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8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule

Updated: Mar 5

This article will guide you through how to establish a nap and sleep schedule for your 8-month-old baby along with wake-windows and recommended sleep duration.


Header image titled nap schedule for an 8-month old baby with baby sleeping

At 8 months of age sleep can get a bit messy. It's a tricky age as a whole lot is going on. Your baby may be starting to crawl, sit up, and roll both ways. They also develop object permanence where they realise that when you leave a room you still exist. This can trigger lots of separation anxiety when they try to keep you in their line of vision. On top of this, they will often transition from 3 to 2 naps around this time, and all of this can have a huge impact on sleep. So even if your baby was sleeping longer stretches and nights and naps were becoming more predictable, you may suddenly see more resistance at bedtime and more night wakes.


This article should help you navigate this challenging month.


In this article:


8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule


How many naps per day does a baby need at 8 months old?

By the time your baby is at 8-months-old, they will be having between 2 and 3 naps each day. At 8 months it is very much a transition period where some days they may have 2 naps and some days they have 3 naps. This transition can get a bit messy for a while - on days when they have 3 naps they may have a very late bedtime, and on days when they have only two naps their bedtime may be super early.


How long does an 8-month-old baby nap for?

At 8 months of age, a baby will generally be sleeping for around 2-3.5 hours a day spread across 2-3 naps and those naps will be between 30 minutes to 2 hours in length. Your baby may nap longer if left to their own devices, but at this age is can sometimes be helpful to ensure that no individual nap extends beyond 2 hours in order to preserve overnight sleep.

How often should a baby nap at 8 months old?

The length of time a baby or toddler can stay awake for between periods of sleep is known as a 'wake window' (also referred to as an 'awake window' or 'wakeful window'). At 8 months of age I tend to suggest babies should have wake windows of between 2-3.5 hours.


Wake windows are a very recent concept and are not evidence-based, and by that, I mean there are no scientifically backed studies that prove babies follow generic wake windows at particular ages. This is why wake windows will vary wildly from source to source.


Wake windows tend to stretch as the day progresses with the shortest wake window usually being in the morning. However, if your baby has a short nap particularly one less than a full sleep cycle (usually between 30-45 minutes), they will be unlikely to last for a full wake window and will get tired much sooner.


How long are the wake windows at 8 months of age?

As I mentioned above, wake windows at this age are between 2 and 3.5 hours in length.


How much daytime sleep should an 8-month-old baby be getting?

At 8 months of age your baby may be getting around 10-12 hours of sleep overnight and between 2-3.5 hours of sleep during the day. Try not to fixate on this though, as sleep needs vary so much. Research from The Sleep Foundation shows that the variation in the amount of sleep a baby should be getting at 8 months of age is so vast. The recommended average is 12-15 hours of sleep over 24 hours, but as low as 10 hours and as high as 18 hours can also be normal. You really want to be making sure your baby is content between periods of sleep and they are meeting developmental milestones for their age.


Sleep needs at 8 months of age

Sample 2-Nap Routine for an 8-month-old baby

Remember, this is just a sample routine, and your baby's naps might never look like this. This is just a guide to how you might structure your day.

8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule - 2 Nap Routine

Sample 3-Nap Routine for an 8-month-old baby

Remember, this is just a sample routine, and your baby's naps might never look like this. This is just a guide to how you might structure your day.


8-Month-Old Sleep Schedule - 3 Nap Routine

Bedtime Routine


What is a good bedtime routine for an 8-month-old?

If you still don't have a set bedtime routine for your 8-month-old, it really can be helpful to introduce one, as children really do thrive on routine and predictibility. It doesn't need to be complicated. A good bedtime routine will usuallya have three parts to it:


  1. A calm and engaged parent(s)

  2. 3-5 consistent and calming steps

  3. It should take 10-30 minutes to do


Some suggestions of things you can include as part of your bedtime routine:

  • A bath

  • A baby massage

  • Stories

  • Sing songs

  • Listen to lullabies

  • Dim the lights

  • Turn on white noise


Not everyone chooses to bathe their baby every night for many reasons, such as eczema. If your child only has a bath sometimes and not every night, then I'd suggest you have that right at the start of your bedtime routine so that all the steps after serve as the cue for sleep.


Does a bath need to be part of a bedtime routine for an 8-month-old?

Not at all and for some babies who have skin issues like eczema or psoriasis, bathing every night can serve to irritate skin which can in turn have an impact on your child being able to sleep soundly. It also sometimes gets some babies excited too, and they struggle to wind down after a bath as they find baths too exciting.


But there is some research to suggest baths are beneficial for sleep 1 to 2 hours before bedtime


Should a milk feed be part of your 8-month-old's bedtime routine?

At 8 months of age it can help to add some space between the last feed of the day and when you place them in bed to be settled. This is because babies do have very small stomachs, and very often we feel we need to 'tank up' our babies so that they don't wake during the night out of hunger. But a baby is then left to digest their food while sleeping, which definitely isn't comfortable.


But a lot of babies still fall asleep while feeding at this age, so don't stress too much about this. If you need help finding a gentle way to get your 8-month-old to fall asleep independently without needing to be fed or rocked to sleep, then my affordable online course and private Facebook community can help you do just that.


What is an ideal bedtime for an 8-month-old?

At 8 months of age many babies will have transitioned down to 2 naps a day. At this point bedtime starts to become more predictable. A good bedtime can be between 7 and 8pm, but really it's about what works for your baby.


Sleep Training at 8-months-old


Can you sleep train a baby at 8 months old?

Yes, you absolutely can sleep-train your baby at 8 months of age. However, it's always best to hold off if you think your baby is teething, unwell or experiencing a particularly intense period of separation anxiety.


What is the best sleep training method for an 8 month old?

There is no 'best' method, there is just what works for you and your baby. There are a range of options for sleep training which range from low/no parental intervention and these are methods such as cry-it-out or controlled crying, then there are methods with limited parental intervention such as the gradual retreat, chair method or sleep lady shuffle. Then there are very responsive and gentle options. I always recommend families do a 'test' with their baby to see which method might fit them and their baby best. I have an online course which teaches this method and teaches 3 responsive in-room sleep training options. You can find out more here.


Is there an 8 Month Regression?


What is the 8-month sleep regression?

There isn't a specific sleep regression at 8 months of age, but this is a common age for babies to experience a fresh round of sleep difficulties and it can feel as though any recent progress has been rolled back. This is one of many bumps in the road toward steady sleep and as such it's is frequently referred to as a sleep regression. But beyond 4 months of age there are no true sleep regressions.


What causes the 8-month sleep regression?

At 8 months of age there are so many things going on that it's hard for sleep not to be impacted - these are the development of new motor skills such as crawling and sitting. Your little one may also be increasing their intake of solids leading to gas and digestion issues. On top of this there is (more) teething. But the real biggie at this age is separation anxiety. As 8 months of age your baby is developing object permanence which means that they now understand that when you leave a room you are still there. They start to see bedtime as a period of long separation from you and bedtime can become a battle of wills where they seek to keep you with them. On top of this, as they may have transitioned from 3 to 2 naps, leading to a fair bit of overtiredness.


What are the signs of the 8-month regression?

At 8 months of age, you are likely to see lots of bedtime battles as your little one experiences lots of separation anxiety. They may also be overtired due to having dropped a nap recently, so you may find that your LO protests more at bedtime, then has lots of false starts where they wake once or more within the first hour of going to bed. You may also find the wake early in the morning.


How long does the 8-month regression last?

This isn't a true sleep regression, and instead, it's a period of upheaval related to other developmental milestones such as the acquisition of new motor or language skills, teething, separation anxiety and/or illness. It will pass whenever those issues have passed. Try to remain consistent where you can, but offer more support where you need to.


Does the 8-month regression affect naps?

Absolutely, you may find that your baby fights naps because they now need slightly longer wake windows. Or you may find that a nap that used to be 2 hours in length is now only 30 minutes. Often this is because their sleep needs are changing and you may need to adjust their nap routine accordingly.


Common sleep issues at 8 months


Why does my 8-month-old wake up from a bad dream and is crying?

It is though that children don't really have nightmares or night terrors until they are 18 months of age. But at 8 months of age it is common for babies to start crying out in their sleep. This usually isn't anything to worry about, and it can simply be as they move from one sleep cycle to the next. It's not pleasant to experience, but it is very normal and generally does pass.


My 8 months old sleeps at night but wakes up wanting me to hold him and falls back asleep immediately

This is very very normal for a baby to seek reassurance when they wake between sleep cycles, particularly if they have had lots of support when they went to sleep at the start of the night. If this is something you are happy to support, then you don't need to change anything - keep supporting your baby and eventually it will pass. However, if you don't want to keep getting up in the night to pick your baby up, then firstly I would suggest that you focus on making sure your baby can fall asleep independently at the start of the night. Then when that is established, you can then start by trying to reassure your baby without picking them up - try sitting by the cot and offering physical and verbal support while they are still in the cot.


My 8-month-old wakes at 4.30 am every morning and won't go back to sleep... What can we do!?

Early rising is one of the most challenging issues for babies of this age, and it's one of the hardest to get to the bottom of. This is because sleep pressure (our drive to sleep) decreases as the night progresses. Once it gets to the early hours, if anything wakes your baby, it can be hard to get them back to sleep. To tackle early rising it can be first important to 'reset' their circadian rhythm (the body clock) and make sure you keep them in the nighttime environment until at least 6am. If they are happy, just leave them to it and see if they will resettle independently. If they are unhappy, do whatever you can to resettle. Then you really want to look into the cause of those wakes and eliminate them. I have a comprehensive free guide to early rising and you can download it here when you subscribe to my mailing list.


Is it ok for my 8-month-old to sleep on their tummy?

You should always place your baby in their cot on their back, but if they roll independently then it is safe to leave them in that position if they can roll from front to back independently. Most 8-month-olds are capable or rolling both ways independently, but if they aren't then you will need to turn them back if they do happen to roll onto their front.


My 8-month-old is sleeping a lot during the day, is this okay?

Between 12-15 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period is the recommended amount of sleep according to The Sleep Foundation, but as little as 10 hours and as much as 18 hours. If your baby is exceeding this amount of sleep over a 24 hour period, and it seems to be consistent (they are not unwell, for example), then you may want to discuss this with your health visitor or GP.


Can an 8 month old baby sleep with a pillow?

The Lullaby Trust recommend a clear cot until the age of one, and many sources also do not recommend a pillow until 2 years of age.


Why is my 8-month-old fighting naps?

Your baby could either be overtired or undertired and they are fighting sleep because they have had too little or too much sleep.


Why is my 8-month-old only napping for 30 minutes?

At 8 months of age this can be a common issue as your child's sleep needs begin to change and they may need more or less awake time in the day. As a rule of thumb, if your baby wakes from a very short nap and they are crying, you probably left it too long to settle them for their nap. If their nap is short and they wake happy, they may need a little longer time awake.


But remember, a nap is a nap, so if the nap is short, try to resettle if you can, particularly for naps in the middle of the day. But don't stress too much.


Hello!


Headshot of Janine Orford Baby Sleep Consultatn based in London

I'm Janine and I'm a qualified infant Sleep Practitioner, Mum of two and the founder of The Bedtime Champ. The Bedtime Champ is a sleep consultancy service offering in-home consultations in London (England) and remote consultations worldwide. One-to-one remote consultation packages start at £89. I also have an online course and community which is a comprehensive sleep resource for parents of babies aged 4-18 months of age. To find out more about The Essential Gentle Baby Sleep Course for babies aged 4-18 months of age, click here.

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