Your 9 month old baby has a lot going on! Milestones, developments, 9 month sleep regression, following wake windows and sleep schedules, teeth popping out, discovering the world of food- it’s no wonder your 9 month old won’t sleep! She’s too busy and distracted!
Nine months old is an age of rapid development and change. It’s easy for your baby’s sleep to get off track. But if there’s anything I want parents to know it’s this: There Is Always Hope!
This article walks you through what you can expect from your baby’s sleep and gives you detailed 9 month old sleep training tips to get your baby sleeping great, day and night.
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Your 9 Month Old Baby’s Sleep: What You Can Expect
Naps & Wake Windows for your 9 Month Old
- Your baby should nap a total of 2-3 hours everyday.
- This is usually divided between 2-3 naps.
- Most babies transition from 3 to 2 naps at this age
- Your baby will nap best with wake windows of 2.5 – 3.5 hours.
Bedtime for your 9 Month Old
- Bedtime for your 9 month old should fall between 6:30-8 pm.
Night Sleep for your 9 Month Old
- Most 9 month olds need 10-12 hours sleep at night.
Night Feedings for your 9 Month Old
- Most 9 month olds can sleep all night without waking to feed! This includes breastfed babies.
- Your baby’s growth and weight gain will determine if he needs night feeds. It’s best to ask your baby’s doctor if he still needs night feeds. And check out my Weaning Night Feedings Guide.
Total sleep in 24 hours for your 9 Month Old
- 13-15 hours. Make sure your baby is sleeping at least 13 hours total each day.
*Expect a rough patch during the 8-10 month sleep regression.
What To Do When Your 9 Month Old Won’t Sleep
Sadly, I hear from parents every day that their 9 month old baby is fighting or refusing naps, won’t sleep unless held, is waking up every hour at night (and therefore not sleeping through the night) or won’t sleep alone.
Not to worry, Mom and Dad. The following tips will show you exactly how to improve your baby’s sleep.
Tip #1: Start a consistent daily schedule
Day and night sleep work hand-in-hand. Sleep problems like waking up at night and fighting naps are often caused by an inconsistent daily schedule.
Routines are essential for helping babies sleep well. A consistent sleep schedule sets your baby’s block clock to sleep at predictable times, making it easier for her to settle for naps and at bedtime. It’s essential that your baby naps often and enough everyday.
Your 9 month old needs 2-3 hours sleep during the day. This is the combination of all naps.
If your baby sleeps less than 2 hours during the day, over-tiredness might make her hard to settle, fight bedtime or wake up more at night.
If your baby sleeps more than 3 hours during the day, she may not be tired enough to sleep through the night. She may toss and turn all night. Too much daytime sleep can also push bedtime late or make your baby wake early in the morning.
Your 9 month old’s wake windows should be 2.5 – 3.5 hours.
Babies can’t handle being awake for long periods. Some babies show signs that they’re sleepy like rubbing their eyes, yawning or “zoning out.” This makes it easy for parents to know it’s time for a nap.
Other babies give their parents no sleepy signs! They can go all day without appearing to need a nap. Don’t be fooled, mama! These babies need to nap just as much as other babies.
So make sure your 9 month old naps often (every 2.5 – 3.5 hours) and enough (a total of 2-3 hours.) If your baby goes to daycare, ask them to follow awake times too.
If you haven’t yet started a sleep schedule for your 9 month old baby, this sample daily schedule will help you create one.
9 month old sleep and nap schedules
If your 9 month old takes 3 naps a day, my recommended wake windows are 2-3 hours. This means that your baby should be awake for 2-3 hours between sleep periods. Sticking to these wake windows helps babies nap longer and sleep longer stretches at night.
This 3-nap schedule allows for your 9 month old to sleep 11 hours at night and nap for 3 hours. It shows you how to follow the recommended wake windows and ensure your baby sleeps enough everyday.
If your 9 month old baby takes 2 naps a day, my recommended wake windows are 2.5-3.5 hours. The fewer naps your baby takes, the longer their wake windows need to be.
This 2-nap schedule allows for your 9 month old to sleep 12 hours at night and nap for 3 hours. It shows you how you can follow recommended wake windows, plan your day and ensure your baby sleeps enough.
Of course, all babies are different so try not to worry if your baby’s naps or bedtime are a bit different. What’s most important is that they sleep enough everyday and are happy during the day.
If baby takes 3 naps a day
7:00 Wake & Milk
9:00 Morning Nap
10:00 Snack / Milk
12:30 Afternoon Nap
2:00 Snack / Milk
4:30 Cat Nap
5:00 Snack / Milk
6:00 Set the scene for relaxation *
6:30 Dinner *
7:30 Start bedtime routine *
7:50 Lights out (baby takes 10-15 mins to fall asleep) *
If baby takes 2 naps a day
7:00 Wake & Milk
9:30 Morning Nap
11:00 Snack / Milk
2:00 Afternoon Nap
3:30 Snack / Milk
5:00 Set the scene for relaxation *
5:45 Dinner *
6:30 Start bedtime routine *
6:50 Lights out (baby takes 10-15 mins to fall asleep) *
* These are by-the-clock events, so try to keep them on a fixed schedule. This sets your baby’s body clock, making sleep come easier over time.
If your baby wakes at a different time in the morning, move your schedule accordingly.
Craving some routine, mama?
Want to get several example daily schedules that you can download & save? Ones that meet all of your baby’s sleep, feeding & playtime needs?
My Daily Schedules guide covers 5 months – 4 years old!
Tip #2: Create a relaxing bedtime routine
The purpose of a bedtime routine is to calm your baby in the evening, so that her body can relax and welcome sleep. Certain activities have been proven to relax babies, and when done in the right order, it sets your baby up for sleeping longer at night.
Every baby will benefit from a calming and peaceful bedtime routine each evening. Plus, research has shown that including Dad in baby’s bedtime routine decreases paternal stress and helps him bond with baby.
It’s never too late to start a relaxing bedtime routine. It’s something that will soothe your 9 month old when she’s sick, teething, going through a regression or when traveling. So make sure to keep up with it every night.
My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit walks you through the steps of starting a relaxing and peaceful bedtime routine for your baby. You can start all tips tonight!
Tip #3: Keep a consistent bedtime
Many parents think that it doesn’t matter what time their baby goes to bed. I really wish this were true! But research has shown that late or inconsistent bedtimes lead to worse sleep in children, higher aggression and attention problems.
Babies really do have a “sweet spot” for bedtime and when you get your baby to sleep at the right time he will settle easily, sleep longer stretches and sleep later in the morning. I’ve seen this works with hundreds of babies!
The ideal bedtime for 9 month olds should fall between 6:30-8 pm. This is the range for bedtime. But make sure your baby’s bedtime doesn’t vary by more than 20 minutes each night.
Inconsistency with your baby’s bedtime makes it harder for him to settle and fall asleep. Your baby will fight bedtime if it falls at different times each day.
My 9 month old won’t nap
There are several reasons why your 9 month old baby is fighting or refusing naps. The most common reasons are that wake windows aren’t right, your baby doesn’t have a nap-friendly space, or your baby needs to drop a nap. Here’s another guide on how to get your baby to nap longer.
Nap Tip #1: Watch your 9 month old’s wake windows
Remember, your baby needs to nap every 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Napping this often works with your baby’s innate body clock and helps your little one not fight naps.
If your baby is overtired in general, aim for 2.5 hour awake times. Once your baby starts sleeping better, you can extend to 3 – 3.5 hours.
Nap Tip #2: Give your baby a nap-friendly space
When possible, your baby should nap at home in the crib. This leads to the best quality sleep. If your baby goes to daycare, make sure they nap in a crib or portable crib like the Pack n Play.
Start a calming pre-nap routine to help your baby wind down and fall asleep easily. Do a mini version of your bedtime routine to give your 9 month old the cue that it’s time to sleep.
It’s ok if baby’s third nap (usually a short cat nap) happens on-the-go. You’ll be dropping this nap soon. Also, if your baby is caught in a short napping pattern, motion can help extend naps. Let baby nap in the stroller (lying flat, not upright) or while baby wearing. Just make sure to supervise all naps outside of the crib.
Nap Tip #3: Know when to drop the third nap
Your 9 month old will be ready for 2 naps a day when she sleeps well at night and can take naps that are one hour or longer. Until then, it’s ok if your baby takes 3-4 short naps. Napping often is more important than the number of naps each day.
If your 9 month old suddenly starts fighting naps, refusing naps until later, resisting bedtime or waking early in the morning, she could be ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps.
My 9 Month Old Is Not Sleeping Through the Night
The reasons why your baby isn’t sleeping through the night can seem endless! It could be due to the 9 month old sleep regression, separation anxiety, teething, developmental milestones or simply that he hasn’t yet learned how to.
Let’s discuss each of these below.
Reason #1: The 9 month sleep regression
Sleep regressions are temporary disruptions in your baby’s sleep caused by developmental milestones. When your baby is mastering a new skill (like crawling or pulling to stand) it’s normal for sleep to temporarily regress.
Most babies experience a rough patch in sleep sometime between 8-10 months. Truth be told, this regression can be one of the worst. But remember, it’s temporary and usually passes within 1-2 weeks.
My brand new ‘Sleep Regression Survival Guide’ explains exactly what to do to help your baby sleep well during a regression.
It has proven tips that help each sleep regression pass as quickly as possible. It also explains the best ways to ease your little one’s separation anxiety and tells you what to do when your baby is standing or sitting up in the crib, instead of sleeping!
It’s totally free and you can get it here.
Reason #2: Separation anxiety
Around 9 months old your baby goes through two big developments. First, he’s able to distinguish one person from another. And second, he starts to understand the concept of object permanence. These two developments can lead to separation anxiety.
Also, in times of big change (like starting daycare or mom returning to work) separation anxiety can increase. Your baby will look to you for comfort and stability, and may not be able to sleep without your help.
Separation anxiety can make your 9 month old unsettled when you’re not present. It’s a normal phase of development and not a sign that something is wrong. The intensity varies from child to child.
Reason #3: Teething
Some babies sleep right through teething, without any apparent discomfort. And others seem to really suffer. If you baby appears to be in pain from teething, there are remedies you can use to reduce discomfort.
Teething pain remedies:
- Soak a washcloth in chamomile tea, then freeze it. Let your baby suck on the frozen washcloth to reduce swelling and pain in her gums.
- Breastmilk popsicles
- Teething toys
- Teething pacifier
- Teething necklace
- Pain reliever like baby Tylenol or Motrin (speak to your doctor about the appropriate dosage)
Reason #4: “My baby stands up in her crib”
There’s a lot of change and activity happening in your baby’s brain right now! Understandably, this makes it harder for her to settle down and sleep long stretches.
Most babies will go through a phase of wanting to sit, stand or crawl around the crib rather than sleep. This is totally normal!
If you want to know exactly what to do in order to get your baby sleeping in her crib, instead of sitting, standing or crawling – download my brand new, totally free Sleep Regression Survival Guide here.
Reason #5: Your baby has never slept through the night
By 9 months old, most babies have the ability to sleep all night without feeding. But I’ve found that the majority of babies don’t naturally fall into sleeping through the night. They have to be taught how!
Even if your baby still needs one night feed, you can get him sleeping 6-8 hour stretches overnight.
The best way to set your baby up to sleep all night is to follow all the tips from this guide! Specifically, start a consistent daily schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine and keep a consistent bedtime.
One other essential step to sleeping through the night is getting your baby settling himself to sleep. When your baby can go into his crib awake and fall asleep on his own, he’ll be able to resettle himself each time he stirs at night.
If your baby is nursed, rocked or helped to sleep, he’ll continue to need your help falling back asleep during the night. By 5-6 months old, we know babies have the ability to learn to settle themselves to sleep. We parents just have to show them how!
This is what I help parents do everyday in my sleep training program. Although it may feel overwhelming, stressful or sometimes impossible, it’s totally possible to get your 9 month old sleeping all night.
(If your baby is close to 10 months old, see my guide on sleep training your 10 month old baby.)
It’s common for 9 month old babies to have issues or problems with their sleep. Your baby is developing at the fastest pace of their life! So it makes sense that they would hit rough patches with their sleep.
After helping more than 80,000 families around the world improve their babies’ sleep, I’ve seen that the advice I give in this blog post works! The more you stick to it everyday, the better your baby will sleep.
If you’d like more guidance on improving your 9 month old’s sleep and the exact steps to get them falling asleep on their own and sleeping through the night, my gentle sleep program for babies is the solution! You can sign up for it here.
Good luck! Let me know how you go in the comments.
What is the 9-month sleep regression?
The 9-month sleep regression is a disruption in the sleep habits of babies at 9 months old. It occurs when their sleeping patterns drastically change and they start to fight sleep or wake frequently throughout the night.
The 9-month regression is caused by a surge in your baby’s development and growth, which requires more energy and nutrients. Also, your baby is becoming more aware of their surroundings, which can lead to frequent wakings during the night.
This can lead to sleepless nights for both parents and babies, leaving them feeling exhausted the following day. While this transition can be tough, it is temporary.
Why does my 9 month old wake up crying?
Your 9 month old baby might wake up crying because they’re hungry, uncomfortable, overtired or needing help to fall back asleep.
If your baby is used to feeding at night, they may wake up crying because they are hungry. Most 9 month olds can be weaned down to 0-1 night feeds. Best to ask your baby’s doctor and follow our night weaning recommendations in our baby sleep training program called 21 Days to Peace and Quiet.
To prevent your baby waking up crying because they are uncomfortable, try these tips. Dress your baby in cotton pajamas and a sleep sack to keep them comfortable and warm all night. And use an overnight diaper to prevent leaks.
Some babies wake up crying because they’re overtired. This can make transitioning to a new sleep cycle more disrupted for them. To help prevent this, follow recommended wake windows for your baby’s age and make sure they get enough sleep everyday.
Teaching your baby to self-soothe to sleep will lead to them sleeping longer stretches at night and not wake up crying. Babies sleep easier and better when they are able to fall asleep on their own and resettle independently at night.
How much night sleep does a 9 month old need?
9 month old babies should get 10-12 hours of sleep at night and nap 2-3 hours everyday. If your baby isn’t sleeping this much, the best way to help them sleep more everyday is to follow our recommended wake windows and make sure bedtime is between 6:30 – 8 pm.
What are 3 essential tips on how to get your baby sleeping great?
To ensure that your baby sleeps great everyday, follow these tips: ✅ Start a consistent daily schedule. ✅ Create a relaxing bedtime routine. ✅ Keep a consistent bedtime.
This blog post gives you lots of details and advice for implementing these 3 tips.