It is very common for your 8, 9, or 10 month old to be having sleep problems, not be sleeping well at night, or taking short naps. 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 baby.
When Does The 8 Month Sleep Regression Happen? What About the 9 Month Sleep Regression or the 10 month?
The reason I keep saying 8, 9, or 10 month old is because this particular 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, this sleep regression varies a bit more.
How long does the 8 month sleep regression last?
This fussy period will often last for around 4 weeks, but it’s quite common for this and most regressions to last 3 to 6 weeks, which is why we often hear about 9 month olds and 10 month olds also waking at night or taking short naps or, if you’re “lucky”, both. 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. The 8 month sleep regression isn’t a permanent change to how your baby sleeps.
Why does the 8 month sleep regression happen?
For the most part, the 8 month 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, and 10 Month Old Sleep Needs
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? You can relate.
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 the 8 month sleep regression that can last through 9 months and finish at 10 months?
Do you do nothing because it’s a phase? Do you do gentle sleep training? Do you let your baby cry it out? 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 8, 9, or 10 month old 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.
Tips to help you and your baby get through this sleep regression
- Don’t assume everything is due to the 8 month 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.
- Offer support to your 8 month old, 9 month old, or 10 month old, but try to continue with your sleep coaching as much as feels right to you. That means offer extra support just like you may help your baby solve a puzzle, but do let her do some of it on her own, so she can continue learning.
- If you never did cry it out before, this is probably not the time to try it. Instead, I recommend gentler sleep coaching techniques to lay the foundation and, then, once the regression is over, your baby will likely sleep well. If not, you may want to consider more sleep training.
I hope this post 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 Month Sleep Regression Case Study
Read how they helped Elliot sleep through the night and take better naps – and how they helped to change those sleep associations that were keeping him awake! Just join our Members Area, and access the case study instantly. And that’s not all – our Members Area is packed with additional premium content and resources: e-Books, assessments, more case studies, live chats with a sleep consultant, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! And best of all, members receive 20% of all consultation services – that savings alone can actually pay for the cost of the membership!
For more guidance on handling the 8-10 month sleep regression, check out our special members-only resources in our Member’s Area:
- The 8-10 Month Sleep Regression Survival Guide [EXPANDED MEMBERS-ONLY EDITION]
- 8 Month Sleep Regression Case Study (With Breastfeeding Associations, Napping Problems, and Medical Concerns)
- Sleep Regressions Tele-seminar
- The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep e-book
How do you know when the 8 month sleep regression is over?
Well, you don’t really. If you have developed some new sleep habits you’re not fond of, you may need to change those habits. Keep in mind that we have the wisdom your 8 month old baby may not have. It’s one thing for the entire family to lose sleep for one week, but week after week it’s not healthy for anyone. I work with families every day who start sleep coaching during this time period.