Navigating the 8-Month Regression

If you are a new parent, you may feel like every time you have your baby’s sleep under control, a regression comes along and turns your world upside-down! I feel you. This is very normal, albeit frustrating!


Your baby experiences many internal and external developments in the first few years of their life. With this, comes some growing pains, and often sleep is the first thing to take a hit. Don’t fret, there are ways that you can guide your little one through these changes, and help everyone in your home get the sleep they need!


What is the 8-month regression?

This regression can occur as early as 7 months, up to 10 months of age. It is largely caused by physical developments, as your baby becomes more mobile. A good sign that you are entering the regression is if sleep suddenly starts suffering. You may see:


-More night waking’s (sometimes causing them to be awake for extended periods of time, in the night)

-difficulty getting them down for sleep (for naps and at bedtime)

-early mornings

-short naps


You haven’t changed anything, so why is this happening!? The most common reasons the 8-month regression occurs are:


Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety can start as early as 6 months of age, and can come and go as the years follow. This is a very normal part of your child’s development, but it can be tricky to navigate. You may find that your previously great sleeper, now really struggles to be away from you. Often, this makes nap time and bedtime more difficult, because they don’t want you to leave their side. Your child knows that bedtime means they will be apart from you for a long time, and that makes them feel uneasy.


You can offer more support during this time, to help them feel loved and safe. What you want to avoid is starting new habits that you don’t want to continue, once this regression is over. You can be present until they are asleep if that’s needed, but avoid rocking, holding, feeding, or touching them as they fall asleep, doing so can introduce a “sleep prop” that can be more difficult to break


I also recommend giving them quality bonding time before your start their bedtime routine. Put your phone away, get on the floor with them and play! Or cuddle on the couch and read a book together. This will help them feel loved and connected to you, so it isn’t as hard to say goodnight.


Teething

Teething is going to happen for years, unfortunately. I can only imagine how painful it must be for our little ones, so it is understandable that they are grumpy and miserable when a tooth is coming in. At this age, teething is very common and often impacts sleep. Often, teething is worst in the night, because there are no other distractions! If you can help them feel more comfortable, it will help them get a better sleep.




Mobility Developments

Many babies start to become a lot more mobile around this time. Perhaps they are crawling, sitting, or even pulling themselves to standing. Often, they need a bit more time to learn how to sit down or lay down without help from you. Don’t be alarmed if it starts to take them a lot longer to fall asleep! Most babies love mastering new skills, and they often practice in their crib.


I recommend spending more time during the day working on these skills. Once they master it, it becomes less exciting for them.


Scheduling Issues

Most babies will be ready to drop their third nap, between 6-9 months. They will be capable of staying awake from longer periods, and they need that awake time to build up sleep pressure so they can have a better night’s sleep. If you are still giving them three naps a day, it may be time to consider dropping it. When you start this transition, don’t be afraid of an early bedtime! It is very normal do bedtime up to one hour early while dropping a nap, to avoid overtiredness. Once they adjust to longer wake windows, you can slowly push bedtime back to its normal time.


Bedtime Routine

A solid bedtime routine is an important part of every baby’s sleep. During a regression, be sure to keep up their normal routine. Give them that time and space to wind down, and signal their body that sleep is coming. If you don’t have a solid bedtime right now, or wants some tips on creating the perfect bedtime routine, give this blog a read!


How long does it last?

On average, the regression can last anywhere from 2-4 weeks. If you are consistent with their schedule and how you are reacting to their waking’s, you should come out of it quicker. Often, parents will do trial and error to try to figure out what they are doing wrong, and this often confuses their baby. Stay consistent on your end, and you will help your baby navigate the changes they are experiencing quicker!


If 4 weeks have come and gone, and your still struggling… it’s possible that the regression is over but you’ve come out with unwanted habits. Don’t worry, I am here to help! Book a free call with me here, and together we can get your baby sleeping independently ♥️


Sweet Dreams!

Jane Anderson

Certified Sleep Coach and Founder of Counting Sheep




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