Congratulations — your baby’s been outside you as long as they were inside you.
And they’re celebrating with a drum roll 9-month sleep regression.
This chapter can be tough.
But while it’s not the easiest passage to walk through, a sleep regression is usually a sign that your child is learning new skills and growing and developing exactly as they should.
There are a lot of firsts going on right now, and all of that novelty can be overwhelming.
They’re figuring out what they can do with their bodies and what it means to be in the world.
Why go to sleep when there’s so much to explore?
If you need to hear this right now: this too shall pass.
And for support along the way, your Peanut community is here for you.
So let’s dive in — we’re going to take you through what could be the cause of the 9-month sleep regression, how long they last, and what you can do to get through this phase.
In this article: 📝
- Why is my 9-month-old suddenly not sleeping?
- What causes 9-month sleep regression?
- How long does 9-month sleep regression last?
- How do I fix my 9-month sleep regression?
Why is my 9-month-old suddenly not sleeping?
Yep, at this age, it’s likely a sleep regression.
Sleep regressions are when babies suddenly have trouble falling and staying asleep, both at nap times and bedtimes.
And the most frustrating part about them is that they usually follow a period of perfectly dreamy sleep.
In a cruel twist of fate, the baby who had previously loved a good snooze suddenly has other ideas.
Other common times to experience sleep regressions are at 4 months, at 8 or 9 months, and then again at 18 and 24 months.
While we refer to them as sleep regressions, this is not 100% accurate.
It’s not that the hard work you have done on their sleep patterns has been wasted.
Rather, it’s that you’ve hit an interruption to regular programming.
When they’re through this hump, they’ll more than likely return to where they left off in their sleep development.
So what might be causing this disruption?
We’ll take you through the possibilities.
What causes 9-month sleep regression?
One of the most likely causes of a 9-month sleep regression is that your baby is hitting some major developmental milestones.
Somewhere around this time, they’ll learn how to sit up on their own, pull themselves up and crawl.
This makes them all the more mobile, able to explore and interact with the world in whole new ways.
Added to this, they’re babbling away and starting to explore social connections and what they mean.
And they may be experiencing separation anxiety as they start to consider what it means when you leave the room.
(Are you going for good?!)
This may also coincide with changes in your household.
Perhaps they’re starting daycare or are in the care of someone else for longer stretches.
And there’s even more going on right now: it’s also likely they’re cutting teeth!
(It’s the bottom and top front and lateral incisors that come out first — head here for our teething chart.)
And teething can most certainly get in the way of a good night’s rest.
Basically, there’s A LOT happening at 9 months.
No wonder they’re losing sleep.
9-month sleep regression signs include:
- Increased fussiness
- Resistance to going to sleep, at nap times and bedtimes
- Frequent night wakings
- Shorter naps
- Not wanting to take naps at all
If your 9-month-old is crying uncontrollably at night and is showing other signs of illness or infection (fever, rash, diarrhea), check in with your healthcare provider so that they can get treatment if necessary.
How long does 9-month sleep regression last?
You’ll be pleased to hear that you’ll likely be out of the woods soon.
Sleep regressions don’t tend to last longer than a few weeks (usually somewhere between 2 and 6).
And sometimes, they only stick around for a few days.
If they do go on for an extended period, it’s worth talking to your pediatrician — just to make sure that nothing else is up.
How do I fix my 9-month sleep regression?
The good news is that there’s nothing to fix because nothing is really broken.
But we can give you some tips on how to manage them.
Watch for their sleep cues.
Your little one may give you very distinct clues for when they’re ready to sleep.
These can include yawns, eye and ear rubbing, and fussiness.
All babies have their own language.
You get to learn the special language that yours speaks.
Put them down to sleep when they’re drowsy but not fully asleep.
This will help them learn to drift off on their own.
Plan your wake windows.
Try to ensure they’re awake for somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 hours between naps and sleeps.
They’ll be less likely to put up a fuss and more likely to stay asleep for a solid chunk.
And when they’re awake, it’s all about play and adventure!
Stick to a rough schedule.
Of course, life happens and it’s not always possible to follow a sleep schedule to the letter.
But sticking to a semblance of a routine — even when they put up a fight — can really help.
9-month old babies need about 14 hours of sleep a day, which includes two naps and a longer (hopefully uninterrupted) sleep at night.
If you haven’t done so already, you might want to start sleep training to help them sleep for longer stretches.
There are a variety of different methods out there (we give you the lowdown here), all with the purpose of helping your little one get the sleep they need for their brains and bodies to develop.
(Of course, them getting sleep also means you getting sleep — which is vital too.)
Get a bedtime routine going.
If you already have this in place, awesome.
If not, it’s not too late to get going.
Make sure they’re fed and changed and then put them down to sleep in a room free of distractions.
Rocking, singing, and cuddling all go a long way.
And remember to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for safe sleep.
Address the root causes
If it’s separation anxiety that’s causing the sleep woes, we’ve got top tips for getting through it here.
If it’s teething, head here for advice and remedies.
And of course, if you suspect that your baby is not well at all, get in touch with your pediatrician.
This chapter will end.
You’ve got this. ❤️