We have all heard of the four month sleep regression and how terribly it affects baby’s and mummy’s sleep, but what about the 8/9/10 month sleep regression?
I hadn’t heard about it until we started having some sleep problems over the past few weeks and I googled ‘sleep at 9 months’. Turns out unsettled sleep is very common around this age.
I first noticed a change in Dexter’s sleep pattern around two weeks ago when he started waking in the evening for a bottle. I put it down to a growth spurt and didn’t think anything of offering him a bottle to settle him back to sleep.
Last week he started waking in the middle of the night as well. Again, only a bottle would settle him back to sleep. This time I blamed teething. He had a fourth tooth about to cut through and I assumed he was in a lot of pain which milk would soothe.
This week he has started to fight his naptimes and bedtimes. Dexter has always been an excellent sleeper. All you need to do is to look out for his sleepy cues, place him in his cot and off he goes to sleep. Not anymore. This past week I have noticed him yawning or rubbing his eyes, gone to put him in the cot which has resulted in a screaming, tearful baby.
I have tried leaving him to cry for a few minutes but he gets louder and louder, starts sweating and bangs his head against the cot. I try giving him a cuddle to soothe him, which works to stop his crying, but as soon as I put him anywhere near the cot he starts crying again. I’ve tried offering milk to soothe him but he pushes it away. I’ve tried offering calpol and baby neurofen thinking he has got sore gums but obviously it doesn’t work. It’s been quite a challenging few weeks.
According to Google, this sleep regression occurs because babies are learning so many new skills and starting to understand the world around them, that they find it extremely difficult to switch off to go to sleep; a bit like me when I have a big project on at work the next day. Sources estimate that this regression lasts around six weeks, which can feel like the longest time when you are not getting any sleep, but hopefully we are now half way through it.
Other tips include limiting all stimulating items in the cot and ensuring the room is pitch black so nothing around him can stimulate him. They also recommend he sleeps in a sleeping bag to limit movement. His biggest trick at the moment is pulling himself up on the cot bars and sitting up in his cot. Although a sleeping bag won’t stop it, it should make it slightly more difficult.
Above all, the sources recommend we avoid creating bad habits, as this regression won’t last forever. Therefore I am going to avoid giving milk if possible if he wakes in the night; I am not going to rock him to sleep and I’m not going to sit in his room while he falls asleep. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to leave him to cry, that’s just not my style, but at the same time I don’t want him to start to depend on me for sleep, when we have done so very well up to this point.
There is nothing worse than a screaming, crying baby who you can see is extremely tired, but cannot go to sleep. Send lots of coffee and positive vibes please mamas!
Have you suffered with the 8/9/10 month sleep regression? How did you cope? Any tips for a new mum?