If your baby was sleeping fine and has suddenly begun waking up during the night, he may be going through an 8-month sleep regression. Here’s everything you should know.
You survived the 4-month sleep regression, even though it was extremely tough. For several months, your child was sleeping well and was only waking up briefly once a night.
He’s eight months old now, and he’s started waking up multiple times a night again. You know he can soothe himself to sleep, but he doesn’t seem to be able to do it as he did for the last few months.
What your child is going through is called an 8-month sleep regression. The bad news is that it will cause some disturbances in your child’s sleep patterns. The good news is that it won’t last long.
Here’s what all sleep-deprived mamas need to know about the causes and signs of 8-month sleep regression, and tips for surviving this developmental stage.
What is an 8-month sleep regression, and what are the causes?
If the 4-month sleep regression was due to a growth spurt or your child trying to master rolling over, the 8-month sleep regression is also connected to rapid growth and brain development.
The 8-month mark is a rough development time for your little one. He’s learning to eat solid foods, trying out new movements, picking up words, and more. You may hear words like “mama” or “dada” coming from the baby crib or may see him making new advanced moves like pulling himself up.
His brain is just overwhelmed from so much information, and it makes sense that he’s having a hard time adjusting.
Moreover, this is the age when your baby starts experiencing separation anxiety. His parents were taking care of him 24/7 for several months, and now they’re gone. Where might they be? He might cry during the day while you’re at work or get upset at bedtime, too, when you put him in his crib and leave the room.
How long does the 8-month sleep regression last?
You can relax and take a breath as the 8-month sleep regression doesn’t stick for long. It’s only temporary and it usually lasts for about 3 to 6 weeks.
If your child starts sleeping well at night more quickly than 3 weeks, then it may be that he was struggling with other factors like baby teething or a change in schedule.
Take comfort in the fact that if you sleep trained your child, he’s likely to remember how to self-soothe at night and will go back to his regular pattern without too much fuss.
If you haven’t tried sleep training before, I want to tell you that there’s nothing to feel anxious or worried about. With dedication and consistency from your end, your child will start sleeping like an angel once again.
What are some of the signs?
The most common signs that indicate your child may be dealing with sleep regression include:
- increased overnight wake-ups for no apparent reason
- fighting bedtime
- refusing naps
How do you deal with an 8-month sleep regression?
Sleep train your baby again
In case you sleep trained your child before, you can try using the same method that worked with your child the first time.
If your family applied the cry-it-out method and yielded results, you can use it again.
Or, if you prefer trying out a gentler technique, you can try the Camping Out Method or The Fading Method.
The Fading Method involves giving your toddler the hugs and cuddles he needs but gradually reducing the amount of time you’re in his room.
The Camping Out Method involves putting your baby to sleep and placing a chair next to his bed. Every two or three nights, move the chair a little bit further away from his bed. The end goal is to teach your child to fall asleep without you in the room.
Start by leaving your child alone during playtime for brief periods and short distances. Gradually increase your duration and distance. Over time, he will understand that even though he can’t see you, you’re still near and will come back.
Stick to your bedtime routine
Sticking to a bedtime routine may seem challenging. Caught between work, traveling, and other changes, getting your baby to go to sleep at the same time and in the same place every night may seem impossible.
But it doesn’t have to be.
If you want to get through this tough period more easily and quickly, strive to stick to your bedtime routine and avoid making any changes.
Whether it’s a warm bath or a massage, keep it the same every night, and at a similar time. A regular bedtime routine will give your baby clues that it’s time to go to sleep.
Experiment with different soothing tools
Your child is in a period when he’s extremely curious about the world that surrounds him. He’s interested in sounds that come from outside, the light that peeks through the curtains, and the toys that are on the shelf.
It’s now more important than ever to create a distraction-free and sleep-conducive environment that supports healthy sleep.
You can experiment with different soothing tools like a sound machine, blackout curtains, or sleep sacks.
A sound machine can help encourage a good night’s sleep. Whether your dog is barking in the next room or your neighbor is taking his motorcycle for a spin, you can rest assured that your baby won’t notice a sound.
If you live on a well-lit street or street that gets plenty of sunshine during the day, try getting blackout curtains. Apart from blocking out sunlight, these curtains also reduce outside noise so that your little one won’t be disturbed by sounds like traffic.
Experiment with different soothing tools to see what works for your baby.
Finally, be patient that this 8-month sleep regression won’t last forever. Before you know it, your baby will be all grown up to go to sleep and wake up without you. Until those days arrive, show him love and keep him safe. It’s what he needs from you the most. Relax and take a breath — it will get better.