What Is the 9-Month Sleep Regression and What to Do About It
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What Is the 9-Month Sleep Regression and What to Do About It

If your baby is 9-months-old, your baby may be getting less sleep. Here is what to know about the 9-month sleep regression and how to help.

Updated July 17, 2024

by Jilly Blankenship

Baby Sleep Consultant, Neonatal Nurse, IBCLC
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Nine months old. An age of babbling, pointing, laughing, playing peek-a-boo, and overall cuteness. It’s not all adorable fat rolls and toothless grins, though. Your 9-month-old baby is undergoing an explosion in development, which can sometimes lead to sleep regression. If your baby’s sleep has suddenly gone haywire, and you’re starting to believe sleepless nights are your new normal, this article is for you.

What You Should Know About Sleep Regressions

Sleep regressions are temporary disruptions in sleep due to bursts in cognitive or physical development. Think of it like this: whenever your baby is going through a developmental leap or working on a new milestone, like standing, another part of their development regresses, similar to two steps forward and one step back.

This may seem strange at first, but it makes sense. Mastering new skills takes enormous physical and cognitive strength, so your little one’s system might need a few days to integrate a new skill and move forward.

3 Signs of the 9-Month Sleep Regression

These signs may indicate your baby is going through a sleep regression:

1. Your Baby’s Sleep Worsens With No Apparent Cause Like Sickness or Recent Travel

If your little one was on a good (enough) sleep routine, then suddenly, they’re fighting bedtime, refusing to nap, or waking at all hours of the night, a regression is the most likely culprit.

2. Your Baby Is More Hungry, Fussy, or Restless

Mastering big physical skills like rolling, standing, or walking burns a lot of energy. You may find that your baby’s appetite grows during this time. Also, fighting sleep makes our little ones fussier and more tired.

3. Your Baby Is Mastering New Skills

At 9 months old, many babies learn to sit up, stand, crawl, or cruise around furniture. If you see your little one actively working on new skills, seeming more restless, and fighting sleep, chalk it up to the 9-month sleep regression.

How Long Does the 9-Month Sleep Regression Last?

The 9-month sleep regression is commonly called the 8- to 10-month sleep regression, which can make parents think it’s a 3-month regression. Don’t worry, it’s not! There’s just a lot of development going on for our little ones at this age, and each baby develops on their own timeline, so this regression might occur any time during those three months.

Sleep regressions can last up to two weeks. Yes, I know this sounds like an eternity to a sleep-deprived parent. Focusing on the new (adorable) skills your baby is mastering can help relieve any frustration you’re feeling. See my survival tips below for specific ways to help your baby sleep well during this phase.

4 Tips for Surviving the 9-Month Sleep Regression

Surviving a sleep regression can feel like an impossible task at times. It’s tough to hear your baby cry and see them struggle to sleep both day and night. Here are some things you can do to help your baby relax and sleep better during this restless time.

Tip #1: Start a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

If you haven’t already, start a relaxing bedtime routine for your little one. Bedtime routines improve sleep habits, foster the emotional bond between parents and children, and enhance overall well-being.1 A familiar bedtime routine cues your little one to relax and fall asleep every night. This is especially helpful during sleep regressions when our little ones are more restless and wired.

Tip #2: Give Your Baby a Consistent Daily Schedule

Daily schedules can sound boring or stifling for parents who aren’t natural planners, but let me assure you, they can be a parent’s saving grace! Keep it simple. Aim for a consistent wake-up time, nap times, and bedtime daily. That’s it! When your baby sleeps at the same times each day, sleep becomes easier for them, so they fight sleep less.

Tip #3: Remind Yourself That This Is Temporary

When you’re up at 3 a.m. with a fussy baby who won’t sleep, it’s hard not to go a little crazy (been there, done that!). Whenever my babies went through sleep regressions, I would say a little mantra like this: “This IS temporary. My sweet baby is learning so much right now, and they need my help to process it all and relax. Before I know it, we’ll be sleeping great again. I can do this.”

All of these things are true. Your baby is overwhelmed, but it won’t last forever. And soon enough, they’ll be past this milestone, and you’ll be so proud of them! So don’t worry, mama, it will be over before you know it.

I’d also visualize the strong coffee I’d treat myself to the next morning. I found that to be especially helpful! 😉

Tip #4: Start Sleep Training Once the Regression Passes

After two weeks of a sleep regression, you can begin sleep training to get your baby sleeping better. At this point, it’s safe to say the regression has passed, and most of your baby’s sleep struggles are turning into habits.

Sleep training is the process of teaching your baby to fall asleep independently so that they can sleep longer stretches at night (and eventually sleep through the night). It helps strengthen sleep patterns for both babies and parents and improves maternal mental health.2 I know I’m a happier mom when I’m well-rested!

You don’t have to suffer long-term with a baby that refuses to sleep. The 9-month sleep regression is a temporary disruption in your baby’s sleep. It will pass. Focusing on the new words your baby is babbling or new skills they’re learning can help, as can starting a relaxing bedtime routine and consistent daily schedule. Teaching your baby the skill of independent sleep will set them up to sleep great for years and help them ride out future sleep regressions more easily. Good luck!

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Jilly Blankenship Baby Sleep Consultant, Neonatal Nurse, IBCLC
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Jilly Blankenship is a neonatal nurse, lactation consultant, sleep consultant, and mom of two who has found her passion in helping exhausted parents get their babies sleeping well. Seeing the… Read more

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