My 8-month-old baby stopped sleeping

A sleep consultant's survival guide for the 8-month sleep regression

8 month sleep regression

As the mom of a 7-month-old, I felt like I had it all figured out. My son was sleeping all night, eating less frequently during the day, and overall just felt more like a “real" person. But then a month later, our son started to wake again overnight, protested most of his naps and was generally a grumpy hooligan the rest of the time. He was exhausted. We felt defeated, and our confidence in our parenting abilities plummeted. The culprit? The 8-month sleep regression.

This regression can sneak up on parents. Unlike the 4-month regression, which almost always occurs around 16 weeks, this one can wreak havoc anytime between seven and nine months. But like any sleep regression, it's not fun, and it's not pretty, and there are signs to look out for: increased overnight wake-ups for no apparent reason, fighting bedtime and refusing naps. But not to worry: You can make it through to the other side by following a few easy steps.

Here are 6 steps you can take to move past the 8-month sleep regression.

1. Rule out other causes.

Your first instinct will be to assume the sleep craziness is due to illness, ear infection or teething. This is a good place to start, but if the sleep disruption lasts more than three to four days, it's likely not a result of any of those things. Once you've ruled out other potential causes, you can more safely assume it's a sleep regression.

2. Adjust bedtime.

Most babies take three naps until seven to eight months, after which they either start to refuse the third nap or don't fall asleep until 5 pm. If that's happening, it's time to drop that third nap and move bedtime earlier. Most babies this age are best off going to bed between 6 and 7 pm, assuming they're napping until 3 pm. As they get older, they'll be able to stay up a bit later but, for now, their bodies need extra nighttime sleep as they adjust to the two-nap schedule.

3. If nighttime sleep is off, ensure that your baby is getting enough daytime sleep.

At this age, we're looking for the morning and midday naps to be one to two hours each. Anything shorter than an hour indicates that the baby isn't completing a full sleep cycle, which means the nap isn't restorative. Even if your baby is protesting naps, continue to offer them at age-appropriate times (8:30 to 10 am and 12:30 to 1 pm) and—almost always—they'll begin to take them again.

4. Remove stimuli during sleep times.

If you haven't done so already, use blackout shades and a high-quality white noise machine to create a dark, quiet sleep environment for all naps and overnight. If your baby tends to sleep on-the-go for most naps, then it's time to prioritize naps in the crib.

5. Work on self-soothing.

If your baby can't yet fall asleep independently, it's probably not going to improve with age. Rather, it will likely become more difficult to teach her this skill. Consider using this opportunity to teach your baby to self-soothe to sleep. There are a variety of methods based on your comfort level and your baby's temperament—find one that suits you!

6. A sleep regression can last up to 2 weeks.

Some babies don't seem to be as affected by the seven to nine month sleep regression, while others are hit hard. As you make the above adjustments to your child's sleep schedule or sleep environment, try your best not to introduce new sleep habits that you don't want in place for the long-term. If you've already sleep trained or established sleep rules, stick to those. If you don't yet have sleep rules, this is a great time to put some in place.

Hadley Seward is a NYC-based certified sleep consultant and mama of two. She works with families across the U.S. and Europe to get more sleep. Meet her @_bonnenuitbaby.

This post was originally published in 2018; it has been updated.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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