The 8-month sleep regression can cause confusion in parents; just when you think your little one has got used to sleeping through the night, they begin waking more and struggle to fall back to sleep. This is completely normal though and is linked to developmental progression for your baby during this age range.
A baby can experience multiple sleep regressions as they grow to 12 months old, including an initial 4-month sleep regression, a regression at 6 months, and even a 9 month or 10-month sleep regression. There are a few reasons why a sleep regression may take place, but luckily they are only temporary and shouldn't give you issues long-term. Here at Babogue, our aim is to help families establish an effective sleep routine so that both babies and parents are well-rested, resulting in a healthier and happier lifestyle. Here is our guide to the 8-month sleep regression and tips on how to cope with it.
What is the 8 Month Sleep Regression?
The 8-month sleep regression is a temporary disruption to your baby's sleep routine which causes them to wake up more than usual during the night, become whinier, and struggle to get back to sleep once they have woken. Although referred to as the 8-month sleep regression, this disruption in your little one's sleep schedule can take place at any time between 8 to 10 months of age. Sleep regressions can also take place at around 3 to 4 months of age, as well as the 6-month mark, so you may have already experienced a period where your baby's bedtime routine became a much more stressful one.
How is the 8 Month Sleep Regression Caused?
There are two main causes of the 8-month sleep regression. At this time in your baby's development, they might be learning major new skills such as pulling themselves up or even beginning to walk and talk. The development of these skills can cause a sleep regression as your baby's brain adjusts to their new experiences.
Another reason that your little one may be facing sleep problems around this age is separation anxiety. Separation anxiety occurs when your baby begins to create connections and relationships with their parents and primary caregivers. Before the age of 6 to 8 months, a baby is not fully aware of their surroundings and therefore does not get attached to one person, or people.
Once your baby reaches an age where they can recognise people, they will begin to form relationships and may struggle when a parent leaves them. This can affect your baby's routine as they may struggle to fall asleep if you leave the room and become emotional when waking in their crib at night. Separation anxiety is extremely common and nothing to worry about, but can cause issues with sleep.
What are the Signs of a Sleep Regression?
The most common signs include:
- Frequent waking at night
- Interruptions in sleep habits
- Struggle to get your baby to sleep
- Grouchy or more emotional than usual
- Your baby becomes more clingy
- More sleepy during the day
How Long Does the 8 Month Sleep Regression Last?
Every baby is different, but this sleep regression should not last for more than 4 to 6 weeks. If you find that your 8-month-old is really struggling with their sleep, they wake for longer and become much more emotional, it may be a sign of another problem, so it is best to seek medical advice from a GP. If this only takes place for a few weeks then it is most probably perfectly normal and a part of a sleep regression.
How Can I Help my Baby Get Through a Sleep Regression?
There a few ways that you can try to help your 8-month-old sleep if they are facing difficulties during a sleep regression. Here are some of our top tips on how to get your baby to sleep for longer at night.
Try to Keep Up With Your Established Bedtime
Although it can be difficult, keeping up with your established bedtime will make it easier for you and your baby when the regression comes to an end. Even if your baby is sleeping more during the day, aim for the same bedtime and keep up the same schedule with calming your baby down in the evening. It is important that you continue with the same steps you were taking before in your sleep training, such as playing white noise, singing a lullaby or soothing your baby with bath time before bed.
Increase Day Time Sleep During the Day
Increasing daytime sleep during the day will mean that your baby will be more rested so that they are not overtired when it comes to sleeping at night. An overtired baby will struggle to fall asleep and maintain sleep than a more rested baby. 8-month-olds should have approx 3 hours of naps per day, across 2-3 naps, and get around 10 to 12 hours of night sleep. Ensuring that they are well-rested during the day will only help the overall sleep picture at night.
Start Tackling Separation Anxiety
One of the best ways to tackle anxiety that babies feel when separated from a parent is to practice giving your baby a short time alone during the day. The more that you disappear, the more that your baby will get used to you leaving but always returning. This will help them get used to the idea that you do return, which is something that they have yet to grasp as part of their development. This can help a great deal with settling in the evening when it comes to settling them into their cot.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
Staying calm and remaining patient will help you and your baby to get through the few weeks of disruption at night. It can be difficult to stay calm when you are running on little sleep, but babies can sense parents' stress and emotions, and it could contribute to increased anxiety in the baby. Remember that this period is only temporary and your baby will most likely return to their established sleep and nap time within a few weeks.
Erica at Babogue is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with a passion to help parents understand their children's sleep and how to help create a settled home environment. Erica provides one-to-one sleep solutions, as well as a Sleep Series which is an online video-based course to empower you when it comes to your child's sleep. Find out more on our website today and get started to help your family get a longer and better quality of sleep.
Read our blog on Separation Anxiety