Your ultimate guide to managing your baby’s 8-month sleep regression


As your little one turns 8 months old, you’re probably already familiar with sleep regressions and the challenges that come with them. You’ve likely overcome the 4-month sleep hurdle and by 6 months old, your baby is finally sleeping through the night (no doubt, after spending months fine-tuning the best bedtime routine).

At 8 months old, just when you start to think the sleepless nights are behind you, some infants face new sleep difficulties which are a far cry from their recent progress. Enter the 8-month sleep regression – a temporary setback that can disrupt your baby’s sleep routine. However, knowing what to expect and how to handle this 8-month-old sleep regression can help ensure your child is back to a healthy sleep routine. 

Read on to learn everything about the 8-month sleep regression—why your baby’s sleep changes at 8 months, signs and causes behind the regression, how long it will last, and finally, how you can manage it.

When does the 8-month sleep regression start and end?

According to Debbie Gerken, Certified Registered NICU Nurse, Certified Pediatric Gentle Sleep Coach, and founder of Sleep Like a Baby Consulting, “Sleep regressions are a normal part of physical and mental development. When a regression begins can vary from baby to baby as babies are on their own development trajectory that is influenced by many factors.

The start of the 8-month sleep regression can start around 8 months of age, but for some babies, may not start until between 8-10 months. Its duration can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month.”

How does infant sleep change at 8 months?

During your baby’s first year, their sleep patterns will go through significant changes. Around the 6-month mark, your child will start to stay asleep for longer stretches, with the majority of sleep occurring at night. At 8 months old your baby will likely be sleeping for 12 to 16 hours a day, including naps. However, sleep patterns among infants vary considerably, so it is common for 8-month-old babies to wake up during the night. 

Signs your baby is undergoing 8-month sleep regression

Most sleep regressions begin with a deviation from sleep patterns and declining sleep quality. Here are some of the tell-tale signs that might help you recognize if your 8-month-old is undergoing a sleep regression:

  • Fussiness around bedtime
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Taking longer naps
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings
  • Sleeping less at night

Causes behind your baby’s 8-month sleep regression

The 8-month sleep regression happens because your baby is going through several physical, cognitive, and developmental changes at this age.

Here are some of the causes behind your little one’s sleep regression:

  • Teething
  • Learning to crawl, sit, stand, or rollover
  • Increased environmental awareness
  • Development of emotional attachments
  • Separation anxiety

In terms of language, your baby’s skills will grow, understanding more words and what you say with each passing day. Around the 8-month mark, you’ll notice your baby wants to stay awake longer during the day which will prompt a change in their nap schedule. This change or drop from three naps to two, can contribute to a shift in their sleep habits.

All this to say, there is no one reason why the 8-month sleep regression occurs. It could be one or a combination of the factors listed above. Furthermore, how long a regression lasts will depend on your infant and the cause of their sleep problems. If you’re lucky, your baby might skip over the 8-month regression altogether. 

Cognitively, babies become very aware of the world around them at 8-months old. Because they are continuously learning how to engage with their world in different ways, they often have difficulty with sleep as they feel very connected and overstimulated by all these changes.”

How long does the 8-month sleep regression last?

Typically, a sleep regression lasts between two to six weeks. If it ends faster, your baby may have been troubled by a temporary factor like a mild illness, rather than a true sleep regression. Why does the 8-month sleep regression happen?

How to handle baby’s 8-month sleep regression: Tips and tricks

Now that you know the causes of 8-month sleep regression and how long it lasts, you’re probably wondering how you can get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. The good news is that, if you have an established routine that worked before, there is no need to make drastic changes. Follow the same routine and make minor adjustments when needed.

The Sleep Foundation recommends that parents:

  1. Follow safe sleep practices: Such as those laid out by the National Institute of Health, including keeping soft blankets, toys, and pillows out of the crib (to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS).
  2. Stick to a routine: Even if a regression disrupts it, try to follow the same routine for naps and bedtime as much as possible. Consistency gives infants sleep cues which help prepare them for sleep and help them develop healthy sleep habits.
  3. Keep consistent with the bedtime routine: Follow the same routine every night so they get used to preparing for sleep. A consistent bedtime routine helps them fall asleep easier and prevents nighttime awakenings. Closer to bedtime, ensure your little one is well-fed and exposed to less stimulation which allows them to wind down.
  4. Put baby down when drowsy but not asleep: Your infant should not be used to falling asleep in your arms as this can cause separation anxiety. Place them in their crib when drowsy but awake so they associate their sleep space with falling asleep.
  5. Ensure minimal disturbances: Keeping the nursery dark and quiet can help your infant sleep more soundly. Using a sound machine to drown out any background noise can prevent your baby from being startled awake or distracted at bedtime.
  6. Sunlight exposure: Exposing your child to sunlight will help develop a sleep pattern that is in line with the day-night cycle meaning they will be more likely to stay asleep through the night.
  7. Teething-related sleep regression: If your baby wakes up because of teething pain, try soothing their gums with a cold, damp cloth. You could also massage their gums with clean hands or give them a teething ring.
  8. Separation anxiety: When your baby becomes irritable or cries when you move away, it is most likely separation anxiety which occurs around the 8-month mark. To counteract this, try brief periods of separation during the day so they are comfortable when you leave at night.

Implement a warm goodbye at night consistently so they feel comforted before you go. According to Gerken, “Doing things like quietly shushing or saying two-word phrases (“night, night” or “I’m here”) so that they can be calm enough to access their self-soothing skills” really helps.

You could also leave something of yours in the room (not crib), in their line of sight (consider an emotional support sweatshirt) to remind them of you. Lastly, don’t give in to their crying by taking them out of the crib or they will expect it every time.


If the sleep regression lasts longer than six weeks, consult your pediatrician. Remember, two to six weeks of relying on copious amounts of coffee to keep you going through several nighttime awakenings with a crying infant won’t be easy, but, regressions don’t last forever! 

Even 12-month-old  babies experience sleep problems and it’s through no fault on your part. So, don’t blame yourself or feel discouraged, and try to get as much sleep as you can to show up and be present for your little one. Take it one day at a time and you will get through it!

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