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The low down on the 8-10 month sleep regression

7 cool tips for sleeping in summer for a baby

Every time our little one grasps a new developmental skill like sitting, pulling up to stand, or crawling, it can mean they unfortunately struggle with sleep. This is what sleep regressions are and whilst we think of regression as being a negative term, with it comes an awesome developmental progression!  

👉 Your little one will encounter several regressions in the first 2 years of life - you can read more about these other sleep regressions here...

There are huge cognitive, emotional and physical milestones around the age of 8-10 months and we want to celebrate these newfound skills! 

Don't panic!

Don’t panic and think you are in for 3 months of terrible sleep when I say 8-10 months. This regression has a wider range of when it can occur. Some babies will go through it closer to 8 months and others a little older at the 10-month mark. Remember babies develop at different rates and this is a range. Some babies won’t even hit this sleep regression and will sail on through! 

If your baby who has previously been sleeping well, suddenly starts fighting sleep and is between 8-10 months then you may be encountering the 8-10 month sleep regression. They may suddenly wake up overnight and/or start becoming increasingly difficult to settle for naps. This blog will give you the signs to look for and tools to equip you with tackling this regression. 

What is object permanence?

There are the more obvious developmental skills we see like the pulling up to stand, getting on all fours and crawling, but a lot is going on behind the scenes that isn’t so obvious. 

The main cognitive skill they are grasping is object permanence. This is them finally understanding that things still exist even when you can’t see them - pretty clever huh! 

Try this!

You can test for object permanence and see how your little one responds. Take a toy or food item and place it under a cup and observe what your little one does. If they pick up the cup and look for the hidden object, this is called object permanence - they know something exists even when it’s out of sight. This concept they are figuring out often leads to a surge in separation anxiety which really tugs at our heartstrings.  This article gives you tips on how to help with separation anxiety...

What are the signs to look for?

🚩 Increased difficulty falling asleep

🚩 Extra fussy and clingy during their bedtime settle and extra crying when you leave the room during naps or bedtime (remember separation anxiety peaks at this age)

🚩 Naps can become disrupted and shorter

🚩 Nap strikes can occur

🚩 Night wakes occur which hadn’t been a problem before

🚩 They may seem like they can no longer self-settle or resettle between sleep cycles like they previously did

🚩 Reaching new milestones like pulling up to stand, crawling, sitting etc

How many naps a day?

Important note: If your baby is between 8-10 months and they are still taking 3 naps a day, now is the time to ditch the 3rd nap as much of what you are experiencing can be due to us holding onto too many naps.

We only want 2 naps from 8 months and I recommend capping the first nap short to 30-45 mins to encourage a longer lunch time nap. You can read all about why I love a short nap here...

If you need some help with a daily routine, check out my Ultimate Guide of Sleep Routines, which covers Newborn to 3 years of age, and every stage in between!

How can I help my little one through the 8-10 month sleep regression?

Know that you have built a special attachment with your little one which is truly something special. It really does pull at our heartstrings if they are in tears when we walk out of the room and it can feel really stressful! Here’s some tips to help you approach this regression in a positive way and get your baby's sleep on track.

Allow them to practice their newfound skills during their awake time.  This is the age where they need lots of floor time crawling around, pulling up to stand, and moving about. The more practice they can have during the day the less exciting these clever new skills will seem when it's sleep time.

Allow plenty of physical exertion and be mindful if they are going from car seat to cot to pram etc too often. They need lots of physical exertion at this age. 

Keep consistent with your bedtime routine. Our little ones thrive off consistency and repetition.

Protect their sleep environment by keeping it pitch black and dark, and using white noise to buffer external noises. Sometimes we have eased away from perfect sleep environments and may have given up on having a dark room or using white noise. Go back to basics - these sleep tools are worthwhile holding on to.

Watch those awake windows. I recommend a maximum of 4 hours awake time at the end of the day.  Err on the side of caution here especially if they have only recently dropped to 2 naps, they may only need 3-3.5 hours of awake time from when their lunch nap ends. Now that your little one is on the move more it can be easy to miss sleep cues - we still need to watch for these and avoid overtiredness. 

Having knowledge and an understanding of how your baby thinks can help you as you guide your little one through this regression. As they are understanding object permanence, separation anxiety peaks - it’s really natural and won’t last forever.

Try to avoid creating new sleep habits in order to put your little one off to sleep. Now’s not the time to start things you don’t wish to continue going forward! Remember this is a short phase and this too shall pass!

I need some help...

Sleep regressions can feel tough going, we want the best for our little ones and it’s hard for both of you if you are functioning on little sleep.  If you need help with sleep and feel things have derailed, we can totally get them back on track just loving sleep. 

Book a Phone Consult (with a week of personal text support) to get back to just loving sleep again...

Contact details for Cherie Richards, Certified Baby and Toddler Sleep Consultant

👉 P.S. For help with early wakeups check out the Ultimate Guide to Early Wakeups and kiss goodbye to those pesky early mornings!

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