What should a sleep schedule for a 9-month-old look like?
By 9-months of age you will notice that your little one is not as sleepy as they used to be. Although they can handle longer awake windows, they do still require two naps a day.
Solid food is also essential at this stage. If your little one does not have enough to eat, they will not sleep as well, and you may also find they wake up even earlier in the morning.
How Much Sleep Does a 9-Month-Old Need?
A 9-month requires between 12 – 16 hours sleep in total with at least two naps (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) totaling around 3 – 4 hours of daytime sleep. A few babies may take one long daytime nap of about 3 hours. If your little one's nap is less than 3 hours you should put them down for a second nap to stop them becoming overtired. Awake windows are between 2.75 – 3.5 hours.
9-month-olds can sleep through the night without requiring a feed. However, as early wakings (around 5 am) are reasonably common, offering a feed at this time can get you a couple more hours sleep.
9-Month-Old Sleep Tips
Your little one still needs plenty of sleep, although they may not think so. Sometimes getting these busy, active little humans down to sleep can be challenging; however, these tips can help.
- Continue with your bedtime routine – The predictability of a good bedtime routine helps your little one relax, feel secure and signals to them that it is the time to sleep.
- Introduce a cup – You may be asking what this has to do with sleep? Even if you are still breastfeeding, introducing a cup before 12 months of age is a good idea. As babies become older, they can become increasingly attached to a bottle or the breast. This attachment often becomes your baby's only way to self soothe. This results in the habit of waking in the night looking for their ‘soother'. If you introduce a cup around 9 months of age your baby will be completely weaned from the bottle by 12 months of age.
- Ensure enough overall sleep – Your baby may be so busy crawling and exploring their new world, that they do not want to nap. However, an overtired baby is difficult to settle. Ensure that your little one gets enough daytime sleep 3 – 4 hours and a solid 10 – 12 hours at night.
Sleep Schedule for 9-Month-Old
A 9-month-old schedule is not vastly different from that of your 8-month-old. Most 8 and 9-month-olds have two daytime naps one in the morning and one in the afternoon. There are a few 9-month-olds that may only take one long nap of around 3 hours.
The below schedule assumes your baby takes two naps, eats three meals a day, four bottles or breastfeeds with a couple of small snacks in between.
Can You Sleep Train a 9-Month-Old?
If your baby is still waking frequently in the night (barring illness and other sleep disturbances) it is likely out of habit more than hunger. Your baby may not know how to put themselves to sleep and needs you to help them get back to sleep. If you decide to go down the route of sleep training, bear in mind that sleep training now will require more consistency and perseverance on your part as your baby may not be quite as willing to give up their habit of the middle of the night feeding and cuddles. There are five different sleep training methods; however, at 9 months old, some of these methods will likely not be effective as they are more suitable for younger babies. You can read about the different sleep training methods and select a right method for you and your baby.
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If your baby is still waking up frequently in the night to feed, it may be time to night-wean. Check with your paediatrician if you are unsure. Provided your baby meets all their weight milestones then they should be able to go 10 – 12 hours at night without a feed.
There are a couple of options you can consider when night-weaning:
Option 1 – When your little one wakes in the night start to offer less milk. If you are breastfeeding, then reduce the amount of time that you feed on each breast. If you are bottle-feeding, then reduce the number of ounces offered. Continue to reduce the time or ounces every few nights, until you are no longer feeding at all. Remember, it is essential to ensure you do not let your little one fall asleep whilst feeding as we want them to learn to fall asleep independently.
Option 2 – Do not feed at all when your baby wakes in the night instead offer a bit of water. If your baby still wakes multiple times, this may not be the best option as it may be too much of a change all at once. However, if your little one is only waking once for a night-time feed, you may consider this option.
9-Month-Old Sleep Problems
Here are some of the common sleep problems you may experience at this age.
- Pulling themselves up and standing in their cot – Your little one will enjoy practising their new skill of pulling themselves up which unfortunately can cause some sleep disturbance. If your little one does pull themselves up and knows how to get back down, resist the urge to go in and lie them down. This will quickly become a game for your baby.
If your little one does not yet know how to get back down, practise during the day. Ring Around the Rosie is a great game to play to practise that up and down motion.
- Teething – You are probably an expert by now at identifying your baby’s teething signs. 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 too early – You may have a very early riser on your hands 5 am or earlier. If this is the case ensuring your baby’s room is as dark as possible may help. You could also offer a feed at this time. This may encourage your baby to go back to sleep for a couple of hours.
Is there a 9-Month Sleep Regression?
At the 9-month mark, your baby develops many gross motor skills, crawling and pulling themselves up are the norm with some adventurous babies even attempting to walk. Your baby is also becoming more vocal and will enjoy practising new sounds. All of these can disturb your baby’s sleep.
Luckily, once your little one has mastered their new skill – nap and bedtime should return to normal. If your baby wakes in the night or takes longer to settle when you put them down, stay consistent with your routine, give them the opportunity to self soothe and this period too shall pass.