9 months! Does it feel like just yesterday you were awaiting the birth of your sweet little one? Although I would roll my eyes when every mom, aunt and stranger told me “time will pass SO fast when your babies are little”, I now get it. Hold those babies tightly!
You made it past the newborn stage of getting feeding established, figuring out bathing/nail clipping/public outings and losing track of time staring at this new amazing small version of you, now what? Well if you are like I was, you are wondering when is the next time a good nights sleep is coming. Those same wise women I mentioned above would say “not for another 18 years!” However, this doesn’t have to be the case. So, lets talk awake times and sleep!
Sleep at 9 Months
You are probably now watching your little one explore everything around them and witnessing their awe of vertical life! Sitting up with support or solo, maybe starting to pull themselves up to stand by furniture, teething, as well as, experiencing new senses by exploring different foods, play and emotions. Growing up is hard work! So, what does sleep look like at this age with all these changes happening? Your baby is likely taking 2 naps a day, might still be waking in the night for nutrition and is able to self soothe easier. The challenge is, with all these new skills they are learning, sleep sometimes can be put on the back burner. This is why being aware of awake times is so important.
What are awake times?
At each stage in development there are average times that work best for your little one to be awake before they need more sleep. The science of sleep and sleep cycles are so amazing! Newborns can really only be awake for 30-45 min before they need more sleep, but when they get to be 9 months it can stretch to 3-4 hours. If your baby is all of a sudden having a lot of crying at naps/bedtime or naps have become very short, then it is likely time to increase their awake times and allow them to work up that sleep pressure. This will allow them to be ready for sleep and help them to fall into that first stage of sleep easier.
During their awake times your baby will be busy! Drinking, eating, playing. It’s important during these awake times that they have plenty of opportunity to play and explore all these new skills they are learning. The more they are active during the day, the less they will want to master these skills at night in their crib instead of sleeping! Getting the proper nutrition to your baby during awake times is important too, this will help with routine and ensure their tanks are full by the end of the day so sleep is their only priority!
What would an ideal schedule look like then?
All babies are unique and certainly all parenting styles are different. Because of this, following just one ideal schedule to fit all babies is unrealistic. Instead of following exact times and a set schedule, it is much more important to follow your babies cues and be consistent with routines. What should we focus on then? Bedtime routine, nap routine (a shorter bed time routine) and a feeding routine (MAMA method).
If you incorporate these routines, a typical day for a 9 month old with 3 hour awake times could be: wake up at 7 am, naps at 10 am and 2:30 pm and bed at 7 pm. However, I must remind you that it is important to get to know your babies sleepy cues and watch for them. When you see these cues, start your nap/bed routine and lay them down for sleep. Ensure a healthy sleep environment, use sleep tools, remove sleep props and be consistent. You got this!
Sleep at any age can be challenging. If you have questions please reach out to a Mama Coach in your area to support you and your family and get you on the road to better sleep!