8 Month Sleep Regression

During my new mom, pre-sleep consultant years, I didn’t even know that a sleep regression was a thing. Cue my baby turning 8 months old and sleep getting even worse than it was before.  And trust me, it had been bad for months prior to the 8 month sleep regression. I was at the end of my rope so we ended up sleeping training in the midst of this sleep regression! Don’t worry though, if your little one already has a solid sleep foundation the 8 month sleep regression is going to be ok!

It’s important to remember that all sleep regressions are actually progressions. While sleep does regress temporarily, your little one is making huge permanent growth in other areas. So try to enjoy watching them hit some developmental milestones and use these tips to get sleep back on track!

How long will the 8 month old sleep regression last?

The good news is if your little one has a solid sleep foundation AND you follow these tips, sleep regressions typically last less than two weeks. If your little one hasn’t mastered independent sleep or you brought back habits you don’t want to keep, you may need to use sleep training to get sleep back on track.

What causes the 8 month sleep regression?

  1. Sleep needs change: Around 8 months old, babies need less daytime sleep, about 2.5-3 hours on average. Plus, 8 months is also a common age to transition from 3 to 2 naps. 
  1. Developmental milestones: Between 8 and 10 months old your baby will learn tons of new skills. Sitting independently, scooting, crawling, and beginning to cruise along furniture. They will have new found mobility and a desire to practice! Your little one will also enter Leap 6 around 8.5 months old. They will start to categorize their world, learn through trial and error, and recognize emotions. All of this growth can disrupt sleep!
  1. Separation anxiety: Babies understand object permanence or that objects and people (AKA you) still exist even if they can’t be seen or heard. This understanding coincides with a spike of separation anxiety. They now have a strong attachment to you and know that when you leave at bedtime you still exist! Remember this is a normal part of development.
  1. Teething: Your baby likely already has their bottom two teeth and now the top two and two more on the bottom will begin to come through the gums. Speak to your pediatrician about how to manage teething pain. Remember teething doesn’t last for weeks on end. Teething is likely not the cause if sleep has been disrupted for a while.

How to Get Through the 8 Month Sleep Regression 

  1. Transition to 2 naps: It may be time to make the 3 to 2 nap transition. Typically the morning nap will be around 9 am and the midday nap around 1 pm. Bedtime will be about 3-3.5 hours after that. 
  1. Develop a soothing bedtime routine: Or stay consistent if you already have one! A solid bedtime routine will help alleviate some of your little one’s separation anxiety. Through repetition they will learn that you always come back!
  1. Practice, practice, practice: Help your baby practice all those new skills they’re learning during awake times. They will be less likely to do so when they’re supposed to be sleeping. 
  1. Stay consistent: If you don’t want to rock/feed/bounce/etc. your kiddo to sleep in the long term avoid starting now. Habits like these tend to stick around a lot longer than we’d like and it’s easier to not start them at all. Trust me. 
  1. Make a plan: If the regression hasn’t gotten any better after 2 weeks, make a plan. Decide exactly how you will respond at bedtime and during night wakings. Check out my Sleep Training 101 blog for guidance on sleep training methods and if you need help creating a plan, reach out. I’m here for ya!

Using these tips will definitely help your family get through the 8 month old sleep regression! Before you know it, they’ll be back on a solid schedule with a well rested baby. 

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