It is very common for your 8, 9, or 10 month old to have sleep problems. Maybe the sleep problems are new after your baby was sleeping through the night or maybe you feel like you never quite recovered from the 4 month sleep regression. This article will discuss what exactly is happening with your 8, 9, or 10 month old.
The reason I keep saying 8, 9, or 10 month old is because this sleep regression can happen at any of these ages, unfortunately. While many people tend to notice the 4-month sleep regression almost exactly at 3 1/2 to 4 months, the next sleep regression varies a bit more. According to The Wonder Weeks, “You can expect a fussy period to begin around 34 weeks, or between 32 and 37 weeks. This fussy period will often last for 4 weeks, but it may last anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks.” I know all too well how 6 weeks can feel like an eternity, when you aren’t sleeping! With the 4-month sleep regression, your baby permanently changed how exactly she sleeps. With this sleep regression, it isn’t anything like that.
For the most part, the 8, 9, or 10 month old sleep regression is due to a lot of brain development. Your baby may be crawling, scooting, sitting up, pulling up, cruising, and so on. Your baby is also continuing to absorb your language and beginning to put things into categories, such as learning something is a cat, regardless of color or size. On top of the developmental milestones, many babies are also getting their first teeth or more teeth (it felt like, to me, your baby teethes for what feels like a constant two years).
8, 9, or 10 month old sleep
Your 8, 9, or 10 month old will still need 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 2-3 hours during the day, but as with all developmental milestones, night sleep can be disrupted while your baby is going through this developmental leap. Either they are too busy practicing their new skills (either by choice or impulsively) or their brain is just too wired to settle down (ever have a big meeting, graduation, wedding, or event the next day and can’t sleep?). Your 8 or 9 month old is also likely going through a nap transition and losing the third catnap (if he had it at all). As with most nap transitions, this makes your baby overtired and often even fussier than usual during this sleep regression. Finding a new age-appropriate baby nap schedule can be even more challenging during this sleep regression not only because of the nap transition but also due to the fact that the sleep regression can disrupt naps just like night sleep. Is he not napping because you are trying naps at the wrong time or is it because he is too busy practicing his new skill? Doubts can mount during this time and you might lose confidence in your parenting ability. Your baby might be clingier and fussier because she’s tired and these new changes can make her feel more insecure. Have no fear, there is likely nothing wrong with your parenting or your baby!
What to do about your 8, 9, or 10 month old’s sleep regression?
Do you do nothing because it’s a phase? Do you do hard-core sleep training? What do you do about your baby’s sleep during this sleep regression?
As usual, my answer is very practical. I do not agree with doing nothing nor being hard-core. My philosophy is that you don’t want to make or continue long-term habits for a short-term phase. There is a middle ground. If your baby is waking 3-10 times per night, for example, that is still usually excessive even during a sleep regression. That is not good for you and, most importantly, not good for your baby. When your baby can’t sleep for two hours at 1 a.m. due to uncontrollable standing in the crib, do you let her scream for two hours every night? No, that is not my philosophy, either.
Here are some tips to help you and your baby get through this sleep regression:
- Don’t assume everything is due to the sleep regression – If your baby had sleep problems at 5 months, 6 months, or 7 months, then it’s unlikely that it’s this sleep regression at the root of your sleep problems, now. You likely have a lingering problem that needs to be addressed.
- Don’t assume everything is teething – See above.
- If sleep problems are new to you, be careful about making a new long-term habit such as co-sleeping, if that’s not what you want. As I mentioned above, this could be as short as a 3-week phase, but new habits or routines can last for months or even years. Consistency is still important.
- Be patient – Your baby will only go through this particular developmental leap once (thankfully), so try to help her through it as best you can. Keep in mind that we can’t always remove our baby’s discomfort, but we can be there for support.
I hope this article gives you a glimpse of what your 8, 9, or 10 month old is going through. I still believe that a baby can learn how to sleep better during this time, but keep in mind it might not be perfect, and that is okay. You can still start to lay the foundation, create new routines, and build confidence in her abilities. Getting more sleep will help her cope with the changes and likely help with any additional fussiness, too. If she can’t nap well, but she’s sleeping well at night, that will help bridge the gap. The vice versa is also true if she’s having trouble sleeping at night, but napping better. Adding more sleep deprivation will usually only make this phase more difficult for all of you, so I don’t always recommend waiting it out, if it’s been months of sleep deprivation leading up to this point and can possibly be 6 more weeks and beyond (there is always something). I get e-mails every day from parents of babies of all ages and some parents of toddlers are still “waiting it out.” Just like it’s never a perfect time, usually, to have a baby, it’s sometimes never a perfect time to make a change in sleep habits.
Did you notice an 8, 9, or 10 month sleep regression? Tell us about it!