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How Standing Affects Your Baby’s Sleep: The 10-Month Sleep Regression

10 month regression | Batelle

Picture this: It’s 2 a.m., and the house is quiet. You’re jolted awake by the sound of your baby on the baby monitor. As you enter their room, you find your 10-month-old standing in the crib, gripping the rail with tiny hands. The look on their face is one of confusion and distress—they’ve managed to pull themselves up, but now they’re unsure how to get back down. Each attempt to lie them back down is met with resistance and more standing, a cycle of frustration for both of you. This middle-of-the-night wake-up is a common scene for parents during the 10-month sleep regression.

At this age, your baby is not just growing physically; they’re also making significant cognitive and emotional strides. These developments, while an important part of their growth, can introduce a new set of complexities to their sleep patterns. In this blog, we’ll explore the dynamic world of a 10-month-old’s sleep, examining how their developmental achievements, from standing to babbling, impact their nighttime routines and offering strategies to help both you and your baby navigate this exciting, albeit sometimes challenging, phase.

Physical Milestones: Standing and Mobility

As your baby hits the 10-month mark, they’re likely becoming more mobile. Standing, crawling, and perhaps even taking tentative steps are significant achievements. However, these physical milestones can disrupt sleep in several ways.

Sleep Challenges:

  • Nighttime Mobility and Sleep Disruption: The ability to stand can lead to disrupted sleep patterns for your baby. They might use their crib as a practice ground for standing or crawling, leading to frequent wake-ups and difficulty settling back to sleep. This cycle of standing, resistance to laying down, and possible frustration can be challenging for both you and your little one.
  • Increased Movement During Sleep: As your baby learns to stand, they may experience more movement during sleep because their brain is busy integrating this new skill. This increased physical activity can disrupt the usual sleep cycle, leading to shorter and more fragmented sleep periods.

Strategies To Help:

  • Encourage Daytime Practice: Give your baby plenty of time to practice these skills during the day. This can help satisfy their curiosity and potentially reduce the need for nighttime practice sessions.
  • Create a Calming Bedtime Routine: Help your baby wind down with a relaxing routine before bed.
  • Foster Safe Sleep Environment: Ensure the crib mattress is at the lowest setting and consider a sleep sack with foot openings to prevent trips and stumbling.
  • Guide Transition from Standing to Sitting: Instead of repeatedly laying your baby down, encourage them to transition from standing to sitting. Demonstrate this by patting the mattress and showing them how to bend their knees. As time passes, standing during bedtime and wake-ups will become less frequent, and your little one will increasingly sit and lay down independently.
  • Emotional Support and Patience: Offer comfort and reassurance during this learning process. If your baby seems wobbly, provide physical support or a comforting presence.
  • Promote Spatial Awareness: Help your baby understand their position in the crib by tapping the rails and discussing their spatial relation. This can foster awareness and prevent falls.

Cognitive Milestones: Object Permanence and Separation Anxiety

Between 8-10 months, babies develop a better understanding of object permanence. They realize that people and objects continue to exist, even when out of sight. This can heighten separation anxiety, especially at night.

Sleep Challenges:

  • Increased Night Wakings: Your baby might wake up more often, seeking reassurance that you’re still there. This is often due to their newfound understanding of object permanence and the anxiety of not seeing you.
  • Difficulty Settling: They may resist going to sleep or resettling after waking due to anxiety. This can manifest as crying when entering the nursery or fussiness at bedtime.

Strategies To Help:

  • Consistent Routine: Consistency in your nightly rituals can be very comforting for your baby. Establish a predictable bedtime routine to provide a sense of security and help ease anxiety. Your little one may recognize the sequence of events involved in your bedtime routine and cry as you get them ready for sleep. This is a reflection of their awareness of the separation that follows the routine. Even though your baby may express upset, it’s important to continue through the routine as that predictability provides a sense of security.
  • Positive Room Associations: Spend time in your child’s bedroom during awake hours to create positive associations with the space. Engaging in playtime or reading in their room can help them feel more comfortable there.
  • Gradual Adjustments: If your baby shows signs of anxiety, make gradual adjustments to their sleep routine. This could mean staying in the room a little longer at bedtime to help them settle.
  • Comforting Presence: Offer comfort when they wake up, providing a reassuring presence to help them feel secure. Your presence can be a powerful tool in easing their anxiety.
  • Avoid Sneaking Away: It’s important not to sneak away from your little one. Announce your departures and emphasize that you will always come back. This approach helps build trust and reduces anxiety by making your actions predictable.
  • Leveraging Cognitive Development: Use the development of object permanence to your advantage in sleep training. As your baby learns that you continue to exist even when not visible, reinforce this understanding to build trust and security around sleep. You can accomplish this by letting your baby know what to expect, ie: Nigh night baby, it’s sleep time. I love you, and I’ll see you in the morning.

For more on this topic, check out our detailed blog post on the subject here

Communication Milestones: Babbling and Language Development

At 10 months, many babies become more vocal, experimenting with sounds and babbling. Babbling at this age often includes a mix of consonant and vowel sounds, and babies start to string these sounds together in a way that mimics the rhythm and pattern of speech. They may also start to use their voice to express emotions and communicate needs, even though they aren’t forming actual words yet.

Sleep Challenges:

  • Nighttime Babbling: Babies might wake up during the night and practice their new sounds, or they might be more vocal when trying to settle down to sleep.
  • Stimulation Overload: As your baby’s brain works hard to process and produce new sounds, they might become overstimulated, leading to restless sleep or difficulty settling down.

Strategies To Help:

  • Daytime Interaction: Actively engage with your baby’s babbling during the day. Respond to their sounds and encourage conversation. This not only supports their language development but also helps them differentiate between active, engaging daytime and quiet, restful nighttime.

Teething: A Persistent Factor in Early Childhood Sleep

While not a developmental milestone in the same way as the others we have discussed so far, teething is an ongoing process that can start as early as 4 months and continue until around 2-3 years of age, as your baby’s primary teeth gradually emerge. This process can be a recurring source of discomfort and sleep disruption throughout the early years, and can often coincide with the 10-month sleep regression.

Sleep Challenges:

  • Gum Pain and Discomfort: As teeth push through the gums, they can cause significant discomfort, leading to fussiness and difficulty settling down for sleep.
  • Restlessness and Frequent Night Wakings: The discomfort associated with teething can cause your baby to wake up more often during the night and have trouble returning to sleep.

Strategies To Help:

  • Pain Management: Consult with your pediatrician for safe and effective pain relief methods. Options may include teething toys or appropriate pain relief medication.
  • Soothing Bedtime Routines: Incorporate comforting activities into your baby’s bedtime routine, such as a gentle gum massage or a warm bath, to help alleviate teething discomfort.
  • Extra Comfort and Reassurance: Be ready to offer additional comfort during this period. Your presence and soothing touch can be very comforting for a teething baby.

Changing Sleep Needs: Sleep Schedule Adjustments

As your baby grows, their sleep needs evolve. By 10 months old, your little one will most likely be on a 2-nap schedule.

Sleep Challenges:

  • Shortening Naps: You may notice that your baby’s naps are becoming shorter. This may be a sign that their wake windows need adjustment.
  • Difficulty Settling: It might take longer than 30 minutes for your baby to settle down to sleep at bedtime. This can indicate that their wake windows are either too short or too long.
  • Quick to Sleep but Frequent Wake-ups: If your baby crashes to sleep almost immediately at bedtime but then experiences frequent wake-ups or early rising, it could be a sign of overtiredness.
  • Early Morning Waking: Consistently waking up earlier than usual can be a sign that your baby’s sleep schedule needs tweaking, possibly due to too much or too little daytime sleep.

Strategies To Help:

  • Elongating Wake Windows: If bedtime or naps are a struggle, you may need to have a look at your little one’s schedule to be sure their wake windows are neither too short nor too long. Aim for wake windows between 3-3.75 hours, with the last wake window ahead of bedtime being the longest.
  • Consistent Sleep Routine: Establish and maintain a consistent sleep routine ahead of bedtime and naps to help regulate your baby’s sleep patterns.
  • Consistent Morning Start Time: Regulating your baby’s sleep schedule starts with a consistent morning start time. Aim to keep this time within a 30-minute window each day. This consistency helps establish optimal nap and bedtime schedules, improving overall sleep.
  • Flexibility and Patience: Be prepared for some trial and error as you find the schedule that works best for your baby.

Embracing the 10-Month Sleep Regression

Growth and development in infants are wonderfully unpredictable. From physical feats like crawling and standing to cognitive advancements such as understanding object permanence and language development, each new skill your baby acquires can disrupt their sleep patterns in what can feel like a never-ending series of sleep regressions.

Each milestone has its own timeline, varying from one child to another, affecting sleep in different ways and durations. This variability means that there’s no set timetable for how long any particular developmental stage will impact your baby’s sleep.

This unpredictability, while sometimes challenging, offers a chance to embrace the natural rhythm of your baby’s growth. Recognizing that not all aspects of your baby’s sleep are within your control can be liberating. It allows you to focus on adaptable strategies and find a sense of calm amidst the developmental whirlwind.

Navigating the 10-Month Sleep Regression with Batelle

While the path of development is unpredictable, it doesn’t mean you’re destined for endless sleepless nights. We’re dedicated to making bedtime the most enjoyable part of your day, offering guidance and support tailored to your baby’s specific developmental stage so your whole family can get the best possible sleep.

Embrace Bedtime with Confidence:

    • Responsive Approach: At Batelle, we understand that sleep training isn’t just about schedules and routines; it’s about responding to your baby’s unique needs and emotional well-being.
    • Expert Support: Our team offers unwavering support, guiding you through each developmental stage with strategies that respect both your baby’s growth and your family’s dynamics.
    • Developmental Alignment: Our programs are thoughtfully tailored to align with your baby’s developmental milestones, ensuring that our advice is always relevant and effective.
    • Empowering Parents: We empower you with knowledge and techniques, transforming bedtime from a challenge into a joyful and bonding experience.
    • Community and Resources: Join a community of parents on similar journeys, supported by our expert sleep consultants and a wealth of educational content.

Whether you’re dealing with the challenges of standing and mobility, navigating separation anxiety, or adjusting to new sleep schedules, Batelle is here to help. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to ensure a good night’s sleep for your entire family.

This article was written by Batelle – team of sleep experts, lactation consultants, therapists, doulas, and early education specialists.

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