After the 4 month regression, comes the 9 month regression, much like the 4 month regression not every baby's sleep is impacted by developmental growth but if you understand what can have an impact on your baby's sleep, you can minimise the loss of sleep both you and your baby may experience.
The 9 month regression can occur anytime between 7 -10 months of age and this regression is influenced by advances in your baby's intellectual development and physical growth and emerging skills like crawling, pulling themselves to stand and even cruising around furniture for more advanced babies.
Intellectually this is the time when your babies understanding of object permanence takes shape. Object permanence is when your baby realises that people and objects still exist even when out of sight. Prior to the concept of OP solidifying in your baby's mind, from a babies perspective, with people and objects its a case of out of sight out of mind. As your baby develops they now understand that people and objects do still exist when out of sight ,they remember you exist realise you have gone & miss you, they also realise they have no control over when you are returning. Causing anxiety and fear known commonly as separation anxiety, very normal but upsetting and distressing for a baby. These are new feelings and emotions they may not have experienced before which can be unsettling for them.
Physically, your baby may have just learnt to crawl or pull themselves up to standing using nearby furniture….during a regression when your little one comes into an early sleep phase babies can often practise ‘new’ skills semi alert and then wake themselves up completely. A drowsy baby can pull themselves to standing whilst still half asleep , then wake up and freak out tired but unable to lay down and go back to sleep because they haven’t yet learnt how to ……….meaning they cry for mummy for help.
What to do to survive this regression:
Know & understand a skill progression is unavoidable, they can’t help it and while not every baby experiences a disruption in sleep it's hard to avoid completely
Maintain your routines as much as possible & Avoid overtiredness - watch awake windows and structure naps so your baby is getting enough rest during the day ( get help with naps and sleep schedules here)
Emotions are more new for your baby and more intense for both of you when you’re tired, be patient with yourself and your baby
Try not to reinforce your babies fears by mirroring their panic or fear.Calm the chaos by being calm in front of your baby so that you don't confirm their feelings of being fearful or anxious. Reassure them when you are leaving them that you will be back.
Practice the emerging physical skills during play, practice crawling pulling to stand getting back down during play time, not only will this use up physical energy to help them sleep but will also take the ‘shine’ off these new skills and the tendency to practice them semi alert too.
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