Your 9 month old baby has a lot going on! Milestones, developments, regressions, 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!
Maybe your baby slept great as a newborn, but a recent sleep regression, teething episode or vacation threw her good sleep habits out the window.
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 9 month old baby’s sleep and gives you detailed 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 & Awake Times
- Your 9 month old 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 awake times of 2.5 – 3.5 hours.
- Bedtime for your 9 month old should fall between 6:30-8 pm.
- Most 9 month olds need 11-12 hours sleep at night.
- Most 9 month olds can sleep all night without waking to feed!
- 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
- 13-15 hours. Make sure your 9 month old 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
Tip #1: Start a consistent daily schedule
Day and night sleep work hand-in-hand. Sleep problems like night wakings and fighting bedtime or 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 will make her restless, hard to settle, and unable to sleep long stretches.
If your baby sleeps more than 3 hours during the day, she may not be tired enough to sleep through the night. Too much daytime sleep can also push bedtime late or make your baby wake early in the morning.
Your 9 month old’s awake times 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 baby, this sample daily schedule will help you create one.
9 month old sample sleep schedules
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.
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!
Your 9 month old’s bedtime 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 won’t nap or is fighting naps. The most common reasons are that awake times aren’t right, your baby doesn’t have a nap-friendly space, or your baby needs to drop a nap.
Nap Tip #1: Watch your baby’s awake times
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 his crib. This leads to the best quality sleep. If your baby goes to daycare, make sure he naps in a crib.
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. (See how to create a sleep routine here)
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 baby suddenly starts skipping naps, pushing naps later, fighting bedtime or waking early in the morning, she could be ready to transition from 3 to 2 naps.
My 9 Month Old Won’t Sleep Through the Night
The reasons why your 9 month old won’t sleep all night are almost endless! It could be due to a 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 8-10 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.
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.
The best way to handle it is to spend as much time as possible with your baby. Find moments to spend quality time together, especially before bedtime. Do a lot of cuddling, kissing, story telling, and chatting. Show him that you’re there for him.
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. If your baby is happily awake and practicing new skills during the night, do your best to give her space. Sure, she’ll lose some sleep over the next few days. But she’s learning to move around and get herself comfortable in the crib on his own- a vital self-soothing skill!
If your baby is “stuck” standing or sitting in the crib, and she’s upset about it, then help her lie down. If she pops right back up, try backing off for several minutes to let her practice repositioning herself. Otherwise you may get caught in a game of “jack-in-the-box” for weeks!
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. My Weaning Night Feedings Guide explains how.
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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed all the tips from this 9 month old baby sleep guide. When you implement these tips for 1-2 weeks consistently your baby will start sleeping much better!