When you're a parent, it can sometimes feel like you're taking two steps forward and three steps back - especially when it comes to sleep regressions. When a baby fights sleep, not only do you lose out on your own sleep, but it can also feel like you aren't making progress the way you want to.
But don't worry - sleep regression at 8 months is completely normal, and can be managed with the right techniques, products, and sleep training.
In this article:
8-month-old sleep regression: What is it?
It's common for most babies to experience sleep regressions every few months as they grow and develop. When a baby has reached the 8-month regression, you'll likely have already been through the 4 and 6 month regressions too!
Stages of Sleep Regression and Developmental Milestones
Mastering rolling over
Taking first steps, walking
Saying first words
Molars & Canine Teeth
However, every baby is unique, and you might find that yours has the 8 month regression at 7 or 9 months instead, or even skips it altogether!
Is it normal?
The good news is that the 8-month sleep regression is nothing to worry about, and is experienced by many parents - even though it might be troublesome at the time! Most of the time, the reasons for this sleep regression are nothing too serious, and the sleep regression is just a result of your baby developing.
How long does it usually last?
Most sleep regressions seldom last any longer than a few weeks, as the reasons behind them tend to be temporary phases too. One way to get it under control faster is through sleep training - setting consistent sleep habits can work wonders for baby's sleep.
8-Month sleep regression signs and behaviors
These behaviors can be tough to handle, especially if your baby has been sleeping peacefully for the past couple of months! Some 8-month sleep regression signs include:
- Resisting naps
- Waking up more often through night sleep
- Being crankier during awake time
- Falling asleep more during the day and less at night
- Fighting sleep when put in their crib
- Crying more when put to bed
8-month-old sleep regression causes
At the eight month mark, your baby will likely have hit some major milestones, from language development to crawling and pulling themselves along.
Their sleep patterns are no exception to these changes, and usually, an 8-month-old will need more awake time between periods of sleep than they did previously.
Additionally, there is a range of other common reasons why your baby might be having trouble falling asleep that hit around this age:
This is perfectly natural for your baby to develop, and is a reflection of the bond you have formed, but can sometimes be a barrier when you want them to fall asleep independently.
Increased mobility (and practicing their new skills at bedtime!)
Your baby learning how to get up and move around is an exciting time, but sometimes that excitement runs into bedtime, leading to a sleep regression.
Teething pain and discomfort
Though none of us remember what it was like to have our first teeth coming through, it's safe to say that it isn't a fun time for your baby - especially when they (and you) would rather be sleeping.
Overstimulation due to better environmental awareness
Sleep regressions are usually associated with milestones, and the 8 month sleep regression is no exception - a greater understanding of their environment will make your baby naturally curious, and can lead to overstimulation if they find that their sleep space has a little too much going on.
Talking at night
Talking is another milestone commonly associated with sleep regressions - baby babbles are adorable, but might be keeping the whole family up if they're being practiced at nighttime.
As you can tell, this is a period of significant change for the baby, and any one of these situations can easily lead to trouble sleeping!
What to do: 8 month sleep regression tips
It might seem tough right now, but don't worry. There are many solutions that can lessen the impact of the 8-month sleep regression, and help your baby sleep soundly again.
The work that you've put into a bedtime routine you've already established isn't for nothing - your baby will likely remember and settle into them again with a little sleep training!
Here are just a few solutions that you can try out to improve baby's sleep (and your own in the process):
Avoid creating certain associations
When you're trying to get a fussy baby to sleep, it can be easy to fall into routines such as rocking your baby to sleep or remaining right next to them as they fall asleep.
But this might have the opposite effect in the long run, and worsen the separation anxiety that is keeping them up in the first place.
Instead, you can practice having some short moments away from your baby while they're playing or snoozing so they gradually get used to the idea that they're safe even when you aren't in view.
Create a soothing atmosphere in their room
It's hard for anybody to sleep in a room that isn't dark and quiet, let alone a baby who's only just getting used to the big world around them! Creating a calm atmosphere in your baby's room can make a huge difference when it comes to bedtime.
Try keeping loud noises, glowing screens, and bright lights to a minimum in the nursery, and maybe try products like a soft nightlight or even a white noise machine if you live in a busy city.
If your baby's nighttime sleep is disrupted by dawn breaking and light coming into the room, you could consider curtains that block out more light.
Sleep training your 8-month-old
If you haven't started to sleep train your baby already, now could be a good time to start, as laying a foundation for consistent sleep is valuable for toddler sleep patterns later on. Whatever method you decide on, though, a consistent bedtime routine is vital to reducing sleep disruptions like the 8 month sleep regression.
Our range of gently weighted Zen Sleepwear™ is perfect for establishing a new sleep training routine and helping your baby fall asleep independently. The Cuddle Effect mimics your touch to help baby self soothe through wakeups, and can assist in creating more positive bedtime associations.
Ask friends and family for help
As rewarding as parenthood can be, we know that it definitely isn't easy. Sleep regressions at any age can be difficult to manage, particularly as they often lead to you becoming as sleep deprived and cranky as your little one!
Don't be afraid to ask your friends and loved ones for help during this time, whether that means getting your partner to take over a feed or having a friend watch baby while you take a quick nap!
8-month Old Sleep Needs
Making sure that your little one is getting the amount of sleep they need is vital, even when they're struggling with sleep regression. At 8 months old, babies sleep for between 11 and 15 hours in the day, comprised of both naps and nighttime sleep
Your baby will be able to sleep for longer stretches at this age, so you could have a sleep schedule with 2 naps that are 90 minutes long and 10 hours of nighttime sleep, for example.
8-month sleep regression tips you'll love
“Establishing a sleep schedule and sticking rigidly to it is valuable for you and baby at any age, but especially during periods of sleep regression.
There are many you can give a try - such as the Ferber method - but it's most important to use the technique that works best for you and your baby.” - Manasi, Nested Bean Founder
'Before you put your child to bed (for naps or at bedtime), make sure the five-minute period before they are put to bed is very calm and relaxing.
No throwing your toddler in the air… or watching TV… or tickle fights in the five minutes immediately before bed. This will help settle them into sleep easier.' - Lindsay Lewis Sleep Solutions
'A weighted sleep sack can be a good option for babies who are fussier and may need some added comfort. I certainly wish I had these products to try out with my son when he struggled with sleep!' - Nicole Johnson, The Baby Sleep Site Founder
'It’s been a rough year as Oliver has had so much trouble sleeping every since the initial sleep regression.
Now that he’s finally sleeping and I’m getting a little more rest, I can’t imagine anything disrupting it! The Nested Bean Zen Sack™ is so comforting to him and I’m glad he’ll be able to have that comfort for another year before he weans off of it. ' - All Things Lovely
Common questions about the 8-month sleep regression
How long does the 8-month sleep regression go on for?
Usually, the 8 month sleep regression will only last for between two and six weeks, before your baby settles into a regular bedtime routine again. However, you can reduce this time by utilising solutions such as sleep training with our Zen Sleepwear.
Why does my 8-month-old fight sleep?
Your baby might be fighting sleep for a range of reasons, including but not limited to: separation anxiety, teething pains, activity at night, and overstimulation. Most of the time, these periods of fighting sleep are short, and can be managed by introducing a regular bedtime routine. However, if you feel as though your baby might be in serious pain or discomfort, or if something doesn't seem right, contact your pediatrician. They'll be able to provide medical advice and help explain sleep disruptions or night wakings you might be experiencing.
How should I sleep train my 8-month-old?
You can use a variety of methods to sleep train your baby, and because every baby is unique, there isn't one singular technique that works for everybody. It's best to do some research, and combine this with your parental instincts and knowledge of your own baby when settling on a method. Once you've chosen one, however, make sure that you stick to it!
How many naps should my 8-month-old take?
At 8 months old, babies sleep for around 14 hours per day, but between 12 and 16 is considered 'normal'. About three quarters of these hours will be in one stretch during the night, with the other quarter being broken up into 2 or 3 shorter naps throughout the day. But it's worth keeping in mind that one of the reasons behind the 8 month sleep regression can be a desire to stay awake for longer periods at a time. If this sounds like your baby, you might want to consider having fewer, longer naps in your sleep routine.
How to get through 8 month sleep regression?
If your baby is going through the 8 month sleep regression, try to keep a consistent bedtime routine. This will help signal to your baby that it is time to sleep. Second, create a calm and relaxing environment in the nursery, with dim lighting and soft music. This will help your baby to wind down and prepare for sleep.
Why is my 8 month old not sleeping through the night?
It takes most babies until around 9 or 10 months to be able to sleep for long stretches at night. It could be that they are not yet developmentally ready for sleep training, or that they are going through a growth spurt or teething which is causing them to wake up more frequently. It's also possible that they have developed a sleep association such as needing to nurse or be rocked to sleep, which is making it more difficult for them to self-soothe and stay asleep.
How long does 8 month old sleep regression last?
The 8-month sleep regression is a trying time for any parent, as it's not uncommon for babies to start waking up more frequently during this phase. However, it's important to remember that this is only temporary, and your baby will likely go back to sleeping in regular stretches within 3 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, try your best to get some rest when your baby is sleeping, so you can be well-rested and prepared for when they wake up again.
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