9-Month Regression Survival Guide
Just when you think you’ve got this sleep thing figured out, your little one starts protesting bedtime, waking up at night, and skipping naps – what the heck?? The 9-month regression can be just as challenging to get through and can even last longer than the 4-month regression. The difference is, it’s not a change in their sleep patterns as much as it is a new stage of brain, social, and physical development.
Because of their ever-developing brains, separation anxiety can show up for the first time. This can make the separation of bedtime and nap time a whole new battle zone.
If you haven’t sleep trained already, you don’t necessarily need to wait until this passes, but you can choose a gentle method that will give her reassurance while still setting good boundaries around sleep. If you’ve previously used a sleep training method successfully, stick to your normal plan as much as possible without creating new habits. Check out my full post on separation anxiety here.
Their social development also comes into play – they are suddenly much more aware of the fun that they are missing out on when they are asleep, so even if they aren’t anxious about the separation, they certainly aren’t happy about it! They also may start practicing lots of new sounds and vocalizing much more – even for hours in the middle of the night!
If you have an extra social little baby, you may need a longer wind-down routine for naps and bedtime to help them transition. For a baby that’s babbling in the crib instead of sleeping, there’s not a lot you can do. If they’re happy enough, it’s usually better to give them space and let them fall back to sleep, rather than interacting with them.
Lastly, new physical milestones can really take their toll on a previously great sleeper. Now instead of going right to sleep at bedtime, your 9-month old wants to spend hours rolling around, sitting up, pulling up, or working on crawling. They might want to do it in the middle of the night, too!
The best thing you can do is give baby LOTS of practice during the daytime. If they’re working on crawling, give them tons of tummy time. If they know how to pull up to standing but don’t know how to get down, practice guiding them down gently to the ground during the day, and encouraging them to try it on their own.
Another very important thing to check is your baby’s sleep schedule. Have you updated it in a while? Their schedule should be updated every month to make sure they’re not going into bed or naptime under or over-tired. For a complete baby sleep guide, including monthly schedules, check out my newly revised ebook here.
Lastly, trust that this stage will pass! Do your best not to start unsustainable sleep habits during this time so that you can sail through it more quickly.