The 8 month sleep regression can be a very frustrating and exhausting period of time when your baby wakes a lot at night and takes short naps. It is also known as the 9-month sleep regression, 10-month sleep regression, or the 8 to 10-month sleep regression. In this post, you will learn all about these sleep regressions which are all related. And, you will also find tips for surviving these sleep regressions based on our experience of over 10 years working with families just like yours.
What Is The 8 Month Sleep Regression and Why Does It Happen?
For the most part, the cause of the 8-month sleep regression is significant and rapid growth and brain development. Your baby may be crawling, scooting, sitting up, pulling up, and cruising. 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. 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! Signs your baby is going through this regression could include your baby waking at night, taking short naps, separation anxiety, irritability, and clinginess.
On top of the developmental milestones, many 8-month old 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). 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.
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.
You may also be interested in:
- Separation Anxiety and Sleep
- 15 Reasons Babies Wake At Night
- 8 Month Old Baby Schedule
- Baby Teething and Sleep
- Wonder Weeks Chart (Developmental Leaps)
When Does the 8 Month Sleep Regression Start and End?
This sleep regression typically starts at 8 months old and lasts 3 to 6 weeks, ending at 9 months or, sometimes, in the 10th month. The 8 month sleep regression can start early at 7 months old though it’s not as common. At 7 months old, we see separation anxiety begins. Of course, this can start to feel like your baby is going through a never-ending sleep regression from 7 months to 10 months!
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. 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.
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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.
What if your baby stands up in the crib and won’t sleep?
Most babies will learn quickly how to get back down so try not to give baby standing in the crib too much attention. But, because they can fall and hit their heads, it’s a good idea to have some type of strategy to follow. We typically instruct parents to lay your baby down periodically rather than constantly. In addition, work on it during the day by standing your baby next to a couch or sofa. The more they do it during the day, the better at it they will get in the crib.
Now that you are finished with this sleep regression, you can rest up a bit before the 11-month or 18-month sleep regressions!
You may also be interested in:
- Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need to Know
- 3 Signs It’s Time to Night-Wean
- 10 Month Old Baby Schedule
How Long Do These Sleep Regressions 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. Luckily, it’s temporary. That doesn’t make it any less exhausting, of course!
8, 9, and 10 Month Old Sleep Needs
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 (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!
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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
Here are a few tips based on our experience working with families for over 10 years.
- 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).
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.” 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
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 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.