8-10 Month Sleep Regression
It’s common to see your little one’s sleep regress around the eighth to tenth month. Protesting naps, unusual night wakings, and early mornings start to show up. Maybe this isn’t out of the norm for your baby, but if your baby has been sleeping through the night and napping like clockwork every three hours, this can feel like the end of the world. You’ve put so much focus on having your baby sleep well and now it may feel like it’s all falling apart. Never fret, your rock star sleeper will return, but in the meantime lets go through why this is happening and what you can be doing to help your little one get through with their sleep, and your sanity, in tact.
Why does this sleep regression happen?
Put simply, there is A LOT of development going on between the 8-10th months. Development has one of the most disruptive impact on a child’s sleep. For most babies this is when they start finding their mobility and are able to move away from you. They’re scooting, crawling, taking their first steps, and some even learning to walk. With the ability to move away also comes the understanding of separateness. This is where some separation anxiety may start to manifest. Read more about tips and tricks to work through separation anxiety with your baby. Your baby continues to learn and absorb language and begins to understand you. Stacked on top of all the development your baby is going through, they are also likely getting new teeth – maybe even their first. I mean those two front teeth are pretty stinking cute, but common baby, please start sleeping well again!
How long will it last?
Like most sleep regressions or disruptions in your baby’s sleep, usually last about 2-4 weeks. Sometimes a little longer for everything to settle back into the norm. This will feel like a lifetime as you are going through it, but this too shall pass.
Sleep needs, how much, when?
Your baby’s sleep needs will remain the same, even if it feels like they’re tell you otherwise. Your 8-10 month old still needs 11-12 hours of night sleep and 2-3 hours of daytime sleep. At this point, your little one should have dropped their third nap and settled into a more predictable two nap day. When your baby drops the third nap, you will likely have to meet this with an early bedtime while their body clock adjusts.
So what should an 8-10 month old’s schedule look like?
- 6:30 am Wake up
- 9:30 am Nap 1 (60-90 minutes in length)
- 2:00 pm Nap 2 (60-90 minutes in length)
- 6:30 pm Bedtime
- 7:00 am Wake up
- 10:00 am Nap 1 (60-90 minutes in length)
- 2:30 pm Nap 2 (60-90 minutes in length)
- 7:00 pm Bedtime
Often, as babies are transitioning away from their third cat nap paired with a developmental leap or regression you may start to see some early morning wake ups. The best thing you can do here is to stick to your predetermined morning wake up time, regardless of when your baby actually wakes for the day. For example, if your morning wake up time is normally 6:30, be sure you do not go get baby until that time. Some other helpful tips for early mornings in 8-10 months olds are:
Watch for over-tiredness at bedtime.
As your baby looses that third cat nap and as their body clock is adjusting you will likely need to move their bedtime earlier by 30 minutes. You will also want to bring bedtime earlier if your baby has had a poor nap day. This nice early bedtime can be thought of as making up for lost sleep during the day.
Amp up daytime caloric intake.
Unless otherwise instructed by your pediatrician, babies at this age are able to go through the entire night without a feed. However, with all of the growth and development happening you will want to ensure that their daytime caloric intake is enough that they aren’t waking hungry in those early morning hours. 8-10 month old babies will need 24-32 oz of milk (either breast milk or formula), 5-6 oz roughly every 3-4 hours, about 4-5 times a day. They should also be having 2-3 good solid food meals. If your baby is struggling with early mornings, try adding in some extra good fats into their diet. One extra helping of good fats will help to keep your baby fuller for longer.
Be sure to get your baby’s room nice and dark. Even the slighted of light variance can be enough to pull him out of his sleep cycle. Now i’m not just talking about kind of dark, I mean DARK DARK. 10/10 dark, so that if you are standing in their room in the middle of the day, you are unable to see your own hand in front of your face!
Tips to help your baby through this sleep regression.
Extending awake time.
All too often as your baby moves closer to the 10th month, there can start to be protesting around naps. This usually manifests around the afternoon nap, and will either be protest going down for nap (I simply don’t want to sleep mom, I have too many wonderful things to explore and skills to master), or you may start to see some funky short naps. This is where you may need to play with and extend your baby’s time awake. If 3 hours between naps had been working wonders for the last couple months, it is likely time to start extending that out. Take this slow. Start by extending your baby’s time between naps by 15-30 minutes every couple of days until you’ve found that sweet spot. You’ll know you’ve hit the right spot when it takes your baby 5-15 minutes to fall asleep.
Practice makes perfect.
Your baby is learning SO many new skills over these months, crawling, scooting, standing, pulling up, and walking! They are going to need as much time as possible during the day to practice these skills. Otherwise you are left with a baby who wants to practice and perfect ALL NIGHT LONG. Creating a “yes” space where your baby can move about freely and independently to explore their newly acquired skills can be very helpful. You may also need to interact and help model certain movements for your little one. Show them how to go from standing, down to their bottom, from their bottom to their tummy, side or back.
Maintain your normal sleep routine.
Keep your baby’s nap and bedtime routines consistent. This will help to reassure your baby, that in a time of big changes, the loving boundaries around sleep are unchanging. They will take comfort in this.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your baby’s room optimized for sleep. Their room should be DARK, free from any type of distractions (mobiles, lights, etc.) and cool (20-21 degrees). White noise can be a great addition during this time to help muffle out the environmental noises and distractions.
Avoid reverting back to old ways.
If you have put in the time and effort to get your baby sleeping well, be sure you don’t start forming new habits or revert to old ones. It will be very confusing to your baby if one day they are expected to settle into sleep on their own, while the next they’re helped along. Consistency is key here.
Don’t blame the regression.
If your baby had been sleeping poorly prior to this, don’t assume that their poor sleep is solely attributed to the regression. There are likely other underlying associations that will need to be addressed.
Take a few nice deep breaths, plan a girls evening out, or treat yourself. This will end and your amazing little sleeper will return.
If you were struggling with your little one’s sleep prior to these big sleep disturbances or your once awesome sleeper simply isn’t getting back on track, lets chat. We will work together to set you on a very clear, easy to follow plan to ensure your whole family can live life well rested!