Is your 8-month-old ready for a change in their sleep schedule? Here’s what you should know about 8-month-old wake windows and some tips for sleep.
If you haven’t already started to see some big changes in your baby’s schedule over the past couple of months, you’re about to!
I get it—sometimes it gets old having to tweak your baby’s sleep schedule so much during this first year. But think of it this way: if your baby’s sleep is changing, it’s a sign that they’re growing like they should.
Your 8-month-old is racking up all sorts of new skills, exploring new foods, and finding new ways to move their bodies during their awake time. It’s only natural that they need more time to practice the things they’re learning.
All this activity during the day means less time for daytime sleep. The nap transition that happens between 6 months and now can be a doozy.
Here’s what you need to know about 8-month-old wake windows.
How Long Can an 8-Month Old Stay Awake?
One thing that changes as your baby ages and develops is their ability to stay awake for longer stretches of time. These awake times are called wake windows.
Using wake windows helps provide a guideline for how to adjust your baby’s sleep schedule as they grow.
At 8 months old, your baby’s wake windows will be around 3 hours long, give or take about 30 minutes.
The goal is to hit that wake window sweet spot (not too long and not too short) to avoid negatively impacting sleep quality.
Since every baby is different, you might have to do a little tweaking and fine-tuning to find the right wake window for your little one.
But generally speaking, when your baby is 8 months old, the recommended wake window is 2.5 to 3.5 hours. That means it’ll be anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours between when you get them out of bed and when they’re ready to sleep again.
If your baby is still taking 3 naps, it may be time to make the 3 to 2 nap transition. I see this nap transition happen around 7/8 months old typically.
Most 8-month-olds will need between 13 to 14 hours of sleep in a day, with about 11 to 12 hours at night and 2 to 3 hours during naps.
8-Month-Old Wake Windows Are Flexible
Remember that wake windows are presented in a range for a reason. Every 8-month-old’s wake windows will be slightly different, and they are a range so that you can remain flexible if and when your family needs the wiggle room.
Some babies will have the exact same length of wake window throughout the day. Others might have slightly shorter or longer wake windows at different points of the day depending on what they need.
The bottom line is: you know your baby best. If you make an adjustment to your 8-month-old’s wake windows, take some time to observe. If they’re getting super cranky before their first nap, try shortening that first wake window by 15 to 30 minutes.
Alternatively, maybe your baby is super alert when you put them down to sleep at night and it takes them forever to fall asleep. If that’s the case, try extending that last wake window of the day so they’ll be more tired for bedtime.
If you’re looking for more information about wake windows or are curious about what’s to come, check out my Baby Sleep Schedule Binder. It has wake windows and sleep schedules for babies ages 0–4 years old. Check it out here.
How Many Naps Should an 8-Month Old Take?
If you haven’t seen any big shifts in your baby’s nap schedule over the past couple of months, there’s about to be a pretty significant change.
Sometime between 6 to 8 months old, babies move from a 3-nap schedule to only 2 naps per day.
If your baby hasn’t dropped their third nap yet, it’s probably time to start preparing for that transition from 3 naps to 2.
When it comes to the 8-month-old sleep schedule, your baby will take two naps throughout the day and a long stretch of sleep at night.
The good news is that when you’ve settled into this new 2-nap schedule for your 8-month old, the schedule will hold pretty steady for many months.
Next month, 9 month old wake windows won’t shift much, usually only extending 15 to 30 minutes longer.
How Do I Know if My Baby is Ready to Transition to 2 Naps?
Not all babies show consistent or reliable sleep cues, so you have to pay attention to the other signs your baby gives you that he may be ready to make a nap change.
Your baby will likely show you signs that they are ready to extend their wake windows and transition to two naps. These signs may include:
- Your baby starts refusing a nap or taking a longer amount of time to fall asleep. Babies often fight the catnap first when they are ready to drop it.
- Your baby’s starts taking short naps. He may have been sleeping 1.5 hours and is suddenly waking up early or taking shorter naps altogether.
- The catnap starts interfering with bedtime. Your baby might not be falling asleep for the catnap until 30 minutes after you put him down, pushing the time he wakes up from the nap back and pushing bedtime back as well.
- Bedtime becomes a battle. If your child used to go to bed easily at bedtime and is now fighting bedtime sleep and not falling asleep until long after you put him to bed, he may be ready to drop a nap.
- Your baby’s naps seem all over the place. You may have gone from having a predictable, set nap schedule to a suddenly chaotic nap schedule. Naps can start to interfere with bedtime, pushing everything back.
- Your baby starts having night wakings. He may wake up in the middle of the night when he was previously sleeping through. This could mean he’s been getting too much daytime sleep and needs to drop a nap.
- Your baby starts waking up early in the morning. If your baby was typically sleeping until 7 am and suddenly starts having early wakings, it may be a sign he is ready to drop the third nap. Not enough awake time can lead to early morning wake ups.
Here’s an example schedule for your 8 month old using wake windows of 2.5 to 3.5 hours:
7:00 am: Wake up + nurse or bottle
8:30 am: Solids/Breakfast
9:30 to 11:00 am: Nap
11:00 am: Nurse or bottle
12:00 pm: Solids/Lunch
1:30 pm: Small nurse or bottle (if needed)
2:00 to 3:30 pm: Nap
3:30 pm: Nurse or bottle
5:30 pm: Solids/Dinner
6:30 pm: Start baby’s bedtime routine + nurse or bottle
7:00 pm: Bedtime
Eliminate Short Naps with a Predictable Sleep Routine
Take away the stress of figuring out your baby’s sleep needs. With the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder, you’ll get sleeping and feeding schedules that you can implement for every age, even if you currently have no routine in place. Check out the Baby Sleep Schedule Binder here.