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8-Month-Old Schedule: How Much Sleep Does Your Baby Need?

Every parent deals with sleeplessness at some point, but when sleep troubles extend past the newborn phase or make a return after your baby has already started sleeping through the night, it's easy to get frustrated. Find out more about how much sleep your baby needs, what behaviors and factors may be contributing to night wakings, and tips for developing an 8-month-old schedule for sleep.

An 8-month-old baby

How much should an 8-month-old sleep? 

An 8-month-old schedule for sleep should consist of about 13 to 14 hours of sleep a day. This is typically broken up into an overnight stretch and two naps a day. Most babies of this age sleep between one and two hours each nap, but every child is different, and some may sleep for as little as 20 minutes or take one long three-hour nap instead of two shorter ones. An 8-month-old who naps twice a day will usually have a morning and an afternoon nap.

While your child should be doing the bulk of their sleeping during the overnight hours, this doesn't mean it will be consistent, solid sleeping without waking. It's still very normal for 8-month-olds to wake at night. It may be for just a few minutes before they self-soothe back to sleep, or it may be for a night breastfeeding session. 

What do I do if my 8-month-old won't sleep through the night? 

If your 8-month-old won't sleep through the night, it can be frustrating and increase your risk of experiencing other side effects from lack of sleep such as difficulty concentrating, depression, and changes in your intimate relationship with your partner. And while there's no magic bullet when it comes to infant sleep, there are some things you can do to give you and your baby the best chance for a restful night's sleep.

One of the most common reasons an 8-month-old won't sleep is because many babies go through a sleep regression at this time. Somewhere between 8 and 10 months old, most infants will start waking up frequently at night or suddenly change their nap schedule — or refuse them altogether. This is because there is a lot happening developmentally at this age. These babies are learning to talk and move around; some might even be getting ready to walk. All of this requires a lot of brain development, which can impact the length and quality of sleep. 

Your baby may also start waking more frequently at this time due to a growth spurt, teething, separation anxiety, or even digestive discomfort from starting to experiment with solid foods. Your baby's system is very sensitive, and it doesn't take much for something to throw things off. When it does, sleep is usually the first thing impacted. 

Another possibility is if you start taking a new medication, such as for allergies. Many medicines transfer into breast milk and then to the baby, and some can cause adverse effects like frequent wakings. Always make sure to check with your doctor before taking any medications, including over-the-counter ones, to ensure they're safe while breastfeeding. 

If your child wakes during the night, give them a few minutes to see if they fall back asleep on their own. If they continue to cry, make sure everything’s all right, then reassure them that you’re there by patting them gently on the back for a few moments. You should then return to your room to discourage them from staying awake to gain more attention. This needs to be done consistently to teach your baby when it’s time for sleeping.

An 8-month-old baby sleeping on mother's shoulder

Setting up an 8-month-old schedule for sleep is very important when it comes to establishing good sleep habits. Ideally, you should start the bedtime transition at least an hour or even two, depending on your child's personality and family schedule, before you want your child to actually be asleep. Some possible components of a good getting ready for sleep routine include:

  • A warm (but never too hot) bath: This helps your child relax, and the drop in body temperature after the bath signals the body that it's time to sleep. You can boost the sleep-inducing effect by using a baby body wash that's lavender-scented.
  • Reading a bedtime story: Something short and repetitive, such as picture books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Goodnight Moon, are good choices because the rhythm helps lull your child to sleep.
  • Lullabies: Singing a special song to your baby every night before you tuck them in can let them know it's time to settle in and go to sleep. You can also get lullaby playlists that let you keep the music going while your baby transitions and falls asleep without you having to stay in the room.

One possible example of a good 8-month-old schedule for sleep could be:

  • Wake up at 7 a.m.
  • First nap at 9 a.m.
  • Second nap at 1 p.m.
  • Start sleep routine at 6 p.m.
  • Target sleep time at 8 p.m.

This gives your child 11 hours of sleep at night and leaves one to three hours of recommended sleep time left to split between nap times. If your child is down to one nap, you may have a schedule like:

  • Wake up at 7 a.m.
  • Nap at 12 p.m.
  • Start sleep routine at 6 p.m.
  • Target sleep time at 8 p.m.

Whatever you decide for your 8-month-old sleep schedule, it may take a few weeks of consistent use before you start to notice a difference. It's common for things to get a little worse when you first implement a sleep schedule because your baby needs time to adjust to the new schedule and what it means for them.

No matter what happens with sleep for your 8-month-old, schedule plenty of rest for yourself. Getting your baby on a good sleep schedule requires patience, a willingness to try new things, and consistency, and it's a lot easier to have these things if you're taking naps or even just resting when you can. While not sleeping through the night or refusing naps can be frustrating for both you and your baby, keep in mind that every child does eventually sleep through the night, and this will eventually pass.

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-development-8-month-old#1

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleep812m.html

https://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-sleep-basics-6-to-9-months_7657.bc

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