Why is There a 9-Month Sleep Regression? And Here’s How to Cope Up!
Have you ever heard of a 9-month sleep regression? If you are a parent of a 1-year-old baby and older, you know what I am talking about! It is a battlefield of sleeplessness and struggling between you and your baby – and it is practically normal for all!
My baby went through a sleep regression when she was 9-month-old. The nights are exhausting because I cannot have a decent sleep. There were times when she cried for more than an hour or when she tried to fight off being put down in her crib.
Worst, she keeps on waking up and moving around, and it made me awake the entire night!
What is a 9-month Sleep Regression?
It is the time when your baby goes through a transition from sleeping all night long for many months and then all of a sudden, waking up all night as if she drank a whole bottle of sleepless potion.
A 9-month regression is a stage when babies go through a developmental change, and it affects their sleeping pattern. Usually, the sleep regression happens between 8 months to 12 months, but for many babies, it can hit the 9-month mark.
Your baby will start to fight sleeping in bed or refusing to take a nap. He may move around as if wanting to do a lot of things. Or, they may be times when he will cry for hours or become too clingy.
Though you may notice the same pattern when your baby hit the 4-month sleep regression, the changes in a 9-month regression may only be temporary.
The Reason Behind It
As your baby starts to grow, certain changes are happening in their body and brains, which can manifest an effect in their speech, physical capacities, and thinking. These so-called baby milestones can affect their sleep and activities thus resulting in moving around and sleep disruptions.
Some babies also experience separation anxiety, a condition where he understands that you are leaving him in his room for a longer time. Babies would start to cry and become clingy when they could not see their parents around.
Other Causes of Sleep Regression
- Teething – Teeth eruptions can be painful for your baby and hence will disrupt how he rests and sleep. During these times, he will start to have his first set of teeth.
- Nap transitions – Is your baby dropping naps? The sudden switch can be tough for him to adjust and thus making him fussier when sleeping.
Is It Sleep Regression or Becoming a Habit?
Understand that sleep regression is a temporary phase and must not be prolonged to one year. Generally, a 9-month sleep regression can last for 3 to 6 weeks, and your baby will sleep well like before after the regression.
If your baby continues the same sleeping pattern for several months, it can form a habit – and you don’t want a sleepless routine for you and your baby! Identifying the signs of regression will help you cope up for a few weeks and then deal with it appropriately when the pattern remains.
Signs of Sleep Regression
- They quickly wake up to anything. It can be a loud environment, visitors coming in or a new environment. Your baby will not sleep easily through almost anything.
- They will wake up frequently in the middle of the night. You will suddenly hear him moving in his crib even after a few hours of sleep at night.
- They are not growing. Growth spurts can also affect sleep patterns. But, if your baby is not gaining weight, it may only be a regression.
- They simply wake up for no reason. Your baby will wake up without any call for milk or comfort from pain.
- They are between 4 months to 2 years. Sleep regression happens anytime during these years. The normal sleep regression periods are four months, nine months, 11 months, 18 months and two years.
Coping Up with the Temporary Phase
While we may feel a bit overwhelmed with the changes and feel tired all the time, the good news is that we can cope with it. Learning how to deal with sleep regression can protect us from creating an emotional barrier between our baby and us and can also protect them from forming unwanted habits.
- Create a healthy sleeping environment. Avoid distractions such as toys, TV programs, books, flashy items or bright things that may cause your baby’s eyes to wander. Set an ideal room temperature for sleeping. Put on white music to help him relax.
- Adjust the sleeping schedule. If it takes a longer time for your baby to sleep, you can change the sleeping time to that moment such as 15 minutes later.
- Have more time for moving “practices” during the day. Your baby can crawl, cruise, sit or pull up anytime he wants for an extended period during the day. So when nightime comes, he already had enough and may help him sleep.
- Follow a sleeping routine. Include special activities that will precondition him to sleep. You can start with a good sponge bath, lotion, putting on jammies, tucking in or swaddling, adding some music and rocking for a few minutes.
- Make bedtime earlier. Too many activities plus the lack of sleep can lead to exhaustion thus making your baby crankier. If necessary, create an earlier bedtime to lengthen sleep.
- Avoid sudden and too much attention on sleeping practices. Letting him sleep on your bed or allowing him to sleep with you for a long time can be soothing. But, too much attention on these exercises can lead to getting used to and your baby seeking it all the time.
- Know the reason behind the sleeplessness. Identifying what may cause your baby not to sleep can help you ward off the distraction so he can fall asleep fast.
You are not alone!
Going through sleep regression can be a challenge not just on your part as a parent but also on your baby. It can reduce his normal sleep of 11 hours to 7 or 8 hours every night. Not able to sleep well can affect his overall growth and development.
However, it is normal for babies to go through such stages. What they need the most is our patience, loving care and determination to help them cope with the regression.
It was hard for us to go through the phase seeing that my baby lacks sleep and feels overtired. But, learning to cope up and understand the situation, we broke through the process and went back to our normal sleeping habits.
How about you? How are you coping with your 9-month sleep regression? Tell me more about it!