Two-thirds of babies are able to sleep six to eight hours through the night when they are 8 months old. if your baby is in this statistic, you may think you're set for good sleep from here on out. A regular sleep schedule is every parent's dream (and by the way that can be an achievable dream thanks to apps like the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- What is the 8-month Sleep Regression?
- What Causes the 8-month (or sometimes 9-month) Sleep Regression?
- How Long Will the 8-month Sleep Regression Last?
- Ways to Deal with the 8-month Sleep Regression
- Your Baby is Growing; Celebrate the Milestone
But then, all of a sudden, you may find your eight-month-old baby suddenly waking up at night, upset and irritable. As an ongoing struggle, it's hard to keep your head above water. What does help is understanding why your baby is waking up at 4 a.m. With some grace, understanding, and patience, you can see this season through and learn a little about your babe and their development.
So what does it mean if your baby is having trouble sleeping when she used to sleep soundly?
What is the 8-month Sleep Regression?
Even though the term is referred to as the 8-month sleep regression, it very often doesn’t crop up until your baby around the 9-month mark (so you may also hear if called the 9-month sleep regression) and to be clear, your baby may change their sleeping patterns at any time between the ages of 7-10 months. The main symptom is a disruption from their usual sleep habits.
Some possible signs of the eight-month sleep regression are:
- Shorter naps
- Refusing to nap
- Longer naps and shorter sleep during the night
- Refusing to go to sleep at night
- Waking up crying during the night
- Unable to fall back asleep after waking up either from a nap or during the night
- Fussiness or crying at night or during the day related to sleep
As a parent, you may feel frustrated with the lack of sleep or worried that something is wrong. But it might be comforting to know that this is an issue that can normally happen to developing babies. You can talk with your pediatrician to make sure there aren’t any other problems like an illness, sleep apnea, or constipation.
If this regression is causing major sleep disruption, getting expert help doesn’t have to break the bank. Apps like the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ offer affordable subscription-based programs that combine expert sleep coaching with in-app tools to help you confidently navigate this regression and other sleep setbacks when they happen.
What Causes the 8-month (or sometimes 9-month) Sleep Regression?
Despite developmental psychologists researching this phenomenon, there is not one specific reason, it is most likely related to normal developmental milestones that occur at this age, including:
1. Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is a developmental stage that usually begins at around eight or nine months. This is when your baby starts to understand how important you are and feels upset when you leave them. This phase begins when your baby understands object permanence. Object permanence is the realization that someone continues to exist even when hidden. This can interfere with sleep since you leave the room when they are trying to go to sleep.
2. Speech Development
Like crawling, most babies are learning how to use their vocal cords at this age. They may want to babble away rather than snooze.
Most babies start teething at around six months, so around eight months, they may have several teeth poking through those gums that can be painful and cause sleep disruptions. It can also be more painful when they are lying down. Teething can disrupt sleep whenever it happens.
Many babies start to crawl at around nine months but sometimes sooner. This new skill is exciting and may cause your baby to want to exercise their new freedom rather than sleep.
Some babies have social and curious personalities, which may make it difficult for them to want to go to sleep. Between 9-12 months, most babies are developing their personality traits so their newfound qualities may keep them awake.
How Long Will the 8-month Sleep Regression Last?
The positive news is that this regression is only temporary. The time frame of how long the 8-month sleep regression lasts can vary depending on your baby. Usually, once they have achieved their developmental milestones that interfere with their sleep, then they go back to their regular sleep habits. Sometimes it is only for a few days, or it could last a few months.
When Does it Start?
The 8-month sleep regression can start anywhere between 7-10 months. Usually, it coincides with your baby's developmental milestones, so if your baby started to crawl at seven months, she might also begin to have trouble sleeping around this time.
When Does it End?
Most babies that are 11 months or older will have returned to their regular sleep schedules. The typical time frame of the 8-month sleep regression is two to six weeks.
What Does Typical Sleep Look Like for This Age?
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that eight-month-old children sleep a total of 12-16 hours in a 24-hour period. Made up of 10-11 hours at night and 2-4 hours of naps during the day. But remember that every child is different.
Ways to Deal with the 8-month Sleep Regression
If your baby is having trouble sleeping, then you probably are too, and you will want to figure out how to help your baby get through this phase so that you can both get some sleep. Establishing consistent sleep habits and routines that should help to resolve the 8-month sleep regression and also teach your baby how to be a great sleeper – this is something the Smart Sleep Coach App by Pampers™ can guide you through step-by-step and help you start to see sleep improvements in as little as a week!
The solution may be dependent on why they are having trouble sleeping. For example, if they are having trouble with teething then you may need to soothe their painful teeth. Here are some ways to deal with the 8-month sleep regression:
Create Bedtime Routines
You may want to create a routine that involves taking a bath then reading a story before going to sleep. These routines will help your baby to wind down and get ready to transition to sleep. It is helpful to have the same bedtime every night. A consistent naptime will also help improve sleep.
Addressing Separation Anxiety
If your baby cries when you leave the room, try to work on their feelings of separation anxiety. During the day, you can practice being away from your baby for short periods. You can also create a fun “goodbye” routine that will help your baby feel okay with the separation.
Soothing Teething Pain
Teething can be extremely painful. Some babies find comfort in using chew toys or chewing on a cold washcloth. You can consider using over-the-counter pain medications such as Paracetamol, ibuprofen or homeopathic teething tablets. Speak to your pediatrician or doctor if you are unsure of what medication to give your baby or of the recommended dosage.
When Should You Call Your Doctor About Sleep Issues?
If you tried the solutions listed for two weeks and don’t see any improvements, you may want to consult your child's pediatrician. If you also notice any changes in your baby's eating habits or urination or bowel movements, you should contact her doctor.
Your Baby is Growing; Celebrate the Milestone
A lack of sleep is trying for you and your baby, but it's important to focus on your baby's new skills. Your little one is gaining an understanding of the world and becoming busy. Seeing them crawling and babbling is the sweetest thing.
Focus on the fact that your baby's sleep regression is temporary, and you will both get through this sleepless phase. Before you know it, your baby will be sleeping soundly through the night again.