At 9 months old, your baby is starting to fall in love with the world. They’re more chatty, more giggly, more active, and somehow even more cute (how is that possible?) There’s a ton of developmental milestones in this very active and social stage. With all this in mind, don’t be surprised if your 9 month old is having some sleep regressions. Sleep regression is a chunk of time, usually 2-4 weeks when a baby that’s been a total night owl suddenly has trouble falling asleep or has frequent night wakings.
You see, now that you’re 9 month old is full of spunk and personality, they’re so excited about everything there is to do and see, that the last thing they want to do is fall asleep. And hey, we get it. FOMO is very real.
But baby sleep is tricky enough as it is. With this in the mix, you might worry about the standard 9 month old sleep schedule and what it should look like (we all want our little ones to have healthy sleep habits).
How much should a 9 month old sleep?
Most babies at the 9 month old mark have a total sleep of about 14 hours a day, though anywhere between 12 and 16 is normal. This should include 2.5-3.5 hours of daytime sleep, usually divided up between two naps. But of course, this varies and that’s okay – within limits. There’s so much growth at this stage, your 9 month old needs enough sleep to recover and re-energise.
Ideal sleep schedule for a 9 month old
Let’s say your 9 month old wakes at 6:30am (full of cute noises and giggles), their first wake window could bea couple hours before having their first nap just past nine in the morning. The nap length should be about about 1.5 hours, taking them to 10:30/11am. Here, you should have just under four hours of awake time (bonding time!) At around 2:30pm your baby should have their second nap, which will again be about 1.5 hours. From 4pm to 6:30pm, there will be another awake time before the get ready for their nighttime sleep. And then, just past 7pm, it’s time to fall asleep.
If you’re wondering about where your feeding schedule fits into their nap schedule use your awake time to setup a feeding routine (as consistent as you can be.)
How many naps should a 9 month old have?
A typical nap schedule for a 9 month old is about two naps a day – a morning nap and an afternoon nap. These should both be at least an hour, but ideally 1.5 hours. Short naps don’t let them fall into as deep of a sleep, so helping them go lights out for a good amount of nap time is key. You might be used to them having three naps from your baby was younger but now that you’ve hit the 9 month old mark, you can let go of that third nap. Nonetheless daytime sleep is super important for your child’s schedule.
Tips for helping my 9 month old sleep
Set up a bedtime routine: just like all those aesthetic TikTok videos, everyone loves a wind-down routine. Your 9 month old is no different. Having a series of predictable activities leading up to their night sleep helps to signal sleep periods. Getting in a final feed, a warm bath and some cozy snuggles are all great for a bedtime routine.
Have an earlier bedtime: a tired baby is a cranky baby, so making sure they’re not overtired or sleepily delirious (we all know the feeling) is huge for helping them fall asleep. Though the temptation to have a later bedtime so that they tire out is tempting, this normally just makes them more fussy and hence stay awake.
Crib-naps are the go: whilst it’s fine for a little improv nap every now and again, your 9 month old will have longer sleep periods they’re cozied up in their crib. It also sets them up better for their night sleep.
Try not to interrupt your baby’s schedule: if your baby wakes and is fussing, try not to take them out of the cot or have them play. This could disrupt the sleep schedule you’ve been working so hard for. Going in to soothe them is fine, but we don’t want to create another wake window pattern. This could also help them learn to self soothe, and how good would that be?
So if your 9 month old is having a bit of sleep regression, it’s very normal. The biggest thing you can do is get them into healthy sleep habits and support a healthy 9 month old sleep schedule. Try moving bedtime earlier, keeping a consistent daytime sleep schedule, cutting out bad habits and encouraging self-soothing – and hopefully, your baby’s sleep should be patched up.
If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You could start sleep training with a certified pediatric sleep consultant for hands-on support, and they can help create a personalised 9 month old sleep schedule. Sleep training means that your baby learns how to sleep independently, even after waking. Having that professional guidance can make all the difference to sleep regression, if it’s accessible to you. Otherwise, just chatting to your GP can provide a lot of support and guidance to get your little one out of sleep regressions.
After all that, most babies sleep through the night!