8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule Tips
Are you frustrated with how much (or little) sleep your 8 month old is getting? Are you looking for something you can do to improve their sleep? If you are ready to develop an 8 month old sleep schedule that will be beneficial to you and your baby, there are numerous things you can try.
In the article below, we’ll share a few different suggestions and tips that many other parents have found helpful when creating an 8 month old sleep schedule. Read through our list, then pick a few different ideas to try with your little one. Always remember to be patient and consistent as you implement these tips, as it will take some time to help your baby get onto a new schedule. Also, remember that each baby is different, so some of the ideas below may work better for your baby than some of the other ones will.
Determine How Much Sleep Your Baby Should Get Each Day
Every baby is different, but there are some general guidelines that are offered by pediatricians regarding how much sleep babies of different ages should be getting each day. Keeping these times in mind when you are creating your 8 month old sleep schedule will be important. Most experts recommend that 8 month old babies get between 13 and 14 hours of sleep. Typically, about 11 hours of this is overnight, and the rest of the time is split between the daytime naps. Most 8 month old will take between two and three naps. If your baby is still taking three naps, they will likely be ready to transition to two naps in the near future.
Set a Consistent Bedtime
A consistent bedtime is key when developing an 8 month old sleep schedule. Plan a bedtime that will work for your family and your baby. However, when you are choosing a bedtime, keep in mind that earlier bedtimes work best for babies. For an 8 month old sleep schedule, experts recommend a bedtime between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. If you put your baby to sleep too late, it can result in them getting less sleep or waking up more frequently overnight.
Plan for Naps
In addition to planning out a bedtime schedule, you will also want to consider your baby’s naps when setting up an 8 month old sleep schedule. At 8 months old, most babies are transitioning from three naps a day to two naps a day. Some people use a set schedule for their baby’s naptimes and will put them down at the same time each day. Others go by wake times. If you use this method, you put your baby down for a nap after a set amount of time has passed since they last woke up. For 8 month olds, most recommend wake times of between two and three hours. So, if your baby woke up from their last nap at 12:30, their next nap should start between 2:30 and 3:30.
Develop Routines that Will Work for Your Family
Beginning to develop routines now while your baby is still young will not only help you with developing an 8 month old sleep schedule, but it will also benefit you for many years down the road. Consistent routines can help your baby associate certain events with winding down and getting ready to sleep. They can help bedtime go more smoothly and can help your baby in falling asleep more easily.
The specific bedtime routines you develop are completely up to you. Below, we’ll share a few ideas that many people incorporate into their bedtime routines.
Winding Down or Quiet Play
Before actually heading upstairs to get ready for bed, allow your baby to have some quiet play time with you. Dim the lights down and let them have some quiet tummy time with a few toys. Choose non-electric toys that won’t over-stimulate your little one. During this time, you may also choose to listen to some soft music together.
Bath time is another activity that is part of many babies’ bedtime routines. Giving your baby a warm and relaxing bath not only helps them get cleaned up, but can help them calm down and get ready to sleep.
Getting Dressed for Bed
After giving your baby their bath, give them a diaper change and get them all dressed and ready for bed. Choose soft and cozy pajamas to keep them comfortable overnight as they sleep.
Reading a bedtime story can be beneficial on many different levels. First, it can help your baby bond with you. It can also give them a key piece of their routine that they can begin to associate with getting ready to sleep. Finally, reading to your baby (at any time of the day), is important for helping them learn new words and learn how language is structured.
Prayers or Songs
Finally, if you want to say a few prayers together or sing a lullaby to your baby, those can be incorporated into your bedtime routine as well.
Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
If you want your baby to develop an 8 month old sleep schedule that works, it makes sense that you need to provide them with an environment that supports sleep. Take a few steps to make a few tweaks to your baby’s room, and you may be impressed with how their sleep changes. Consider hanging blackout curtains. They will make the room darker and help your baby sleep better. Blackout curtains can also help during naptime, since they will block out the sunlight and help your baby enjoy a darker space for sleep. You may also want to consider trying a sound machine. A sound machine can play white noise or other soothing sounds. These calming sounds can help soothe your baby and allow them to fall asleep more easily. Plus, if there are other noises in the house when your baby is sleeping, their sound machine can drown out these sounds and help them stay asleep.
Provide Plenty of Activity and Stimulation During the Day
Making sure that your baby is active (well, as active as an 8 month old can be), is another key piece in developing an effective 8 month old sleep schedule. Give your baby plenty of opportunities to enjoy tummy time and play with their toys. If they have started crawling already, get down on the floor with them and encourage them to move around. You can also schedule playdates with friends who have babies. Seeing other babies who are moving more can also encourage your little one to crawl around. Also, be sure to stimulate your baby’s brain. Give them toys to play with, talk with them about what you are doing and what you see, and read books together. This will help them be more active and ready for sleep when it is time.
Break Bad Sleep Habits that May Have Formed
Finally, if you have developed any bad sleep habits, it is time to start to break those before they become too ingrained. This is important when developing an 8 month old sleep schedule. Some habits that you will want to get rid of include:
- Breastfeeding or giving a bottle immediately before bedtime
- Rocking your baby to sleep
- Multiple feedings overnight
If you have developed these bad habits, they may be hard to breaker than you might think. You may want to consider using a sleep training method. There are numerous different forms of sleep training, so you can choose the method that will work best for you and your family to develop an 8 month old sleep schedule that is best for you. Two of the more popular sleep training methods are:
Extinction, also known as cry-it-out, is when you cut out bad habits cold turkey. If you choose to use this method, you will put your baby down to bed while they are still awake (but drowsy). Then, you will leave the room. If they cry, you let them cry. Advocates of this method think that your baby becomes better at self-soothing and will cry less and less each night, until they become a much more independent sleeper.
With the Ferber Method, your baby will only cry for limited amounts of time. When you try this strategy, you put your baby down awake and leave the room. But, unlike with Extinction, you will go back into the room after a set amount of time if your baby is still crying. With the Ferber Method, you slowly increase how long you are out of the room for until your baby is able to fall asleep. Again, the goal of this method is to help your baby become more and more independent at getting to sleep on their own.
Creating the right 8 month old sleep schedule for your baby will take some time. There will likely be hiccups along the road as you experiment with different strategies and when your baby is teething or gets sick. However, with some patience and dedication, you will be able to get your baby onto a much more consistent schedule. This will be much better for both you and your baby!