8 Month Sleep Regression
As your baby coos its way through those first 12 months, they’ll experience developmental milestones that will tug on your heartstrings. No “milestone” is quite as pleasant for parents as that moment a baby sleeps its first full night through. Sleep patterns in the first year can be a roller coaster ride for exhausted parents, but at some point, everything goes all quiet at night. Whether you’re room-sharing or bed-sharing with your baby or they’re in their crib in their own room, you’ll notice quiet nights begin to happen. They may even sleep a full 6-8 hours at some point. Much rejoicing will ensue.
Unfortunately for parents, this period of rejoicing may end at any moment with one of the sleep regression stages. A sleep regression is when your baby begins waking frequently at night again just like when they were a newborn. At first, you’ll be baffled at this behavior, but since a 4 month sleep regression is so common, by the time the 8 month sleep regression comes along, you may already know what’s going on. If your methods aren’t working like they did with the 4 month regression, it’s time to get creative and learn a little more about what sleep regression is all about.
Understanding Sleep Regression
Regressing back to a previous period of life isn’t uncommon, even for adults who experience trauma or a life-altering event. For infants, the 8 month sleep regression represents a time in their life where they’re experiencing deep sleep just like we do. They’re also having a huge amount of brain development going on during this time. They’re absorbing language they hear, sights they see, and for the first time, they’re sometimes rolling over and moving more. This can cause for some serious night time wakefulness.
Imagine all of the new things your baby is seeing and experiencing. By 8 months they are much more mobile than they were. They’re likely babbling. They’re stimulated by light now and voices and so many other external stimuli. All of those sights and sounds combine with a rapidly developing brain to create the 8 month sleep regression. Suddenly it’s wakefulness at night again, sometimes crying, sometimes cooing, sometimes just moving about in the crib. The people who will deal with this 8 month sleep regression will be the parents. It’s time to spring into action again and figure out how to weather the 8 month sleep regression.
Conquering The 8 Month Sleep Regression
If you lived through the 4 month regression, you’re better prepared for this one, but it’s still not going to be easy. The 8 month sleep regression generally lasts about 4 weeks, but it can span from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on how lucky or unlucky you are. The sooner a sleep regression stage ends, the better! And while you can’t prevent this troublesome regression from happening, you can minimize the night time wakefulness of your baby by tweaking a few things and make it easier for them to sleep. Adults sometimes have to fight to sleep. This time it’s your baby, and you, who will be fighting for that precious shut eye.
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- A quiet, very dark sleep environment will increase the chances of your 8 month old sleeping longer
- Make sure your 8 month old is getting plenty of quality play time and exercise. More energy expended during the day means less energy during sleep time
- Make a written sleep schedule. Stick to it!
- If the wakefulness is because he or she isn’t getting enough time with you, maybe it’s time to put in a few extra minutes before bedtime reassuring and letting your child know you’re there for some quality time
Teething is going to very likely be a part of this 8 month sleep regression. No, it’s not going to cause every single instance that your baby wakes up, but it’s going to be a part of this one! The 4 month one may not have included this obstacle. Anything that you can do to help your baby’s irritated and teething gums during the day is going to increase the quality of sleep you’re both getting at night. And your baby isn’t the only one going through this. Parents deserve to take time for themselves during the 8 month sleep regression so that they don’t lose focus during this time. Parents can help themselves by:
Tips to Try
1. Take some time for yourself sometimes during the day, during baby nap times, to do a relaxing activity. A cup of hot tea or perhaps a warm bath by baby sleeps will help to get you back and focused on you. Anything that brings you peace and relaxation is going to help you be a better parent during the day and at night.
2. Recruit help: If you have a partner, they need to help you during this difficult time. You can’t do this all by yourself. If they refuse or if you’re winging this alone, it’s time to ask a friend or family member to perhaps spend a night or two with you and take over 8 month old regression nightly duties for that night or two. It’ll give you time to catch up on any lost sleep and clear your mind.
3. Remember to be patient with yourself as well. Just like your baby can’t help what’s going on, neither can you. Sleep is a difficult thing for babies, teenagers, and adults alike. We all struggle with it sometimes, especially if someone else in the household is sick or financial problems are present. Multiple problems at once during a 8 month sleep regression can make it even more trying. So don’t feel bad if you need to take a time out with yourself and acknowledge that you’re frustrated. Be gentle with yourself.
The End Is In Sight
Eventually the 8 month sleep regression will end, and you’re on to smoother sailing. Your baby’s rapidly development brain will eventually get the knack of soothing itself back to sleep without your help. Until then, you’re going to have some restless nights to contend with. With a lot of patience, gentle patience with your 8 month old, and a few strategies from the newborn days, you’re going to make it through the 8 month sleep regression just fine.
Since teething can be a problem during the 8 month sleep regression, you should possibly ask your pediatrician for some help with this one. They can give you some ideas on how to soothe your child during the day time and at night when they experience the pain and irritation of teething. Your pediatrician can also recommend other things that might relieve some of the night time waking. Room darkening blinds are never a bad idea for any newborn or 8 month old experiencing a sleep regression. Anything that makes the sleep environment more gentle and soothing for your little one is going to make life easier for you.
Sleep regression stages are a natural part of a baby’s first year of life, and they can even have a regression stage at about 18 months. These few periods of your baby’s life will definitely have an impact on your sleep quality during that time period, so it never hurts to prepare earlier. Friends, family, and a partner can really be a Godsend during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to call on them, too. They’re just as happy about your baby being here as you are, and they’re very likely to be willing to sacrifice a night or two in order for you to catch up on some much needed sleep. The regression will end, so don’t be discouraged!