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One of the most common questions we get here at The Baby Sleep Site is… “How do I get my 6, 7 (or 8) month old to sleep?” and that’s the question we are answering today!
While some babies can be challenging sleepers from birth, many will go through periods where they sleep well, only to regress. What’s a sleepy parent to do!? Let’s take a look at the 6 steps to help your 6, 7 or 8 month old baby sleep.
As soon as you get your 4 or 5 month old through the dreaded 4 month regression and sleeping peacefully in longer stretches at night, your 6 or 7 month old may start waking frequently again and taking short naps. What’s up with that?! 6 to 8 month olds are going through a rapid period of development and their brain and bodies are fundamentally changing and growing.
Your 6 month old will likely go through a growth spurt and start trying some real foods – where did that tiny baby go? And they may also begin experiencing separation anxiety as they develop object permanence. As if all this wasn’t enough, your 7 to 8 month old might start practicing new feats of athleticism, and even be on the move! This can make bedtime and naps more challenging, and your baby may even begin waking more frequently during the night. We call this the 8-9-10 Month Sleep Regression.
How To Get My 6, 7 or 8 Month Old To Sleep At-a-Glance
- Develop a consistent sleep routine
- Review your baby’s schedule
- Consider gentle sleep coaching/training
- Create a sleep plan for your family
- Gather support from your village
- Prepare for the next sleep speedbump
And, now for a few details…
1. Develop or strengthen the sleep routine for your 6, 7 or 8 month old
Setting the environment for sleep is crucial and part of cuing your baby it’s time for sleep is to have a consistent set of steps you do each sleep period, at night and at nap times. For those parents who aren’t that thrilled about strict routines, have no fear, the sleep routine does NOT have to be long. For instance, you can shut the curtains or blinds, change your baby’s diaper, read a short book (even just looking at pictures or practicing flipping pages is great fun at this age!), feed the baby (if appropriate), cuddle the baby for a few minutes, and then lay your baby down for sleep while saying a key phrase (e.g. “Sleepy time for baby. I love you. Night night.”).
Around this age is great time to start having a very distinctive end to your routine, too. Something that is not necessarily dependent on you doing something. Turning on a crib aquarium or a musical toy that plays for a few minutes, for example, can be very helpful as they grow and try to “delay” going to sleep.
2. Review your 6, 7 or 8 month old’s schedule
For some 6, 7 or 8 month old babies, their sleep schedule is fundamental to helping them sleep well. Some babies are more adaptable or less sensitive and not need a very regimented schedule, though for a lot of parents it’s a sanity saver! Babies this age are increasing their awake time, and may even be more ready for a “by the clock” schedule. If you are experiencing sleep issues, I strongly recommend developing or adjusting your baby’s schedule to see what type of impact it may or may not have on your baby’s sleep. For all you know, that’s all you have to do! Some families, depending on their situation, can’t stick to a precise schedule as well as others, but just do your best. What type of schedule you ask? Check out our sample schedules here or make your own custom schedule!
3. Consider sleep training (or coaching) for your 6, 7 or 8 month old
If the previous steps haven’t significantly improved your 6, 7 or 8 month old’s sleep and you’ve downloaded our free e-Book, 5 Ways to Help Your Child Sleep through the Night, it’s likely your baby has sleep associations that need to be resolved with sleep training. Ideally, you’d get a professional assessment of your baby’s sleep challenges, but if you feel certain a dependence on parental help is part of the issue, then you may want to consider sleep coaching your 6, 7 or 8 month old. This essentially involves helping your baby learn to fall asleep on their own, without as much help from you. You know you need to change some sleep habits, but are not sure how to go about it.
Not sure which sleep coaching method may be best for you and your baby? Be sure to listen to my VIP audio course all about sleep training strategies.
4. Create a plan for your 6, 7 or 8 month old
If you’re considering sleep training, you need to figure out what to do next. Some of us are planners and others simply “wing it.” If you’re not a planner, you can certainly skip this step! If you’ve been trying to help your 6, 7 or 8 month old sleep for a while now, you’ve developed and strengthened your routine, reviewed the schedule and plugging along without a set strategy isn’t working out so well, maybe a plan is just what you’re missing. After all, it’s hard to know how to get to where you’re going without a travel plan. Make the plan as detailed as you want it, but having a step-by-step plan helps you stay on track, committed, and consistent.
Not sure where to begin or need help creating your baby’s sleep plan? Consider making your own sleep plan or letting us create a Personalized Sleep Plan® for you and your baby.
5. Get support for your 6, 7 or 8 month old’s parents (you!)
We hear everywhere that “it takes a village” to raise a child. But gone seem to be the days where we have a lot of help nurturing our babies. I don’t know about you, but half of my family is spread across the country, and our close by relatives are busy with their own busy schedules. My husband and I were largely on our own while raising our boys. No Aunts to regularly hold or play with the baby while I took a nap or enjoyed a (hopefully hot) meal. So, getting through these sleep issues can be tough without support. We sometimes have to recruit our own village. Consider hiring a sleep consultant or asking your partner, friends, or family members to help you implement your sleep plan. Having a support system in place can make all the difference in the world in reaching your sleep goals!
6. Prepare for your 6, 7 or 8 month old’s next speedbump
Now that you learned how to get your 6, 7 or 8 month old to sleep, what happens next? Do you ride off into the sunset with a happy sleeper forever and ever? We certainly hope so! For some of you, yes! But many of you will get your baby sleeping well, only to hit another speedbump in a few weeks or months. Babies grow and change a lot in the first few years, so be prepared and make sure you plan ahead. Have a game plan in place, before the next sleep regression or speedbump emerges.
Babies start teething, crawling, walking, talking, get a cold, etc, and this can often affect sleep. In a few months, your 6, 7 or 8 month old may take their first steps, say their first words, and it might affect their sleep. What will you do when your baby starts waking at night, again, or won’t nap or both? The #1 rule is NOT revert back to old habits as if you had never made progress in the first place. As easy as it is for babies to fall back to old habits, it’s often way too easy for us parents to do so as well. So, don’t let that happen! 🙂
10 thoughts on “How to Get My 6, 7, or 8 Month Old To Sleep”
Hi, my 7 month old baby has been sleeping great all through the night aside from a couple feedings since she was 4 months old. I have felt really blessed aside from how hard it was to get her to go down for naps. We used to fall asleep together for every nap and bedtime when she was very small, until she decided that she hates going to sleep. Around 5 months. She absolutely would not fall asleep if I was in the room because she just wanted to hang out. So she’d cry for a few minutes and then fall asleep. Her naps were like 30 mins long and she wasn’t sleeping nearly enough during the day but was sleeping 11-12 hours at night. I started a nap time routine and after a few weeks she finally stopped crying before naps. At first I was putting her down 1.5 hours after she woke up and now 2 hours after she wakes up. Routine is 30 mins. Books and nursing. Now her naps are too long. She’s sleeping a total of like four to five hours during the day instead of 90 mins, and she’s refusing bed time and waking several times throughout the night. She had a hard time cutting her first two teeth and is struggling very hard right now to crawl so I wonder if that’s why these last couple weeks have been so rough. I have tried cutting her naps a little shorter but she’s still refusing bedtime and waking up during the night. No matter what time she decides to finally sleep at night, she’s waking up at 7am. I’m exhausted and don’t know what to do!
@Bri – Thank you for stopping by and for sharing with us. Learning new skills like crawling can definitely disrupt sleep for a while (a few weeks can be common!) but the effects can be frustrating and exhausting for sure. And super long naps can throw off night sleep and push bedtime way too late so working on her napping schedule as you are sounds like a great idea. If you’d like more support, please consider connecting with one of our Sleep Consultants who’ve worked thousands of families through sleeping situations similar to your own. You can read more about our lovely ladies here:https://www.babysleepsite.com/about Hang in there, Bri, and please keep reading!
I am at a loss. My 6 month old has not once fallen asleep on his own, not even in the car, in his bouncer, or laying in my arms. Since night one in the hospital, he has been so much work. He requires nursing or rocking to settle down, and has to essentially be passing out/overtired in order for those to work in getting him to sleep. With each night that we go through our soothing routine of bath/lotion/story, he screams hysterically before I even leave his side, simply because I have stopped holding him. I refuse to let him CIO, so we are stuck co-sleeping until he can figure out how to sleep without me. At this point, I feel like that will never happen. Am I alone in this?
@Chelsea, I am so sorry!! You are not alone, although I know how lonely this road can feel. If you would like some help, our sleep consultants here at the Baby Sleep Site would love to help. And just for your peace of mind – they like starting with gentle methods and will not give you a plan with CIO on it since you do not feel comfortable. If you want help with this and to work one-on-one with our consulting team, please visit this link to look at the options: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/
Hang in there!
I read so many useful tips on this site, yet I’m at a loss with my 7 month old daughter. She is a champion sleeper, once I get her to sleep. She sleeps 11ish hours at night usually with one waking in the middle of the night for a pee (we do elimination communication, I potty her and she is right back to sleeping, sometimes I don’t even get her off the potty she already sleeps in my hands after releasing a huge pee) and one waking for (sometimes another pee and) nursing around dawn. She did amazing up until 5-5.5 months, but since then she is a complete disaster when it comes to falling asleep. I either have to nurse her to sleep(sometimes that doesn’t help either) or put her somewhere where she is restrained or she will not go down. Like literally, she will not go down if she can move around. It started when she learned how to get to further locations with rolling + started the army crawl both on the same day. Then she wouldn’t go to sleep anymore, she would crawl, and roll and crawl and roll and scream, and cry because of being tired, falling on her face, banging her head into the rails, getting up and crawl and roll… rinse n repeat. Before that she could fall asleep so nicely. Since then whenever she is drowsy she blinks, flips onto her stomach and starts to move around and around and around ending up being super energetic because of getting overtired and then of course, crying. I read it takes a week to get past this. She didn’t stop this it’s been nearly two months. If she is put into a moses basket, the carry cot of the pram, her swing etc where she has no space to move around, most of the time she gives up after some wiggling and fussing and gets herself to sleep so she can do it, but in the crib she can move around and there she just wont. It might be bad sleep association? But I tried and tried she would go on for more than an hour and she still wouldn’t sleep just moved around and got into a horrible mood. Is there any help for this? I cannot swaddle a seven month old. Grobag won’t help she moves around in that as well only she is clumsier which leads to her getting angry because of that too… I saw so many articles and tips, but nothing about how to get a baby to sleep who won’t sleep as long as she can practice moving around.
Hi @Adrienne, thank you so much for your comment. I am so sorry you’re going through this challenging time with your little mover! It sounds like your situation is a little more unique which is likely why you’re struggling to find an answer out there. Because of this, I am not sure on the answer myself, as I am a representative of our Client Relations Team, but I would be happy to point you in the directions of our sleep consultants. I am sure they haven’t seen it all, but would dare to say after 10 years of the Baby Sleep Site being around, that they’ve come close. 🙂 They would love to help you if it doesn’t pass and if you are fed up or needing to put your daughter in the crib because she is growing out of the other smaller spaces or if they’ve become unsafe with her moving so much. If you’re interested in working with a consultant that can help you work through this, you can view our package options on our site here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/ or if you have questions about the packages please email us directly at [email protected]. I hope we are able to work with you to help you through this issue. Hang in there!
I appreciate your advice and especially your help in reminding me to “hang in there!” It is hard helping our kids learn to sleep. I just wanted to leave another reply as I found some things that work for my baby in case anyone else is in the same boat. My second has been much higher need than my first… I guess that is the way it goes sometimes.
One thing that seems to work for him is to be VERY consistent in the pre-naptime routine. I have always nursed him before laying him down (with my first there was NO issue in nursing her to sleep every time, but not OK with my second), but it seems to be essential for me to do a little more than just go into his room, feed him and then lay him down in his bed. We MUST change his diaper and put him in his specific naptime sleep blanket that he wears over a onesie. Then I talk with him for a minute and let him know it is naptime while he nurses. He also nurses holding a little moose stuffed animal that I put next to him in his bed when I lay him down that seems to comfort him. After nursing I hold him for a minute walking him to his crib, sometimes humming a little song before laying him down. I lay him down, make sure he has his moose and remind him that it is naptime and that I’ll be here when he wakes up. The first few times he did cry for a couple minutes, but I was consistent with how I handled it and now he usually just fusses or talks for a few minutes before falling asleep… so worth it. I was having to hold him for every nap and just spend an hour pretty much reading books with my toddler. She was such a sweetheart about it and so understanding – plus she loves to read books so she enjoyed it, but now I can play or sit and snuggle with her reading books and really give her the “mommy time” she needs, too! We are all happier!
One additional question I had was about naps. My first followed the suggested naptime schedules on the website to a tee, but my son seems to only need two naps. This has had me puzzled as he is only 6 months (my first even had four naps at this point). Both naps are 1.5-2 hours long, so they are longer than normal. And he seems to be happy and be able to make it until bedtime. He sleeps 12 hours with only one waking at night. I am definitely not complaining, just wondering if this is normal at all or if I should try to change up his schedule?
Does anyone have a child like this or a similar schedule with their 6 month old?
Thank you so much for writing back and for continuing to read The Baby Sleep Site! We appreciate you sharing your story and I’m sure other parents will, too! I’m sorry for my delay in responding to you, but I wanted to check with one of our Sleep Consultants about your question about your 6 month-old’s naps. You’re right that it’s very rare to see a 6 month-old on a 2 nap schedule, and we do always recommend keeping an eye on his wake time, especially toward the evening, and also just watching out for tired signs to make sure the schedule is appropriate. But, there are occasional 6 month-olds who do absolutely fine on a 2 nap schedule, and since your son is doing so well at night and his naps are so long, it does sound like your current schedule is probably absolutely fine for him. If you notice any sleep issues cropping up, or if he seems tired, feel free to adjust it, but it sounds like you’re doing great!
Thanks again for your comment, and please let us know if you ever have other questions 🙂
These are all great tips. I’m working on figuring out a good nap time routine for my very resistant 6 month old. I never had problems with my first at nap time like I do with this one and I am at a loss. He absolutely will not let me lay him in his own crib at nap time regardless of whether he is fully asleep, awake completely, or drowsy. He has started screaming the second I try laying him down. I am okay with him fussing, but can’t handle the screaming! He sleeps perfectly at night, usually going to sleep between 6 and 7 and waking up between 6 and 7 in the morning with only one night-waking. I watch for signs of tiredness in the daytime and start our routine, but it just isn’t working. He usually talks to himself or fusses for a few minutes before going to sleep at night so I know he is capable of self-soothing. I have read that nap and night time sleep are controlled by different parts of the brain, but am just not sure how to teach him he can do it at nap time! Any suggestions would be so appreciated!
Hello Elisabeth, and thank you for using our site as a resource. We do find that teaching nap time sleep habits are usually quite a bit more challenging than bedtime! The day time is generally just more exciting (and sunny and bright!) than night time. The keys here will be your ability to develop a simple, calming routine and schedule that you can consistently stick to especially while your little guy learns what is expected. Consistently sticking to it will help him learn that it’s time to transition from play time to sleepy time! You can check our sample schedules here for some help on knowing when is a good time for his nap as it plays into his total sleep for the day – https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/6-month-old-schedule/
And, if he’s waking as you go to lay him down, you may want to consider some type of nap time coaching so you implement a consistent approach to putting him in his crib for nap time – so you do the same thing each day and handle it the same way each day for at least a week or two. See this article for more tips – https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/25-baby-toddler-nap-time-tips/
I hope this helps, Elisabeth. Hang in there and please keep reading! 🙂
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