The 8-10 Month Sleep Regression – Overcome the Next Sleep Hurdle

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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.

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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 FacebookTwitter, 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.

By | 2018-04-16T13:57:48+00:00 March 1st, 2015|Baby Sleep, Milestones & Regressions|36 Comments

About the Author:

Alanna McGinn is the creator of The Good Night Sleep Cleanse and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site a family sleep consulting practice helping babies to adults sleep better. Alanna and her global team are working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. You can follow her expert advice on The Marilyn Denis Show, The Goods, and Your Morning, and national publications like Today’s Parent, Maclean’s, Prevention, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning.

36 Comments

  1. rawmilkmike September 3, 2015 at 10:44 am - Reply

    The time your child sleeps is just as, if not more important, then how long your child sleeps?

    • Alanna September 8, 2015 at 1:40 am - Reply

      It’s important that we synch our sleep to our natural biological sleep rhythms. When we do this we are able to get proper restorative sleep. If we sleep against our biological clocks we sleep but aren’t able to get the deep sleep we need to properly rest and repair. So it’s important that the quality of sleep we get is just as important as the amount of sleep we get. I hope that helps. Thank you for commenting.

  2. Kelsey December 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    How do we find our baby’s rhythm?? I’ve been experimenting with bedtimes for my 6 mo old (5 months corrected) and I can’t seem to find the best bedtime for her. She used to have the best sleep when she went to bed at 9 but I moved it to 7/7:30 for a couple weeks and after suffering through awful sleeps I finally caved and moved it back.. Only now 9:00 is no good anymore either! Help!

    • Alanna January 4, 2016 at 3:11 am - Reply

      Hi Kelsey! I always say bedtime depends on how daytime sleep went. I’m an early bedtime pusher 🙂 At 6 months of age I’d like to see bedtime anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30 depending on how naps went.

  3. NS January 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Alana, we have a newborn (6w) and a toddler (2y) at home. Most days it’s just my wife managing both alone, and it takes an hour or longer to get the newborn to nap (won’t close his eyes). We can’t really leave the toddler unsupervised so it’s hard to get our newborn into a quiet, toddler-free environment for naps. Any tips on that and how to get the newborn to close his eyes would be WONDERFUL!

    • Alanna January 4, 2016 at 3:19 am - Reply

      Hello there! Congratulations! The good news is there are no rules at 6 weeks of age 🙂 As long as the baby has a safe sleep environment you can tell your wife to not put pressure on herself to create too many sleep rules. At 6 weeks of age baby needs to be consistently fed and rested and if mom has to help out with sleep at this age that’s okay. Have her connect with me once baby get’s a bit older. We start wokring with clients at 4 months of age and we can put a toddler free sleep plan together at that point 😉

  4. Nina January 5, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I look for sleepy signs throughout the day and try to get my 3mo old to sleep within each 2-hour wakeful window. Am when ever we are home that sleep is in her crib. But I can’t figure out what her bedtime should be…we wind down at 7 with a bath and a long nursing season and she’s usually down by 8:30, but recently she has gone from sleeping 4-7 hours on the front end of the night to 2 hour stretches, waking all the time. Am I blowing it with bed time or is there another reason? (We also recently transitioned her from a rock and play to a bassinet. The rock and play used to keep her linking sleep cycles, but as she’s grown too big for it she was waking more so we thought it was time to try and get her to sleep flat.)

    • Alanna January 10, 2016 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Hello there! I always say there are no rules at this age so try and take the pressure off a bit. You are already doing so great by creating a more consistent sleep environment, one that is more conducive to sleep, and focusing on the timing of sleep. You can’t quite look at the clock yet but at 3 months you are looking at a 7-8pm bedtime and what’s more important is not what time she goes down at but how long she stays awake per sleep cycle. Make sure to not stretch her out too long to avoid her becoming overtired. You got this mama! In a few weeks you can start to take more control 🙂

  5. Sara January 7, 2016 at 12:23 am - Reply

    How long do you suggest leaving them after they wake up from only 45 mins. My 6.5 month old wakes up like clock work after 30-45 mins regularly and starts blowing bubbles and babbling like he’s wide awake. I just started CIO yesterday and he’s doing better than my first did. Only takes him 5-10mins to settle. Afternoon naps are taking longer to settle both days too and he wakes so soon makes getting to 7pm bedtime difficult. I know it’s still a fresh change for him but not sure how long to leave him before calling a longer nap off? Thanks for your help! Loved reading all the social common feed yesterday and that really helped me since it was also my day 1 on CIO.

    • Alanna January 10, 2016 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Sara! I’m so happy you enjoyed the feed. It was super fun 🙂 If you could try to leave him an extra 15-30 minutes after waking it will give him enough opportunity to try and fall back to sleep on his own. Good luck! It sounds like you are off to a great start 🙂

  6. Exhausted new mom! January 9, 2016 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Hi Alana,
    I have a 5 month old with sleep problems. We started training around 3 month age and was going well until the 4 month wakeful period. Then we tried again and was going well until she got sick with cold/cough/vaccination and since then it’s never been easy.
    She used to nap around 10am,1pm and 4 pm, each nap about 30 minutes. Bedtime around 6:30-7pm until 6-7 am, with multiple waking about 4-5 times per night ( more between 7:30-10pm). Also, she loves sleeping on her tummy and find that until she finds a comfortable position, she keeps waking up.

    Another issue is that she will NOT sleep in the crib on her own, wants to feed and rocked before she sleeps and of course wants it the same way when she wakes up. Her naps are usually in my arms and the minute I put her down, she’s up!!

    Please help!!

    • Alanna January 10, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Hello there! The first thing I want to tell you is that you are not alone mama. These are such common sleep issues that so many parents experience. Is she just 4 months? I would like to see a few tweaks to her timings in terms of naps and bedtime etc. Also at her age, unless she can roll on her tummy herself I have to recommend back sleep only. It’s important to follow the ABC’s of safe sleep. Alone, on the Backs, and in their Cribs. Having her practice the skill of sleeping independently takes time and allowing her the opportunity to fall asleep without being fed or rocked is where we need to choose the method of sleep training that works for you and be consistent with it. Have you considered working with a sleep consultant? One of our consultants would be more than happy to help you put a plan together and support you through it. Hang in there mama. You are doing great!

  7. Ari January 10, 2016 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    My 9 month old baby has always been a bad napper. Up until he was 7 months old he never took more than 30 minutes at a time, and always had to be so soothed to sleep (rocking, swing, stroller, etc). Then he dropped his third nap and hit a miraculous stretch where he started taking two 1-1.5 hour naps a day at 9am and 2pm. He still needed to be soothed to sleep but it happened quickly so I didn’t mind rocking and patting him. That all ended recently. Naps have gone back to being a horrible battle to achieve, and they’re often shorter which I think is starting to affect his night sleep as well. He used to go 7pm to 6-ish am (still with 1 or 2 night feeds) and now he’s waking at 5am. The funny thing is bedtime is super easy, he goes down quietly and awake and falls asleep well until he wakes to feed somewhere around 3 or 4am. But my arms and back are killing me from trying to rock him to sleep during the day, and sleep training (we did controlled crying) worked at night but has been a disaster during the day. He just sits himself up in his crib and cries and cries. I feel like I’ve tried everything. How do I fix this?

    • Alanna January 10, 2016 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Hello there! If you look through our baby sleep posts you can find a great post on lengthening naps that may help you. Hang in there. Naps are tough but not impossible. Consistency is key and making sure you don’t give up 🙂

  8. Anita January 31, 2016 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Hi Alana,

    My 8 month seems to be going through the sleep regression. She is down to two naps during the day but I was wondering what your advice on how long these naps should be is and whether there is a time past which you advise that she should not sleep. For example today we put her down for her second nap at 2pm and she only fell asleep at 3 so we let her sleep until 4.30. Tonight she went to sleep as usual at about 715 but woke up at about 9 and hasn’t slept since. Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Anita

    • Alanna February 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Anita! I would like to see your schedule shifted earlier. Naps and bedtimes. You are looking at at least an hour per nap with 1.5 hours being our goal. Be consistent with the times of her naps and then flexible with bedtime depending on how she slept throughout the day, meaning you can make bedtime earlier if not be. Not later 🙂 – Alanna

  9. Mari February 2, 2016 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Hi
    My 8 month baby used to sleep 5-8
    Hours without waking at 2-4 months after the 4th month she wakes up at 1,3,&5 am To eat I put her to bed at 8-8:30. She naps for 30 mins if I’m lucky 3 times a day. I’m exhausted and don’t know how to wean her off the night feedings I’ve tried the cry it out method but feel awful just listening to her cry so much! Please help

    • Alanna February 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Hello Mari! From what you’ve written I have a feeling some tweaks to her daytime sleep may need to happen. In turn that can help her sleep through the night. You are looking at 2 naps a day and I would really like to see her bedtime much earlier. By 8 p.m. she is likely overtired and will have more restless sleep throughout the night. Remember it’s not just about choosing the method. Check out our 4 part sleep training series under our Baby Sleep section that may help you 🙂 – Alanna

  10. lily February 25, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Hi! My son is 9 months almost 10 and has always co-slept. we have started placing him in his crib and have had a pretty consistent routine which includes putting him to bed by 730/8. However, he wakes up constantly, crying non-stop and will not self soothe. During the day he takes one nap at daycare and by the time we get home it is too late for a second nap before bed, otherwise he is up at 2 ready to play! During the weekends, he does better with two naps and sleeps a little better in his crib. Help! I don’t like the idea of CIO, and im usually up rocking him back to sleep but as soon as I put him in his crib..hes up!.

    • Alanna February 27, 2016 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Hello! From the information you have given me it looks like there needs to be some adjustments to your sons sleep schedule and daytime sleep. At 10 months we definitely want at least 2 naps a day so if you could I would encourage daycare to offer that as well. I know it’s tough sometimes but he needs this daytime sleep and by getting more rest during the day he will actually sleep better at night, which he shows us when he has the two naps on the weekend. I would also like to see an earlier bedtime whenever possible. Remember, the better rested he goes to sleep the better he’ll sleep throughout the night. This 4 part series on sleep training may help you – https://goodnightsleepsite.com/blog/2016/01/05/baby-sleep-environment/. Thank you for connecting!

  11. Jenessa March 31, 2016 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I’m desperate, my 10.5 month old has been sleeping through the night for many months but for the last week he has been waking up every night. We used to be able to just give him his pacifier back and he was back asleep but note he just stands in his crib and cries until we pick him up. We usually will give him a bottle thinking maybe he is hungry but even after that he won’t lay down. He just stands up and cries until we rock him to sleep. He doesn’t need to be rocked for naps or when we first put him down. I’m so tired and my husband and I are incredibly frustrated.

    • Alanna McGinn April 5, 2016 at 12:55 am - Reply

      Hello! Thank you for connecting. You mentioned that he had been doing well prior to the issues you are having now so the good news is that we know he has the skill. Babies can regress in sleep for many reasons especially if he is going through any kind of developmental milestone as my article discusses. It sounds like there have been some inconsistencies in how the wakings have been handled and my recommendations would be to get right back on track and keep giving him the opportunity to fall asleep on his own as we know he can do. At his age he doesn’t need that feed throughout the night and because he can do it on his own for naps and at bedtime he definitely can do it throughout the night. I know it’s tough but you guys can do this 🙂 If you need further help please reach out to one of our consultants at https://www.goodnightsleepsite.com.

  12. Katie April 17, 2016 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    My 10.5 month old has always been a great sleeper, naps and night. He goes down at 6.45/7.15, he chats then falls asleep until 6.30:7am. In the last two weeks his naps have increased to a 2 hour nap and a 30/45 min nap at 4pm. we have had night wakings where he wants a bottle which we give him but then he refuses to sleep, he screams as soon as he is in his cot, we know he is tired as he will fall asleep on us. He is inconsolable so we bring him into our bed and he wants to play! He is teething (his top two) but is it time to cry it out?

    • Alanna McGinn May 19, 2016 at 11:21 pm - Reply

      Hi Katie! I think there needs to be more consistency within the plan you are using. He’s confused as each night is different. I’ve provided some information and posts in other comments within this thread that may help you. At his age I would love to see more of a consistent sleep environment and to remove all night feeds. Cry it out isn’t the only method. I list some popular methods that I use with my families that can work well. I can’t promise no crying but it’s important to choose the method that you are most comfortable using and that your child responds to best – http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/alanna-mcginn-a-good-nights-sleep/20160131/sleep-training-methods-101

  13. Lane April 21, 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Hello.. not sure this will find you in time before tonight! Tonight will make night #7 of my sleep training my 8 1/2 month old daughter.. ever since she was born she has been a sleep fighter and just a nightmare at bedtime. I decided it was finally time to start sleep training because it was taking hours of rocking, walking around with her and everything to try and get her to sleep. So Friday we started.. and Friday I laid her down and she cried maybe 45 mins and was asleep and slept all night.. Saturday night #2 she cried maybe 15 mins when I laid her down and she was out but woke at 11 to have a bottle then back down/no crying but up at 3:50 and cried til 4:50 then asleep til 7am.. Sunday night #3 she went down no crying and woke at 11 for her 1 night feed and went right back to sleep no crying and slept til 7.. Monday night #4 she went down no crying and slept til 11 for her 1 night feed then back asleep til 7am… ok now this is where it gets hard/confusing.. Tuesday night #5 and last night Wednesday night #6 she went down no crying and got up for her 11:00 feeding but instead of going right back to bed like she had done the previous 4 nights before she cried for almost 1 hr.. from 11:10 after I walked out from giving her her bottle til 12.. why in the last 2 nights of sleep training has she started this and will this end SOON?

    Also.. the sleep training method we used was the extinction where you do NOT go in at all.. except we go in once if its been 30 mins but thats it because I found it makes it worse when we go in. Thanks

    • Alanna McGinn May 19, 2016 at 11:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Lane! As I mentioned to another poster the method isn’t the only solution. Check out my sleep training series as these posts may help you – https://goodnightsleepsite.com/blog/category/babysleep/sleep-training-series/. That being said at 8.5 months, provided baby is doing well and growing and thriving as she should be she doesn’t need that feed anymore and that is what is causing her confusion and delaying the process. At this age I would like to see you remove all feeds throughout the night and instead use your method of choice. You got this mama!

  14. Jeanne May 3, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

    I have a 9 1/2 month old who had a nasty 4 month regression but sleep trained beautifully and has been sleeping through the night like a rock ever since. Until now. The laSt 3 days she wakes up throughout the night. Her nap schedule had gotten a little wonky, that 3rd nap was getting later every day so I eliminated it. Now she’s taking 2 naps for about a total of 3-3.5 hours a day. But I’m up right now at midnight because she woke up crying and awake as can be. I went in, held her, then put her back down. She’s still making a lot of noise in her crib but no tears yet.
    I know I need to give her time and things will go back to normal but what am I supposed to do when she wakes up in the middle of the night? Leave her to cry it out? Probably not feed or rock her, right? Husband gets up at 4:30 am for work so I’m kind of on my own, plus yesterday she got up at 4 am. I’m tired.

  15. Camellia May 11, 2016 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Hey there! My 10.5 month old sleeps really well at night. Bedtime is at 7pm and he sleeps until usually 6:30am. Sometimes he might wake earlier and I’ll nurse him and he’ll wake later in the morning, but recently he’s been sleeping through more and more.
    He usually naps twice a day for 1-2hrs each for a max of 3hrs for the day. But for the last week or so the second nap has turn into a 30min nap. I was able to deal with it, but then last week for two days in a row, the first and second nap were only 30min. I was forced to have him sleep in the carrier, because he was so exhausted. I thought it was a sleep regression, but on the weekend when my husband did all the naps, he went back to sleeping over 1hr. Again, starting Monday…second nap is 30min. Could it be separation anxiety? Anything I can do? Or just deal with it? The issue is that he wakes and is still tired and cranky. Then the rest of the day is messed up. I should mention he’s starting to learn how to walk and during all this, his night sleep has not been affected. Thanks so much!

  16. Chelsea L. May 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I have an almost 9 month old who I believe is being affected by a growth spurt/sleep regression that started 2.5weeks ago. She has always been so easy to put to sleep from a young age she learnt to put herself to sleep so I alway just put her in her crib and she just went to sleep. Now for naps she will not go to sleep without being rocked to sleep!! I don’t want to make a bad habit but if I don’t rock her she literally will go all day without a nap. And her naps are only 30 min where they use to be at least 1.5-2hrs. Thankfully at night she is still sleeping 11hr no wake ups but I don’t know what to do. I’ve heard this regression can last 4-6weeks do I wait it out or just leave her in her crib until she sleeps (she doesn’t cry she is just so occupied with the world around her).
    Thank you in advance!

    • Alanna McGinn May 29, 2016 at 5:07 pm - Reply

      Hi Chelsea! It sounds like she already has some great sleep skills in place. Try and ride this phase out without picking up too many new sleep habits. We know she can do it so let’s continue to give her the tools to do so. She’s not crying so try to leave her in her crib until she falls sleep on her own. You got this mama! Here is our sleep training series if this helps you – https://goodnightsleepsite.com/blog/category/babysleep/sleep-training-series/

  17. Claudine June 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Hi! I have a 81/2 months old baby boy. We have cut down our naps from 3 to 2 about 2weeks ago and everything went perfectly. He’s a good nap sleeper, going down by himself and sleeping between 1 1/2 – 2 hours every time. Our problem are during the night. He goes down to bed at around 7pm, by himself without any problems. Then he wakes up at around 10:30pm for a breastfeed and goes right back to sleep without trouble. I usually have to give him back his pacifier around 2am. BUT then at around 3:30-4 am he’s up crying or wide awake… He usually really try to go back to sleep but can’t… That can last for a good 1 hour… He usually will fall back to sleep with my help – rocking him back to sleep (after 1 hour of trying by himself) until he wakes up for the day, between 5:30-6:30am … Are we in a sleep regression phase? Should I stop rocking him back to sleep since I never did this before? Should I put him down earlier for bed? Should I stop the last breastfeeding session at 10:30pm?

    • Alanna McGinn August 14, 2016 at 5:47 pm - Reply

      Hi Claudine. It sounds like your day time is going great and we know he has the skill of falling asleep on his own so many of our big sleep training hurdles are behind us. That’s fantastic. I would like to see you allow him the opportunity of settling himself at night as we know he can do it. If he’s working on something that is causing his sleep to regress a bit we want to make sure we aren’t picking up new habits during this phase. Practicing an earlier bedtime and allowing him to practice the skill of falling asleep on his own are definitely two steps you can take. Good luck!

  18. Jolie Tin July 8, 2016 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Alanna!

    My daughter is almost 8 months old and has always been a difficult sleeper. She usually wakes up around 5-530 am and her first nap is around 715 am where she will sleep for about 1hr and 15 minutes. Then she naps again at about 1215 but will only sleep for about 45 minutes. She will not take a 3rd nap no matter how tired she is. And I try to put her down for the night at 630 pm with with one feed between 930 and 1030 pm. But lately she’s been waking up a couple of hours later freaking out and has to be rocked back to sleep. We just don’t know what to do!

    Thanks you in adance for your advice.

    • Alanna McGinn August 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Jolie. I would love to see you shift her morning nap time to later and work on lengthening out her afternoon nap. Until her naps are more consolidated and consistent let’s move her bedtime earlier as well. If you would like to work with a Good Night consultant directly you can find more information about our services here – https://goodnightsleepsite.com/baby-and-toddler-sleep-packages/. Please let us know if we can help you.

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