8-Month Sleep Regression: Signs, Causes, and Management Tips
8-month sleep regression! What is that?
For the past few months, your baby was doing great with naps and sleep. You thought he was finally out of that terrible 4-month sleep regression and could put that baby down for a daytime nap or to bed at night with no problems. But then — BAM! It happened again.
But this time, your baby is experiencing the typical 8-month sleep regression. It’s that time in your baby’s life when her sleep pattern changes for the worse. Many parents aren’t even aware of this possible sleep regression, so they don’t know the signs when it happens — or how to deal with it once it does.
The 8-month sleep regression is one of the most challenging phases for babies because they start to grasp what they can and cannot do, and their motor skills improve faster than in the previous few months. It is almost like having a toddler, except they can sleep in the same room as you! On top of that, most babies end up teething during this phase.
But don’t worry, we have gone through this phase with our babies; we overcame, and you can too.
As you try to navigate through all these changes, here are some signs and tips to help you cope better with your baby’s 8-month sleep regression.
What Does 8-Month Sleep Regression Mean?
Before we explain precisely what 8-month sleep regression means, let’s understand some things about sleep regression.
Sleep regressions are a common phenomenon in growing babies and toddlers. Older children are likely to experience them in some cases. Regression means the reversion to a less mature or an earlier pattern of behaviour or feeling, and this is the situation with your little one’s sleep.
A sleep regression refers to a period when your baby or toddler, who has developed a favourable and predictable sleep pattern, suddenly refuses to sleep at bedtime or nap time, takes short naps or wakes up at night for no known cause.
The sleep regression periods are common at various ages, such as 4 months, 8 months, 18 months, and even 2 years, but usually do not last for long. Although other conditions can disrupt a baby’s sleep habits, you can differentiate sleep regressions from other sleep disturbances based on when they begin, how long they last and whether there are underlying factors.
For instance, if your infant experienced only one night or two of poor sleep, it could probably be that he is sick, triggered by environmental changes, or perturbed from travel.
However, if your baby constantly has issues sleeping for days, you are most likely dealing with sleep regression. Sleep regression can last from about two to six weeks or more, depending on your baby.
8-Month Sleep Regression
The 8-month sleep regression occurs typically between ages 8 and 10 months. Parents, sometimes, call the 8-month sleep regression– 9-month sleep regression, or 8 to 10-month sleep regression. Like other sleep regressions, disruptions in your infant’s sleep cycle also link to the 8-month sleep regression phenomena.
Most parents are caught off guard by this sudden event of nonexistent naps and constant night waking, especially when they thought they had overcome their kid’s sleep challenges.
For other parents, they are already aware of these sleep regressions, probably due to the 4-month or 6-month sleep regression they experienced and have prepared themselves for another dose of sleepless nights and challenging moments.
The 8-month sleep regression or 8 to 10-month sleep regression typically occurs due to the rapid growth, brain development, and physical skills learning process.
When your toddler is 8 to 10 months old, he or she may start making some exciting new milestones, like crawling, standing up, talking, scooting or even cruising. It can be challenging to put them to sleep when they start standing in their cribs independently.
The 8-month sleep regression also has some emotional elements and so your baby is likely to awaken due to separation anxiety. He even begins to develop mentally, absorbing your language and placing objects into categories, irrespective of their colour and size.
Does Every Baby Have 8 Month Sleep Regression?
All babies are different, and thus, your baby may not experience some of the things your friend’s baby is going through. That is, your growing baby or toddler might experience actual regression at some of these milestones, but not others. For instance, if he encountered the 4-month sleep regression, he might likely escape that of the 8-month sleep regression only to be caught up with the 18-month sleep regression. Infants’ sleep patterns are never uniform and do not occur at the same pace.
Therefore, some infants will experience sleep difficulties around eight months, while others may have little change in their sleep or even start to sleep better.
What Causes 8-10-Month Sleep Regression in Babies?
According to research experts, sleep regressions occur due to a shift in nap schedules or a developmental leap.
As development progresses, 8-month-old babies learn to scoot, crawl, and pull themselves up. Their language skills also quickly expand as they understand more words you speak daily. These mental leaps can result in sleep disturbances as your infant attempts new skills or have a busy mind.
Specific changes and development can cause an 8-month sleep regression. They are:
Development in Physical Activities
The physical skills of your 8-month old baby are improving every day, and so he is likely to practice his advanced moves (crawling, creeping, scooting and pulling up) at night, or at least itching to try them out while in bed.
Most infants, at this age, often say a bunch of confusing baby words and you can even hear them call “mama” or “dada” from the crib. While this excites you, ignore this “talk” during this 8-month sleep regression to allow him to return to sleep.
Loss of sleep at 8 months may be related to your child’s social and emotional progress. Separation anxiety disorder can start around this age and comes with a lot of crying. When parents or caregivers leave the room or go somewhere, babies will often start to feel separation anxiety, usually from 8 to 10 months old. At bedtime, when you put your baby in the crib and leave the room, your little one may also experience separation anxiety.
Teething is a developmental phenomenon in growing babies. Infants experiencing teething are likely to become fussy, wake and cry a lot at night.
When your baby begins to become more aware of his environment, this can spur overstimulation and cause this 8-month sleep regression.
Adjusting to Parental Training
Parents may either be sleep training or changing sleep routines which can cause the baby to experience a regression due to adjusting to these changes.
It is hard to spot a single cause for an 8-month sleep regression because there are so many developmental changes happening simultaneously.
8-Month Sleep Regression Signs in Babies
Some of the common signs your infant or toddler is experiencing the 8-month sleep regression include irritability, taking shorter naps, difficulty falling asleep at night, waking up at night, clinginess, and separation anxiety.
The weeks your baby encounters sleeping difficulties can leave the entire family exhausted, shorter naps make it harder to accomplish daily tasks, and that’s frustrating, especially if you also take short naps!
In addition to the developmental milestones, babies at eight months old also get their first or more teeth. Babies usually get teeth intermittently for two years!
Eight-month-olds who are experiencing the 8-month sleep regression may show some of the following signs:
Increased Night Wakings
If your “good sleeper baby” suddenly wakes up more often than usual during the night, it can be a sign that he is going through the 8-month sleep regression.
Difficulties falling asleep or restless sleep
You might find it challenging again getting your infant or toddler to settle down and sleep or even see him continually stirring in his sleep, especially after waking up at night. It may have a link with the 8-month sleep regression.
You are likely to notice crying, agitation, or increased fussiness in a baby going through the 8-month sleep regression moments.
A fussy child may lack the sleep she needs, so stick to your usual routine and be aware that babies this age need at least 12 to 15 hours of sleep per day (including nighttime and daytime naps).
More Daytime Naps and Shorter Nighttime Sleep
It’s common for poor sleepers (babies) to play catch-up during the day since they couldn’t sleep most nights, so watch out for extended naps during the day.
You may notice your 8-month-old demonstrates extreme tantrums when she is alone, and she might cling to you even tighter when with you. It is a possible sign that your infant is going through the 8-month sleep regression phase.
How Long Does 8-Month Sleep Regression Last?
No much research has been done to determine how long an 8-month sleep regression lasts. However, most studies suggest that these sleep regressions can last within 2 to 6 weeks.
While this time frame may seem like forever, the 8-month sleep regression is temporary.
It typically takes your baby a while to get over the snooze snag as the newness of their skills or emotions wears off – and once this happens, he should be back to his usual self.
And if you plan to sleep train your infant again realizes that it’s not as hard as it appears and that it’s nearly always harder on you than it is on him.
What to Do When Your Baby Experiences the 8-Month Sleep Regression- Management Tips
Although 2 to 6 weeks can seem like an eternity, you should remember that 8-month sleep regression is short-lived in nature.
There’s no need to switch up your entire routine to accommodate a baby who cannot sleep as deeply as he used to. It is best to continue following whatever sleeping patterns you were using for the past eight months during the 8-month sleep regression period.
Also, when you notice that your infant is going through the sleep regression period at 8-month of age, you should adopt the following management tips to handle the situation.
Eliminate Other Possible Causes
First, check to see whether or not his sleep difficulty is due to teething, ear infection or sickness.
However, if the sleep disruption lasts longer than three to four days, it’s not likely to be due to any of those things. Once you have taken out other possible causes, you can safely assume that your child’s situation is due to sleep regression.
Use High-Quality White Noise Machine
A white noise machine helps distract babies from internal discomforts, masking outside disturbances like vehicle sounds and passing planes. While you might opt for high-pitched sounds, white noise machines with low-pitched sounds do the job better as they are hypnotic and droning. It is ideal for lulling you and your baby to sleep.
During playtime, you might want to spend a few minutes apart with your baby. In that way, she may understand that even though you’re out of sight, you’re still around.
Put Extra Pacifiers in Bed
If your baby uses and loves pacifiers, put more pacifiers in his bed to make it easy to get extra comfort when he needs it.
Darken Your Room
Ensure to make the room is dark as light rays coming in from outside can disrupt your baby’s sleep. Darkroom tends to encourage sleep.
Use a Nightlight
A night light can also help children sleep better, especially if they can recognize their rooms when they wake up.
Cut Out Television and Kiddies Programs
If you genuinely want to help your baby sleep without disruption or without refusing to go to bed, avoid leaving the television on or playing educational programs. Even the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) frowns at using the screen media educational and entertainment programs for infants younger than 18 months.
In addition, 2010 research discovered that babies who engage in TV programs slept for shorter times.
Create a Constant Bedtime Routine
Set the same bedtime routine each night with your baby, so they become accustomed to the sleep routine. Studies illustrate that a consistent bedtime routine reduces nighttime wakings and assists in falling asleep. As your baby prepares for sleep, ensure that he is well-fed and has had some time to wind down in a soothing and relaxing atmosphere without excess stimulation.
If Nighttime Sleep Fails, Ensure Your Baby Sleeps Well at Daytime
When we’re in the toddler stage, we want the morning nap to be one to two hours long and the afternoon nap to be one to two hours long. Shorter naps mean the baby won’t complete a complete sleep cycle, so the nap is not refreshing. You shouldn’t give up offering your baby naps, even if he protests taking them; the more you offer them, the more likely they will retake them.
How to Survive 8-Month Sleep Regression? Self-Care for Parents
You will only get through this developmental leap once, so be sure you provide your baby with all the necessary care. Our goal as parents should be to support our babies even when we can’t completely remove their discomfort.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Parents need to have reasonable expectations for their babies’ sleep. Even though many parents hope that their child will sleep through the night by the age of eight months, many 12-month-olds still do not sleep for at least six hours in a row at night. The baby’s sleep regression doesn’t necessarily mean parents are doing something wrong, so try not to feel down or blame yourself if your baby shows signs of 8-month sleep regression.
Take Care of Yourself
In addition to setting appropriate expectations, parents must consider how to meet their daily sleep needs. An adequate night’s sleep is essential to your wellbeing, and you are better able to look after yourself and your infants when you get the required amount of sleep.
When to Talk With a Doctor about Sleep Problems in 8-Month Olds?
Even though your baby appears healthy, do not assume that whatever they are experiencing is because of the 8-month sleep regression. Sleep regression is unlikely to be at the root of your sleep problems if your baby had sleep problems at five months, six months, or seven months of age. It could be a lingering problem that needs attention.
Although most sleep regressions are short-lived, if your child’s problems persist for a long time or seem to get worse over time, you can discuss the issue with his pediatrician. The doctor can provide specific advice on conditions such as separation anxiety and teething.
If you also discover other physical or behavioural changes in your little one, you should inform a pediatrician. These changes may include:
- A reduction in daily feedings.
- There has been no weight increase or growth
- Reduction in bowel movements and urination
- Abnormal breathing while sleeping.
In a Nutshell
Although sleep regressions appear to occur at certain developmental milestones, the reasons for them appear unclear.
Parents and caregivers may have difficulty with the 8-month sleep regression, particularly when their babies are just beginning to settle into a comfortable sleep routine.
We want you to remember that this 8-month sleep regression is short-lived and resolves typically within 2 to 6 weeks. Meanwhile, keep a healthy sleep routine and a tranquil, relaxing sleeping environment.
If you can’t seem to hide your concerns about these sleep regressions, speak with your doctor for advice.