Any sleep regression is plain old not fun. It’s akin to having a root canal. Only longer. But it seems somehow worse when it creeps up on you and surprises you. That’s what can happen with the sleep regression at 8 month old, as it’s not one of the “top” sleep regressions.
As with any sleep regression, if you know what to expect and are prepared with the knowledge of how to get sleep back on track, it can be much easier to get through.
In this blog post, I am going to talk about the signs to look out for with the 8 month sleep regression, if it will definitely happen to your baby, and how to get sleep back on track if and when it happens.
What is the 8 month sleep regression?
A sleep regression is when sleep suddenly starts falling apart. First of all, sleep can start going downhill for a few reasons. Here are the top 3 reasons the 8 month regression happens:
- Sleep Regression
So obviously the first place we want to start, is to rule out any discomfort or pain from potential teething or illness.
If you have checked those boxes, and sleep is still a mess, (and your little one is around 8 months old), it is most likely the 8 month sleep regression.
The sleep regression at 8 months old tends to impact all sleep in general. It’s not specific to naps or bedtime. So for some babies, it may start causing shorter naps, or your baby may suddenly start fighting naps. For others, it may cause middle of the night wakings or early morning wakings.
Whatever your unique sleep disturbances are, read on to find out what you can do.
Does the 8 month sleep regression happen to every baby?
Not all babies experience every sleep regression. This is why it is so important to tune into your little one and look at the whole picture so you can choose the best course of action.
As I mentioned above, sleep will suddenly fall apart for many reasons, and a regression is just one of them.
How do I get my 8 month old’s sleep back on track?
So we know that sleep has fallen apart, and we have ruled out sickness and teething. Now what?
Independent Sleep Skills
The first thing we want to examine is your baby’s sleep skills. How they fall asleep can have a big impact on their ability to fall asleep easily and stay asleep. If you have been supporting your baby to sleep up until now, then you may find that it is getting more and more difficult for your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep. If this is the case, I highly recommend starting with teaching your baby independent sleep skills. You can learn all about sleep learning here.
Optimal Sleep Schedule
The second thing we want to look at is your 8 month old’s sleep schedule.
Around 7-9 months, most babies drop from 3 naps to 2 naps. So if your little one is still taking 3 naps a day, dropping a nap will often get sleep back on track.
You can read all about how to drop to 2 naps here, but the Coles notes version is to keep a consistent wake time, stretch the second wake window or both wake windows, and then bump bedtime a little earlier while your little one adjusts to the new schedule.
Consistent Yet Responsive
If your baby is already on 2 naps, and they have independent sleep skills, then besides ensuring your baby’s schedule is optimized, the best thing you can do is stay consistent. Continue to offer the time and space for both naps, and be responsive by providing extra support when you know your little one needs it. You can bump up bedtime a little earlier on days when naps are short (or not happening) in order to try and prevent overtiredness and protect nighttime sleep. If your baby is waking up super early, you can feed and put them right back to sleep, or let them hang out in the crib until closer to their normal wake-up time.
Know that a sleep regression at 8 months old is totally normal and as long as your baby’s schedule is optimized for them, then sleep should bounce back in a few weeks.
Recap on the sleep regression at 8 months old
Although 8 months is not one of the top sleep regressions, it is still a common time for babies to go through a sleep regression.
The best way through the regression is to examine:
- Your baby’s sleep skills
- Your baby’s optimal sleep schedule (do they need to drop to 2 naps?)
- Balancing being consistent yet also responsive and tuned in (know that sleep regressions last a few weeks)
Sometimes there is more than one thing at play (like teething, illness, a lack of independent sleep skills, and/or baby’s sleep schedule needing to be tweaked, etc.) which makes trying to get sleep back on track a bit tricky. This is where we come in! We would love to work with you to determine what is going on with your little one’s sleep and help you make a plan to help everyone in your family get better sleep!
You can check out all of our consultation options here!