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The 8-Week Sleep Regression: Sleep and Development at 8 Weeks Old

Congratulations, your baby is 2 months old! Each day that goes by brings new joys and challenges. In these early weeks of parenting newborn babies, the hours seem long, but somehow the weeks fly by. Even though your baby is gaining some new awareness of the world around them, and is able to stay awake for a little bit longer periods of time, you may still be experiencing some rough nights, and that’s still very normal as baby’s sleep is still evolving.

As the last 8 weeks of sleep deprivation take hold, you may be wondering when you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take heart, as often 3 months of age can be a turning point as your baby’s circadian rhythm starts to circulate enough melatonin to lead to more regular and earlier bedtimes. In this blog, we’ll cover what’s going on developmentally for your little one now that they’re 2 months old, and what’s on the horizon in the coming weeks.

Your Baby’s Development at 8 Weeks Old

At 8 weeks old, your newborn is becoming more interactive, smiling more, and more interested in engaging in babbling “conversations” with you. These are all important milestones.

Believe it or not, your little one may already be working on rolling over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends stopping swaddling once a little one exhibits signs of attempting to roll, which usually occurs at 3 to 4 months but may occur earlier. We recommend starting to work on making the transition out of a swaddle around 8 weeks of age even if your little one is not yet showing signs of rolling.

Transitioning Out of the Swaddle

There are several schools of thought around how best to transition out of a swaddle. Some sleep consultants recommend releasing one arm at a time, while others swear by products like arms-up sleep sacks or padded sleepsuits to ease the transition. Our recommendation is to transition out of the swaddle using a gradual process spanning over a week or more. However, if your baby is already rolling from back to front, you need to immediately remove the swaddle rather than following a gradual plan. Once they’re rolling, it’s no longer safe for them to sleep swaddled or use a padded sleep suit. Once you’re ready to transition out of the swaddle, we suggest working on it both for naps and nights. That way, it’s consistent for your baby, and it will result in a quicker transition because they’ll have multiple times for practice, which can make the transition go more smoothly.

Please note: As of June 2022, The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against using any weighted swaddles, weighted clothing, or weighted objects on or near the baby.

Sleep at 8 Weeks Old

By now, day/night confusion should be behind you, and you may be starting to see some longer stretches of sleep at night. However, your 8-week-old baby’s sleep patterns are still evolving, and every day can look a little different.

2 Month-Old Sleep Schedule

While it’s still too early to follow a strict sleep schedule, your little one may sleep anywhere from 11-19 hours in a 24-hour period. They may be getting 5-6 hours of that sleep during the day split between 4-5 naps, and the rest at night (though not consecutively, as night feeds are still necessary at this age). Your little one may be able to stay awake for 45-90 minutes between sleep periods. Naps will still be a bit unpredictable, and range in duration anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours.

It’s important to take into consideration your little one’s mood and use the suggested sleep duration hours above as a general indicator of whether your baby is getting enough sleep rather than a strict quota. A little one who is generally happy and able to make it to their next nap without getting overtired is likely getting enough sleep.

Sleep Maturation

At 2 months of age, newborn sleep is still erratic, and late bedtimes of 9-10pm are normal. In the coming weeks your little one’s circadian rhythm will be circulating enough melatonin for an earlier and more regular bedtime to emerge. Additionally, their sleep cycles will start to resemble those of adults and they will spend less time in REM sleep. This maturation of sleep around 3-4 months of age is what’s commonly referred to as the 4-month sleep regression. It’s not as black and white as the flipping of a switch, but rather a gradual process. By about 6 months, your little one’s sleep patterns should be predictable enough to consider formal sleep training if that’s something you’re considering.

The maturation of sleep at 3-4 months is the first widely recognized sleep regression and the only sleep regression that directly affects sleep. A sleep regression is a period when a baby who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking up more frequently, has trouble falling asleep, or changes their sleep patterns. While there are commonly recognized sleep regressions at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, and 12 months, there is no widely recognized sleep regression at 8 weeks old. However, it’s still common for babies to experience sleep challenges around this time due to various factors such as developing gross motor skills like rolling, reaching, and grabbing. Establishing good sleep habits now can help to manage sleep regressions in the future.

Tips for Maximizing Sleep at 8 Weeks Old

As your baby starts to become more aware of the world around them, they will also become more aware of their sleeping environment. As they get closer to 3 months, they will start to form some strong sleep associations with how they get to sleep and where they sleep.

  • Create a Safe Sleep-Friendly Environment: Make sure the room where your baby sleeps is conducive to sleep and follows the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep guidelines. This includes keeping the room at a comfortable temperature, using white noise to drown out any household or street noise, and keeping the room dark. A safe, sleep-friendly environment can help signal to your baby that it is time to sleep and can also help them stay asleep for longer periods.
  • Consistent Sleep Space: While it’s beneficial to have your baby sleep in a consistent sleep space, like their bassinet or crib, it’s also okay for them to have on-the-go naps when needed. Life is busy, and sometimes naps need to happen in the stroller, car seat, or carrier. The key is to aim for consistency as much as possible but also to be flexible and adaptable to your daily needs.
  • Supporting Transitions: Moving away from the swaddle can be a big hurdle for some families. It’s normal to have some rough nights as your baby gets used to having their arms free. Support them as much as they need during this transition without worrying too much about creating bad habits. With time and patience, they will adjust.
  • Laying the Foundation for Self-Soothing: At 8 weeks old, your baby is not yet capable of self-soothing, but you can start to lay the groundwork for this important skill by establishing a consistent bedtime routine and creating a sleep-friendly environment. After the bedtime routine, and after all needs have been addressed, place them down awake and help if needed. Over time, this routine will help signal to your baby that it is time for sleep. Additionally, placing your baby in their sleep space when they are showing signs of sleepiness can help them start to associate their sleep space with falling asleep. It’s important to note that the goal at this age is not for your baby to self-soothe but to create a routine and environment that will eventually support this skill when your baby is older. Remember, at this age, it’s completely normal for your baby to need help falling asleep, and it’s okay to provide that help.
  • Consistent Responses to Wake-Ups: At 8 weeks old, your baby is still too young for formal sleep training, but you can start to establish healthy sleep habits by responding consistently to their wake-ups. For example, if your baby wakes up and is fussing but not crying, you might wait a few minutes to see if they can settle back to sleep on their own. If your baby is crying and needs attention, you might respond with a consistent soothing routine, such as a brief cuddle and some gentle shushing before putting them back down. The key is to respond in a way that is comforting and supportive, while also being intentional and consistent in your responses. Remember, at this age, it’s still completely normal for your baby to need help falling back to sleep, and it’s okay to provide that help.


Be patient with yourself and your baby as you navigate this stage. It’s a time of learning and adjustment for both of you.

Final Thoughts

There will be a time when you’ll sleep through the night again, and these early weeks will be a distant blurry memory. We know how challenging this time can be. It’s important to find your village. Reach out to friends with babies, find support groups, and know that there are other people on the same parenting path who are in the same place you are. The nights can feel long and isolating, but it can help to know you’re not alone.

If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep habits, development, or any other aspect of their health, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. For more information on sleep regressions at other ages, check out this blog on sleep regressions here.

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

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