How to handle the 9 months sleep regression like a BOSS!

How to handle the 9 months sleep regression like a BOSS!

Your little one’s sleep will go through many stages of development, especially in the first 12 months of life.  Did you know that there are 5 known stages of sleep regression, or really progressions as they advancements in new skill development!  This can include physical development, cognitive development and emotional development.  

The second sleep regression that your little one will experience is the 9 month sleep regression.  Different from the 4 month sleep regression, in that it is short-term and passes in 2-4 weeks.  This is compared to the 4 month sleep regression which involves a permanent neurological change in our little one’s sleeping patterns which is why even at 9 months you nay still be feeling some of the aftermath if your little one doesn’t have a strong foundation for sleep.

This can also be referred as the 8-10 month regression or separation anxiety.  Don't stress, it doesn't last 2 months, more commonly 2-4 weeks as mentioned above, but it does depend on your babies previous sleeping patterns. 

Expert tip: The stronger your sleep foundations, the less likely you will feel these regressions throughout the early yearsThis may mean only a few days or you may notice some different behaviours by day, but little or no impact at night.

Every baby is different.

They are commonly characterised by:

Onset of nap resistance
More frequent night waking
Early rising and
The all important - new skill development! Hello learning to master sitting, crawling, pulling to stand!

 

It is also linked to their first wave of object permanence AKA separation anxiety.  This is when your little one learns that you are actually two separate people and that objects/people can still exist when outside of their direct line of sight.  This can be really unsettling initially for your little one.  Peek a boo games are great to learn the concept of something gone is not gone forever!

Check out my Top 5 Tips for handling this regression like a boss to remain cool, calm and confident in your approach and return to great sleep in the shortest space of time.

Tops 5 tips to handle the 9 month sleep regression

1. Sleep Environment - Keep it boring!  This will minimise the opportunity for distractions which can lead to overstimulation.  I recommend that your little one’s room is nice and dark.  This translates to around 8/9 out of 10).

I also recommend continuous white noise to buffer external household noises, especially if you have noisy sibling! This is safe to play around 50-60 decibels long-term and can be weaned off at any stage by simply turning it down and off over a one week period.  

2. Awake times/Nap structure - Most babies will transition to 2 naps around 7/8 months and keep 2.5 hours total day sleep.  This could be made up of short/long nap pattern or medium-medium nap pattern. I do recommend shifting to more of a set nap routine once on two naps as awake times alone can mean your second nap finishes too early and leaves a large gap to bedtime resulting in an overtired baby.   

You can download my nap routines via link (insert link - Calendar Thanks (babysleepfoundations.com)) for guidance from 6 weeks to 4 years with month my month guidance of sleep requirements, milk/solids intake and so much more.

3. External sleep associations - Be mindful that whilst you can ALWAYS support your little one through the transition of new skill development, we don't want to re-introduce any sleep props that we have either worked really hard to wean out or didn't have in the first place. 

I want to always encourage you to respond to your little one and provide extra support as you feel they need, just remember to have an exit strategy to leave the room again over this timeframe as children learn through patterns of repetition of events and wont necessarily give you an “out” to leave the room again once the regression has passed.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice - Ensure that you give your little one lots of opportunity to practice their new skills during awake time.  This may include getting up and down from sitting to laying or standing to sitting.  This will help your little one build muscle memory. 

Remember not to panic about them "refusing" to sit/lay down. They can do it, but it will require you to be patient and not "rescue" them every 2 minutes which can turn it into a game/battlefield and take much longer.   

5. Consistency and Patience - Your consistency is important long-term.  If we chop and change our response each time we settle or re-settle we are going to send mixed messages. 

Just like going on a diet for 5 hours and not losing 5 kgs, so you eat a block of chocolate it is ineffective and you wont get the result you are after long-term.

 This is same principal when it comes to choosing a settling technique, trying it for 5-10 minutes, thinking “it’s not working” each time and then trying something different the next time.  It’s confusing and gives our little one inconsistent reinforcement. 

To minimise the tears for everyone, we need to pick a method we are comfortable with and be patient to see it through for this settle and the next and the next to build a sense of normal and safe for our little one.

 

Hi, I’m Kelly Martin, Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant and mumma of 3 beautiful girls.  I support families from birth to 4 years of age and focus on providing sleep support from a holistic and evidence-based approach to teach you healthy sleep foundations that last a lifetime.
If you need extra support and guidance on your little one’s sleep, please do not hesitate to reach out for 1-1 advice.  I offer a variety of packages over the phone, in-home and via my Baby Sleep Foundations course.

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