Things were finally calming down. The baby was sleeping through the night, on the right sleep schedule for an 8-month-old, settling independently at bedtime and sleeping through the night. Then, after just a few days and a new tooth, they are now crying uncontrollably at bedtime and waking frequently crying for you too.
So why is your 8-month-old crying uncontrollably at night? Let’s start with some context for their age, then explain what I see in my private sleep consulting practice with babies at this age and how we work together to fix it.
Typically, developmental milestones for babies at around eight months of age can be divided into several categories: physical, cognitive, communication, and social/emotional.
What are the developmental milestones for an 8-month-old?
- May be able to sit without support.
- Begins to crawl or may even start pulling themselves up to stand.
- May develop finer motor control, such as using a pincer grasp (thumb and first finger) to pick up small objects.
- Has more control while rolling over or moving from sitting to crawling position.
- Shows curiosity about objects and attempts to grab things that are out of reach.
- Begins to understand object permanence, meaning they understand that things continue to exist even when they can’t be seen.
- May engage in simple problem-solving, such as trying different ways to reach a toy.
- Begins to say “mama” and “dada” nonspecifically (not necessarily referring to mother and father).
- Uses voice to express joy and displeasure; tries to imitate sounds.
- Understands the meaning of “no.”
- Begins to respond to their own name.
Social and Emotional Development:
- May show stranger anxiety and become clingy with familiar adults.
- Enjoys playing games such as peek-a-boo.
- Shows preference for certain people and toys.
- May display frustration if they cannot reach an object or do what they want.
As you can see, with so many changes, the reason for the crying could be related to a developmental leap they are experiencing, which is common for this age and can lead to the 8-month sleep regression you are experiencing. *Remember, every child is unique and may not fit perfectly into these milestones.