How to slay the 8-10 month sleep regression
The most frustrating aspect of sleep when it comes to little ones is finally getting them through the dreaded 4-month sleep regression and then they go back to not sleeping soon after. It’s incredibly tiring, but there are few steps you can take to get them sleeping through again. Sleep consultant Hadley Seward from Bonne Nuit Baby talks us through the 8 month sleep regression stage. Based in New York, Hadley works with exhausted parents around the world to get their little one’s sleep back on track.
Unlike the predictable 4 month period, the second stage of sleep regression can be anywhere from 36 to 40 weeks, or sometimes even later. At this age, there is a lot of brain development occurring; your baby may have recently started to sit up, crawl or even taken their first steps. Plus language acquisition has begun in earnest and they’re beginning to methodically explore and categorise the world around them.
All of these new skills are great news as it means your little one is growing up. However, it can often cause a period of disrupted sleep, especially for babies who don’t have self-soothing skills yet. If you’ve noticed your little one is waking up more often during the night, fighting naps or waking earlier, the chances are the 8 to 10 month sleep regression is to blame.
Here are my five top tips for how to sail through the second sleep regression:
1. Take a look at your baby’s sleep environment
Now that they’ve become more interested in the world around them, it’s even more important to provide a dark, quiet room for naps and overnight. Blackout curtains and white noise machines or apps are ideal for creating a soothing environment. If your little one is still taking the majority of their naps in a pushchair or carrier, it’s time to prioritise sleep in a cot.
2. Evaluate your baby’s sleep schedule
Most smaller babies take 3 naps per day, ending with a late afternoon catnap, however at around 8 months, it’s time to drop that 3rd nap. This often means that bedtime needs to be moved earlier so that your little one doesn’t go to bed overtired (which almost guarantees overnight wakings). For an 8-10-month-old baby, I recommend an awake time of no more than 3-4 hours between the last nap and bedtime. Watch their tired signs closely from around 5 pm and schedule bedtime accordingly.
3. Invest in a sleeping bag
If your baby doesn’t already have one, now is the time to invest in a baby sleeping bag. Why? Sleep disruptions at this age commonly occur when babies practice their newfound mobility skills, e.g. standing in their cot or kicking off their covers. Whilst a sleeping bag won’t totally prevent movement, it will limit it and ensure that they still sleep safely.
4. Talk to your health practitioner about teething
It’s very easy to blame sleep problems on teething, but it’s not always the culprit. Quite often, sleep disruptions lasting longer than a few days are due to another underlying reason. Nevertheless, if you’re worried that your little one can’t sleep because of teething, speak to a doctor for advice and help.
5. Ride out the storm
Although it won’t be easy, remember that sleep regressions are temporary disruptions as a result of developmental changes. Your goal in this time is to avoid introducing any sleep habits you don’t want to continue in the long term. For example, if you begin to bring your 9-month-old into bed with you, they will definitely expect that to continue well after the regression has played out.
Hadley is a certified sleep consultant, working to help families get a better night’s sleep. She focuses her time on gently guiding babies to sleep whilst offering solutions for parents to get a better night’s sleep too. Find out more about Hadley and her work at Bonne Nuit Baby.