Now the younger baby phase is well and truly in the rearview mirror; your eight-month-old is spending more of their daytime hours wide awake and discovering the world. So, now they have grown a little, how much sleep does an 8-month-old baby need, and when should they get that shut-eye?
An average eight-month-old baby needs around 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours. However, some babies happily get by on 12 hours while others need closer to 16.
Can an 8-Month-Old-Baby Sleep Through the Night?
Yes, an 8-month-old baby can sleep through the night, but one person’s “through the night” can be another’s “just a long nap.” So, it depends on what you mean by “sleep through the night.”
Some parents consider a solid block of sleep between midnight and six a.m. sleeping through the night, while others see it as more like a solid stretch between 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. or something similar.
In reality, the average is somewhere in between. A reasonable through-the-night at this age is 7 to 8 hours.
Sample Sleep Schedule for an 8-Month-Old Baby
Some 8-month-old babies have a night-time sleep and two-naps routine, while others still have three naps. The number of naps your child has at this age is not essential. Instead, consider the total amount of sleep they have.
Two Naps or Three?
If your baby still has three naps, but you have trouble getting them to doze off, or they seem resistant to sleeping, it may be time to drop to two periods of sleep during the day. A good rule of thumb is that a little one of this age needs between 2 ½ and 3 ½ hours of awake time before they can sleep again
|6:30 am||Wake up|
|9:00 am||First nap time|
|10:00 am:||Wake from first nap|
|12:30 pm||Second nap time|
|1:30 pm||Wake from second nap|
|3:00 pm||Third nap time|
|4:00 pm||Wake from third nap|
|8:00 pm||Begin bedtime routine|
|7:00 am||Wake up|
|10:00 am||First nap time|
|11:30 am:||Wake from first nap|
|2:30 pm||Second nap time|
|3:30 pm||Wake from second nap|
|8:00 pm||Begin bedtime routine|
Setting up a Sleep Schedule for an 8-Month-Old Baby
Before introducing a sleep schedule, it is important to consider when you do.
If you are going to embark on sleep training, don’t try to do it at a time when there are other upheavals in your life. So, avoid starting the process roughly four weeks before a home move, a new baby, or any other change in the family’s makeup.
The best way to establish a sleep routine for an 8-month-old baby is to decide a realistic time to get up in the morning and go to sleep at night.
The next step is to establish your sleep cues for bedtime. The most common actions are
During the night, it is essential not to “reward” your child for waking up. Instead, the first time your child wakes, you should check they are at a comfortable temperature and do not need a diaper change. After that, look in on your baby and reassure them you are still here, but avoid going into the room or lifting them out of the crib.
Common Sleep Issues for an 8-Month-Old Child
Sleep issues can affect children of any age, but some problems are more likely to happen at this age.
The Problem: Teething or Mild Illness
Babies of this age often have colds, shuffles, and other mild illnesses, especially in daycare. Plus, eight months is the most common time for a baby to begin teething.
First of all, if you have any concerns about your child’s health, consult your healthcare professional. This is especially true if your little one has a fever of 40.0°C / 104°F or higher or a temperature of 38.0°C / 100.4°F or higher and other symptoms such as ear pain or vomiting.
When your child is teething or has a mild illness, the best thing to do is give them pain relief and plenty of cuddles while awake.
Try to minimize hugs and rocking when it is close to bedtime or if they wake at night. Instead, provide a back or belly rub, ensure they are not too hot, and confine any talking to “it’s ok” or gently shushing.
The Problem: The Eight-Month Sleep Regression
Sleep regressions are periods when a child with a consistent sleep schedule begins to wake more often and/or resists going to sleep in the first place. This regression period can last anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks.
Two things cause this regression:
- Children of this age are going through a period of rapid physical growth, and natural growth hormones fuel this. These hormones also affect your child’s ability to fall and stay asleep, so you can expect a sleep regression whenever you notice a growth spurt.
- Your little one’s brain is developing at a lightning-fast rate. They are learning how to name and categorize items, beginning to understand the concept of object permanence, and working on developing speech. It’s natural that all of these firing neurons make it difficult to still your mind and go to sleep.
When your little one first wakes up, either first thing in the morning or after a nap, make this the most exciting part of their awake time. Stimulate that inquisitive mind, play games, and encourage wriggling and arm waving.
Then, slowly wind down so that the final half an hour before nap time or bedtime is more subdued. This method will allow your baby to settle their mind, slow down, and become more receptive to sleep.
The Problem: On The Go Naps
Small naps in the stroller or the car seat will give your child just enough of a recharge to get going again but not enough sleep to be refreshed. This can result in an overtired sleepy, cranky little person.
Wherever possible, schedule car rides or stroller walks immediately after a nap. This way, your baby will probably be awake the entire time and less likely to have a schedule-disrupting rest.
The Problem: Still Needing a Feed, or Two, In the Night
It is reasonable to expect your 8-month-old baby to sleep between six and ten hours at a stretch through the night, but this is not a guarantee because much of your child’s ability to sleep rests on how much their stomach capacity has grown.
You may be lucky enough to have a baby who can feed enough to sleep for a long stretch, but if your little one still needs this nighttime feed and it falls smack bang in the middle of the night, there are some things you can do.
First, try encouraging your child to have the last feed a little later, for example, at midnight.
For instance, if your 8-month-old baby has a feed before bed at 7 p.m. and still needs a feed at 3 a.m., you can try moving that pre-bed feeding time forward by ten minutes every three nights.
When you move this late-evening feedforward, the middle-of-the-night feed should move forward too. You may still need a night feed, but 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. are better times than 7 p.m. and 3 a.m.
When to Get Help for Sleep Issues
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to help your baby get on a sleep schedule. If you stick to the sleep cues process, refrain from rewarding those nighttime wakings, and if you still have issues, there are things you can do.
First, visit your doctor. If your child does not have any other symptoms, it is unlikely there is a medical issue interfering with sleep. However, it is always worth checking because conditions such as congenital hyperthyroidism may not cause apparent symptoms at this age but can interfere with sleep.
Once you know there’s no medical reason for your sleep scheduling to stall; you can ask your doctor if sleep supports are available. Many parent groups and neighborhood centers support those struggling with sleep issues. Alternatively, you might consider a specialist sleep consultant.
Sleep consultants may not be medically qualified, but many have extensive experience helping people get their children to sleep at the right time, stay asleep, and get up when appropriate.