What Happens at 8-10 Months?!
Perhaps you felt like you were just starting to figure out your child’s sleep and perhaps get a little more rest yourself each night when suddenly things changed! If your baby is 8-10 months old, they could be going through, what is referred to, as the 9-month sleep regression.
There is so much going on developmentally at this age and there is good reason for the sleep changes and disturbance! However, know that you didn’t do anything to cause this change. Infant sleep is NOT linear, remember? There are significant ups and downs in sleep over the first 2 years of life, that correspond to developmental leaps, and also teething and illness.
At 8-10 months, your baby might be waking up more often at night and you might find them rolling around, crawling, trying to pull up etc. They are practicing a new skill they’re learning during the daytime! Even if you don’t see them practicing at nighttime, if you’re seeing a new skill during the daytime, it’s possible that the brain activity caused by learning that new skill is causing them to wake up at night. Try giving them extra practice for crawling, rolling, pulling up, walking, or whatever the skill might be. More daytime practice could reduce the night wakings and help them master the skill more quickly.
It’s also possible that your baby, who didn’t require too many night feeds anymore, is reverting to multiple large feeds at night. This is very common, since at 8-10 months babies become quite interested in exploring the world around them and are more distracted during daytime feeds. They often don’t take in enough calories during the daytime and suddenly need to feed more at night.
At this age there is also an increase in separation anxiety. If your baby is sleeping alone, remember that nighttime is the longest separation from you that they face during a 24-hour period. They are almost certain to wake up and need some comforting from you! Remember that emotional needs are just as valid as physical ones.
Babies’s sleep needs are also changing around this age. Some babies who take 3 naps, become more wakeful at night, and eliminating one of those naps can help improve nighttime sleep. Wondering if your baby is ready to drop a nap? Send me a message; I’d love to chat!
When babies wake up more at night for these developmental reasons, the best way to respond, is to provide them with the support and comfort they need. Try leaning in and providing the extra support your baby needs during this time. It won’t always be like this, even a few weeks from now. Giving your child your love and attention, both at nighttime and during the day, will help foster a strong attachment bond. Your child will begin to sleep more soundly in time, knowing that you’re there if they need you. In the meantime, take care of yourself and control the things you can, such as your nutrition, daytime rest and bedtime. You’ve got this!