There are few sights more heart warming than that of your blissfully sleeping baby. Whether it’s a nap after a busy, active morning, or night-time sleep after their regular bedtime routine, this is their chance to rest the body and mind.
How much sleep is enough?
All babies are unique, but at eight to 10 months, your baby will probably sleep for between nine and 12 hours a night. If you’re lucky, your baby may be sleeping through the night now, which means you feel more rested too. With all the activity your little one enjoys in the daytime, as well as the new skills they’re learning every day, it’s no surprise they’re ready for a good night’s sleep.
At this age, your baby needs around 12 to 16 hours of total sleep each day, including daytime naps and night-time sleep. Your baby will likely be napping two to three times during the day, for varying amounts of time. Some babies will nap for 30 minutes and others for up to two hours. You may meet with some resistance from your baby at nap time. It may be that your baby simply does not want to be away from you, rather than that they aren’t tired.
Routine, routine, routine
Establishing a bedtime routine may just be what your baby needs to help them get to sleep and stay asleep. Perhaps the routine in your house starts at 5pm and includes a bath, a story or lullaby, and a kiss goodnight. Whatever you have become used to doing should be part of each night’s pre-sleep pattern.
Your baby is probably so familiar with their bedtime routine by now that they choose the story or lullaby they prefer! Just as you did when they were younger, avoid giving your little one a bottle in their cot. By putting your baby down in their cot when they are drowsy but still awake, you will help them learn how to fall asleep on their own. All of these habits help your little one sleep through the night.
Most babies are able to roll over by this age—so even though you may put your little one in their cot on their back, you may find they move during the night to lying on their stomach in the morning. They may be able to decide if they want to sleep on their back or tummy now.
Many babies will sleep through the night, but some may still wake several times. If your little one does wake in the night, it’s unlikely to be for feeding at this age, so check other reasons first. The type of milk you give your baby in the day doesn’t affect how often they wake at night.
Sleep problems and solutions
- Separation anxiety If you are noticing some reluctance by your baby to be away from you, they may be starting to experience separation anxiety. One way to help, once your little one is older than 7 months, is with a ‘transitional object’, such as a toy or piece of fabric, which can be safely left in their cot. This can help them settle when they are away from you and can be one more step toward independence for them. Choose a soft, washable toy without sharp ends or small parts that could come loose (such as buttons) and check that it’s made from flame resistant/retardant fabrics.
- Inadequate sleep Lack of routine could be the reason for your baby not getting enough sleep. Late bedtimes, a television in your baby’s room, and not having a bedtime routine may all have an impact on the amount of sleep your baby gets.
- Nightmares At eight to 10 months, your baby may start to have nightmares. These occur during dream—rapid eye movement (REM)—sleep and your baby may wake up crying and upset. Go in and comfort them, give them cuddles, and reassure them that you’re there and they’re safe.
Recognizing signs they’re T.I.R.E.D.
If your baby has been sleeping through the night and starts to wake up occasionally, don’t immediately offer a feeding. Instead, run through possible reasons for their waking up in your mind. After checking the obvious need for a nappy change, or being too hot/cold, ask yourself if they are T.I.R.E.D:
T – Teething?
I – Ill (Does your child have a cold? Or have they just had vaccinations?)
R – Routine disrupted (Has their usual bedtime routine changed?)
E – Extraordinary (Is something different tonight? Are you on vacation? Have you just moved to a new house?)
D – Dreams (Have they had a bad dream?)
If you suspect teething is the culprit, try using a cold washcloth on gums to soothe them. If you think they woke up due to one of these other reasons, soothe and reassure your little one. Always consult your healthcare professional if your baby is showing any signs of illness.