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5 Tips to Make it Through the 9-Month Sleep Regression

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It’s very common for babies to experience a 9 month sleep regression. Learn the signs of the 9-month-old sleep regression as well as tips on how to make it through!

baby standing in crib

You’ll often hear moms describe the nine-month-old phase as one of their favorite times in their baby’s development. This is when your baby’s personality really starts to shine!

But just like other sleep regressions, big developmental changes around the nine-month mark can bring a sleep regression along with it.

Thankfully, now you’ve got some serious experience under your belt. You’ve been doing this for nine months already, can you believe it?

You already know how to read your baby’s sleep cues. You understand how to soothe and comfort your baby. And hopefully you know how to separate good sleep habits from bad ones.

The bottom line is: you and your baby will get through this 9-month sleep regression. Let’s troubleshoot the 9-month sleep regression together and see if we can kick it to the curb! You’ve got this, mama!

How Long Does the 9-Month Sleep Regression Last?

I know it feels like you just got through the last sleep regression—it wasn’t that long ago! I’m sure you’re wondering: why is my nine-month-old suddenly not sleeping…again?!

Just like with the 6-month sleep regression, the 9-month sleep regression can be triggered when your baby learns new skills.

Thankfully, once you’ve made it through one sleep regression, you know the next one will eventually come to an end.

The 9-month sleep regression usually lasts between 2 to 6 weeks. Don’t let the name fool you, either: it can happen to your baby anywhere between 8 and 10 months old.

Keep an eye out for signs that your baby is headed into the 9-month sleep regression. If you spot the signs, you may be able to mitigate some of the regression impact on your family.

9-month sleep regression and new skills

Signs of the 9-Month Sleep Regression

Here are some signs your baby is hitting the 9-month sleep regression:

  • Resisting naps or bedtime
  • More frequent night waking or new night wakings if your baby was sleeping through the night
  • Increased crying or fussiness at sleep times
  • Your baby waking up too early from naps or in the morning.

Why is My 9-Month-Old Waking at Night?

Parents who have been through it know that the 9-month sleep regression won’t last forever. But when you’re in the middle of it, it feels like it’s going to last an eternity. And you probably want it to end it sooner rather than later!

Why is your little one suddenly fighting sleep, waking in the middle of the night again, or waking up too early?

There are a lot of things going on for your baby that can intensify or contribute to this regression.

Brain Growth-Spurt

Chances are that you’re starting to catch glimpses of your baby’s personality more and more. It’s so exciting to see the little person they’re becoming! It’s also a lot of work for them to wrap their minds around all of these new feelings and comprehension.

Your nine-month-old is starting to understand more words and might even be babbling or approximating words to communicate with you. Imagine finally being able to connect the dots on something as profound and essential as language—for the very first time! It’s no wonder your baby would rather not sleep.

baby standing up

New Physical Skills

Physically speaking, your baby is putting all their new muscle development to the test. Your baby may have already mastered crawling, which is great! Maybe now they’re working on pulling up to a standing position and cruising on the edges of furniture.

Truth be told, you baby wants more time to master these skills. Having their practice time interrupted by a sleep schedule can interrupt their playtime. Make sure to give your baby plenty of time during their awake time to practice their new skills.

Teething

In addition to using their muscles in new ways, another physical development is happening inside your baby’s mouth. Here come more teeth! Did you know that by nine months old, your baby can have as many as eight teeth waiting to rupture through their gums?

While teething isn’t the only cause of this sleep regression, it can definitely contribute to your baby’s discomfort. Your baby may become acutely aware that their gums are causing them pain, especially when they’re laying down for sleep and don’t have any distractions.

baby eating new foods can cause sleep regression

First Foods

You’re probably way past the cereal-only solid food days and deep into whole food exploration with your baby.

It’s so much fun to witness them trying new foods for the first time! But along with all of the excitement comes a pretty big demand on their little GI systems.

You might start to notice that your once-regular baby is now on a poo-strike.

Constipation often goes hand-in-hand with introducing new foods into your baby’s diet. And unfortunately, a baby who is not pooping is often going to have trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep.

separation anxiety and the 9-month sleep regression

Separation Anxiety

Every day, your baby is forming a stronger attachment to you and a select few others. With this stronger attachment comes a hesitation to be apart from you.

Your baby is getting to a point where their brain can finally understand object permanence. This means that even though your baby can’t see you, they know that you still exist and that you may still be nearby. They want to know: if you’re still around, why aren’t you right here with me?

Separation anxiety can be a big part of the 9-month sleep regression. In this case, it’s important to stay consistent in the sleep habits you’ve established for your baby.

5 Tips to Make it Through the 9-Month Sleep Regression

So what can you do to help your baby through this 9-month sleep regression? Here are five tips to help make it through to the other side.

1. Establish Good Sleep Habits

Setting up good sleep habits can help mitigate sleep regressions or possibly avoid them altogether. I recommend being on a solid 9-month sleep schedule and setting up independent sleep habits.

If you haven’t already, I can walk you through the process on how to do that!

Also remember to set up a consistent bedtime routine and make your baby’s room a calming place (with blackout curtains, white noise, and a good temperature for sleeping).

baby in crib

2. Follow Age-Appropriate Wake Windows

Follow appropriate wake windows (which increase as your baby ages). The average nine-month-old needs between 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, which includes about 3 hours of daytime sleep.

Your nine-month-old’s wake window should be about 3 hours, including eat and play time. If you haven’t made the transition from 3 to 2 naps yet, it’s time!

3. Avoid Overtiredness

Do your best to avoid an overtired baby or overstimulated baby. Both of these things are barriers to sleep for your baby. Remember: a well-rested baby during the day will always sleep better at night!

baby standing in crib

4. Stay Consistent

Don’t introduce poor sleep habits during a sleep regression—even if you feel desperate! This is not the time to start rocking or nursing to sleep for the first time, because you’ll have a tricky time breaking those sleep associations later.

And keep in mind that co-sleeping is not a recommended safe sleep practice, no matter how exhausted you both may feel.

You can sleep train through a regression. I’d recommend a technique such as the sleep wave or controlled cry. Sleep training doesn’t mean you have to leave your baby to cry it out!

5. Check with Your Pediatrician

Lastly, talk to your pediatrician if you suspect there may be a medical issue impacting your baby’s sleep.

Sometimes a pesky ear infection can impact sleep and give your baby no other symptoms. A pediatrician can also consult with you on constipation or other GI issues that might need to be addressed.

Sleep regressions can be so stressful for you and your family, but they don’t last forever. Do your best to focus on all those healthy sleep habits you’ve developed with your baby.

Amy Motroni
2-month old sleeping baby
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