When your baby has reached 9 months old, you have likely experienced at least one stage of sleep regression already. Unfortunately, that is not the end of this unfavorable part of parenting an infant. Around 9 months old, your baby will likely experience 9 month sleep regression, leaving both of you with little sleep and exhausting days.
Before going further into this topic, let’s talk about what 9 month sleep regression actually is. When your baby experiences sleep regression, you will notice big changes in their sleeping habits. Sleep regression generally comes in the form of sleeping less, waking more, and having more trouble falling asleep right around their 9th month. This chaotic and stressful time is nearly impossible to avoid.
When Does 9 Month Sleep Regression Happen?
This may seem like a question with an obvious answer, but it isn’t as simple as it sounds. The 9 month sleep regression can begin at any time between eight and ten months. This stage of sleep regression has a wide variation on dates, and it generally occurs once your baby begins moving around and interacting with the world around them a little more.
Why Does 9 Month Sleep Regression Happen?
There are a few different reasons that may be causing your baby to experience sleep regression around the 9th month, and it is nothing that you are doing wrong. Many times, as parents, we blame ourselves when our child experiences anything unpleasant, but you can’t do that in this situation. There are some theories behind why it may happen, but it is essentially just considered a part of parenting that we have to get through.
Mental and Physical Learning
One of the reasons for 9 month sleep regression includes the amount of learning your child is doing. Between learning to pull themselves up on furniture, sitting, crawling, learning to talk, and figuring out how to manipulate toys, your 9-month-old may want to spend time exploring rather than resting. Since your baby is learning that they can do more than just lie around and sleep, they want to spend as much time as possible moving and learning.
Skipping a Nap
Another reason that 9 month sleep regression happens is that at this point in your baby’s life, they are likely skipping their last nap of the day. This leaves your child feeling more tired, which, believe it or not, causes them to have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep at night. Your baby will still wake early in the morning, even with this missed nap, further limiting the amount of sleep the two of you are getting.
A third reason that sleep regression may be happening is separation anxiety. When your baby begins to recognize their favorite people, toys, or animals, they may start having a hard time being away, even for sleep. This generally occurs right around 9 months, so it makes sense that it could cause the sleep regression.
Is 9 Month Sleep Regression Normal?
Sleep regression is not only normal, but almost all babies (and parents! We lose sleep, too!) go through it at 4 months and again at 9 months. Suffering through it is just an expected part of parenting, unfortunately. There are some methods you can try for easing the regression, but they are not guaranteed to help make the situation any easier.
What Are The Signs of 9 Month Sleep Regression?
You may notice that your baby begins waking up more than usual during the night, taking less frequent or shorter naps, having trouble falling asleep, and just being overall more cranky and attached to you.
While those signs alone may not indicate sleep regression, there are certain behaviors that you can watch for. If your baby cries out for you during the night at times they normally wouldn’t or when you know they aren’t hungry, it is a good indication of sleep regression.
A further indication that this is sleep regression is if your baby wakes at an unusual time and then stays awake for a while before going back to sleep. This shows that your baby is regressing in their sleeping habits, as well as if they take much shorter naps than usual during the day.
How You Can Help Your Baby Sleep
While 9 month sleep regression is difficult to get through and may seem like it’ll never end, there are a couple of things you can try to get your baby to sleep better which, in turn, means that you should be able to sleep better. These ideas include:
- Sticking to your regular sleep schedule whenever possible.
- Avoid creating new habits during the sleep regression that will be difficult to break later.
- Giving your child an earlier bedtime.
- Be consistent.
- Be patient and support your baby through the rough nights.
- Never sneak away from your child, because it could cause further separation anxiety.
- Make sure your baby’s bedroom is dark, cool, and play sound white noise.
- Ensure your baby has a clean diaper and full stomach.
- Help your baby practice their new skills often throughout the day, so they won’t spend their bed or nap time practicing on their own.
The only sure thing to do, however, is to wait it out. Unlike the 4 month sleep regression, the 9 month regression is just a waiting game. All you can do is be supportive, and ensure that you are giving your baby every opportunity to sleep well.
How Long Will 9 Month Sleep Regression Last?
The actual length of time you can expect a 9 month sleep regression to last varies greatly from child to child. You can, however, expect the regression to last anywhere from two to six weeks. While this may seem like a long, exhausting process, it will pass eventually.
Other Information to Know About 9 Month Sleep Regression
- It isn’t permanent.
- Sleep regression doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your parenting or with your baby.
- Not all sleep issues qualify as sleep regression. If the problems have been happening since before the 8th month, there is likely a different issue going on.
- Too much parental intervention during a sleep regression can make this stage last longer, so avoid intervening as much as possible.
Final Thoughts On 9 Month Sleep Regression
Sleep regression is a hard time for your baby, but it is hard on you, too. You may begin to think that you’ll never get through it, but it’ll be over before you know it. By following tips from experienced mothers, you may be able to find at least a little relief.
While it may be difficult, try to enjoy the extra cuddles and time spent with your baby. This is the perfect time for you to strengthen the bond you have with your baby, after all.
Support your baby during the 9 month sleep regression, and try to stick to your normal routine. You just have to wait it out, and your baby will return to normal before you know it.