I've posted this before, but I like it so here it is again...

Here's the website:

But, my favorite parts are below...

If he can't sleep because he keeps waking up on his hands and knees rocking back and forth, you know it's because his body is learning to crawl. Since you can see it and label it you can understand it.

Your baby is also going through enormous developmental spurts that you can't see, because they're dealing with cognitive processes. They work through these spurts the same way they work through the physical spurts, but when your baby is practicing recognizing patterns, you can't see that. Leading up to the actual new skill the baby is going to go through several weeks of intense brain work and prep that you can't necessarily see (unless you know specifically what to look for). One of the side effects of this brain work is that they don't sleep as well as they do during times in which they're not about to master a new skill. They may seem restless in the night (like they do sometimes when mastering a physical skill) but it's just nothing you can see and label. So we call it a sleep regression.

Once a baby has learned the new skill, s/he will often sleep through the entire night for 1-3 nights after mastering the skill. Which is freaky from the parents' perspective, because you go from waking 10 times one night to sleeping 12 hours the next. But it makes complete sense if you know that the baby was working on this really tough challenge and couldn't help but wake up so often (in fact it's probably a miracle that the baby could even fall asleep in the first place with so much going on in the noggin), and then once they've got it they relax and sleep it off for a couple of days, like sleeping off a crazy party. Then they'll most likely go back to sleeping the way they were before they started working on the new developmental skill.

 The "8-month sleep regression" (which for some babies is closer to a 9-month sleep regression) is related to the 37-week spurt. For some reason that one just seems to cause more waking, too, than some of the other spurts do. It might also be particularly hard because many babies are smack in the middle of working on crawling or walking, and also teething. (At Casa Moxie we've had probably 8 weeks of crappy sleep between teething, the 37-week spurt, crawling, teething, and now pulling up. Every now and then he'll have an easy night, but boy is it rough being a 9-month-old.)

Bear in mind that individual kids have different reactions to all kind of spurts (physical, developmental, etc.). Some teeth painfully for months, while others just pop a tooth with no symptoms. Some will wake in the night practicing crawling for weeks, while others never do and just take off one day with no warning to you. The developmental spurts are the same, so you might have a kid who has 3-4 nights of wacky sleep and then learns a new skill, or you could have one that spends 3-4 weeks waking up before every spurt.
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