The 8, 9, or 10 Month Old Baby Sleep Regression Explained

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The 8, 9, or 10 Month Regression

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.

8, 9, or 10 Month Sleep Regression Help

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Did you notice an 8, 9, or 10 month sleep regression? Tell us about it!

 

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32 Responses to The 8, 9, or 10 Month Old Baby Sleep Regression Explained

  1. Kelley says:

    I have a boy that will turn 9 months on the 4th of Feb. I think for me I just get frustrated because he will sleep SO good one night and then the next night he is up about 5 times a night. Most of the time when he does wake up I let him cry/whine for about 5 minutes and he goes back to sleep. I have a hard time telling if it’s sleep regression or teeth most of the time. For instance, on Sunday he went right to sleep in his crib by 5:45pm, slept until 2am, had a bottle, and went back to sleep until I woke him up at 5:45am. Then last night he went right to sleep on his own in his crib by 5:45pm but woke up at 7:30, 11:30, 3:15, and 4:50. He always went back to sleep on his own but it’s frustrating because I know he can sleep and I don’ know what I can do for him. Sometimes he needs a hug from me in order to stop crying and will cry again as soon as he sees me leaving the room (assuming some separation anxiety there) and if I let him cry for a few minutes he will go back to sleep (sometimes…sometimes it takes a good hour). I’m not one that can let him cry it out so I usually check on him after about 5 minutes of him crying…I can never go much longer than that. Some nights when I put him in his crib he will talk for a little bit and then cry. I know if he cries at bedtime that it’s going to be a long night. Some days he will take 2 1 1/2 naps and sleep just fine at night, then the next day he only takes 30 minute naps (will sleep longer if I end up holding him but always starts out in his crib) and then doesn’t sleep the best at night. I just get confused and don’t always know how to handle it. He’s always had some sleep issues (he’s one that never returned to “normal” after his 4 month sleep regression). Any thoughts?

  2. Dana says:

    My little angel is one year old, is it possible that the sleep regression you talk about comes at this age?
    He was sleeping fine, without waking up around a month ago. He is an early riser (sometimes too early) but at least he was sleeping straight from 6:45 pm to 4:30 am.
    The last month he has been waking up up to 8 times a night! just once or twice has sleep straight. His 2 naps became only 30 min cat naps, and as the previous comment from Kelley, he would sleep longer if I come and nurse him, but he would sleep on my breast!
    I let him cry for 10 min and then check, but sometimes he will just keep doing it for hours! Last night he cried from 10:30pm to 2 am. We were checking on him every 10 – 15 min, but tried not to stay too long in his room, so he re-learns how to fall asleep on his own.
    We are exausted. And if we are that tired as adults, I can’t imagine how tired he must be.
    What should we do to help him?

  3. Meghan says:

    We started dealing with the every-2-hr wakings around 7 months due to teething, then a cold, then who knows why. He’d fall asleep fine in my arms (we’re finally breaking the nursing association, but slowly!), but snap wide awake and start dancing and flirting as soon as I put him down. After 2 weeks of frustration, I decided my husband might be right and swaddled our son. It stopped the compulsive kicking and punching, and he now sleeps wonderfully from 730-6, waking only once or twice to nurse and he’s finally taking naps in his crib! I know at some point he’ll have to be weaned from the swaddle, but that’s somethin I can live with!

  4. Marcia says:

    My 9 month old started waking up more frequently at about 8 months of age, which was VERY frustrating because we were finally getting settled back into good sleep habits after her 4 month sleep regression (we had a lot of changes going on for the past several months). She kept waking herself up because she was practicing crawling. And her naps (which have always been a challenge) got worse. Right when I thought that I was doomed to not being allowed to sleep more than 2 hours at a stretch until she reached college, she has gotten better with the naps and is only waking 1-2 times at night again. She still takes longer to fall asleep because she “talks” to her seahorse and crawls around, but if I just leave her alone for a little while she will fall asleep on her own. My question is when do I try to wean her from night time feedings and what are some good methods?

  5. Wendy says:

    It wasn’t until I read this article that I knew about 4 month sleep regression. My son was terrible at napping but at night he would only wake for feeds (every three hours) and then go straight back to sleep. At four months I was starting to get a bit worn out but then the naps fell into place, unfortunately the night sleep went out the window and he began waking anywhere from one to three hourly, I was exhausted.

    We tried sleep training on our own but after a week when it wasn’t working we decided we needed to bring someone in to help, it still wasn’t as effective as I thought it was going to be, we fell back into old habits but she came back to give us more support and we’re having another go but it still doesn’t seem to deliver the holy grail for me and now I think I can sorta see why…timing. He’s 8 and 1/2 months and when he wakes he feels a compulsion to crawl, stand and all the rest (before it was roll over but now he’s learnt to sleep on his tummy). This article gives me the strength to pat us all on the back for what’s going right and give myself a break that it’s not completely perfect, it’s just life not something I’m doing wrong.

  6. Deborah says:

    Wow, what timing. Maybe that’s what is going on with my 9-1/2-month-old today. I think there is another issue that I need to figure out as well (he has rarely slept more than 30 minutes at a time during the day) but today was suddenly worse, with very different behavior at nap time on his part and very little sleep all day (it’s 4:25 p.m. now). And in came a very good possible explanation, right to my inbox. Thank you for this article, and for your web site.

  7. Merryl says:

    I have a 10 months old baby girl who always had sleeping problems from her 3rd month.
    It worsened during her 9th month. Initially i thought that she was hungry and so she is not able to sleep. I increased her feed’s quantity and still she wakes up 6-10 times a night. I was worried if I was doing something wrong but heaved a sigh of relief after reading this article.
    I am working and sleepless nights have their revenge on me. I get irritated by my child’s night wakening..

    But now that I know, she is helpless; I’ll support her and help her to sleep.

    Thanks to Nicole Johnson for this enlightening article.

  8. Dear

    I am so glad that you have hinted what I have been asking myself, Why does my child have to wakeup at night and starts crying. Thank you Nicole Johnson for enlightening me. P’lse keep sending the hints

  9. Nicole says:

    @Kelley Inconsistency can be so frustrating, I know! See if you see a pattern between not when bedtime is but how many hours he’s been awake in relation to his last nap and bedtime. Sometimes that is an important key to better night sleep. I can imagine he is extra overtired on days when he naps just 30 minutes and that’s why the night is worse. However, you are doing great with the early bedtime and sometimes we can only help them so much. You are giving him the opportunity for sleep and the rest is up to him. He will get better at sleeping even when overtired as he gets older. Some babies are more sensitive to it. Make sure you are trying his naps at times that promote the best napping, too. Hang in there!

    @Dana If developmental milestones are affecting sleep at this age, it’s usually around walking or talking. You might look into over-tiredness. Sometimes when bedtime is a tad too late then one off day can spin you out of control. Try putting him to bed earlier for 2-3 nights and offer naps 30 minutes or so earlier and see if that helps him “catch up” (we never truly catch up but he can become rested). He may just be chronically overtired at this point and ironically, they fight sleep even more. Another factor could be his one-year molars. For some, those are a doozy. Try to see if teething remedies will help and re-dose during the night, if necessary. Hang in there!

    @Meghan Thank you for sharing what worked for you and your son! It’s always great to find a solution, even if it’s temporary. Good luck!

    @Marcia Oh good! I’m glad your daughter has gone back to sleeping better. :) Read my article on night-feedings and night-weaning here for more information: http://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/night-feedings-by-age-when-do-you-night-wean/

    @Wendy Timing can be very important and at some ages you will only achieve “good enough for now” rather than perfect sleep. I’m sure you’re a great mommy and doing a great job! Hang in there!

    @Deborah You’re very welcome and thanks for commenting! I hope things settle down very soon.

    @Merryl You are very welcome! I hope your daughter’s sleep settles back down. It sounds like you may still have some root issues to work through to help her learn to sleep better, once this phase has passed.

    @Ojala You’re welcome!! :)

  10. Renee says:

    My son will be 8 months on Feb 9th, and he’s definitely beginning some regression. We co-sleep. Working slowly to get him to sleep in crib; working on sleep associations, etc. He usually sleeps a solid 8 hours before waking to nurse, and is usually a very still sleeper. But this past week, he’s made big strides toward crawling, and will probably crawl within a couple of weeks. He now practices in bed while sleeping: rolling, flipping, throwing his stuffed animal around by its arm. Occasionally waking himself. But with all of his sleep practice that moves him all around, between myself, my husband, and baby in the middle, we now form a perfect capital ‘H’ in bed. Funny. Not funny when you’re tired. But funny.

  11. Wendy B says:

    My 7 month old has always been a horrible sleeper. I’m mostly at my wits end with her. I’d bet I’ve maxed 4.5 hours of sleep for Mommy for 90% of her lifetime. She wakes every 30 minutes to an hour on most nights. Can’t ever seem to soothe herself back to sleep even after more than an hour! We share a room out of necessity but I’m starting to think the couch with a pillow over my head is a good idea! Nothing I try seems to work and naps NEVER last more than 45 minutes no matter what I try! I know she’s exhausted and I don’t want her to suffer from sleep related health problems. Help!?

  12. Selam Hadgu says:

    I have a 9 months old baby girl, she was sleeping fine before 8 & half months… after this month she is not sleeping well and she’s waking up 3 upto 4 times a night.

    But she is sleeping well mostly on a day time like 4-5 hrs. sometimes she’s not sleep at all the whole day.

    i thought that if i did any mistake on her….I just get confused and don’t know how to handle it.
    Thanks,

  13. Rani Callay says:

    Hi,
    My daughter has a bad sleeping habit since she was a baby. She was colicky, and till now, (she is 9.5 mths now), she still wakes up atleast 3-4 times a night.
    On bad days , it would be almost every hour, if not..it will be every 2 -2.5 hours.
    All she wants (most of the time) is an ounce or 2 of milk. Tried giving her full amount (5-6 ounce) but she still gets up that frequent. Even tried adding cereal to her milk before she sleeps, that doesn’t work at all.
    She has 3 meals a day (breakfast, porridge for lunch and dinner) and regular milk feed.
    She sleeps around 10.30pm.. very unusual if it is earlier, but never ever a full 10 hour sleep.
    During the day she sleeps ard 1-2 hours in the morning,a nd afternoons also around 1-2 hours. Sometimes its only half n hour nap.
    Its very tiring.. at times, I do feel like taking her for a thorough checkup. She is on lactose free milk….

    What can I do to help her?
    Thanks.

  14. wendy says:

    My little guy is 9 months, and we have never recovered from the 4 month regression. However, his night-time sleeping has reached an all time low. We have shared a room out of necessity, but have recently moved to a home with a bedroom of his own. He is still in our room though until we gain the motivation to make the move. On a regular night, he is up every 1-2 hours. However lately, he has been waking up and taking 3-4 hours to settle back to sleep. Last night he was up from 9:30-1:00. He seems frustrated by his inability to fall back asleep. The frequent night-waking I assume is habit/seeing Mom and Dad when he awakens, but this new pattern has me wondering if something is wrong.

  15. angelica says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I don’t know if my baby girl, who is 10 month old now, is going through a sleeping regression or not. The thing is that 2 weeks ago she had a bad cold with high temperature and because i’ve hold her in my arms a lot in that period of time to confort her, she became more and more clingy when its bedtime/naptime. And now she would only calm down in my arms. Because she can crawl and stand up on her own in the cot as soon as i put her there she starts screaming and getting up, and getting frustrated. Her naps and night sleep routing is upside down. She might be teething now too, but she fights a lot when its time for her naps during the day. She is tired but refuses to sleep unless i hold her in my arms. I know she is associating the sleep with my arms; we had this problem before when she was smaller at around 4 months and we managed to break it and she was able to go to sleep on her own up untill she started to crawl.- 8 and a half months. Even though we had problems with the naps during the day the night sleep was still working until 4 days ago when she started to wake up and refuse to go back asleep. Crying, screaming and getting more and more frustrated. Last night for example she woke up 2 times and each time for about 2 hours, refusing t go back to sleep and screaming. I want to mention that we share the same room.
    I do not know what to do to help her get back to routine. Please advise me what to do because her new way of sleeping makes me wonder if something is wrong, I am desperate.
    Thanks, angelica

  16. Sydney says:

    My son turns 9 months old today. I just got him sleeping through the night this past month. My problem is that he is waking up really early. Before it was closer to 6 am which I was fine with, but lately it is closer to 4 am. I don’t know what to do! I put him to bed around 6:45 pm and he usually sleeps straight through the night until 4 am and then he won’t go back to sleep. I have tried putting him to bed later (7:30 pm), but he still will be up early (4 am). He still takes 3 naps a day. Each about an hour long. The last one is usually from 4-5 pm. Should I try to cut this nap out completely or at least shorten it? I won’t let him out of the crib until 5 am and when I do he is happy and not hungry. Usually he won’t start acting hungry until closer to 6 am so I know that he isn’t waking up b/c he is hungry.

  17. sara says:

    It’s crazy how much children differ. I have 10 month old adjusted age (13 months chronological) twins. My son is up at 12 and sometimes 3 due to teething. I can see his swollen gums and a few have broke through but not all. He is definitely overtired and fights sleep at his regular nap times. He doesn’t eat as well either. We’ve found he doesn’t like to be held or rocked to sleep. He wants movements such as a stroller or the cozy coupe car. Its the only way he calms down and then once he’s asleep I put him in his crib. Ibuprofen has definitely helped with the teething.

    His twin sister wakes but doesn’t make a peep and goes back to bed. Such a difference and she takes nap right on schedule. He is crawling though and she is not so maybe that’s a big difference. Let’s hope she keeps it up. Both my kids have acid reflux which keeps them from being able to sleep more than 40 minutes if a burp is stuck:(

  18. Cindy says:

    I have a 7 month old boy. He started sleeping through the night at about a month old and then stopped at 3 months and has been sleeping TERRIBLY since! Every so once in a while he will have a good night…meaning he only gets up twice….but most of the time it is at least every two hours if not more often! I am soooooooo tired…And once I have done everything…change, feed, burped, etc. I just dont know what else to do and sometimes just have to let him cry for a while. It is the most frustrating thing ever! When will he start sleeping better??? I really need more sleep.

  19. Brittany R says:

    My 8 month-old son has been an unpredictable sleeper since he was 4 months-old. Lately, however, he’s started having a typical pattern of waking once in the night with a poopy diaper. He wakes some time between 1 and 4, is fussy or about 15 min (can’t be soothed completely) and then he has a bowel movement. After I change his diaper I feed him a bottle to get back to sleep, and once he’s sound asleep I lay him back in his crib. Overall the process takes about 1.5-2 hours every night. These are considered the “good” nights; every few nights he’ll have a “bad” night where he wakes every 2-3 hours.

    I really want to figure out what to do about his nightly visist from “the poop monster”. Should we eliminate his “dinner” meal (solids) and just give him bottles after lunch? Currently he has 3-4 bottles during the day (and typically 1 at night) with three meals of solid foods throughout the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). For dinner I try to “fill him up” in an effort to keep him satisfied through the night, in hopes of weaning him from a nightime bottle, but that doesn’t really seem to be working and even worse, I fear it might be the root cause of the nightime “poop monster”. Any ideas?

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  21. Debbye says:

    Hi Brittany,
    Your nightly visits from the “poop monster” do sound rough, but it may be just a phase. While many babies are very regular, and even tend to poop like clockwork in the night, many seem to go through a nightly BM stage as well. I would work on making your night visits very boring, “not worth it” for him to wake for, and work on putting him back to bed at least partially awake. You can play around with the timing of his dinner (later perhaps), as well as what you are feeding him, and quantities, but I would not take away the solid food altogether.
    Best of luck!

  22. Brittany R says:

    Debbye,

    Thanks for the feedback! For the past week I’ve been feeding my son more solid foods throughout the day (2+ jars of food/meal & 3-4 8oz bottles) and I moved his dinner UP from 7:00pm to 5:30pm – I’m happy to say that it seems to be working. I was worried about feeding him earlier, thinking he wouldn’t be satisfied through the night and that the “poop monster” might end up visiting just a little earlier in the night, however, so far it appears that eating a very hearty meal around 5:30, followed by some physical activity, gives him a chance to have a BM prior to bed and then he’s good until the am. I hope it continues to work! :-)

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