The 8/9/10 month sleep regression (and the many causes for changes to sleep at this time)

Next up in the sleep regression series…..the 8/9/10 month sleep regression! Don’t worry - this doesn’t mean your baby’s sleep will be impacted for months and months, it’s simply a range of time for when you might notice this regression occurs!

I feel so passionately about NORMALISING the changes that happen with your little ones sleep. This is why the sleep regression series is important - each regression represents amazing and really normal developmental changes that are happening for your baby. If your baby's sleep changes - its not because they are a 'bad sleeper', it's highlighting that something is going on for your baby at that point in time and it won't last forever!

Why does the 8/9/10 month sleep regression happen?

  • This regression is mostly linked with big (and exciting) changes in your baby’s development! Baby is learning SO much at this age and their brains are working overtime to process and absorb information and turn this into new skills. This can lead to some temporary changes to their sleep during the day and overnight.

  • It’s quite common for teeth to start popping through around this age which can cause a few days to a few weeks of unsettledness for some babies.

  • Another key developmental milestone you may notice is that your baby starts to get a bit of separation anxiety or a bit ‘clingy’! This is normal and is because ‘object permanence’ has set in for your little one. Has your baby started enjoying anticipatory games like ‘peek-a-boo’ and ‘hide and seek’? Has your baby started to cry when you leave the room? Has your baby started to cry when they drop a toy and can’t get it back themselves? This is because they have developed the understanding that when something or someone disappears from sight - it actually still exists and baby will cry or get upset as they are wondering where the person or thing has gone. This can cause a few issues with sleep as baby is now aware that when you leave the room at nap time or bed time and that you’re nearby.

  • Another reason why this change to sleep happens is that between the age of 6 and 8 months most babies will transition from 3 naps to 2 naps. Baby may have been having a morning sleep, longer lunch sleep and short late afternoon nap - this late afternoon nap starts to phase out. This nap transition can cause a bit of a period of change to sleep.

  • Another reason why this ‘regression’ happens is that by 9-10 months of age (or in some cases earlier) babies are getting hungrier due to being more mobile and a 3rd meal will need to be introduced to boost up calorie intake during the day.

Possible developmental changes at 8/9/10 months:

  • Crawling

  • Pulling up to stand (closer to 10 months typically)

  • Cruising/walking along holding onto furniture such as the couch (closer to 10 months typically)

  • Babbling and sounds (they are absorbing LOADS of language, social cues & body language)

  • Object permanence

**Development varies from baby to baby** How do I know the 8/9/10 month sleep regression has started?

  • With any new skill your baby learns there is the potential for some disruption to sleep patterns

  • You may notice that overnight baby wakes to practice their newly learned skills and you see them crawling in their cot, pulling to stand or chatting

  • Your baby has periods of time in the night or during naps in the day time where they are awake in their cot but may not be crying

  • Baby may practice their skill in the cot e.g crawling or pulling to stand and become frustrated if they get a bit stuck and may cry and call out for you

  • Baby may wake for feeds during the night

  • Your baby may have shorter naps and more wake ups overnight

Tips for the 8/9/10 month sleep regression:

Here are some tips to help you move through this regression.

  • Encourage your baby to practice their new skills during the day by using crafty play ideas and lots of floor time (check out Nicole Kids Physio for loads of ideas)

  • Remain consistent with the settling strategies your baby is used to as much as possible

  • You may need to offer some additional feeds at night during this period of time - this is normal and completely OKAY!

  • If your baby is awake in the night but content, allow them some space to go back to sleep on their own before resettling

  • Introduce a 3rd meal around 9 months of age or when you feel it is appropriate. Include protein and carbohydrates at 2 out of 3 meals per day to help sustain your little ones sleep overnight and during their longer lunch sleep. Protein can be meat or plant based :)

  • Offer lots of comfort and cuddles during the day particularly during the period of time when baby seems to be upset when you leave the room.

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