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June 30, 2010

I had never heard of something called the 8/9 month old sleep regression, until last night, sometime into the 2 hour block between 8.30-10.30 during which Lady G woke, and howled, and screamed, and refused to go back to sleep.  It was on my mind for an hour at 1am, as I tried the usual settling techniques in vain, finally reverting to feeding her to sleep in an attempt to get the crying to stop.  This morning I had to take us out for a walk so I could get a coffee and clear my head after another half an hour of it – luckily she fell asleep in the pram on the way.

This has been going on for a couple of days now – our wonderful bub who could sleep 7-7, settled herself off to sleep without any assistance in 10 minutes is now a howling banshee.  It’s even extended to naps, so I’m battling her constantly day and night, while feeling the effects of sleep deprivation myself too.

So, the theory goes that around about week 34 (one of the classic wonder weeks around 8-9 months) babies make a great leap forward developmentally, which takes its toll on their sleep as their brain prepares for life as a toddler.  Combine this with separation anxiety, teething and a new awareness of what they want and don’t want (which on the face of it are all terrific things for a baby to be learning) and you have a situation that becomes too overwhelming for them to deal with, and they can’t sleep.

The Sleep Store has some good suggestions about things to do during the day to help her process some of what is going on, but I can’t find much info on how to deal with settling during the night.  The gentle settling techniques (patting, stroking, shushing etc without picking her up) are not working at all, and I am scared that if I start rocking or feeding her to sleep again she’s going to develop bad habits which will be hard to break at a time when I’m preparing to go back to work again and will need some sleep.

On the other hand, I really can’t bear to hear her screaming like this – those deep body-shaking sobs just breaks your heart.  While some babies may be able to cry it out and release tension, she seems to escalate her stress by crying.

This site suggests that trying to train sleep habits at this time is going to be really tricky, and I think the distress she’s in right now is harder for me to handle than getting up briefly a couple of times a night.

My gut instinct is to run through our routine initially (so she knows what to expect), but make allowances for the fact that she may not be capable of getting off to sleep right now without some additional assistance.  So maybe we’ll rock a little more, use the pram, or feed a little more – and reassess in a week or two whether she’s still needing that.  I’d love any suggestions though of anything that may have worked for you.

In happier news, I scored an exersaucer off eBay for $25 the other day, and she’s loving it – it’s like her little office.  I’ll have to post a picture of her hard at work.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 30, 2010 7:55 pm

    There’s a growth spurt that usually coincides with this sleep regression – fun fun. Ours turned into maniac banshees for a couple of weeks – feeding tons through the night, fighting sleep, etc. Then just as quickly as it started it stopped, so take heart…

    • The Barreness permalink*
      June 30, 2010 9:09 pm

      Oh man, I hope so. And I should count myself lucky – as bad as she can be, she’s just one. You had to cope with 2 crazy bunnies at the same time!

  2. michelehaytko permalink
    June 30, 2010 11:37 pm

    AH! This explains why my sleeping through the night babies decided to have a month of waking in the middle of the night!

  3. Heather King permalink
    July 1, 2010 2:33 am

    Heh – I just looked back through my blog, and sure enough, there it was, right between 8 and 9 months. It made for a rough couple of weeks – it was hard to get Owen to sleep, and he would wake up in the middle of the night too. And this happened right around teething too.

    My advice is to just hang in there, take it an hour at a time, and do whatever (and I do mean that!) you have to do to get through it. Don’t be too worried about “starting new habits”. Yeah, sure, it might happen – but you deal with that if/when it happens. Trust me, there’ll be plenty of those opportunities! 🙂

    Hang in there!
    Heather

  4. July 1, 2010 11:17 pm

    oh god, D isn’t the best of sleepers now, I was looking forward to thigns getting better not worse!

    I hope Lady G pushes through this nice nad quick for you

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