10 month sleep regression: Myth or real?

Created May 31, 2024
10 month sleep regression: Myth or real? | Huckleberry

If your little one is going through a rough patch of sleep at 10 months, you may be grasping at straws trying to figure out what’s going on — and how long it will last. The short version is that sleep regressions (meaning sudden worsening of sleep patterns) can happen at any age. Maintaining healthy sleep habits can lessen their impact and length. 

In this article, we’ll help you identify sleep regression signs, provide you with tips for handling sleep issues at this age, and give you resources to help your child learn to sleep independently, which often leads to improved sleep.

If you’re looking for a little extra support in the sleep department, whether or not you feel your little one is in a 10 month sleep regression, consider submitting for a sleep plan through Huckleberry Premium. Our step-by-step plans are tailored to help your child’s sleep get back on track plus you’ll get access to our SweetSpot sleep predictor that notifies you when it’s likely time for them to sleep after an age-appropriate wake window.


Is there a 10 month old sleep regression?

Why do 10 month old babies have sleep issues?

My 10 month old won’t nap so is this a sleep regression?

How long do 10 month sleep problems last?

How can I tell if it's separation anxiety or 10 month sleep problems?

How do I know if it's teething or 10 month sleep regression?

4 tips to handle 10 month old sleep issues

10 month sleep regression FAQ

While sleep regressions can happen at any age, we find that there are often patterns within particular age ranges that tend to negatively impact sleep for many children. At 10 months, it’s possible that your little one’s sleep is being impacted by developmental changes associated with the “8 month sleep regression” (that typically occurs between 7 - 10 months). 

This means your child may be experiencing a sudden worsening of sleep patterns, like fighting sleep, short naps, increased waking overnight, etc. when they had been sleeping better previously. If your little one is newly experiencing these issues, then they may be in a sleep regression. 

We find that independent sleepers [1] tend to have an easier time at bedtime, longer naps, and fewer night wakes since they’re able to fall asleep on their own and link sleep cycles without parental help. If your kiddo is regularly helped to sleep (fed, rocked, etc. until asleep), this may result in a sleep onset association that contributes to short naps and increased overnight waking. It’s perfectly fine if you prefer to continue helping your child to sleep. However, if you’re feeling stuck and want to make a change, we’re here to help

If your little one is fussy at night, it could be due to some sort of discomfort, whether from teething or sickness. Understandably, babies tend to have a harder time sleeping when they’re in pain, congested, etc. Usually, this type of discomfort only lasts a few days to a week, and returning to your typical routine as soon as they’re feeling better can minimize the impact on their sleep.  

At 9 - 10 months, separation anxiety may be contributing to your child’s sleep issues and may look like intense crying or clinginess at bedtime. Children in this age group have typically started to physically explore away from you (thanks to new skills like crawling) and this newfound freedom can be accompanied by anxiety over the realization that they’re not attached to you. You’ve been the person they’ve relied on for all of their needs and it can be jarring when they discover that you’re two separate people!

On top of this, babies at this age are developing a sense of object permanence, meaning they can now grasp that you still exist even when you’re out of sight. Crying is how little ones express their desire for you to come back.

Watching your little one achieve motor milestones is so gratifying, however, these big wins can disrupt sleep [2]. Babies become less excited about sleep and more excited to try out these new skills at bedtime! Usually, the novelty wears off after a couple of weeks. 

At this age, we expect babies to have somewhere around 2 - 3 hours of daytime sleep per day, spread over two naps. Ideally, each nap is about 1 - 2 hours long.  Sleep regressions can impact naps, so if your baby is suddenly taking shorter naps or skipping naps at 10 months, this could be a sign of a sleep regression. However, wake windows tend to expand at 10 months, which can also lead to short or skipped naps, so you may consider a schedule change to see if this improves daytime sleep.  

If daytime sleep troubles aren’t new and your 10 month old is consistently having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep for naps, it could also be due to the way they’re falling asleep. When babies develop a sleep onset association that stems from being helped to sleep (rocking, feeding to sleep, etc.), we often see shorter naps and more frequent night wakings. Teaching your little one to fall asleep on their own is often the most important step to improving day sleep. 

The length of sleep regressions typically depends on the cause and the strategies you’re using to get sleep back on track. 

Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t prescribed start dates for sleep regressions (save for the physiological changes that occur during the “4 month sleep regression”). Instead, there are some sleep regression signs to watch for:  

  • Sudden worsening of night sleep

  • Baby is fussy and has difficulty settling down for sleep 

  • Short naps and baby is sleeping less during the day 

  • Baby is distracted during daytime feedings 

Unfortunately, there’s no magic end date for sleep regressions. You might expect a short period of disrupted sleep if the regression is prompted by an illness, teething, or developmental milestone. However, if you have adopted new habits during this period of discomfort (like rocking or feeding to sleep), this can prolong sleep issues. In this case, you may find the period of sleep trouble lasts longer — weeks or months. To get sleep back on track, it can be helpful to reset your little one’s expectations at bedtime. 

IssueSymptomsTypical durationWays to manage
TeethingDrooling, chewing on objects, mild irritabilityAbout a weekTry to stick to normal bedtime routine as much as possible. Provide extra comfort as needed.
Separation anxietyIntense crying, clinginess, avoiding other caregiversVariesTake time to introduce new places and people, offer extra support
IllnessDiscomfort, new sleep strugglesVariesOffer comfort, consult pediatrician regarding medication or other intervention
Need for schedule adjustmentFighting sleep, short naps, early wakingRequires adjustment before resolvingConsider increasing wake window or dropping a nap if age-appropriate
Developmental milestonesNew fussiness around sleep, preference for practicing new skillsFew weeksEncourage baby to practice new skills during wake times

Separation anxiety at 10 months is one of many factors that can result in sleep problems. It isn’t one or the other. As we explained above, separation anxiety usually kicks in after 8 months, when your little one is newly exploring away from you thanks to their new motor skills. This leads to the realization that they’re not physically attached to you, their primary caregiver. What big, scary news for a kiddo! On top of that, they also now understand object permanence: You exist even when they can’t see you. These realizations can lead to lots of tears and clinginess at sleep times when it’s time to separate from you. 

The discomfort and pain caused by teething may be another factor that leads to poor sleep at 10 months. Your baby may be getting quite a few teeth — the central and lateral incisors can erupt around this time. Fortunately, teething pain typically only lasts about a week. A study [3] found that teething symptoms tend to occur over 8 days: 4 days before a tooth emerges, the day the tooth erupts, and the 3 days after. 

Teething can be at the root (ha!) of a sleep regression at 10 months and the hope is that once the discomfort from new teeth ends, sleep will improve. To avoid prolonging sleep issues during this period, go ahead and offer extra snuggles to comfort your little one but try to stick to your normal bedtime habits as much as possible.  

A good way to reduce night wakings is by making sure your little one's not overtired at bedtime. Overtired babies generally have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Now that your baby is 10 months and may be ready for a more predictable sleep schedule, consider planning their naps and bedtime “by the clock,” at around the same time every day, rather than strictly according to wake windows — which can lead to a lot of variabilities. Consistent sleep and wake times help regulate a baby’s circadian rhythm, making it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

However, note that a “by the clock” schedule doesn’t disregard wake windows. When scheduling their sleep times, note that most children this age need around 3 - 3.75 hours of awake time before they’re ready to snooze again. Ideally, your child’s schedule will take these age-appropriate wake windows into account.

A predictable, calming bedtime routine can be a great way to help your child wind down and understand that sleep is going to come next. An example of a baby’s routine may look like this: 

  1. Bath 

  2. Diaper change and pajamas 

  3. Breastfeed or bottle-feed 

  4. Dim lights and sleep sack on 

  5. Read a board book while snuggling 

  6. Sing a lullaby 

  7. Turn off lights, kiss goodnight, and lay baby down awake in a crib 

This is just one example of what a bedtime routine may look like — feel free to modify and include activities that fit your schedule and preferences. 

It’s best if the routine you choose is done in the same order every night (you could do a shorter, modified version for naptime).

Babies are so thrilled by their own mastery of motor skills that they often want to practice these new moves when they’re supposed to be sleeping. It’s common and expected, even though it’s frustrating. To avoid bedtime turning into playtime, try giving your little one plenty of time to practice new skills (standing, crawling, etc.) during awake times throughout the day. Rest assured this is just a phase it may take a few weeks before they master the skill and it no longer impacts sleep. 

Helping your child learn to fall asleep independently when it’s developmentally appropriate can be a big step toward improving sleep. If you’ve been helping your little one fall asleep, whether it’s rocking, feeding, or holding, this creates a sleep onset association that can lead to more night wakes and shorter naps. If this isn’t working for your family any longer, you might consider a method of sleep training. 

Some methods have a more gradual, gentle process and some have a faster, more intense approach. It’s important to pick an option that seems like a good fit for your child and your parenting style. Note that we don’t recommend sleep training if your little one is experiencing discomfort from sickness or teething. Instead, give them time to feel better before beginning a new sleep training method.

10 month sleep regression FAQ

Q: Can sleep regressions happen at 10 months?


The short answer: Yes. The more nuanced answer is that we define a “sleep regression” as a sudden, significant worsening of sleep patterns. They can happen at any age — babies don’t all of a sudden fall into a sleep regression at predetermined ages, contrary to popular belief. Sleep is impacted by so many factors! If your baby is newly fighting sleep, having short naps, and experiencing increased wakings overnight, then, yes, this could be considered a 10 month sleep regression.

Q: Do all babies have sleep problems at 10 months?


No. Every baby is different! Many factors will determine whether or not a kiddo is sleeping well at 10 months. These include whether they’ve already formed independent sleeping skills, their schedule, whether they’re experiencing any discomfort, milestone development, etc. If your baby isn’t sleeping well at this age and you’d like some help getting back on track, we’re here to help!

Q: Why is a 10 month old baby not sleeping?


Unfortunately, there’s not a blanket easy answer as to why your child isn’t sleeping well at this age. There are a variety of possible reasons, including the need for a schedule change, mastering milestones, teething, a parent-led sleep association, or even a combination of these factors.

Q: Should I change the feeding schedule of a 10 month baby with sleep problems?


If you think your 10 month old is possibly waking very early in the morning due to hunger, you might consider an early morning feed (around 3:00 - 5:00 AM) to avoid them waking and wanting to start the day at an undesirable hour. Around 9 - 11 months, many babies are capable of sleeping through the night if they’ve developed independent sleeping skills and have gotten enough to eat during the day. However, we find some babies have a hard time going 12 or more hours between their last feeding and breakfast and may sleep longer if they have this early morning feeding.

Q: Can babies have nightmares at 10 months?


It’s possible that your baby is having nightmares at 10 months, though it’s uncommon for children to have night terrors until they’re closer to 18 months - 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics [4] notes that babies may start having nightmares as early as 6 months old. However, at this age, it’s likely hard to determine if your baby is waking from a nightmare or another factor.

Q: 10 month old baby won't sleep unless held. What should I do?


If you’re looking to make a change in the way your baby sleeps, there are lots of sleep training options that can help your baby develop independent sleeping skills. There are a variety of methods to choose from based on your child’s temperament and your parenting style. With time and consistency, your baby can learn how to fall asleep (and stay asleep!) in their own space. If you’d prefer continuing contact naps and helping your baby to sleep, that’s OK too. If you’d like help to move away from assisted sleep, consider submitting for a personalized, step-by-step sleep plan through link textHuckleberry Premium.

Note: The content on this site is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice from your doctor, pediatrician, or medical professional. If you have questions or concerns, you should contact a medical professional.

4 Sources


  1. Meltzer, L. J., Williamson, A. A., & Mindell, J. A. (2021). Pediatric sleep health: It matters, and so does how we define it. Sleep Medicine Reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9067252/

  2. Nationwide Children's Hospital (2024). Sleep in Infants (2-12 Months. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/specialties/sleep-disorder-center/sleep-in-infants

  3. Macknin ML, Piedmonte M, Jacobs J, Skibinski C. Symptoms associated with infant teething: a prospective study. Pediatrics. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10742315/

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics (2023). Nightmares, Night Terrors & Sleepwalking in Children: How Parents Can Help. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/preschool/Pages/Nightmares-and-Night-Terrors.aspx?psafe_param=1