Sleep at 8-10 months – What is happening?

Updated: Aug 10

There can be a common misconception that suddenly all babies begin sleeping through the night at 6 months. HOWEVER, research suggests otherwise, and studies show there can be a rise in night wakes around 9 months.

But WHY is it happening?

There are many reasons why your baby may wake overnight at this age, but below are a few common big changes that are happening for them:

  • Separation anxiety

  • Dropping their third nap and potentially getting overtired by bedtime – you may need to temporarily shorten their last wake window to help this transition

  • Increasing solid food intake – possibility for reactions or an intolerance to foods leading to digestive discomfort

  • Crawling/pulling to stand/walking – babies can start practicing these new skills in their cots

  • Adjusting to longer periods of wake time in the day - around 2.5 - 4 hours

  • Teething

  • Moving to their own room

  • Feeding more at night, and not as hungry in the day

So HOW can you navigate your way through this time?

- The Sleep Foundation recommends around 12-15 hours of sleep over 24 hours for little ones at this age. Therefore, try to pay close attention to how much sleep your baby gets in the daytime. If we continue to offer three naps with more than 3 hours of total day sleep, they may not need as much sleep overnight and might wake more. Now is a good age to consistently move to 2 naps, with around 2.5 hours of total daytime sleep.

- If your little one appears to be struggling with separation, try to increase your wind down routine at bedtime and focus on 1:1 connection time. If your little one loves to be cuddled, spend an extra 5-10 minutes filling their cup with some tight squeezes before bed. If they like to kick about and burn energy pop them in the bath or let them crawl around for a while before going to bed. Start practicing peek-a-boo to help with object permanence and encourage short periods of independent play.

- Focus on LOTS of practice of their new skills during wake times. Allow them to crawl or stand in their cot and explore, if they need help getting back to laying down, try to go in and assist without getting into a game with them. If they were settling well before, you don’t need to start playing a new role in them settling to sleep. Simply walk in and lay them back down or pat the mattress to encourage them to it themselves, and then let them settle.

- Do they need more food in the day? If your little one is feeding much more than 1-2 times overnight, now may be a good time to look at weaning some of these down. This can impact their appetite in the day, and lead to a cycle of frequent feeding and fragmented sleep overnight. Reach out if you need help with this.

- Consider if babies sleep environment needs an adjustment, is it too light, loud, or cold/hot?

If you're stuck with sleep at this age, reach out for some guidance.

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