Let’s explain what is the 9 month sleep regression and why it is such a Biggy?
You just thought you had it all figured out, and everything completely changes! As sleep matures and gradually improves, there are some noticeable obstacles. In turn, this may lead to sleep difficulties. This is one of them. The 9-month sleep regression.
It can occur anywhere between 8-12 months and isn’t an unusual occurrence that most babies go through this regression exactly at the 9 months mark. Sleep regressions are associated with developmental milestones. We prefer calling it a “Sleep – Progression” An explosion of development happens at 9 months, YEAH!! Babies are more physical and verbal and it may be paired with separation anxiety. Sleep disruption is caused by each of these cognitive and physical milestones. Sometimes they occur all at once. Oh No!!
If your baby loved to take short cat naps of 30-45 min this regression can hit quite hard and if a routine has not been established for your unique baby these naps can become harder to achieve, they may start to refuse naps
Faced with a difficult situation when the nine-month sleep regression occurs.
To get baby back to sleep, parents often try everything that comes to mind.
- Day 1 : parent does not know what to do.
- On day 2 : parents start to rock baby.
- Day 3 : they try driving in the car or using the pram to get baby to sleep, nothing is really working and the nighttime sleep starts to fall apart.
Parents might try different routines, searching for answers on the internet and just driving themselves crazy.
Separation anxiety?! What is that?
Separation anxiety, causes your baby to think they will not be reunited with you after leaving them for just a couple of minutes to play on their own. However, not all babies experience this phase.
Assess your child’s response when you walk out of the room while she is playing during the day. If she was happy playing on her own while you were in the room, but cries immediately when you leave the room, then she is probably going through this separation anxiety phase. Try to remain as loving, confident and natural as usual.
How does the 9 month sleep regression affect sleep?
While you are leaving the room, your baby begins to cry, but nothing has changed. This crying may sound different, it is more like “HEY! I want to know where you’re going!?” They fear missing out as well. As a result, if you didn’t expect this to happen, you’ll find yourself back in her room investigating. Thinking your baby is sick or something is truly wrong.
- He/She may regress from nice long 1.5 hour naps to 30-45 minute single sleep cycle naps
- In the middle of the night, you might hear that your baby is awake and he/she might be awake for a while.
- All the great developmental milestones being reached may be a solid reason for waking up between 1-3 am to try and practice this newfound skill.
- They can get stuck in a standing position, crying and not knowing how to get back down.
You may need to help baby go from standing to lying down again for a few nights.
Practice these new skills in a safe environment during playtime, ensuring that your baby gets plenty of physical activity during the day in order to limit the amount of time they practice at night!
How to survive this sleep regression?
- Breathe deeply, this too shall pass
- Once your baby understands that you are still available to them when you are out of sight, sleep will improve.
- It’s fun to play games, like peek-a-boo. It can be played both with toys and with yourself. Tell your baby that you will be leaving and that you will return soon.
- Keep practicing this throughout her day
- Give an extra-long wind down before naps with lots of cuddles and one on one time.
- Follow this same loving bedtime routine to help fulfill her attachment needs and ease her separation anxiety.
- Take your time until you see this regression has passed.
- Don’t fret if responding to your baby during the regression might create new sleep associations; just be consistent.
- Your baby might need to learn how to fall asleep on her own again if she has developed new sleep behaviors that you can’t keep up
Conclusion about surviving this lovely “progression”
Hang in there you have all the tools and advice. Consistency and predictability is they key to staying on track with your little ones sleep.