9 months old
Transitioning from three naps to two naps
- Just as you settled into your baby’s three-nap routine, you might notice that your baby’s third afternoon nap is starting to become shorter and shorter – until one day it’ll be skipped altogether.
- Most 9 or 10 months olds will get around 13 to 15 hours of sleep a day, usually broken up into 11 to 12 hours at night and 2 to 3 hours in two naps. (Of course every baby is different.)
- If your little one finally decided to skip the late afternoon nap, expect a small, slightly icky transitional period going from 3 to 2 naps.
- You might notice that although the third nap wasn’t necessary, it’s hard to make it through dinner – as your baby snoozes in his highchair.
- Don’t push your baby to stick to his or her regular bedtime for the sake of routine, since an overtired baby will actually sleep less during the night. It might be best to bump up your baby’s bedtime as early as 6:30 p.m.
- For the same reason, don’t take away your baby’s third nap before he or she is ready. Eliminating the extra nap won’t encourage your baby to sleep longer at night. In fact, the exact opposite will happen.
- The transition from three naps to two is typically a natural process, so don’t stress over when and how it will happen. And you can expect your baby to sleep longer during two naps than three.
- Typically, your baby will stick to this two-nap routine until around 18 months, when he or she will drop down to one 2- or 3-hour nap.
- On the other hand, your baby might already be protesting for only one nap a day. While most 9-month-olds need a second nap, your baby might be happy and refreshed without the extra hour or two of sleep. However, if your baby acts cranky and overtired – rubbing his or her eyes and having meltdowns by dinnertime – your baby probably doesn’t want the extra nap to interfere with playing and exploring, so he or she is fighting falling asleep. In this case, your baby simply doesn’t know what’s best, so it’s up to you to encourage sleep time – a common 9-month problem.
- 9-month-olds are optimally awake for about 2.5 hours between morning wake up and naps, and 3.5 hours before bed.
Sleep Problems: Fighting Sleep
- If your baby is still waking up multiple times throughout the night, you might want to consider a form of sleep training – simply to teach him or her how to fall asleep without your help.
- However, many parents find that their once-stellar sleepers start to have a difficult time falling asleep and/or staying asleep right around the 9-month mark. After all, there’s so much for your baby to do and see – so many new tricks to practice. Who has time to sleep?
- Continue with your bedtime and naptime routine, creating a soothing, quiet environment that signals sleep time.
- Check the length of time baby is awake. If she’s up with the sunrise at 6:00 a.m., she’ll be ready for her first nap around 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. Keeping her up longer than that can make her more resistant to sleep.
- On the flip side, make sure she’s not napping too late in the day. If bedtime is 7:30 p.m., attempt to have her awake by 4:00 p.m. After that, even a short 5-minute catnap can throw off bedtime.
- Darken your baby’s room and try playing some soothing music, reading in a quiet and monotone voice, and limiting the distractions before bedtime.
- Don’t be discouraged if it seems as though your baby will never take a nap again. Continue your routine and attempt at least the morning nap in the crib. If afternoon comes and your little one is still wide awake (and overtired), try resorting to other options, like walking with your baby in a carrier, pushing him or her in a stroller or even driving around in your car.
- If you’re trying to sleep train your baby (again), be consistent with naps too. But don’t let your baby cry too long during the day (such as over 30 minutes), or else his or her sleep schedule will get thrown off.