9 Month Old Sleep Schedule Tips
Are you ready to get your 9 month old onto a more consistent sleep schedule? Do you feel like their sleep is just all over the place? Or, maybe you’re having trouble getting them to sleep without being held, and you are ready for them to become a more independent sleeper. Creating a 9 month old sleep schedule is important for your little one. It will set them up for better sleep as they continue to grow.
You may be overwhelmed just thinking about trying to develop a 9 month old sleep schedule. Don’t be. While it definitely isn’t as easy as just putting them in a crib and telling them to sleep, setting up a good schedule for your 9 month old is definitely doable.
Keep in mind that every baby is different, so don’t be surprised if the schedule you create for your baby looks different from that of another 9 month old baby you know. Also, one of the most important things to keep in mind as you are working to develop your baby’s schedule is to be patient and consistent. You are unlikely to see instant changes overnight, so be ready to tough it out for a while as your baby adjusts to the changes you implement.
In the sections below, we’ll share some tips that can help you create the ideal 9 month old sleep schedule for your baby.
Plan for Enough Sleep Every Day
Before you can begin developing a 9 month old sleep schedule, it is important to know how much sleep your 9 month old should be getting each day. Most pediatricians recommend that 9 month old babies get between 13 and 14 hours of sleep each day.
Typically, around 11 hours of this total time is nighttime sleep, and two-and-a-half to three hours of it is daytime sleep. 9 month olds typically take two naps, so the daytime sleep is split into two sections. Of course, since every baby is different, the total amount of sleep your baby needs will vary, but this should give you an idea of what to shoot for.
Get the Room Ready
Making sure that your baby’s room is set up to support them sleeping is important when developing a 9 month old sleep schedule. Create a dark environment since that will help your baby learn to sleep when it is dark and to be awake when it is light.
A pair of blackout curtains can help a lot with this task. They’ll help make the room much darker for naptimes, which can make it easier for your baby to fall asleep for their naps. Babies tend to sleep better in a cooler environment, so consider setting up a fan in your baby’s room or turning your thermostat down a few degrees each evening. Finally, you can also add a sound machine to your baby’s room.
A sound machine can play soothing songs and lullabies, nature sounds, and/or white noise depending on the model you purchase. Having noise in the background can help calm your baby and make it easier for them to fall asleep. It can also drown out other noises and voices in the house so that these sounds don’t wake up your baby.
Cut Out Caffeine
If you are breastfeeding, you may want to consider cutting caffeine out from your diet. Caffeine can pass to your baby through your breastmilk and may be a contributing factor if they are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Caffeine also stays in a baby’s system longer than it stays in ours, so be sure to consider this if you are drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Create Family Routines
Developing routines for bedtime and naptime can go a long way towards developing a 9 month old sleep schedule that will work for you and your baby. A consistent routine can help your baby know when bedtime is approaching and can allow them to start to adjust and get ready for bedtime. Some things you can consider adding to your bedtime routine include quiet playtime before bed, bath time, getting dressed for bed, storytime, singing songs together, saying prayers, and giving hugs and kisses.
Move Baby Out of Your Bedroom
If your baby is still in your bedroom, you may want to consider moving them to their own space if that is an option. Giving your baby their own room to sleep in can help eliminate some of the reasons they may be waking up in the middle of the night or having trouble falling asleep.
This step can help you in developing a 9 month old sleep schedule for your baby.
Let Baby Be Active During the Day
Ensuring that your baby is getting enough activity every day can also help with creating a 9 month old sleep schedule. Activity, such a crawling around, tummy time, walking outside with you, or playdates, can help your baby use up some energy, so they are ready to sleep. Outside activities and fresh air can also help your baby to be ready to fall asleep at bedtime or naptime.
Give Sleep Training a Try
Sleep training is another option you can consider to help you develop a 9 month old sleep schedule. Many people are completely opposed to sleep training because they don’t believe in letting their baby ‘cry-it-out.’ However, there are other sleep training options to consider that do not include letting your baby cry for an extended amount of time.
Sleep training is designed to break some of the bad sleep habits that your baby may be developing. If these bad habits are not broken, they will continue to make it harder for your baby to get the amount of sleep they need. Some bad sleep habits that will need to be broken include:
Eating to Fall Asleep: If you are feeding your baby a bottle or breastfeeding them immediately before putting them down, you may be helping them develop an association between eating and sleeping. This can lead to it being very challenging for them to fall asleep without eating right before. As you can imagine, this is not something you want your baby to be relying on.
Rocking to Sleep: If you rock your baby to sleep every night, they may become dependent on this rocking motion/being held by you to be able to fall asleep. You want your baby to be able to fall asleep independently, so this is another habit you will want to break.
There are various methods of sleep training that have been developed by different pediatricians and childhood experts. These methods are designed to break the bad sleep habits mentioned above and help your little one learn how to be an independent sleeper.
Extinction is frequently referred to as cry-it-out. As the name suggests, when you use this form of sleep training, you let your baby cry until they are able to self soothe and fall asleep. When you use this method, you can expect the number of minutes your baby cries before falling asleep to decrease each night.
The Ferber Method is a method of sleep training that can help you with developing a 9 month old sleep schedule. Unlike with extinction or cry it out, this method limits how long your baby will be crying for before you can check on them. To use this method, you will put your baby to bed while they are still drowsy and still awake. You will then leave the room. If your baby cries, you can check on them after three minutes, then you will leave the room again. If they cry this time, you can check on them after five minutes. The pattern continues with the amount of time before you can check on your baby increasing each time. With the Ferber method, you are not supposed to say anything to hold your baby when you check on them.
The Chair Method is another sleep training option to consider when developing a 9 month old sleep schedule. When you use this method, you will sit in a chair next to your baby’s bed after they are put down to bed. You are supposed to sit in the chair and not talk to or interact with your baby. Each night that you use this method (and you should use it consistently), move your chair a few inches closer to the door than where it was the previous night. After a few nights, your chair should have reached the doorway or hallway. Hopefully by this point, your little one doesn’t really need you in with them and will be able to fall asleep.
Setting up a 9 month old sleep schedule for your baby may take some time and experimentation. Be prepared to try different things and to change up your plans based on the needs of your baby. After a little bit of time, your baby will start to adjust to their 9 month sleep schedule. Not only will they be getting the sleep they need, but you’ll be able to enjoy more rest and a more predictable schedule as well.