What is the 8-month Sleep Regression?
The 8-month sleep regression is a period of time when your baby will start waking up more at night again and be unsettled during their daily naps. It happens to most babies around the time they turn eight months old. The regression can cause your baby to wake up frequently during the night, cry, and/or have trouble falling back to sleep. The 8-month regression is also associated with a drop in the number of overall hours that your baby sleeps each day. Your baby might be ready to drop to 2 naps a day, and an adjustment to the routine is needed. When a baby goes through the 8-month regression, he or she may need to be rocked, fed, and/or comforted back to sleep in any other way again and again. The good news is that this regression is typically very short-lived, lasting anywhere from one week to about one month, depending on the baby’s ability to fall asleep on their own and the quality of the routine they have.
Why Does the 8-Month Sleep Regression Happen?
The sudden change in your baby’s sleep patterns may be disconcerting, but there is often a good reason for it. In the case of the 8-month regression, the most common explanation is that your baby is “growing out” of a younger sleep pattern. Also, at this age, many babies are beginning to show signs of separation anxiety. This is the fear of being away from a parent or close caregiver. This fear comes from the realization that things and people exist even though the baby can’t see them. As a result, your baby may want to stay closer to you and cry when you try to leave the room. In addition, many babies are starting to become more aware of their surroundings and are more curious about what’s going on around them. This growing curiosity can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep or back to sleep once they have woken up. In addition to cognitive development at this age, there is also physical development. Your baby may have started to crawl, pull on things or even walk along furniture.
How Can You Help Your Baby During This Time?
The first thing to remember is that the 8-month regression is completely normal, and almost all babies go through it. There are some things you can do during this time to help your baby get back to a good sleep pattern again.
– You can try to get your baby used to sleep in their own space. This will help your baby get used to sleeping on their own and may speed up the process of getting back to normal.
-Babies start to cry out at this age when parents leave the room. This can make it harder for you and your baby to get back to a normal sleep pattern. Just remember your baby is frightened and probably does need your reassurance. Offer more time to fall asleep with your close presence (try to avoid lying down next to your baby if you don’t want to do this for an extended period of time)
– Be consistent when it comes to bedtimes and waking times. Your baby needs clear cues and repetition, and routines can be helpful in this respect and lower stress levels.
– Schedule feedings at regular times. You can try to feed your baby at scheduled times in order to help them sleep longer between feedings. As a sleep consultant, the routines I create for my clients have the core feeds for the day plus top-ups.
Tips to Deal With The 8-Month Sleep Regression
– Understanding that this is a normal stage in development can help you be more patient and compassionate with your baby’s sleep struggles and with yourself for living with a new level of sleep disruption.
– Keep track of your baby’s sleep patterns. This can help you spot patterns that might indicate your baby is ready to “grow out” of their third nap.
– Consider trying a sleep aid like finding an essential oils blend made specific for baby sleep, which can help your baby be calmer. Your baby might be ready for a comforter; find one that is safe for them (napkin size, no buttons for eyes or nose etc.).
– A good bedtime routine when your baby gets to spend time on your lap reading a book or in your arms singing a song.
– Seek support if you need it. This is an incredibly difficult time for any parent, and it’s completely normal to feel distraught and exhausted. If you find that you are starting to feel stressed and overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to reach out for support. You can talk to your partner, call a friend, or seek the advice of a gentle sleep consultant to help you navigate these changes efficiently and quickly.
The 8-month sleep regression will happen to most babies around the time they turn eight months old. I actually like to call it a progression as your baby is actually developing not regressing.
You can help your baby get back to a regular sleep routine by being patient, keeping track of their sleep patterns, and trying a sleep aid if you feel you need to. Most babies will get through this period and get back to a regular sleep pattern again within a few weeks. If your baby isn’t falling asleep on their own yet, the 8 months regression can last for a while. If your baby is less than eight months old, you should consider teaching them to fall asleep on their own (6 months is the best age). This can be done with a gentle sleep training technique and/or with the guidance of a Sleep Consultant. I would not recommend “outside of the room” methods if your baby is already in sleep regression, as that can lead to more sleep problems and stress for all of you.
Stay positive and strong for your baby at this time
Peace & love
Love and peace,
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