What should a sleep schedule for an 8-month-old look like?
Your 8-months-old’s sleep schedule will be similar to their 7-month-old schedule. Whilst no two babies are the same; most 8-month-olds have similar overall sleep needs.
Although your little one will be enjoying their more extended awake periods, they still need to get sufficient sleep to ensure that they do not become overtired and cranky.
How Much Sleep Does an 8-Month-Old Need?
An 8-month-old's amount of sleep is not different from that of your 7-month-old. They require between 12 – 16 hours in total with at least two naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) totalling around 3 – 4 hours of daytime sleep. Some 8 month-olds may still require a 3rd nap. Most have dropped to 2 naps by this age with awake windows of between 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Want to know How to Deal with Nap Transitions? Read about the 7 easy steps to dropping a nap.
8-Month-Old Sleep Tips
- Continue with your bedtime routine – Bedtime routines continue to be necessary. The routine is the time to help your little one unwind from the day, especially as they are becoming more and more active. This quiet and relaxing time reading, snuggling and singing together helps signal to your little one that it is time for sleep.
- Ensure enough overall sleep – Although your active little one may not want to sleep, they do still require 12 – 16 hours in 24 hours. Although routines are essential, remain flexible and if one of your baby's naps are shorter than usual, then offer a 3rd nap or put your little one to bed earlier. This flexibility will ensure that they get sufficient sleep and are not overtired. Over-tiredness makes it more difficult for your little one to fall asleep and can also result in night wakings.
- BUT do not let them sleep too much – It may seem as though getting the balance right between enough and too much sleep is a juggling act (often with babies this is the case). If your little one is having trouble going down at night, ensure that you cap their daytime sleep to around 4 hours in total.
- Prioritise naps – Napping on the go is sometimes unavoidable especially if you have other children however try to let your baby nap in their cot as often as possible. The occasional on-the-go nap in the stroller is fine but try to keep this to a minimum.
Sleep Schedule for 8-Month-Old
As with all sleep schedules, this schedule is a guide, although by 8 months old most babies have a more predictable sleep schedule.
When it comes to feeding, some babies do well with being partially bottle or breast-fed, followed by some solids and then take the rest of their bottle or breast milk. Other babies, however, prefer taking a full bottle or breast-feed and then solids a little bit later.
The sample schedule assumes that your baby takes two naps and focuses on awake and nap times. Feeding will take place between sleep and naptimes with your baby moving to 3 solid meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with 4 – 5 bottle or breast-feeds.
Can You Sleep Train an 8-Month-Old?
By 8-months-old babies are capable of sleep through the night without feeding. If your baby does not sleep through the night, they are likely enjoying their middle of the night snacks and cuddles.
If you have got to the stage where you want to get a full night's sleep again, you may consider sleep training. Whether to sleep train is a personal choice and you should make your decision based on what feels right for you and your baby. Just bear in mind that if you decide to sleep train later, then you will likely encounter more protesting from your baby to any changes you make.
8-Month-Old Sleep Problems
Here are some of the common sleep problems you may experience at this age.
- Standing or sitting up in their cot – One of the problems you may encounter at this age if you have not already done so is your little one consistently pulling themselves up into a sitting or standing position in their cot. Ensure you do not inadvertently turn this into a game by going in and lying them back down. Try to give them a few minutes to figure it out for themselves. If you have to go into them, show them how to lie back down instead of picking them up and lying them down yourself. Help your little one practise this during the day, which stops this becoming an issue during sleep times.
- Not self-soothing – Your little one may be in the habit of being rocked or fed to sleep. They may also be suffering from separation anxiety which can start between 6 – 10 months of age. Whilst your baby will initially protest being put down drowsy but awake, stay consistent. Your baby will soon get the hang of self-soothing.
- Teething – Teething, which starts around the 5-month mark, can cause sleep disturbance for some babies. Teething rings can help to ease some of the pressure. If your baby is still struggling to sleep, talk to your paediatrician about alternative forms of relief.
- Waking to feed – Your baby does not require a night-time feed at this age. As the saying goes ‘Old habits die hard'. If your little one is consistently waking for a night feed – then it may be time to wean them. Try reducing the amount of time you feed on each breast or the number of oz's. by a little every few nights until you are eventually not feeding at all. Alternatively, you could consider sleep training.
- Temporary disruptions – Illness, changes like starting daycare or travel can temporarily impact your baby's sleep. Luckily these disruptions to sleep are temporary, provided that you stay consistent with your routines.
Is there an 8-Month Sleep Regression?
If you have read our other sleep schedule articles, you will know that whilst your baby may experience some sleep disturbance around the 8-month mark; this is not a sleep regression per se.
Temporary sleep disruptions, especially during the first year, are perfectly normal. These disruptions often coincide with developmental milestones such as learning to sit up or stand. Significant changes such as starting daycare can also have an impact.
If your little one starts waking in the night or fights naptime, do not be tempted to reintroduce habits such as rocking or feeding to sleep. Stay consistent with your routine and the temporary disturbance will pass just as all the other ones have.