If you are reading this article, then you have most probably survived the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. High five, mama!
Although there are no prizes for us, parents, for surviving the umpteenth sleepless night, the approaching of the 8-month sleep regression can even be considered a good thing.
OK, who am I kidding? It totally sucks, but at least it means the baby is making progress, which will eventually lead to longer stretches of uninterrupted sleep (hopefully for all family members).
What causes the 8-month sleep regression?
Now that your little bundle of joy is mastering his gross motor skills by sitting up, pulling up and crawling, they are so excited by the newly discovered beauties of the world around them! Unfortunately (for you), this also means that they simply cannot let a boring thing like sleep get in the way of their endless experiments.
Between 8 and 10 months, most babies experience a leap of cognitive development and language comprehension, which leads to another phase of sleepless nights, referred to as the 8-month sleep regression. Add don’t even let me start on teething at the same time. As if we need another thing that gets in the way of sleep!
The nap transition
At about 8-10 months, your baby is ready to say goodbye to his 3rd catnap. How to know if the time is right? Well, in most cases the baby will refuse this nap at least half the time anyway, so this is an obvious sign of readiness.
Some sources say it’s also a good idea to turn to a 2-nap schedule if the third one is taking place way after 4pm. The worst thing about nap transitions is that they often lead to overtiredness, which (you guessed it right) is a straight way to sleep regression.
What is the difference between the 4 and the 8-month sleep regression?
As strange as it may sound, these 2 regressions are very different in their nature (not that it changes the fact that you just want to finally get some sleep).
The 4-month sleep regression can be called a pseudo regression as the changes in the 4-month’s sleep patterns that occur during this phase are permanent. The changes that you witness (and the baby experiences) at 8 months, on the other side, are temporary as they are caused by the baby’s brain development.
How to survive the 8-month sleep regression?
Although there is no secret formula that will guarantee you a gentle going through and getting out of the 8-month sleep regression, there are still a few rules you can follow:
1. Be patient – yes, I know what you think right now. Patience and sleep deprivation don’t get along very well. Keep reminding yourself that this is a phase your baby will go through only once (it helped me at the time).
2. Be supportive – many parents feel helpless (and downright miserable) as they find it impossible to remove their baby’s discomfort. Remember that even if you can’t seem to find a way to help your baby go through this tough phase, you can still be there for support!
3. Be flexible – see what works when and be ready to rearrange your plans in order to let your baby get his sleep. You can try different nap schedules, alternating 2-nap with 3-nap days, offering a different bedtime, etc.
Whatever technique, tips, and tricks you are using to try to cope with your baby’s 8-month sleep regression, don’t let this tough period make you think you are an incompetent mother. You are the best mother your baby could get. You can do this. You are awesome.
Now you know everything you need to know about 8-month sleep regression. It’s time to stop Googling “8-month sleep regression” and go to sleep before the baby’s awake. Again.