Learn all about the 8 month sleep regression and why it can happen at 9-10 months, also. Learn causes and what to do.
While the 8-10 month sleep regression is not as infamous as the 4 month sleep regression, the sleep troubles that come up at this age are well documented and always noticed.
One day you will find yourself thinking, “Why is my 10 month old fighting naps?” Or perhaps you have an 8 month old waking at night crying. Well, it is likely a good old sleep regression.
With a 3 month long sleep regression, it is easy to understand why this sleep regression gets noticed.
In this post, we will talk about when this sleep regression happens, why it happens, and what to do about it.
When Is the 8-10 Month Sleep Regression
This sleep regression can happen anytime between 8-10 months old. That is a long time!
Ideally you will just face one sleep regression during this time period, however, as you will see in the causes below, there are many reasons for it, so you really could get one right after the other.
So yes, there is an 8-month sleep regression, yes there is a 9 month sleep regression, and yes, there is a 10 month sleep regression. You might experience just one or maybe 3 (or more!).
Unlike your Wonder Week 19, not all babies will hit this sleep disturbance in the same range, even if the cause is the same.
For example, if your baby and your neighbor’s baby both have sleep interrupted for teething, one baby might be hit at 8 months old while your neighbor’s baby might be at 10.5 months old. So one baby might be a 10-month sleep regression while another is a 9-month sleep regression.
How Long is the 8-10 Month Old Sleep Regression
The length of this sleep disruption will vary widely depending on what is causing it.
It could be as short as a day or two, or it could feel like it is lasting several months if you get multiple causes lined up.
Causes for this Sleep Trouble
There is always a reason why your baby is not sleeping well. Baby sleep doesn’t just happen, but it also doesn’t just go away. Common causes of baby sleep problems at this age include:
- New skills (developmental milestones being met)
- Separation anxiety
- Schedule change needed
- Language explosion
- Mental and physical stimulation levels
- Wonder week
How To Fix the 8-10 Month Regression
Let’s discuss each of the causes and what you can do as the parent to help your little one sleep better and stop the night waking or short naps.
When you are trying to solve these sleep issues, you want to find the reason for the poor sleep and address it if you can. You can’t fix the problem if you don’t address the culprit for the problem.
When babies learn new skills, sleep gets disrupted. This has been happening for months now, so it is nothing new to you.
If your little one is not napping and you see that he is constantly practicing a certain skill during “nap time,” there is a good chance this is the cause of your poor sleep.
One interesting note is that not all babies are disrupted with every new skill. Some will only become disrupted in sleep with just one of the new skills they develop.
Physical milestones really explode during this time, so you have a lot of opportunity for sleep disruptions.
Your baby might be starting to crawl and have newfound mobility. Your baby might be working on the pincer grasp.
Your child is learning so much and might find nap time a great time to really practice this new ability.
One of the best things to do when this happens is to practice the skill a lot during playtime. So if your little one is scooting or cruising around the crib through the afternoon nap, address that during play time.
This is so common that I have an entire post dedicated to it. Read up on How to Stop New Skills from Disrupting Naps and Sleep here.
A super common cause of sleep troubles at this age is teething.
If you notice a lot of fussiness or crankiness during wake time and also during what is supposed to be sleep time, there is a good chance new teeth coming in is causing sleep trouble.
The good news is that typically, babies do not get disrupted with every single tooth. You will typically see the first one cause trouble and then not again until canines or molars. You might get some if more than one tooth comes at once.
Some babies will be disrupted at least for a day or two with each tooth.
If teething pains are disrupting your baby’s sleep, you will want to do your best to alleviate the pain. Typically if you can mitigate the pain for a couple of days, that is all your baby will need.
Read up on options for relieving pain in these posts:
This is a very normal part of development. All babies go through it to some extent.
If you notice your child getting upset every time you leave the room or move out of sight, then sleep troubles might be caused by separation anxiety. If your baby has major clinginess to you, you are probably going through this milestone.
When this is the case, you want to focus on helping your child learn the reality of object permanence as quickly as possible. This can be done by playing games like peek-a-boo.
It can be hard to stick to your nap schedule if your little one has tears at nap time. It is always good to be aware of setting habits for the future, but it is also okay to consider temporary mental leaps that interfere with sleep.
You always want to be careful you do not start habits that you do not want to continue long term, but sometimes you start something for a short term to get through a difficulty.
For more help on working through this, see How to Manage Separation Anxiety in Babies.
Schedule Change Needed
Any time your little one has sleep problems, it is wise to consider the need to change the schedule.
Your baby’s sleep schedule might need some tweaking. You might need to drop the 3rd nap and move to a 2 naps schedule. Most babies drop the third nap around 8 months old (though some are closer to the 10-month mark and some are more like 6 months).
This will probably lead to less overall daytime sleep, but baby might take longer daytime naps with the other two naps and end up with the same amount of daytime sleep. You might also need to move bedtime a little earlier, even just for a bit.
You might need to change awake time length. Your little one might be ready to stay awake a little longer between naps and have more hours of awake time in the day.
You might simply need to change up the sleep environment or your sleep routine. What worked when your kiddo was younger might not work now.
You might need to get a white noise machine now that your little one is more aware and curious.
You might need to get some black out curtains so your little one is not disrupted by light during daytime naps or woken by the sun in the morning.
If you have trouble with night sleep, make sure your bedtime routine is solid and sets the stage for sleep at night. Most babies do not need night feedings at this age, but always rule out hunger. You always want to be sure the baby is getting enough calories so waking isn’t from hunger.
You might need some sleep training if your little one cannot self-soothe or make it through the night. If you have not worked on solid sleep habits yet, now is the time to start.
If you have already done sleep training with your little one, brushing up will not be difficult. If you haven’t, it might take as little as a few days to a few weeks.
Being able to self-soothe is also vital for making it through nap transitions without waking up.
You might have some sleep props you need to consider getting rid of so baby can sleep independently.
Always remember how important consistency is, so make sure your 2 nap schedule is the same from day to day and that baby is eating every 3-4 hours. Wake baby up at the same time each morning and have a consistent bedtime.
It is easy at this point to start to slack on things since baby can handle more variance to the schedule.
One thing to note, if you move from 3 to 2 naps, you might need to have an earlier bedtime for a little while as your little one adjusts to the schedule change.
This is related to new skills, but if your baby is having a language explosion, then talking will seem much more appealing than sleeping. Babbling must be done!
To help with this, talk with your baby as much as possible. Get that practice in during playtime.
Also, make sure your baby has enough stimulation as discussed below so he is tired and just wants to take a nap or go to bed.
Mental and Physical Stimulation
Your baby needs enough mental and physical stimulation each day in order to sleep well.
Make sure your baby is challenged mentally and physically. This becomes a common cause of sleep troubles around 10 months old.
With a baby, it is easy to increase both things. Simply putting your baby on the floor to play and getting some age-appropriate toys can do the trick.
Baby needs new, stimulating toys and to be exposed to more in the day. While you can still overstimulate a child this age, you are more likely to understimulate unless you are intentional with your time.
>>>Read: Importance of Exercise and Stimulation for Sleep
Last but not least, the good old wonder week. There is a big wonder week that starts around 36 weeks old and can go until week 40. If your sleep problems happen in this range, there is a good chance it is simply the wonder week.
Remember that during your weeks in a wonder week, there is a lot happening with brain development. It is a normal thing and necessary for baby. The developmental leap isn’t fun, but it is normal and necessary.
Your baby might start to become more curious, which can lead to the sun to start to interfere with sleep. When the sun is up, baby knows people are up. This can lead to short naps, waking early in the morning, and/or baby taking a long time to fall asleep at night.
This is very easy to fix with blackout curtains. Read Blackout Curtains to Help Baby Sleep Better for more.
It is very normal to have a sleep regression at this age range. Take heart if you have the 8 month sleep regression or 10-month-old sleep regression going on. It is nothing to stress out about. You haven’t done anything wrong.
There are many things you can do to hopefully shorten the duration of the shorter nap or night wakings, but sometimes you basically have to wait it out. Do what you can, but don’t worry so much that you stop enjoying this time with your baby.
Following the steps in this post and understanding what is happening can help you have success as you navigate these sleep challenges.
- Sleep Regression: Causes, Ages, and What to Do
- 10 Reasons Your 5-8 Month Old Stopped Sleeping Well
- The Wonder Weeks and Sleep