12 Month Sleep Regression: What to Do

Can you help with 12-month (1 year) sleep regression?

So, your baby is 12 months now. You probably have been making plans to celebrate your baby’s birthday. But, your baby might have other plans. Our children go through bouts of sleep regression. What is sleep regression? It is when the baby fusses about taking a nap, wakes in the night (sometimes for hours), or fusses about going to bed. Read on to discover 9 tips on beating the 12 month sleep regression.

  • Know what to expect
  • Keep an active daytime schedule
  • Do not make any big changes to your baby’s sleep routine
  • Give your baby extra comfort
  • Feed your baby frequently
  • Hold off on weaning the baby from the bottle or breastfeeding
  • Find ways to take a break
  • Stick to independent sleeping habits
  • Tweak the baby’s naps, gently

Know what to expect

The first step in fighting the 12 month sleep regression is to know what to expect from your baby’s sleeping habits. You should have a clear picture of the amount of sleep the baby needs. Here is an example.

Napping and awake hours

  • Give your baby a total of 2 to 3 hours of napping throughout the day
  • Split the napping hours up into 2 naps
  • The baby should be awake no more than 4 hours at a time

Bedtime

  • Bedtime should be between 6:30 and 8
  • Try to stick to the same time every night. Do not exceed 15 minutes either way

Nighttime feedings

  • There should be no more nighttime feedings
  • Sometimes, you might be worried about growth or weight gain and should consult your pediatrician for more information

Total sleep in 24 hours

  • Your baby should sleep between 13 and 15 hours every day

Keep an active daytime schedule

Babies at 12 months are active. They are discovering and learning much throughout the day. They want to practice these new skills all day. Sometimes, you will find that the baby wants to practice his or her new skills well into the night.

By keeping an active daytime schedule you can bypass and defeat the 12 month sleep regression. There should always be some outside time included throughout the day. On rainy or snowy days, it might be pertinent to create a playdate.

Do not make any big changes to your baby’s sleep routine

The 12 month regression is a time to remain consistent with your baby’s sleep and wake schedule. You should not transition your baby to only 1 nap during the 12 month sleep regression.

You should be consistent with having the baby awake for no more than 4 hours at a time. Babies who are fighting sleep do not need their bedtime rescheduled. It is important for you not to veer away from the sleeping time.

Doing the same thing every night will keep the baby on track. He or she will know what to expect at certain times of the day. Try not to co-sleep with the baby. Instead, stay in the baby’s room for a few days while he or she gets past the 12 month sleep regression.

Give your baby extra comfort

At 12 months, your baby is discovering he or she is a separate individual from you the parent(s). This can be a distressing time in a little one’s life. They will need extra reassurance that everything is going to be okay and that you love them no matter what.

Baby’s who are going through the 12 month sleep regression phase can be introduced to a stuffed animal or another type of cuddly. This will help give him or her extra comfort and help them fall asleep better.

It is important to remember that during the bedtime routine, you should keep eye contact with your baby. You should comfort him or her right until the time you lay them down. Remember, now is not the time to switch to a toddler bed. It is time to let your baby know you are always going to be there.

Feed your baby frequently

Your baby is 12 months now. He or she is more than likely going through a growth spurt. All children usually do around their first birthday. You must feed your baby enough to fuel this growth spurt.

The baby will want to be fed more because she or he is genuinely hungry. A growth spurt causes extra hunger for children. It is important to remember if your baby wakes at 2 AM and appears to be genuinely hungry, you should not refuse the food for the baby.

There will be times when hunger disrupts your baby’s sleep. You should coddle the baby and allow him or her a snack in the middle of the night. During the waking hours, children should have a glass of milk or a meal, at least a snack, every 2 to 3 hours. Doing so will keep the baby from being hungry in the night.

Hold off on weaning the baby from the bottle or breastfeeding

The many milestones babies experience when they turn 1 can be overwhelming. If you plan on weaning your baby from the bottle or breastfeeding when he or she turns 1 you might want to wait a few weeks. Babies in the middle of the 12 month sleep regression might not take the weaning to easily.

Give your baby time to fall back into a regular sleep routine. He or she should be passed the sleep regression stage soon enough.

Find ways to take a break

So, your baby is going through a sleep regression phase and you are tired. You must get enough rest while the baby is going through this sleep regression. Getting enough rest, or at least a 2 to 3-hour break during the sleep regression phase will help you recharge your batteries. Here are a few tips on getting a break during the sleeping regression phase.

  • Do a mom swap and have another mom watch the kids for a few hours 1 day, then it is your turn
  • Check into free daycare options at the YMCA or your local gym
  • Take shifts with your partner
  • If baby gives you a hard time about sleep, let him or her sleep in the stroller while you listen to a podcast or something else
  • Ask the baby’s grandparents to come an visit

Stick to independent sleeping habits

It might be tempting while the baby goes through this sleep regression phase to rock your baby to sleep or feed him or her. But, this can cause the baby to wake in the middle of the night needing to be rocked or fed before the baby will go back to sleep.

It is important to put your baby in the crib and keep him or her there. You might need to sit in the rocking chair in the baby’s room until he or she falls asleep. If the rocking chair does not work, try sleeping on the baby’s bedroom floor.

It is important to keep to the baby’s independent sleeping so that when this phase passes, the baby can easily get back into the routine. Having a routine is important for the baby. It helps the baby realize and know what is coming up next.

Your baby should be able to sleep a full night without waking for food. He or she should be sleeping 10 to 12 hours every night. What a treat that will be for you and your partner.

Tweak the baby’s naps, gently

Your baby will still need 2 resting periods throughout the day, even at 12 months. Of course, you would ideally want your baby to rest and take a nap. But, some toddlers fight sleep. This is especially true of the second nap.

Giving your baby a time to rest in the crib for a few hours during the usual napping time is okay. Your baby might be fighting you on the second nap because he or she is not tired during this time. That is okay, put your baby in the crib for some alone time and your baby will relax during this hour and a half.

Conclusion

It is important to remember your baby is 12 months now and that he or she will need to be awake more during the day. If you are getting fought about that second nap, you might want to go into the baby’s room after only 1 hour during the first nap and wake the baby. Shortening the first nap to 1 hour will make the baby tired and there will be less fighting from the baby when it comes time for his or her second nap of the day.