers. "It's the only way" I kept hearing. Well, no it's not.
Around 9 months of age my son had been sleeping 4 hours at a stretch, and suddenly he started waking up every hour. After a few weeks of this I was losing my mind. One mom gave me the advice of giving my son a pre-bedtime snack of whole grain oatmeal, bananas, and yogurt. The first night we gave him this meal about 30-45 minutes before bedtime... and a miracle happened... my son who had been waking every 1-2 hours suddenly slept through the night. I was in shock!! The foods I had given him were full of serotonin. Now, I will have to admit to you that after that first night he was waking every 5-6 hours - but that is still WAY BETTER than hourly. I can handle twice in a night for the long haul.
Some foods that promote sleep are turkey, bananas, whole grain crackers, milk, tuna, nut butter, dates figs, and yogurt.
The Buzzle made a list of sleep inducing bedtime snacks - check it out and get some good recipes!
What tricks do you have for getting your children to sleep longer stretches naturally?