You've barely made it out of the 4 month regression, or perhaps you hardly even noticed the 4 month regression, and now there is another one! Things typically settle down for sleep from 5 months, to 8 months, and then out of nowhere, sleep problems start to arise. Since you've made it this far into parenting, you have possibly noticed that babies always seem to be going through "something." Whether that "something" is teething, a sleep regression, developmental leap, the first year can have a lot of ups and downs.
What are sleep regressions? The 8,9,10 regression is majorly different than the 4 month regression. This is because the 4 month regression isn't technically a "true" regression. With real regressions in the world of sleep, things will eventually even out and for a majority of the time, go back to normal. With the 4 month regression (as mentioned in a previous post) it is a permanent change in your baby's sleep patterns, which means it is here to STAY. The 8,9,10 regression happens mostly for the development of your baby's brain - crawling and being ready for a nap transition are two of the biggest causes of this regression.
Physical Milestones:There is a lot happening inside of your little baby's head and body at this age. He/She may be starting to sit up independently, crawl, scoot, pull into standing position, and even walking. This is a lot for a little baby to handle all at once, and sometimes the practice that goes along with these new found skills, can happen at the wrong time. When a new skill is developing, your little one's brain, and body goes into over-drive and wants to practice, practice, practice, even if they should be sleeping. This can then cause an overtired, and cranky baby (and parents too!) It can be especially hard for a child who does not have self-soothing skills to begin with, to fall back asleep after this "practicing" is happening.
Lack of self-soothing skills:The babies whom need more help to sleep, may now really start to fight your efforts to soothe, and put them to sleep. This is because babies at this age find it too stimulating, and may try to take these opportunities to show off their new skills with an audience. If your once 20 minutes of rocking, has now turned into 60 minutes, this may be your baby's way of saying "I am ready to be going down more awake on my own now," and the presence of Mom/Dad is inhibiting their ability to fall asleep, instead of helping.
Already have an independent sleeper?
If your little one is already an independent sleeper, and experiencing the regression there are a few things to take notice of -
Sleep Environment: Sleep environment plays a huge role in children's sleep patterns. There should be nothing stimulating in your child's crib/bedroom, pitch black room, true white noise, and appropriate temperatures.
Check your baby's sleep schedule: Does your baby need more sleep during the day? Does the schedule need a complete overhaul? An age appropriate daytime schedule plays a huge role in a successful night.
Nap transition: 8,9,10 months are the most common age to make the 3 to 2 nap transition. This transition can cause nighttime issues, until the schedule has been straightened out. It's important to be consistent, and patient with any nap transition.
What not to do during the regression:
Don't create any new habits that you are not willing to follow through on. If you already have an independent sleeper, it's important to make sure it remains that way, or the regression can drag on longer. The regression will pass in time, but if you start letting your baby sleep in your bed, or fall asleep while feeding, this regression now turns into a new habit for the child.
Sleep Regressions are a real, and exhausting part of parenting, that not many people talk about. During these tough times, remember to be patient, flexible, and prepared. As hard as it is to get through, there is an end to the regression - which ends much quicker for independent sleepers.
If this sleep regression has you relating with this guy, I would love to chat!