The 9 Month Sleep Regression — What to Expect

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  • April 15, 2018
9 month sleep regression

9 month sleep regressionYou’ve been here before – maybe when your baby was 7 months old – and you are REALLY tired. Your baby is waking early from his naps and up all night—perhaps out of nowhere!.. If your child is in the midst of another sleep regression, you’re both cranky and stretched to your limit! It must be the 9 month sleep regression.

How to Spot the 9 Month Sleep Regression

  • Increased fussiness
  • Multiple night wakings
  • Fewer naps or short “disaster naps
  • Changes in appetite

Somewhere between eight and ten months, your baby begins to develop his gross motor skills and may start crawling or even pulling himself up onto furniture. Many parents find their child practicing these skills at nap time or in the night, pulling themselves up on the side of their bed and then wailing when they can’t figure out how to get back down. Some motivated babies in this age range even start to walk! As your child explores “moving away” from you and becomes more independent, he may also become more clingy and be awake and upset in the night as a result.

Your 9 month old baby’s brain is in the midst of major developmental changes, too. Around this age babies begin to categorize objects and people and understand that not everything is the same. They may also learn that there are sequences to the way things are done and be interested in stacking cups, blocks, and groups of objects — like shoes.

How to Support Your Child in the 9 Month Sleep Regression

To support your child in this exciting and, admittedly, difficult phase consider these strategies:

  • Let your child know when you are leaving and coming back
  • Make time for extra snuggles and one on one play at the end of the day
  • Help your baby practice getting down from standing during the day
  • Keep a predictable nap and bedtime routine

How do I get through this sleep regression?

The best and biggest piece of advice for weathering these challenging regressions is to remember they are temporary. Your baby WILL get back to his usual sleeping and eating  routines soon.

What you can do to help your child sleep better and weather this phase smoothly:

  • Be flexible. You may not be able to count on long daytime naps to give you a break or for bedtime to be smooth and relatively quick. Recruit some help — or even just moral support — from your partner, family, or friends to give yourself a break or a boost
  • Respond to your baby. It’s good to cuddle and feed her more and to take more time at bedtime or meals right now.
  • Be patient and supportive while your baby is frustrated or out of sorts — especially given how hard their brain and body are working
  • Stick to your GOOD habits. While it’s important to be supportive and responsive to your child, don’t fall back on old sleep habits or create new ones out of desperation. Resist the temptation to nurse or rock your baby to sleep — use The Shuffle strategies to comfort and calm him if he’s having a tough night

It might be hard to imagine it when your baby’s sleep challenges are difficult, but this sleep regression will pass just like the others before it. And if you find yourself with new unwanted habits or sleep challenges that don’t resolve on their own, check back in to this blog or consider speaking with a Gentle Sleep Coach.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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