At 9 months, your little one is reaching some major developmental milestones! They are becoming more mobile and they are starting to understand the world around them more. Unfortunately, these milestones can disrupt your child's sleep schedule.
Our 9-month-old sleep schedule guide will show you what to expect from your baby when they are 9 months old and provide you with practical tips to stop common sleep problems.
How much should my 9-month-old be sleeping?
By 9 months, babies can be averaging 14 hours per day, however, anything between 12-16 hours is considered the optimal range.
This is often composed of two naps during the day, and 10-12 hours of nighttime sleep.
What time should my 9-month-old go to bed?
Your baby's 9-month-old sleep schedule totally depends on you and what suits your little one, however, we recommend that a good bedtime for your 9-month-old is around 12-13 hours after waking in the morning.
For example, if your baby woke up at 6.30 am, then you will want to aim for a 6.30-7.30 pm bedtime. While most babies crave a consistent bedtime (eg. going to bed at 7 pm every evening), other babies will sleep better when you follow their last wake window.
The average 9-month-old baby should have around 2.75-3.5 hours of awake time in between naps. The longest wake window should come at the end of the day before putting them down to bed. It's for this reason that we recommend around 3.5 hours of wake time prior to bed. However, often at this age range, little ones will thrive on clock times rather than wake periods applied to their schedules.
If your baby gets overtired when their wake windows are pushed too far, aim to set bedtime approx 3.5 hours after their afternoon nap.
How many naps should a 9 month take?
9-month-old babies should nap for about 3 hours each day, and this should be broken up into 2 naps. At around this age, most babies are ready to drop their third nap as long as you give them a slightly earlier bedtime.
If your baby is still having 3 naps a day, don't worry. They will transition to 2 naps when they are ready. Common signs that your baby is ready to drop their third nap include; shorter naps, resisting the 3rd nap, consistently sleeping 7-10 hours per night, more frequent overnight waking, and early rising.
9-month-old sleep schedule
A sample 9-month-old sleep schedule with a 7 am wake-up time and two nap schedules may look something like this:
Wake up - 7 am
Morning nap - 9.30am-11.30am (1.5 hour nap)
Wake time - 12:30-2pm
Afternoon nap - 2pm-3:30pm (1.5 hour nap)
Get ready for bed - 6:30 pm
Bedtime - 7 pm (3.5 hours of awake time before bed)
Helping a 9-month-old sleep well
By 9 months old, your baby will likely sleep through the night without fuss (with the exception of illness, teething and sleep regressions) but if they haven't quite grasped the concept of sleeping through yet - don't worry. Establishing self-settling is a great way to help your little one to sleep through the night and return to sleep if they do wake up.
While there's no requirement to do this with your 9-month-old, however, most parents find that establishing self-settling helps their little ones to develop more consistent sleep patterns and healthy sleep habits.
Establishing self-settling at this age can have a few more bumps in the road than if they were 4-6 months old however it is never too late to work on sleep and there are many suitable techniques to support little ones in developing their sleep independence. We outlined the most suitable ones in our Sleep Series courses for this age range.
There are many techniques you can try, we outline 5 in our courses, each different to the next however the primary goal remains the same - to teach your baby how to fall asleep independently.
What are common issues that impact sleep for a 9-month-old?
Disruptions to your baby's sleep routine are perfectly normal, even in those who have always been great sleepers. Around 9 months, your baby might encounter the following disruptions to their night sleep:
By now you probably know all the signs of a teething baby - drooling, wanting to chew on things more, hot cheeks, and trouble staying asleep. If cold teething rings fail to provide your little one relief, consider pain relief plus teething powders or gels.
Trouble falling asleep
If your 9-month-old is struggling with falling asleep, you could consider working on self-settling to help them fall asleep independently.
It's possible that you have dropped the nighttime feeding from your feeding schedule by now, but that is not always the case at this age range. If night feed still forms a big part of your nighttime hours consider if they may associate feeding with waking up and the feeding is more habit-based than a feeding necessity. In our Sleep Series courses, we outline how to identify if overnight feeding is a habit versus a feeding need and if the former how to fade out the feeds to achieve more consolidated nights.
How can I help my 9-month-old baby sleep?
Once you know what to expect from your 9-month-old and some of the common issues you may face, it's possible to help them sleep better by following an age-appropriate schedule. Try the following to help your little one settle down and stay asleep for the night:
Set a consistent bedtime routine
Babies thrive off routine, so aim for a set of predictable nighttime activities that help them understand that it's time for bed. Something simple like a bath, book, and feed is all that you need.
Unlike adults, when a baby is overtired they can't just drift off into a peaceful slumber. In fact, it has the opposite effect, causing them to fight sleep. To avoid your baby being overtired, look out for their sleepy cues, and if they haven't napped well during the day, consider putting them to bed a little earlier. If your little one is overtired focus on calming them rather than putting them to sleep to help ease the situation.
Don't let them nap too much
Just like an overtired baby is bad, so is one that's had too much sleep. If you've noticed your baby sleeping more during their naps consider waking them up after 1.5-2 hours. Daytime sleep should ideally be capped at 3-3.5 hours by 9 months.
If your baby continues to fuss in the middle of the night, soothing them is fine but try to avoid anything that might form a new habit, such as taking them into the parental bed to cosleep or offering feeds where overnight feeding has passed.
For the most comprehensive guide on how to support your 9-month-old sleep schedule check out our Sleep Series courses. 94% of parents using these courses report better sleep as a result.
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