The 8-9-10 month sleep regression can be a very frustrating and exhausting period of time when your baby starts to have trouble falling asleep, wakes up at night, and takes shorter naps. It starts around 8 months old and lasts 3 to 6 weeks so it is known as the “8-month sleep regression”, “9-month sleep regression”, and/or the “10-month sleep regression”. In this article, you will learn all about this sleep regression and 10 tips for surviving based on our experience of over 10 years working with families just like yours.
8-Month Sleep Regression: What It Is and Why Does It Happen?
If you suspect your baby might be hitting the 8-month sleep regression, you’re not alone! Thousands of parents research this regression each month and your entire sleep routine can be turned on its head.
Maybe your 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. Regardless of how they were sleeping before this, you might be struggling now.
The primary cause of the 8-month sleep regression is due to rapid growth and brain development. Your baby may be crawling, scooting, sitting up, pulling up, and/or cruising. It can be even more challenging when your baby starts standing in the crib and won’t sleep!
Aside from physical skills, your baby is also absorbing your language and beginning to put things into categories. For example, they are learning something is a cat, regardless of color or size. This is also connected to Mental Leap 6 if you follow the Wonder Weeks.
When your brain is busy, it can be very difficult to sleep, of course!
Here are the reasons this sleep regression happens with more details below:
- Schedule Change – Your 8 Month Old Baby Schedule might be changing. Your baby could be dropping their third catnap which can be brutal. Be sure to put them on a 2-nap schedule such as our sample 9-month old schedule or 10-month old schedule.
- Developmental Milestones – As described above, your baby’s newfound mobility and mental leaps can make sleep very difficult.
- Separation Anxiety – When your baby goes through a lot of changes, they tend to like to be close to you to help them through it.
- Teething – This is a common age for one or more teeth to cut through the gums which can be uncomfortable.
Signs of the 8 Month Sleep Regression
Signs your baby is going through this regression could include your baby starts having trouble falling asleep at night, waking up at night, taking shorter naps, separation anxiety, irritability, and clinginess. Many weeks when a baby is having trouble sleeping can be exhausting for your entire family and shorter naps mean less time for you to do things during the day and that can be frustrating!
On top of the developmental milestones, many 8-month old babies are also getting their first teeth or more teeth. Babies get teeth on and off for a good two years!
And, even more than developmental leaps and teeth, many 8-month old babies are transitioning from three naps to two naps. An 8 month old schedule often includes three naps but not always. The 9 month old sleep schedule has just two naps.
And, when your baby is going through a lot of changes, you can bet they don’t want to be apart from you very much. Some changes can feel exciting yet possibly a little unnerving! So, we see separation anxiety peak around this time, too.
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When Does the 8 Month Sleep Regression Start and End?
The 8-month sleep regression starts at 8 months old and lasts 3 to 6 weeks, on average. This sleep regression can start early at 7 months old though it’s not as common. At 7 months old, we see separation anxiety begins, though. Of course, this can start to feel like your baby is going through a never-ending sleep regression from 7 to 10 months old!
Can This Sleep Regression Start Early?
Yes, in some cases, we see the 8 month sleep regression start at 7 months old though it’s not as common. Parents may be searching for a 7-month sleep regression. All babies develop on their unique timetable so if your baby is experiencing a 7-month sleep regression, it’s likely the 8-month one simply started early.
What Is The 9 Month Sleep Regression?
The 9 month old sleep regression is really a continuation of the 8 month sleep regression when your baby is learning so many new skills. All babies develop at their own rate so it’s possible this regression doesn’t start until 9 months old, but it’s really the same. Since sleep regressions last 3 to 6 weeks, on average, this particular sleep regression can span over the 9th month and sometimes the 10th month depending on when it started.
What else can be happening with your 9 month old?
If your baby didn’t transition to two naps by 8 months, they most certainly have at 9 months. In addition, your more mobile baby likely needs to add another solid meal into their daytime schedule as they are burning through calories at a more rapid pace. We sometimes see babies increase their night feedings again around this age so you’ll want to make some adjustments to your daytime schedule.
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What Is The 10 Month Sleep Regression?
The 10-month-old sleep regression is the culmination of the 8-month and 9-month sleep regressions when your baby has finished this developmental leap. Your baby is likely much more adept at moving their body and being mobile. Before they complete the sleep regression, they may find it irresistible to stand up in their crib.
How Long Do These Sleep Regressions Last?
Again, most sleep regressions last 3 to 6 weeks, on average.
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. Luckily, it’s temporary. That doesn’t make it any less exhausting, of course!
How Much Sleep Do 8, 9, and 10 Month Olds Need?
8-month-old, 9-month-old, and 10-month-old babies all still need 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 2-3 hours during the day. 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. 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!
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Can You Do Sleep Training During This Regression?
Yes, although it’s not an ideal time for sleep training, if you don’t try to avoid long-term habits, both you and the baby can lose a lot of sleep during this time period. Sleep training during the 8 month sleep regression can take a lot of patience but can be very successful.
10 Tips to Handle The 8 Month Sleep Regression
Here are a few tips based on our experience working with families for over 10 years. These are in no particular order.
- Put your baby on the right 8 month schedule, 9 month schedule, or 10 month schedule. Although the right schedule is only one piece of the puzzle, it can make a huge difference in better sleep! Not sure how many naps? Use our Baby Nap Chart.
- Make sure your baby’s room is conducive to sleep including using a white noise machine, room-darkening blinds or curtains, and a comfortable room temperature.
- Get medical advice from your baby’s doctor. Occasionally, sleep can unravel for a medical reason such as an ear infection.
- Assuming your baby is healthy, 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 for similar reasons.
- 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 them do some of it on their own, so they can continue learning.
- If you never did cry it out before, this is probably not the time to try it. Instead, I recommend reviewing all the various sleep training methods.
- Have a teething protocol to follow in case your baby is cutting tooth after tooth.
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!
In my 10+ years of experience as a sleep consultant, I get e-mails every day from parents of babies of all ages and some parents of toddlers are still “waiting it out.” Don’t wait until the next toddler sleep regression to make a change. Just like it’s never a perfect time to have a baby, it’s never a perfect time to make a change in sleep habits!
8 Month Sleep Regression Case Study
Want more information about how to help your 8 month old sleep well? Check out our detailed case study about Carrie, Ben, and their 8 month old Elliot.
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 VIP Members Area, and access the case study instantly. And that’s not all – our VIP 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, VIP 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 VIP Members 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.