You experienced the 4-month sleep regression and survived. (Hurray!) Now your baby is between 8-10 months old and yet another sleep regression has appeared. Yes, you may have to do it all over again.
Why Is It Happening?
This is an exciting time for babies. Many developmental milestones are being practiced. Your little one is mastering crawling, pulling up, cruising and walking – and they’re likely loving it! So when they’re trying to experiment, sleep takes a back seat. (You’ve seen them look up at you with utter joy once they’ve learned a new skill, right? How can they sleep when there’s SO MUCH FUN to be had??)
Also at 8, 9, and 10 months of age, important connections are being made through cognitive development and language comprehension and that can be much more exciting to your baby than sleep. Enter the 8-10 sleep regression.
Practicing these new skills could disrupt sleep, but the good news is this phase passes and sleep becomes the priority again.
And lastly, and one that is often overlooked…the 3 to 2 nap transition. At around 8 months of age we are weaning out the 3rd catnap if your baby is still taking it. My rule of thumb is that when we are taking away sleep and removing a nap it’s important to redistribute the lost sleep throughout the day until the child is adjusted to the new routine.
So, what can I do?
While you’re waiting for this phase to pass, it’s important to remember a few things:
- Be consistent. It’s still crucial to keep up with your good sleep habits. Even though it’s VERY tempting to get them back to sleep immediately, now isn’t the time to start rocking or nursing them to sleep because naps are suddenly disrupted or night-wakings have suddenly appeared.
- Know the real cause. It’s also tempting to blame a sleep regression like this on teething. However, teething doesn’t tend to disrupt sleep as much as we think it does. Chances are you need to take a look at the basic sleep fundamentals and determine if they’re being practiced. (If it IS teething and you need to provide some middle-of-the-night comfort, make sure once the teething stops you get right back to normal so your positive sleep routine stays intact.)
- Remain calm & patient. Your baby may need time to figure out these new amazing developments – it may take a week or two – but sleep will become the priority again.
- Be flexible with bedtime. If your child is losing out on sleep, whether from fragmented sleep throughout the day or night due to sleep regressions or you are in the middle of a nap transition, it’s important to make up that loss of sleep with an earlier bedtime. Bedtime should remain earlier than usual until the regression is over and/or the child is adjusted to the new nap routine.
Sleep is a biological need. So the healthier sleep habits you practice now, the better you and your entire family will feel when going through these developmental times.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site.