Unveiling Solutions: Tackling the 9-Month Sleep Regression Challenge Head-On
Emerging from the challenges of the newborn months and successfully navigating the introduction of solids, you may have returned to work, expecting life to settle.
However, unexpected nap strikes and disrupted nights have disrupted the tranquility. What's causing this sudden change?
Join me as we delve into the intricacies of a 9-month-old baby's sleep journey.
In a recent conversation with a mom, we explore the case of George, once an excellent sleeper whose patterns shifted upon mastering the skill of crawling.
Mum noticed he was crawling and rocking around in his cot for hours in the middle of the night, at bedtime and when he was meant to be napping. Frustrated at the lack of sleep George was having, mum started picking him up and holding him for his naps.
Overnight, she reintroduced bottles she had worked so hard to drop. George took the bottles and settled back to sleep. Maybe he was hungry she thought.
3 weeks later, George wasn’t eating properly in the day, refusing breakfast, picking at lunch, still having multiple night bottles, and refusing to be put down for his naps.
A big baby, George was killing mums back, not to mention no one was getting any decent sleep, or a break in the day.
At breaking point mum phoned and explained all this to me. What went wrong!?
Around 8-10 months a lot of babies become very mobile and get good at crawling, moving, and even pulling up to standing.
These huge developmental milestones have a big effect on their brains and often this results in disturbed sleep as your baby wants to practice their new trick! Not sleep!
Combined with a bit of separation anxiety, an increasing interest and investment in play, they will often go through a stage of nap protest or complete nap striking.
Both of these problems are to be expected, and not big problems if we don’t let them become big problems.
Relax, your baby will sleep…eventually.
9 month old’s have a vastly different level of perseverance and persistence compared to 6 month old’s, so any nap struggles will feel 10 x harder than previously.
Understand what your baby is going through developmentally and try to avoid taking a short phase and turning it into a full blown sleep regression.
Let your baby have the space and time to go to sleep, if they previously self-settled, they haven’t forgotten how to do this, they just need you to be a bit patient and give them that time.
It is unlikely a baby established on solids will suddenly need night feeds. So any night feeds are a settling tool, and your baby will likely grab onto this and continue to wake looking for those feeds to get back to sleep.
Instead of offering feeds, offer re-assurance if they are upset, and space if they are wide awake crawling!
Nap strikes can feel impossible, but know you are giving your baby the ideal time and environment to nap in, and the actual falling asleep part it up to them!
If they choose to not nap, and party, grizzle, crawl, or stand for the entire nap duration, that’s ok! That’s their choice!
Try to increase the time they have available in the day to practice those skills to minimize them wanting to do it at bed time.
Avoid car seats, strollers, bouncers, baby seats things like that. Let them have free reign on the ground to crawl, climb, stand, roll, and play play play!
They are little people who need to be physically and mentally tired enough to sleep well.
Emma is the owner and founder of Baby Sleep Consultant, she is a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant, Happiest Baby on the Block Educator, Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne Certificate in Infant Sleep, a Bachelor of Science, and Diploma in Education.
Emma is a mother to 3 children, and loves writing when she isn't working with tired clients and cheering on her team helping thousands of mums just like you.
Our Baby Sleep Program helps tired parents TO DEVELOP HEALTHY SLEEP HABITS BY FOCUSING ON NAPS, SETTLING AND NIGHT SLEEP.
- Empowered: Feel empowered as a Mum as you learn to understand your growing baby's needs and cues.
- Simple effective settling: Gentle, proven self settling, evidence based techniques.
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