What is the 9-month sleep regression?

Even if your baby has long been a fantastic sleeper, you may notice that around 8 to 10 months, they’re now waking several times a night! Your little one might need a middle-of-the-night snuggle and be reluctant to doze back off. These wake-ups are known as the 9-month sleep regression (also referred to as the 8-month sleep regression). 

Why is my 9-month old suddenly waking at night?

Around 9 months, a new swarm of challenges (teething pain, first colds, constipation, new foods, pulling to stand, etc.) can shatter a good night’s sleep. These common disturbances cause many thorny sleep struggles.

Developmental milestones and the 9-month sleep regression.

Right now, your baby might be crawling, pulling to stand, or even walking for the first time! There are so many new ways to explore the world…with so many fun things to do and see, it’s no wonder your little one is wide-eyed!

Teething and the 9-month sleep regression.

Teething is usually just an annoyance. It’s easy to ignore during the day, but becomes bothersome when lying in bed at night. And, around 9 months, babies have as many as eight different teeth coming in! 

Temperament and the 9-month sleep regression.

A baby’s temperament can lead to wakeups. Babies with a sensitive temperament might be more, well, sensitive to internal and external disturbances. Likewise, babies who are especially social might enjoy Mom or Dad’s company so much that they wake up at 4 a.m. thinking, “Is it time to play yet?” Find your baby’s temperament here.

Hunger and the 9-month sleep regression.

Could a rumbling tummy be behind your baby’s 9-month sleep regression? During this period in your baby’s life, they’re filling up on new foods—but as you introduce solids, make sure you’re not skimping on milk. Milk still makes up about 75% of your baby’s calories right now. Make sure your baby isn’t skipping milk during the day…otherwise, they’re going to start popping awake hungry all night long.

How long does the 9-month sleep regression last?

It depends! The 9-month sleep regression could pass after a few days, but it could last for weeks, or possibly months, if it’s not addressed.

How much sleep do babies need at 9 months?

At 9 months, babies tend to sleep around 12 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period. This ends up being about 9 to 11 hours of nighttime sleep and 2 to 5 hours of naps.

Tips to handle the 9-month sleep regression: 

Prepare your baby’s room for sleep. Strong sleep cues are a good way to keep sleep regressions at bay. Use low, rumbly white noise, which can cover up external disturbances (the sound of a car’s engine outside, for example) and can also help babies forget about internal disturbances (like sore gums). Need a white noise machine? SNOObear plays doctor-designed white noise…and looks adorable in any nursery! Additionally, make sure the room is dark (even a little bit of light peeking in can cause wake-ups) and a comfortable temperature. 

Address teething pain. If you think throbbing gums are keeping your child awake, ask your doctor about giving ibuprofen or acetaminophen 30 minutes before bed (it takes a little time to work). And while you’re waiting for the medicine to work, let your munchkin chomp on a washcloth whose corner was dipped in apple juice and then frozen. (Related: How to help a teething baby)

Add extra fat to your baby’s diet. In addition to making sure your baby is getting enough breastmilk or formula during the day, you could also try to boost the fat content of evening feeds with a little avocado, or a bit of olive oil or butter mixed into food. This could help your baby feel fuller longer.  

Adjust your bedtime. If you’ve tried the above tips and your little friend is still waking, it’s possible that you have a bedtime scheduling issue. Wake-ups can be caused by going to bed too early or late…or having an irregular sleep schedule. (Related: Here's a sample sleep schedule for your baby's first year)

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