Baby’s days are still filled with exciting changes and new experiences as she grows, but during the time between her seventh and ninth month, with a few exceptions, most of the changes to her sleep patterns only have to do with greater predictability.
When and how will Baby sleep during this time?
The amount of sleep Baby needs in a 24-hour period probably hasn’t changed much in the past few months, and probably won’t change too much in the next few. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommends that children sleep 12 to 16 hours per 24 hours (including naps) on a regular basis for ideal health and development. This may change temporarily when children are sick or going through growth spurts, but the general trend of Baby’s sleep needs is fairly stable at this point.
Though the amount of sleep Baby needs during this time will probably stay pretty stable, she may transition to getting a little more of that sleep at night, and a little less during the day, either by eliminating a nap or by taking slightly shorter naps. If you notice changes in Baby’s napping schedule, you may want to consider adjusting her bedtime to a little earlier, to make up the difference.
Many babies sleep for 8 to 12 hours at a stretch by this time, but plenty of children still need to work on this skill. Many babies who wake up during the night by this age aren’t waking up because they’re hungry. Instead, nighttime waking can mean that a child is feeling lonely or fussy or in pain from teething, or feeling some separation anxiety. Teething pains shouldn’t last more than a week or so for each tooth, and separation anxiety should lessen over time with comforting and reassurance.
For some families who are having trouble getting enough uninterrupted sleep at night, this period of time is a good one to try sleep training. Sleep training isn’t right for every family, or for every baby, but for many families, sleep training can mean the difference between long nights and sleepy days and well-rested parents and children. If you do choose to sleep train, the most important things are to choose a method that feels right and then follow it consistently, and to pay attention to Baby’s cues and personality, to make sure that the sleep-training method you’ve chosen is right for your family.
One major potential variation that could disrupt Baby’s fairly stable sleep schedule is sleep regression. Many parents report that their babies go through a period of regression, where they might start waking up in the middle of the night more often, have more trouble, and might need a little bit of extra sleep on top of that. This regression often happens between 8 and 10 months, and might correspond with Baby working really hard on learning a new skill.
Sleep regression is often secondary to separation anxiety, and it generally improves with time and reassurance. It is important to keep in mind that all babies encounter bumps in the road of growth and development, and once they master a new skill they can usually retrain themselves to be successful again. The same goes with sleeping. Once a child learns to sleep through the night, she may have bad nights, but she will generally go back to sleeping well again before long.
Center for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. “Sleep needs for babies.” Raising Children. Raising Children Network, May 19 2014. Web.
National Sleep Foundation. “National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times.” Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, February 2 2015. Web.