Just like so many other regressions that happen for our little ones this regression is to do with developmental milestones. The 8 – 10 month sleep regression, unlike the 4-month one, doesn’t have anything to do with sleep milestones though. At this age, babies are going through lots of mental and physical milestones including crawling, scooting, sitting up pulling up and cruising. Babies are also absorbing a lot of language, begin to understand object permanence (and experience separation anxiety) and start babbling.
Not every baby experiences a sleep regression at this age though, so it is best not to automatically assume your baby is experiencing one unless they used to be a really good sleeper. If the sleep problems have been occurring for some time then there is likely another cause.
So, while their little brains are occupied with all of these new things going on their sleep might go out the window, but there are certain things you can do to help them get through the regression without becoming overtired messes.
Give them time to practice new skills.
Practicing new skills during awake times needs to be the top priority. This gives your baby time to master the skills that they are working on and also makes them less likely to want to do it during sleep times. Their brains can get so overwhelmed with the new skills that they find it hard to relax.
Maintain normal bedtime and naptime routines.
I can’t emphasize enough about how important bedtime and naptime routines are. They cue our babies into the fact that sleep time is coming. This will be helpful for babies as they are going through the regression as it not only keeps things consistent for them but with their brains going a mile a minute anything that can cue their brain into to prepare for sleep is useful.
Check your sleep environment.
Make sure that you have your baby’s sleep environment as conducive to sleep as possible. Ensure that the room is completely black. If your baby is struggling with sleep and the room isn’t dark enough it won’t help with the melatonin production, as well as making it easy to see all the fun things in the room that might distract them from sleep.
Make it difficult to practice new skills at sleep time.
Along with giving lots of practice time during awake hours, we can do things to make it less likely our babies will have fun practicing sitting, standing or crawling. If you don’t already, put them in a sleep sack. This makes it a lot harder to move their little legs as much and thus they are less likely to practice.
Make early bedtimes your friend.
If your baby skips lots of naps during this regression then an early bedtime is going to be key to keeping sleep as on track as it can be. The early bedtimes will help with overtiredness.
Good luck with the 8 – 10 month regression, but please don’t worry that it is 2 months worth of sleep troubles. We only give it that name because it can happen anywhere between 8 and 20 months of age.