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8 month progression

Does your baby chat away during their naps? Are they up on all fours rocking or rolling around their cots? Maybe they've learnt the art of standing and shouting? These are all normal milestones for this age group - their brains are in overdrive!

Following on from the 4 month developmental progression is the 8 month milestone. This usually occurs anywhere between 7-9 months and can affect your babies sleep as they are developing new verbal and physical skills that they love to practise at bedtime!

Separation anxiety also plays a big part around 8 months of age, especially during periods of sleep when they are going to be apart from you for a long period of time, which can result in fussiness during your pre-nap ritual or stalling at bedtime and fighting sleep.

What can impact the 8 month regression?

  • Around this age your little one will drop their third nap (between 4-5pm) and need an earlier bedtime to combat overtiredness.

  • They might have learnt to bum shuffle, commando crawl or crawl on all fours. Or maybe they are now pulling up on furniture and standing.

  • There could be a big change in their speech and you'll find them babbling for hours in the middle of the night.

  • Separation anxiety from loved ones and fear of strangers emerges (object permanence has developed – meaning they are aware when people leave)

  • At this age you may be introducing a third solid meal and increasing their protein intake which can all affect their sleep.

  • Teeth can start to pop through, causing a few days of unsettledness for some babies

"Give your baby lots of positive reassurance during the day to reduce their anxiety. Explain what you are doing and where you are going when you leave the room"

What does the 8 month regression look like?

As with any developmental milestone some babies sleep may be disrupted as a result of the new skills they are learning. You might notice that your baby is waking for long periods overnight and practising their new skill, rocking on all fours or standing up and down in the cot. You might even find your little bub asleep sitting up!

Your baby might practise their new skill and get stuck or cry out for your assistance. If they aren’t upset then I suggest leaving them to practise. If your baby calls our because they have learned to pull themselves up in the cot to a standing position but can’t work out how to get down, sit them down once and then leave them to it. They won’t figure it out if you keep doing it for them! Lots of practise during the day is a great way to support them through these physical hurdles.

Given the above, you might find that your baby is having short naps (or less total sleep in their nap window) and waking more overnight. Keep consistent and patient – don’t introduce any new sleep associations that you aren’t prepared to continue using once this phase passes.

How can we help our little people?

  • Lots of positive reassurance during the day to reduce their anxiety. Explain what you are doing and where you are going when you leave the room. Games like peek-a-boo and hide and seek are a great way to teach baby that you leave for a short period of time but that you also return.

  • Give them more space to settle themselves - if they are crawling around their cot or standing up and they aren't calling out for you just leave them to settle themselves. If you do need to lay them down, make it a quick pop in with minimal social interaction... we don't want to encourage the lay-back-down game at bedtime!

If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your baby and how we help.

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