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What Is 8 Month Sleep Regression


What is 8 month sleep regression?

With your baby now at roughly 8 months, you may have thought you would never have to deal with sleep regression again, I certainly did. 8-month sleep regression can occur at any time between 6 to 10 months and usually it is linked to the rapid development of your baby at this age. After 6 months, things usually get better but the improvement can be temporary and towards the end of the first year, you may find yourself back at step one. According to research, babies at around 9 months of age tend to wake up more often during the night compared to those at 6 months. This problem can come unexpectedly for any parent as most of them expect their babies to sleep better as they become older. What is 8 month sleep regression? How do you tell if 8-month sleep regression has started with your baby?

  • He or she is fussier than usual about taking naps
  • The baby wakes up during the night regularly
  • Your little one is hungry more frequent than normal
  • Your baby is nearing a big milestone or has hit one recently such as walking, pulling up, standing up, starting solid foods, or crawling

How Long Does 8-Month Sleep Regression Last?

The fussy period usually lasts roughly 4 weeks but it is common for them to go for even 3 to 6 weeks. This is why you will hear about nine or ten-month-olds taking short naps or waking up in the middle of the night if not both. 6 weeks can feel like an eternity to a parent with an infant undergoing sleep regression, especially when you are not getting any sleep because of it. The 8-month sleep regression does not permanently affect how your baby sleeps in the same way 4-month sleep regression does.

Preparing for 8-month sleep regression can help you understand why it is happening, what to do about it, and how to get through it with your baby.




Causes of 8-month Sleep Regression

The causes of 8-month sleep regression are discussed further below to give you a better understanding of what is going on with your baby.

Physical Milestones

There is a lot going on with your baby at 8 months. Sleep regressions are generally associated with your baby experiencing a growth spurt or learning a new skill. My son started crawling at 8 months which was also around the time when he went through his sleep regression. At around 8 to 10 months, your little one is rapidly becoming more active, pulling up on furniture, learning to crawl, and developing sign language or gross motor skills. The baby could also be expanding his or her social environment with outings and playgroups, experiencing social anxiety, increasing their communication abilities, eating more solids, and teething. This is a lot for your little one to handle because all these things require practice, energy, and time.

At times, your baby may decide to practice at 3 a.m. instead of sleeping. All the activity can wear him or her out faster causing them to become overtired more quickly. This makes your baby cranky at bedtime and prone to shortened naps and night waking. It is hard for your baby to learn to shut down the brain especially if he or she does not have any self-soothing skills. Such a baby requiring more help sleeping may start fighting back your efforts to soothe him or her. Your baby may feel stimulated instead and try showing you their new moves since you are present. If you find yourself spending more time rocking your baby to sleep then this could be your baby telling you he or she is ready to be going to sleep on their own. Your presence is possibly keeping your baby from falling asleep as much as you may think you are helping. In my case, I would find that 20 minutes of trying to rock my son to sleep would turn into 60 minutes without any success.




Mental Development

When your baby gets to the 9-month mark, he or she will go through a phase of trying to do all kinds of new things. He or she will also start recognizing that specific people, animals, sensations, and objects belong together in categories and groups. This will affect all your baby’s senses and during this leap, he or she will start understanding the idea of object permanence. This means your baby will start understanding that an object is still there even if it is out of sight and this also means he or she will start experiencing separation anxiety.

Additionally, the baby will also realize that his or her actions can bring about a reaction from the parent and this is when they will start waking up screaming in the middle of the night. If your baby does not need anything then chances are he or she is testing the waters to see how you respond. How you react can determine whether this will be a new habit for your baby. I had to learn this the hard way after consistently running to my son’s rescue whenever he would cry in the middle of the night. When your child wakes up numerous times during the night this can lead to disconnected nighttime sleep, which is not as restorative for your baby and can lead to chronic overtiredness.

Nap Transition

At 8 months, you need to start dropping the catnap or late afternoon nap from your baby’s schedule. I knew my son was ready to drop it when he started fighting it regularly for about 2 weeks. Your baby’s sleep requirements will also start changing; he or she will still need roughly 14 hours of sleep every day, but the sleep distribution will be different. Your baby will start needing more sleep during the night (approximately 11-12 hours) while their daytime sleep hours will reduce from 3 to 4 hours daily to 2-3 hours. You need to be ready to make these alterations so that when your child goes on a nap strike, he or she will not be too tired. If your baby becomes overtired, you will have a sleep regression nightmare on your hands whereby he or she will give you a hard time with naps going to sleep not to mention early morning wakeups and night waking. Remember this is all normal!!

How to Deal with 8-Month Sleep Regression

There are various factors in play during sleep regression at 8 to 10 months but the main theme all through the causes regression include your little one becoming overtired. What can you do to help your baby go through this stage and to help you cope?

Assess Your Baby’s Sleep Area

Now that he or she is more interested in everything going on around it is crucial that you keep the baby’s sleep area very quiet and dark to facilitate sleep. You can use a white noise machine and blackout curtains to help with this. If you find the baby still taking most naps in the baby carrier or stroller then it might be time to start prioritizing sleeping at home in the cot or crib.




Check out Your Baby’s Schedule

Smaller babies usually take 3 daily naps and cap it off with a catnap late in the afternoon but once the child reaches 8 months, you need to drop the third nap as mentioned earlier. You will have to move bedtime earlier to prevent the baby from going to bed when overtired almost guaranteeing nighttime waking. For your 8-10-month-old, the recommended awake time between bedtime and his or her last nap should be no more than 3 to 4 hours. It can be tricky getting a nap schedule just right so that your baby isn’t sleeping too late closer to bedtime.  Observe for the baby’s signs of tiredness from 5 p.m. and set the bedtime schedule accordingly.

Get a Sleeping Bag for the Baby

Click here for more information

This is the perfect time for your baby to start using a sleeping bag once the sleep regression strikes. Sleep disruptions occur at this stage when your little one tries to practice newfound mobility skills during the night. This could be anything from getting hands or legs stuck between the bars to standing up in the cot. A sleeping bag might not prevent this but it can make it a bit harder for your active little champ to get up.

I purchased a baby sleeping bag for my son when he was 6 months but didn’t end up using it until he was in his 8 month sleep regression phase. Nowadays he sleeps in a play yard that has netting but at the time he was in this fancy wooden crib with bars that he would always get his legs caught in at weird angles. Once I got him this nifty little sleeping bag pictured left here, he actually got up a lot less. He seemed more content and comfortable in his bed!

 

Speak to a Medical practitioner About the Teething

You can easily blame teething for your 8-month old baby’s sleep regression but this is not always the case. Usually, sleep disruptions that go on for more than several days can indicate a hidden issue. If you think teething is the problem, then go ahead speak to a doctor for a professional opinion. ( Note: My pediatrician told me that Orajel teething balm has been linked to several cases of heart failure in babies ! Very scary so please do not use it! )




Watch A YouTube video on Infant Massage technique:

As you can see there are many benefits to baby massage in regards to relaxing your  baby either right after bathtime and right before bedtime, or if your little one wakes up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep. This is a special treat and something nice for your baby.

Give Your Baby Time to Practice Their New Skills

I cannot stress this enough. Your baby is not a sleepy little newborn anymore, they are buzzing with energy and they need an outlet.  If the weather permits I recommend going out to a park, spreading out a blanket and let your baby practice their crawling skills, tummy time or rolling from his stomach to his back, and then back to his stomach again. Engage with your baby and encourage them to use their body and explore their senses. Doing this for your baby during the day will make sure he or she does not take advantage of nighttime to practice instead of sleeping.




Unfortunately, your baby goes can through this developmental phase 3 times before they reach 2 years old, once so help him or her through it as much as possible. I had to ride it out and during this time, I realized that even though I was not able to eliminate my baby boy’s discomfort, I could be his support system.

Sleep regressions are a frustrating and exhausting part of having a baby but we all go through it with. So meanwhile, just remember to stay flexible, be patient, and careful not to accidentally create a new sleep crutch (or even bring back an old one).  As difficult as it can be to stay consistent at times, remember that it is the best thing for everybody and it helps sleep regression pass more in a timely manner.

I hope this answered your question “What is 8 month sleep regression” Please let me know how you are dealing with your child’s sleep regression in the comments below!


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This is such amazing advice. I have a 13 month old and she went through this at 8-9 months. She was sleeping 7pm to 6am and then suddenly would wake screaming in the middle of the night. I wish I had found this post earlier on. I have a son also and I can remember him going through the same thing and I would pull my hair out wondering what I had suddenly done wrong. With my daughter I was prepared for it so did some of the steps mentioned in your post e.g. I now play white noise in her room and she is in a sleeping bag. I have black out curtains too and always had teething powders at hand in case she needs one. The phase passed in a few weeks and she is now sleeping through 7-7pm without me having to go in. Do you have any advise for me though. She has two naps still and really needs them. She goes down so easily for them and I simply put her in her cot and let her drift off by herself. She was doing exactly the same at bedtime but the last week she has started to scream when I leave the room. Two nights ago she cried for over an hour. Last night it was 20 mins and tonight it was 10. Seems to be getting better but as soon as i lay her down she goes hysterical. I have to pat her on the back til she settles and then she drifts off. So hard hearing her scream like that when she goes down for her naps so easily.

Hi Vicki! As I write this to you, right now I am sitting in my bathroom using my laptop. I cannot use my computer in my room because I share a room with my son, and right now he ( should be ) sleeping so the only private, well lit area I have is my bathroom. So here I am in this tiny space, sitting on the floor, typing away and I can hear my son standing up in bed, half-whining / half-crying / calling for me. He is 16 months old and every few nights he does this because he wants to come into bed with me. A few times I gave in, stopped doing whatever work I was working on, brought him in m bed with me and I called it a night. But what happened was that the next night and the night after that he expected me to bring him in bed and it became HARDER to say NO to him. He cried longer, harder and made more of a fuss. What I am saying is that if I stuck to my guns, and was firm with him ( while still being loving ) he wouldn’t be making an attempt right now, at 11 o clock at night to come into Mommy’s bed.

If your daughter is suddenly waking up screaming hysterically, be consistent and keep doing what you are doing. By not giving in and switching up, you are letting her know that her little antics are not going to work and that screaming is only going to get you a pat on the back, literally. But to be honest, You sound like you know what you are doing and this little blip in your daughters sleep is just a little phase that is almost over. Great job mama!

You might want to read “12 month sleep regression” it could be what your daughter is also going through being that she is 13 months.

Had no idea there was anything called sleep regression for babies. I was under the impression that all the physical milestones would just wear her out and cause her to fall asleep faster at night. Being over tired and the crankiness and waking up at night makes so much sense right now.

Oh yes, those little symptoms are signs of a sleep regression phase. You know they have two more phases to go thorugh before 3 years old as well. And you thought it was all done. Nope, more to come 🙂 Luckily there are ways to make this time more bearable.

Funny, I could swear my first-born *never* had sleep-progression to start with! She’s just didn’t like falling asleep and would grasp at any noise or light or movement to wake up again and start screaming. She was teething at 4 months, walking at 8 months, running at 10 and getting dressed by herself at 16 months… I guess she was such a busy body that sleeping was a pure waste of her time! Luckily (amazingly), at 18 months she started accepting the idea of tiredness and sleeping… And we got our sanity back…! But I know a thing or two about the importance of bedtime routine, starting with an easy-to-digest evening meal, a warm bath with lavender essential oil, a gentle massage at nappy change and a soothing music or white noise background. Great post, thanks! Cheers, Isabel

Wow , walking at 8 months and dressing herself at 16 months? I would say you have yourself a brilliant child! I would say that if she decided that sleep was a good thing at 18 months, so be it! That works for you right? I like that you use a “easy to digest” evening meal because anything heavy or not easily digestable can cause stomach aches at night. I love using Lavender oil as well.

Hey Sophia, thank you so much for this article. Our son is almost three years old now, but I can still very well relate to how this entire sleep deprivation felt back then. I cannot really recall if Benni had the 8-month sleep regression you’re writing about here, but I certainly remember that it was somewhat of an up and down. Whenever Benni seemed to make progress in terms of learning something new (i.e. his brain would develop) there would be some problems arising: He wouldn’t sleep, eat/drink less (or more), cry, be more active than usual etc. – There is a great book about this called “The Wonder Weeks” which explains this entire process in high detail and helped us A LOT to get prepared. If you don’t know it yet, you may want to check it out 🙂

All the best,
chris

Hey Chris! Yes I have heard of that book you mentioned, “The Wonder Weeks” and I have read a little bit of it actually. Its pretty dead on and fascinating how these sleep regression phases happen to almost every baby and during the same time. My son is approaching 18 months and I am not looking forward to the next phase of sleep regression coming up, but I will be prepared.

I am a father and my son is just about to turn 4 next month, the time flies for sure. I wish I had read this article back when he was an infant, it would’ve definitely been useful! Regardless, I’m happy this info is out there to help other parents with their little ones. I imagine some aromatherapy might be helpful in relaxing a baby, especially some jasmine or lavender. Whenever I turn on my essential oil diffuser before bed I seem to notice that I sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed the next morning.

Hey Adam, yes you can definitely use aromatherapy with babies. Bergamot oil is especially calming. Also, time does fly and soon my little toddler is going to be 4 years old as well. Even though he has one more sleep regression phase to go through ( the 18th month one is coming up ) I am enjoying every stage of his growth and would not want to rush anything. Because when he is a teenager I am going to be looking back at this period and wonder to myself “where did all that time go?”

Eek! Sleep regression. This is such a tricky phase of life. It’s like you just started getting back to a normal sleep routine and then BAM. Back to not sleeping. I found that this sleep regression occurred a little later in their lives too. Both of my kids would come into my room and stare at me until I awoke with a fright and sent them back to their beds. This happened for both around age 4, I think.

I love your advice to just be there for your kids during this time. That’s really the best thing you can do. It can be hard when you’re sleep deprived. But it all turns out ok. Right? Right??! 🙂

Right! Don’t you worry! Sleep is a learned skill and all children eventually learn how to sleep and stay asleep. Sleep regression also varies. So even though the norm is 8 months for the first phase, it can be as early as 6 months and as late as 10 months. You have no choice but to be flexible because you don’t know what to expect. But whatever you do don’t go back to rocking your baby or doing things that will mess up all the sleep training you put in. Be Consistent! Loving but consistent always! Babies know what to expect when you make sure to do the same thing everyday and all the time.

What a great post and I had NO idea about the 8 months sleep regression. My toddlers are notoriously bad sleepers and have been from the start. I had tried every trick in the book, but little has worked. Maybe just one thing one time when they were two-three months old – the sound of a hairdryer, and only that. Go figure… In any case, very soon they were back to not sleeping thru the night. I am resigned I’ll never sleep again!!

Best,
Alenka

Hi Alenka! You know I also felt like I would never ever get a good nights sleep until my son went off to college. Thankfully I had a white noise machine to help me. As ironic as it is to think a noisy hair dryer could put your baby to sleep, it actually works very well with all babies. All babies respond well to white noise. You can read more about white noise and babies here.

Hi Sofia,

All I can say, to start is, my son had sleep regression for ages! First month – at least – he would not sleep. 2, 3 hours to rock him to sleep and he’d sleep maybe two hours, if we were lucky!

Sleep became just an idea to us back then. My fault, I held him too much when we brought him home, and he’d be awake all night, if I were not there to hold him until he fell asleep. Sweet really but also exhausting!

Then around the six month mark, babies adams apple, tries to become descended. This is to enable speech one day. If something goes wrong, baby may pass away in sleep. Some have attributed this to cot death. Scary and terrifying, and of course, I learned this idea when my son was still a baby – thanks baby books!!!

This led to me (JUMPING!) out of bed every night, several times a night, to check on my son. Those new parents, simply observe babies chest, to see breathing. This can be so slight that if you look to your babies face your tired mind may think something is up.

Do invest in a baby monitor and set it max volume.

If you put your baby in to a play pen during the day for a nap – please – keep close eye as your baby begins to stand etc.

I still feel terrible guilt over this. I turn around and there is my son hanging over the top of his play pen. I rush as fast as possible but could not catch him. He landed head first on the floor. It still makes me feel like crying that I was not watchful or quick enough. He was OK though.

His 11 now so I don’t think we did such a bad job on raising a handsome young man who speaks several languages, plays piano and is excellent at speech and drama, to list a few of his talents.

One of the hardest things of being a parent is to learn to forgive yourself for your own mistakes. The example listed herein is one that kills me so do keep a real close on your beautiful child as they grow.

Thank you for this beautiful article and I have book marked this website for further wisdom.

– Philip.

Wow you sound like a really loving a doting father! When my son was first born I also held him all the time which led to him becoming dependant on being rocked & held to sleep. I also understand where you are coming from in regards to “Cot Death” because it is a real thing and it is very scary for new parents to know that quite possibly their baby can stop breathing during their sleep. You know what I did? I invested in Baby Breathing Monitor. Probably one of the most smartest choices I made in regards to purchasing a high priced baby item. Well worth it. also: “One of the hardest things about being a parent is to learn to forgive yourself for your own mistakes” Spot on! Couldn’t agree with you more.

Hey,

Thanks for replying. I do be suspicious of some sites when I see no responses on their posts and so puts me off from commenting. Too many times bloggers have not even bothered to respond to my sincere questions etc on their works – I never commented there again. I find that too rude to waste further time on and actually shows the blog author is taking his audience for granted. And THAT is how you lose readership and comments – not good.

Anyways, I digress 🙂 just happy you responded.

So, I don’t think there was a Baby Breath Monitor device back 11 years ago. With all the females on both sides of the family ‘clucking’ hehe around our new born, there was not one mention of such a thing. I would of spent $$$$$$$$$$$$$s to get it if I knew this 🙁 .

Yes, definitely invest in a Breathing Monitor for your child, it will ensure your babies and give you the added benefit of huge peace of mind. That is priceless.

Thanks again for this amazing article and look forward to reading more.
– Philip.

Why thank you Philip ! I like to think of myself as pro-active with my readers. I do learn a lot from other people as well. So many different babies in the world. The thing that we all have in common about our babies is how much we love them. We all love our babies more than we love ourselves. That is why when it comes to something that seems “expensive” when it comes to our babies well being and safety there is no price too high. I believe that a baby breathing monitor help put my mind at ease in those early days when SIDS was a threat that was real & could happen. When I was done with it I donated it to my local Homeless Prenatal Shelter.

I have 3 kids. I remember when they all went through these sleep regression phases. By the time it was kid number 3 I already knew what to expect . For my kids, a bath before bedtime was like baby Nyquil. My youngest used to have a pacifier until he was 3 years old. I know you are supposed to wean your children off binkies before they reach 2 but this was only for bedtime and a way to help my son self soothe, so I was willing to stretch the rules. Anyway, glad that period is over with and my kids all sleep well now. Thank you for this very informative post.

Yes, bathtime is exactly like “Baby Nyquil” as you said. Especially a bath with some calming lavender scented soap will surely put baby in a sleepy mood. And don’t feel bad about letting your child use a binkie up until they are 3. If it helps your baby soothe themselves and its only at bedtime then I don’t think its a problem. I know some professionals advise against it but I feel like if your child is going through something like a sleep regression phase, then it is okay.

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