By age 8 months, a child likely has a relatively regular sleep pattern. Unlike a newborn who snoozes 16 or more hours during a 24-hour period with stretches of just a few hours of sleep at a time, an 8-month-old sleeps about 14 to 15 hours a day on average including a regular nap schedule, according to WebMD. However, the "normal" range of sleep can still vary considerably at this stage of development.
An increasingly mobile and playful 8-month-old is typically too busy to sleep away much of the day. Instead of napping throughout the day, a child who is age 8 months usually takes a morning and an afternoon nap. Some on-the-go midyear babies may opt for brief 20 minute cat naps, while other might sleep a few hours. Getting your baby to sleep during the day is sometimes easier said than done. You may find yourself in a power struggle with your infant because she wants to stay up and have fun with you. It's important for your busy bee to sleep long enough to maintain her pleasant disposition; too little sleep during the day can result in a cranky 8-month-old.
A consistent, predictable and enjoyable bedtime routine can prepare your 8-month-old for a good night's sleep. Cuddling or rocking your baby until she's drowsy, and then gently placing her in the crib will help her learn to fall asleep on her own, according to HealthyChildren.org, a website of the American Academy of Pediatrics. An 8-month-old may no longer need you to rush to her aid in the middle of the night since she's usually capable of self-soothing and drifting back to sleep independently after a few minutes. If your little one is making a ruckus, wait a bit to see if she goes back to sleep. If fussing persists, comfort her for a few minutes with the lights off. Rubbing her head or softly singing a lullaby might do the trick.
Your 8-month-old might awaken and cry during the night because he's hungry. Keep things as quiet and dark as possible when you feed him, using a night light for nighttime feedings so as not to rouse your little one. Resist the urge to play with him during the night, too. Simply return him to his crib once he's burped and tranquil. Exit the room as quietly as possible. Consistently keeping things low key during nighttime feedings can help your baby get in the groove of returning to sleep peacefully.
Starting around age 8-months, some babies experience night terrors. You'll know if your baby is one of the unfortunate ones. You shouldn't confuse night terrors with nightmares that usually hold off until the preschool years. Night terrors begin during the deepest part of sleep and prompt your baby to cry and scream. Your baby is actually asleep during the entire episode -- which is why he won't respond well to your well-intended efforts to comfort him. Check on your baby to make sure he's safe and he'll eventually calm down on his own.
Once your 8-month-old celebrates her first birthday, beginning the toddler stage, she's likely to drop her morning nap but keep her afternoon siesta. Even though toddlers need slightly less, or in some cases the same number of hours of sleep as an 8-month-old -- ideally 12 to 14 hours per night -- they usually average about 10, notes WebMD.
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