Skip to main content

Baby sleep basics: 6 to 9 months

 

Typical baby sleep schedule for this age

Most 6- to 9-month-olds sleep 14 to 15 hours a day (between night-time sleep and naps) and are capable of sleeping for long stretches at a time.

Many babies this age consolidate their daytime sleep from three naps to two, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

When do babies start sleeping through the night?

Usually babies sleep through the night by 6 months – though some babies don’t. If your baby now sleeps for eight or more hours at night, it means he’s figured out how to settle back to sleep – a sign that you’re raising a good sleeper. Congratulations!

If your baby isn’t yet sleeping for eight hours straight, you’re not alone. Many babies still wake up at night for feedings in the 6- to 9-month stage (though most are ready for night weaning, if that’s what you choose to do).

Babies this age don’t necessarily wake up because they’re hungry. We all wake up several times every night for brief periods of time. And as adults, we put ourselves back to sleep each time – so quickly we don’t even remember it in the morning. If your baby hasn’t mastered this skill, he’ll wake up and cry during the night even if he’s not hungry.

Is my baby ready for sleep training?

If your baby hasn’t yet settled into a sleep pattern that fits your family life, now might be a good time to try some type of sleep training. Sleep training methods can help your baby go to sleep more easily, sleep for longer periods at night, and keep more regular hours.

Why your baby may have problems staying asleep

Babies who were great sleepers may suddenly start waking up at night or have difficulty falling asleep between 6 and 12 months of age. Why? Sleep disturbances often go hand-in-hand with reaching major milestones in cognitive and motor development and with separation anxiety.

At 6 to 9 months, your baby may be learning to sit up, crawl, or possibly even cruise or walk – quite a list of achievements! Not surprisingly, he may not want to stop practicing his new skills at bedtime and may get so excited that he’ll wake up to try sitting up just one more time.

Separation anxiety could also be the cause of your baby’s wake-up calls. Waking up and finding you not there may cause some distress. But he’ll probably calm down as soon as you enter the room and greet him.

Finally, teething pain can wake your baby up. Of course, you can’t know what’s causing your baby to wake, but there are a lot of good reasons at this age. So it’s best to adjust your expectations and be flexible.

Remember that each child is different. Some will be better sleepers than others. And you’ll need to roll with the changes when travel, illness, and life events interfere with sleep patterns.

How to help your baby sleep

Here are some tips for helping your baby sleep well at this age:

Develop and follow a bedtime routine. If you haven’t already established some sort of bedtime ritual, start now. A bedtime routine should help your child wind down and get ready for sleep, and at this stage your child will really begin to participate.

Whether your routine includes giving your baby a bath, playing a quiet game, getting your child ready for bed, reading a bedtime story or two, or singing a lullaby, make sure you do it in the same order and at the same time every night. Babies like having routines and schedules they can count on.

Keep your child on a consistent schedule. You’ll both benefit from having a daily schedule that includes set times for bed and naps. That doesn’t mean your baby has to eat lunch at exactly 12:15 every day, but it does mean you should try to stick to a fairly predictable schedule. If your baby naps, eats, plays, and gets ready for bed at about the same time every day, he’ll be much more likely to fall asleep easily.

Encourage your child to fall asleep on his own. To nap well and sleep through the night at this age, your baby has to learn to fall asleep on his own. Try putting him down before he nods off, so he can practice. If he cries, the next move is up to you. Do wait at least a few minutes to see if he’s really upset or just fussing a little before settling down.

Try putting him to bed earlier. If your baby’s used to going to sleep after 8:30 p.m. but sometimes can’t wind down, try putting him to bed a half-hour earlier. It could be that he’s overtired and you may find having him hit the hay sooner will help him sleep more soundly.

Baby sleep basics: 9 to 12 months

Typical sleep at this age

9- to 12-month-olds typically sleep about 14 hours a day, including two naps for one to two hours at a time.

Some pediatricians have noticed that babies this age can vary widely in their sleep patterns. This could be due to reaching new developmental milestones or the fact that babies are starting to get more of their calories from solid foods.

Ready for sleep training

If your baby hasn’t yet settled into a sleep pattern that fits your family life, now might be a good time to try some type of sleep training. Sleep training methods can help your baby go to sleep more easily, sleep for longer periods at night, and keep more regular hours.

Sleeping through the night

If your baby now sleeps for nine or ten hours at night, it means she’s figured out how to settle back to sleep – a sign that you’re raising a good sleeper.

Your baby’s probably ready for night weaning, if that’s what you choose. Babies this age don’t usually wake up at night because they’re hungry.

We all wake up several times every night for brief periods of time. And as adults, we put ourselves back to sleep each time – so quickly we don’t even remember it in the morning. If your baby hasn’t mastered this skill, she’ll wake up and cry during the night even if she’s not hungry.

Waking up again

Don’t be surprised if your sound sleeper suddenly becomes a night owl or has a hard time falling asleep at this age. Why? Sleep disturbances often go hand-in-hand with reaching major milestones in cognitive and motor development and with separation anxiety.

At 9 to 12 months, your baby’s likely to be crawling, pulling up, and learning to walk. And because she’s refining and expanding on these skills, she may wake up at night to practice or be too excited to fall asleep. If she can’t soothe herself back to sleep, she’ll end up crying for you.

Separation anxiety could also be the cause of your baby’s wake-up calls. Waking up and finding you not there may cause some distress. But she’ll probably calm down as soon as you enter the room and greet her.

How you can establish healthy sleep habits

This is a time to continue working on the techniques you and your baby learned in the first nine months, including:

Stick to a consistent bedtime routine.

We can’t say it often enough: You and your baby will both benefit from a nightly bedtime ritual. You can opt for the tried-and-true – giving her a bath, reading her a bedtime story, and tucking her in – or add a quiet game into the mix.

Make sure your baby finds the routine soothing. For example, if she hates taking baths, move them earlier in the day. Or sing songs if she’d rather chew on a book than be read to. Just be sure to follow the same routine every night. Children thrive on consistency and feel more secure when they know what to expect.

Also, start your bedtime routine at a reasonable hour so she’s not overtired, which may make it harder for her to get to sleep.

Make sure your baby has a regular schedule.

Bedtime may go more smoothly if you make an effort to keep the rest of your baby’s daily schedule consistent, too. If she naps, eats, plays, and gets ready for bed at about the same time every day, she’ll be much more likely to fall asleep without a struggle.

Give your child plenty of chances to fall asleep on her own.

If you want your baby to sleep independently, she needs opportunities to practice this important skill. Instead of nursing or rocking her to sleep, let her practice falling asleep on her own by putting her in bed when she’s relaxed and drowsy. Otherwise she’ll probably cry when she wakes up during the night and need your help to drop off again.

 

Leave a Reply

2 + eighteen =