The idea of sleep regressions get bounced around a lot. And strike fear in the heart of every new parent. When sleep regressions happen they do often come at predictable times because they are related to developmental milestones. This is actually why many people call them sleep progressions. Please know though that it’s not likely that your baby will experience every possible sleep regression, but it is definitely possible that they’ll experience some.
The 12-month sleep regression doesn’t tend to affect as many babies as the other regressions do (like the 4-month sleep regression or the 2-year-old sleep regression). At 12 months of age, babies are experiencing so many new milestones in their emotional, mental and physical development such as saying their first words, standing, and maybe even taking their first steps. They may also experience a resurgence of separation anxiety. All this, like the other sleep regressions, can make it hard for a baby to lay down and relax for sleep. Such a hard thing to happen as you are busy celebrating your baby’s first birthday!
1 year old sleep regression
Signs of the 12 Month Sleep Regression:
- Taking shorter naps or fighting naps altogether, making it look like they may be ready to transition to 1 nap a day.
- Suddenly fighting bedtime and taking longer to fall asleep.
- Night waking.
- Early morning wake ups.
1 year old sleep regression
The good news is that although this is a difficult time, it is a temporary phase. With these tips below you will have your healthy, happy sleeper back!
- Maintain a consistent bedtime routine. Consistency is really key in early toddlerhood and beyond. Consistency is comforting to your toddler. Try not to deviate from your normal sleep routines as they provide an all important sleep cue to your baby. A good bedtime routine can also be calming and relaxing if your toddler needs some wind down time before falling asleep.
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. You may be consiering moving to one nap a day due to the nap fighting, but I suggest not making any major changes right now. Moving to one nap a day before your little one is truly ready may just cause overtidness and more sleep disruption in the long run. If you consistently offer the two naps through the regression you may find your baby will continue to nap for at least a few more months. The first nap is mentally resorative and the second nap is physically restorative. They both have their benefits and we want to keep them as long as possible. My suggestion is to hold off for at least 2 weeks to be sure naps don’t come back before considering the nap transition.
- Keep the bedroon environment topnotch with blackout blinds and a white noise machine. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics says it is safe to introduce lovies and comfort items into the crib, be mindful that some 12 month olds can find them more distracting than comforting and sleep inducing.
- Provide opportunities to practice their new skills during awake times. 1 year olds have lots of energy, so it can also be important to give them lots of opportunities for them to burn off energy. Physical activity will ensure they are tired and ready for sleep when you put them down at nap time. You can burn off energy in the house, but getting outside can also be helpful and has the added bonus of helping maintain their circadian rhythm.
- Avoid overtiredness that might be caused by the different signs of the sleep regression by having an earlier bedtime. This will help fill up their sleep tank and help get you back on track.
- Avoid starting a new sleep habit like rocking or bed sharing. Keep encouraging independent sleep as much as possible. If your toddler cries during bedtime or nap time you can default back to your previous sleep training method, if you’ve sleep trained in the past.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a family member for help. You deserve support and a break to recover from the hard days and sleepless nights.
The 1 year sleep regression, if you experience it, can be tough. Rest assured that after a short period you’ll get your good sleeper back.
For more help on common sleep regressions, please check out my sleep regression guide over on Instagram.