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6-9 Month Baby Sleep Guide

If your baby is in the 6-9 month age range one of two things is happening:

1

Things are getting dramatically better!

Your baby is taking longer more predictable naps, you’re down to 0-1 feedings at night, you’re no longer wearing flannel PJ pants to the grocery, and you’re reading enough to show your face at your monthly book club meetings. WOO HOO!

2

Things are bad or possibly getting even worse!

Your baby is taking short unpredictable naps, bedtime is a dreaded chore, and you’re up so often at night you wish you could go back to the newborn phase because that was easier. (If so keep reading!)

You’re probably done swaddling your bigger baby but some older babies still need to be swaddled although I promise you you’re very close to being done with wrapping up your baby Houdini. You’ll want to continue to use loud white noise and work hard to make sure you aren’t keeping baby awake too long. Your 6-9 month old baby is hopefully taking somewhat longer and more regular naps (check out Baby Sleep What is Normal for more details on this). Most babies at this age are napping ~3 times a day. The first 2 naps are serious where the 3rd nap (which falls in the late afternoon/early evening) is generally more of a cat nap.

Teaching Your Baby to Fall Asleep

teaching baby to fall asleepYou can no longer nurse, rock, pat, etc your older baby to sleep. If your 6-9 month old baby is sleeping poorly THIS is the problem. It’s not the teething, growth spurts, wonder weeks, learning to roll over, or any of those other changes that make parenting an older baby so exciting. The problem is that they haven’t yet learned how to fall asleep on their own.

The process of gradually reducing the amount of nursing, rocking, and butt patting you do can be frustrating. But it’s REALLY important. Also? Failure to do so almost guarantees you will never ever sleep through the night. That’s how important it is.

I know it’s not easy but trust me, the longer you wait to deal with this issue the more likely it is that you’re headed towards cry it outsville. I’m not saying you can’t avoid this path, but as your baby get’s older, it get’s harder to do so. So really, now IS the time.

Further Reading

Ultimate Guide to Vanquishing Short Naps
How and Why to Use and Loose the Paci
Weaning Baby OFF the Swing
When Night Weaning isn’t Working
Bedtime What Time?
Why Your Baby Hates the Crib
Are You Keeping Baby Awake Too Long?
Sleeping Through the Night Part 1
Sleeping Through the Night Part 2
What You Need to Know About Sleeping Through the Night – Part 3
And of course the ever popular – Baby Sleep What is Normal?

 

322 Comments


  1. I have a 6 month old baby girl from birth untill now she has not slept in her crib not through the night. Majority of the time i have to hold her to sleep. When she sleeps if i put her in her crib after an hour shes crying if i try to let her self sooth it doesnt work after a little my husband gets up to get her and 9 times out of ten she ends up in bed with me and my husband sleeps in guest room because he has work next day. She doesnt sleep through the nigh most nights she wakes up at 230 or 330 am i stopped feeding her i try to get her to go back to sleep but it usually takes a couple of hours. I have tried to eliminate the afternoon nap, i bottle feed i try to make sure she has had enough to eat. During the day she wants to be held all the time and if i put her down she cries non stop. I am exhausted i have major back and neck problems. This is causing problems in my marriage i am at my whits end and i do not know what to do please any advice is welcome. Thank you!

    • Hey sorry to her ur having problems…
      When u first train then for crib take her into bed 1 hours before her actual bedtime and dim the light and leave her in the crib AWAKE sit beside the crib and read a book in soft voice or sing a song. Let her calm down in the crib if she cries pick her up soothe her put her back in the crib. It might take a long time but she will understand ur gonna put her back in. Just patt her bump while singing or try white noise in low volume. Keep trying for few days it will work (1week)
      Don’t give up and put her back in bed with u

      Also day time do u have bounce for her? If not u need one of those
      Leave her in there and sit infront of her and make her smile and talk to her
      She is feeling insecure for some reason when if she cries give her a toy she is trying to grab attention trust me it’s what we train the babies my guy is 7 months old he was like that they love our body heat and secure hold.
      The more we run to them when they cry they try and create attention through crying when u know she is crying becaz she wants to be held don’t just go talk to her day it’s ok mom is here . If u need to be in the kitchen pull her in the bounce let her watch u from the entrance and u do ur stuff….

      Best if luck

    • Hey sorry to her ur having problems…
      When u first train then for crib take her into bed 1 hours before her actual bedtime and dim the light and leave her in the crib AWAKE sit beside the crib and read a book in soft voice or sing a song. Let her calm down in the crib if she cries pick her up soothe her put her back in the crib. It might take a long time but she will understand ur gonna put her back in. Just patt her bump while singing or try white noise in low volume. Keep trying for few days it will work (1week)
      Don’t give up and put her back in bed with u

      Also day time do u have bounce for her? If not u need one of those
      Leave her in there and sit infront of her and make her smile and talk to her
      She is feeling insecure for some reason when if she cries give her a toy she is trying to grab attention trust me it’s what we train the babies my guy is 7 months old he was like that they love our body heat and secure hold.
      The more we run to them when they cry they try and create attention through crying when u know she is crying becaz she wants to be held don’t just go talk to her day it’s ok mom is here . If u need to be in the kitchen pull her in the bounce let her watch u from the entrance and u do ur stuff….my mistake with my baby he won’t let go of his paci at night and it’s problem when he sleeps

      Best of luck

      • Thank you for the advice i will try it hopefully is works. But what about the waking up in the middle of night she wants to play and usualy stays up for an hour or two?

        • Hi Lena,

          If she wakes up don’t interact with her let her lay in the crib she will eventually get the point it’s night time not play time and even mayb learn to soothe her self to sleep. The more we talk to them or interact they will want to play.
          Even if u want u can give her a diaper change and put her back in but don’t speak a work to her or smile at her. Will take few days but will get the point. again babies are all abt attention seeking.

        • Your baby is not ready for crib yet…don’t force it. Your baby will grow to be a very secure lady if you let her tell you, when she is ready!

          • Hello thanks for reply my baby has to be in the crib as she stands now and moves wayyy too much. I think she is very attached to me.

    • I disagree that this has anything to do with the crib. The fundamental issue is that she doesn’t know how to fall asleep without you. You sneak her into the crib, she wakes and you’ve mysteriously disappeared! The issue is how she’s falling asleep.

      • Hello, thanks for reply! She is now 7 months still not sleeping through the night i am trying a routine but shes still waking up at least twice a night. Now however she doesnt always cry but plays so i leave her. A lot of time she poops so i change her lol and she will go back to sleep.

  2. Charlene JOrdaan

    I have 6 month old twins who share a room. they sleep in separate cribs though. My lg sleeps through the night but my lb wakes often through the night. I don’t have a problem putting them to sleep. I put them down and leave the room. there is white noise playing.they both fall asleep easily. from about 12am to 5am I probably have to get up 5 times. my lb cries in his sleep. I leave him sometimes but am scared he will wake the lg so get up. he doesn’t really wake up but cries enough for me to go and give him his dummy again.
    im tired! not sure what I should do?

  3. I have an 8 month old who previously slept through the night starting at 1 month until 6 months. She started waking through the night and would not go to sleep until I nursed her despite everything I tried. I was never a fan of the CIO method but at this point I am up to trying anything. Her bedtime is between 8-9 and she usually wakes up between 11-12 and sometimes 3:30 and then may be up for a good hour or more. She then wakes up again around 6:30-7:30 nurses and sometime will go back to sleep for another hour or is up for the day. I have always nursed her to sleep and we lay in my bed when I nurse her and then when shes asleep, my husband will move her to her crib. What is the best thing to get her back to sleeping through the night?

  4. I have a 6 month old who is a great routine follower all day. She’s up at 6 and follows an eat, play, sleep schedule every 4 hours. When it’s time for nap she calmly gets herself to sleep. Until it’s night time and we get her to bed. She just recently started having trouble getting herself to sleep at night. She self soothes sometimes during the day, I feel, but at night she just screams for hours. Once she does go to sleep – she’s fine. She maybe gets up once during the night to nurse. We let her CIO to an extent but when she gets to the point of not being able to take a breath because she’s crying so hard we cave and rock her or nurse her or do whatever we can over and over until she falls asleep.

  5. My 8 month old was always amazing at self soothing and putting himself to sleep with minimal help from me. Until he learned to crawl and sit up on his own.
    Now he goes in the crib, sits up, bounces and laughs like a maniac. This can last for hours.
    How do I get him to stop playing and just sleep? He shows all the signs of being tired before he goes in and he seems to perk right up as soon as he gets in the crib.
    I lay him down gently, rub his back and tell him softly that it’s sleepy time. And he tricks me! He closes his eyes, his breath steadies and I sit down, letting sleep take over.
    And as soon as I walk away he pops back up and it starts all over again!

    How can I help him realize the crib is for sleep??

  6. Hi Alexis. I have an 8 month old boy and CIO is not seeming to work. It worked for nights fine but now I am trying naps and it is a nightmare. I’ve been following the bedtime routine (books, songs) but when I put him down in the crib he cries/whimpers the whole hour. I take him out, play quietly for an hour, try again. He did this three times in a row…. So 9 hours without sleep! I thought for sure he would cave in but he never did. The next day he did the same exact thing. Should I just continue with this method even though he never cries “to sleep”?? How long do I keep trying it for? Should I try something else? I’ve also tried getting him super drowsy but as soon as he touches the crib he starts crying. I just hate to keep doing the CIO when it seems like it doesn’t even work for him…. Thank you. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    • I have the same problem with one of my 6 month twins. The CIO worked very well for sleeping through the night (took 2 nights for them to understand) but naps are a nightmare. We do two naps of 2 hours (9-11 and 1-3 plus a 30 min optional cat nap at 5 – schedule was based on them showing signs of tiredness). The pediatrician said to only leave them crying in their crib for 30min max during nap time and if they’re still crying, take them out and try again later. Half the time he’s asleep right at the 30min mark and the other half of the time he won’t nap unless nursed. I’ve been trying for 2 weeks and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. He knows how to fall asleep on his own as he sleeps through the night… I’m wondering if this is a sort of tantrum simply because he doesn’t want to nap? Versus unable to fall asleep…

      • So my guy seriously did not nap AT ALL for a week and a half! It was horrible. But then all the sudden he did it! I was leaving him for an hour. I just set my timer. Then we would stay up together for about an hour, and try it all over again. It was not fun. Now he’s doing pretty good. I have a monitor which really helps cuz I can see if he’s standing or if he’s lying down but just not sleeping. It helps me determine when to “give up” on the nap or not. We went to the beach for one day though and I had to start all over again. I had to disassociate nursing and nap because he thought they were connected. I don’t nurse in his room at all anymore. Good luck mama!

  7. Hello!
    My baby will be 6 months in 3 days. She sleeps very well at night (usually sleeping by 7 or 7:30 pm the latest and goes until around 7 am with one feeding during the night around 4 or 5 am. I wake her up at 7 am if she isn’t already). But naps are something that I can’t figure out. Every day is different. She does sleep on her own, I do a nap routine and put her on her crib awake (she either plays a bit with her lovey and falls asleep easily or cries and I go in to soothe her doing PU/PD until she settles and falls asleep). She used to sleep 1:30-2 hours in the morning and have longer naps during the day, but now she almost always sleeps for 45 min only. I can’t figure out what is wrong, because she falls asleep on her own, I guess she should be able to connect sleep cycles. I try to put her down every two hours, when she is showing sleepy signs, but every day is different, sometimes she will sleep a little longer or she will take more time to settle and go to sleep and this makes every day look different, which is upsetting. What can I be doing wrong?

  8. Hi I have a 6 month old she puts herself asleep but wakes several time through the night. I feed her each time. I put her down around 7 she usually wakes at 10is, then 1, then 4, and 6. Sometimes it’s closer and longer. It’s getting super hard. She takes 3 naps a day and does great naps. But hard through the night. I’m not huge on the cry it out either. She only feeds for 10-15 min not sure if she is getting enough food to sleep longer or what. I feel she isn’t that’s why I keep feeding her. Not sure what to do.

    • Hi, I have 6.5 month old that I’ve had “trained” to sleep since 15 weeks following the Babywise method. STTN and two 2 hour naps plus cat nap. Over the last week or so this has all gone out the window. She sleeps all night but can’t self soothe at all. She screams for over an hour before bed at night and at naps. She used to do this at night as an infant but would eventually go to sleep. CIO used to work but now it’s not working. She cries for over an hour and gets so worked up nothing that used to work works…paci, sleep bag, rubbing forehead. I end up picking her up and holding her. I know she’s tired because during the day she’s falling asleep at the breast. I feel like all of my hard work is going down the tubes and I have zero patience for my older child. Heeeelp

    • Hi Megan, we are in the same boat. Our 7 months old does exact same thing. Did anything improve for you guys. Please share :))

  9. I have 8 month old twin boys and not only will they not sleep in their crib they won’t even play in it. I’m under the impression they don’t like their crib and I feel like they won’t be comfortable to sleep in the crib until they at least can be in it without hysterically crying. Please if there is anyone that can help if really appreciate it I’m at the end of my rope!! Please help!!!

  10. Napping so much harder to control with 2 kids! OK so I have a 4 year old girl at school and a 7.5 month old baby. Baby girl was a great napper, we learned to self soothe early on and always had a routine. She started sleeping through the night at 6 months so all was well. She’d awake at 7, nap 9.30 till 10.30 then from 12.30/1pm to 3pm then bed at 6/6.30. Then she got ill a few weeks ago with a cold and naps and morning wakening all have gone to pot. She’s well again now and has been for nearly 2 weeks but we now have lots of tears putting down for both naps even though she’s tired. She eventually nods off for 30 mins sometimes less and then wakens wanting to play or crying again. We try soothing back to sleep but it never works. Also she now wakens between 4.30 and 5.30am which is exhausting. I have to keep her awake till 9 in the morning and waken her in the afternoon by 3 for the school runs. I just can’t seem to get it all back to normal and I know she needs to sleep till at least 6 to manage through till 9 but she is in bed by 6.30 so really she’s had a good night already. I can’t move the 6.30pm bedtime back because of the school run. Please help! 🙁 BTW your websites been my sleep bible for both kids (started when it was troublesome tots) and I recommend to all! By far best advice out there so also thank you for all your help!

    • I am in similar boat- 4 year old just started school and just-turned 8 month old, finding navigating the school runs and nap times really trally challenging- every day is different and all the school and daycare germs are coming home with both kids so constant colds…… Exhausting…..!!!

      • Not just me then. Very hard at the moment but sure it will get better. Also started night feeding again as no other soothing method in the night works (we have full on screaming till we feed). She does take a full bottle then too so playing it out for now before deciding if it’s a growth spurt or habit! Lol we love them though 🙂

  11. My 8 month old has always been a good sleeper- she has taken plenty of lovely long naps and can go to sleep by herself. But for a week something evil has been going on, she is fighting the second and third naps and nighttime sleep has utterly fallen apart- she wakes every two hours… What on earth is going on?? Is it just the dreaded 8month sleep regression and growth spurt?

    • Hi Kirsten,
      We are going through the same thing. Our 7 months old was a great sleeper until a month ago when he started waking up every 2 hours. He is not hungry but he will not calm down until we pick him up and hold him for about 10 mins.
      He is sleep trained and he does fall asleep on his own, however come night time waking he will not go back to sleep on his own.
      He does love his pacifier and would not sleep without it though. We tried getting rid of it but I have never seen my baby cry like that before so I caved in and gave it back to him. I hope you have improvements in your sleep 🙂

  12. Great article!
    My just 7 month old still wakes up every three hours or less every night! He won’t stop crying until I nurse him. And he drinks up so i know it’s not a cuddle thing.
    He’s onto solids for about a month now.

    Any suggestions to getting more sleep at night?:(

  13. We have a 7 month old little girl who wakes up every 2 hours crying for a bottle. We’re not sure if she’s actually hungry or just doesn’t want to put herself to sleep because she’ll gulp 4 ounces each time and then fall straight to sleep again. She’s at daycare every day of week – Monday thru Friday – from 07:30 to 16:45. From there my wife drives to my work place and from 17:00 – 18:00 our little girl is in the car with her where she is fed and has a little nap. We arrive home at about 18:30 and it’s straight to the bath for our little one. After bathing we put her to sleep, which is usually at about 19:30 at the latest. She’ll be fine until about 23:00, and that’s when the “every two hours” starts. We have a food processor so we buy the fruits, the veggies, the meat and the pasta and my wife makes the food herself. Our little girl also eats yogurt as well, which she loves, and also drinking 100% juice, so it’s not just formula she’s consuming, but come 23:00 formula is all she wants every two hours and will scream bloody murder if you don’t give it to her. We don’t know what the deal is. I have issues with my head and tinnitus so I don’t hear anything when I sleep. This means my wife never sleeps through and is so tired all the time. We don’t know what to do.

    • Hey Derrick,
      I have a few thoughts for you:
      – The car nap on the way home is not your friend. IF she’s napping at ~18:00 that’s going to make it hard for her to sleep at 19:30. I mean yes she’s DOING it, but one of the reasons you need an age-appropriate amount of wake time prior to bedtime is so you can FALL and STAY asleep. She’s nailing the FALLING part, but struggling with the STAYING. Most 7 month olds need to be awake 3+ hours prior to bedtime. That means if your goal is 19:30, she shouldn’t be sleeping 3 hours prior.

      – How does she FALL asleep at 18:30? Is the bottle in any way involved? Is she falling asleep 100% on her own? If not that’s your problem right there.

      – The “every 2 hours” pattern to me is a sleep association – she can’t cycle through light sleep without eating. It’s not really about how much yogurt she did or didn’t eat that day. Again I would look at what’s happening at bedtime (not awake long enough, feeding too closely to bedtime, etc.) and figure out how to make changes THERE that will result in less demands to eat at night.

      – Note I said “less” not “none.” She’s USED to eating loads and will continue eating loads until you a) remove the sleep association issues at bedtime and b) gradually wean off night consumption.

      Hope that helps – good luck!

  14. Hi Alexis

    Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. We live in Namibia and it is so hard to find good advice when it comes to sleeping babies!! I have a question..
    Weve just started cio with our beautiful 7month old baby girl and she hates it ☺. I confess that sofar I have been breastfeeding my girl to sleep. This has made everything so difficult because she constantly wakes up looking for me in the night (4-5 times she just nibbles a bit and falls back to sleep) and my husband cant put her to bed or comfort her for a lack of boobs! Sooo, teaching her to fall asleep by herself seems to be the right thing to do for all of us. Her bedtime is 7 o’clock and her routine sofar has been dinner, bath, massage, pjs, boob , bed.
    Id appreciate your expert advice on:
    1) is 7oclock a good bedtime & I read in your other replies that I should completely separate boob from bed time?
    2) when she wakes up at night should we leave her? And can I keep 1 or 2 nightfeedings? (I dont mind 1 or 2)
    3) When should we go in to console her (ive heard to console her when the crying gets very intense?)
    4) nap times I have completely stopped nursing to sleep and started to let her cio with me near her. Is this ok?

    Thank you so much in advance, it really means alot to have someone who takes an interest in my sanity Eva

  15. With the night feedings, you said night weaning and cio are two different things. Does this mean that cio is just for bedtime ☺thanks. This is all starting to make sense to me now

  16. So some people may say I dont have an issue. I keep reading that naps are common to be short. I had this issue for a very long time. He would only take 30min naps about 5 times a day. About 1 month ago he started taking 3-4 naps a day. First nap about 1:15-1:45 (somedays 2 hrs) and second nap around the same, last nap about 30-45 mins. Pretty normal I think. BTW he is 1 week shy of 6 months. He was so great a naps!! He would fall asleep in about 5 mins. Now… he takes almost 30 mins to fall asleep. He will still take long naps but now I am wondering if he is getting too much sleep during the day. He used to fall asleep really easily at night. (no cry at all) and now it takes anywhere from 30 to 45 this last week. I feel so bad that he’s having such a hard time. He started rolling so we stopped swaddling and we took the pacifier away 3 weeks ago. If I give it to him now he just pulls it out and tosses it to the side. He only wants his lovey and will chew / suck on it til he falls aleep. He now sleeps on his stomach for most of the night. I cant seem to put my finger on it! What could make it so difficult for him to fall asleep. Mind you there is no feeding or rocking to sleep. He has slept in his crib since 4 months and we use a white noise machine.
    I’d love a little insite if possible. Maybe I am asking too much from him? But it is a very dramatic change for him.

  17. Hi I have a 7mth old Son and we still sleep train him for the last 2 weeks and it seems not improving. Not sure what we have do wrongly. Since birth he was nv slp in crib before. 1) We decide to create a sleeping environment for him using a playpen as his bed instead of crib bcos at his age he will keep standing and fall hitting his head on the crib. 2) we start training him nap and night together, his napping never improve at all, but night time do have some improvement but not consistent, 1 night good 2 night bad. 3) we create a bed time routine Everyday by giving him a bath before bedtime.
    We stop night feeding after a week of night training
    So my question is what we have done wrongly?
    Should we do the training nap and night time together?
    How and when should we do the nap training if not together(night and nap)?
    He will keep standing and fall inside his playpen, sometime he will just let go and fall back on the mattress with his back of his head landing on the mattress, and we worry if his head can withstand the shock. This is the main reason I thinking of stopping the training. How to prevent this? We really need some help here. Thanks in advance.

    • We sleep trained our 7 months old when he was 4 months old, we used a shush and pat method and he was able to fall asleep on his own within a week with no tears. The book we used was called baby whisperer. Good luck.

  18. I have a 7 month old girl and she used to sleep very well when she was like 3 months to 6 months but now its getting to the point i can barely get any sleep myself. Her naps are like 15 to 20 mins and when it hit around 6:30 i give her bottle and change diaper put her down she immediately starts crying for a lttle bit and fall asleep. Then she wake up again i give her bottle and change her diaper put her back in the crib and sometimes she will just lay there for 30 mins or cry til i pick her up. I dont understand her sleeping because when i pick her up after she cry all she wants to do is play lol im trying to teach her night time is sleep time im hoping its get better. I do the crying method and just let her til she sleeps and so far that is the only thing that works i hate that she cries for about 30 til an hour but it works

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