5 Tips For Surviving Leap 6
Your sweet little baby is now 8 months old. Can you believe it?!?!
You may be feeling comfortable with your baby’s sleep schedule and feeling like you are getting the hang of this motherhood thing! Yay! Hopefully your baby has started sleeping like a champ.
Then all of a sudden, your baby hit another one of those fussy periods, where they are clingier and crying more. This usually happens right around 34-40 week old, or around 8-8.5 months old.
You may groan “not again!” After surviving the previous 5 leaps, you may be thinking “is this another leap?” You guessed right…
Welcome to Leap 6, which also corresponds with the lovely 8-month sleep regression.
What You Need To Know About Leap 6
Leap 6 is known as “The World of Categories”.
During this leap, your baby is developing the ability to perceive and experiment with categories. What this means is if they see a brown toy horse or a white toy horse, no matter the color they know that toy is a horse. This categorizing of groups will help with future development of language and speech.
During leap 6, you may see your little one start to do or improve on the following:
- Stacking rings and other items
- Being more rough
- Exploring different shapes
- Exploring how materials feel. At this age, Addie loved going into her draws and pulling out clothes!
How Will Leap 6 Impact Sleep?
During Leap 6, many babies start sleeping less than before. Your little one may:
- Have trouble separating for sleep periods
- Take a longer time to fall asleep or may be more fussy while settling
- Experience night wakings
- Wake earlier in the morning
- Take shorter naps or boycott naps altogether
As with every leap, your baby is going through huge developmental gains. Your little one may be learning to crawl or pulling to stand or maybe even walking. Practicing these new skills may be more fun than sleeping!
Also, with your baby learning so much during awake periods, they may be processing all that they learned when they are supposed to be sleeping.
Also, at this age, separation anxiety may kick in because baby now knows object permeance and they know when you put them in their crib you are leaving them. Cue tears!
How To Support Sleep Through Leap 6
If you see your little one’s sleep patterns change for the worst, follow these tips to help keep your baby on track while navigating Leap 6:
- Schedule: keep your baby on their age-appropriate schedule with a flexible bedtime
- 3rd Nap: if baby hasn’t dropped their 3rd nap yet (the cat nap) this could also be impacting their sleep. It may be time to make the 3-2 nap transition. As you go through the process of dropping the cat nap, make sure you bring bedtime earlier to prevent your little one from getting overtired.
- Extra Comfort, But Maintain Expectations: a strong reaction from our baby when we are about to leave can really pull at our heart strings and make us wonder “is something really wrong?” Separation anxiety is your baby saying “but, but, but I don’t want you to go! I love being with you!” So even if your little one is upset, calmly provide a little extra comfort, but maintain the expectation of independent sleep. Sleep is so important for development and separation anxiety will pass. You don’t want to introduce new habits or bring back old ones!
- Consistency: even though you’ll want to do anything to comfort your baby, remember that this is a normal part of infant development and nothing is wrong. Your baby needs sleep! If your little one is upset at night or during nap time, choose a consistent response to your little one’s crying and stick with it. If you respond differently every time, your baby will get confused, which will also prolong the sleep regression.
- 8 Month Sleep Regression: check out our blog post on the 8-10 month sleep regression for more tips to help!
Surviving Leap 6 Takeaway
Remember this is temporary and your baby needs your consistency to help them move past the regression and return to healthy sleep habits.
If the regression is lasting past the 2-week mark or if you come out of the regression with some new habits that are hard to break, reach out to us! We’d love to support you getting back on track.
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