In the first 12 months of life, a baby changes tremendously! There are so many developmental milestones that impact their growth and development. Babies grow from infants to young toddlers and become much more active! Although there are many exciting changes to your baby at 12 months, there are also A LOT of changes to their sleep patterns. Your child may have been sleeping through the night or had minimal sleep issues and then there may be an increase in night wakings or other sleep disruptions. I understand how overwhelming this can be as a parent, I’m here to share more information on the 12 month sleep regression and how to help your child get back to sleeping through the night again!
The 12 Month Sleep Regression
There are A LOT of developmental milestones that take place in a child’s first 2 years of life, people typically call these sleep regressions. There are growth spurts, physical and verbal developments, it seems like a lot but these milestones are exciting! Prior to this point, you may have experienced the 6 month or maybe the 9 month sleep regression, those regressions are typically driven by physical developments like rolling, crawling, sitting and pulling to stand. Your baby may have also experienced separation anxiety during these timeframes.
At 12 months, your child is also entering toddlerhood – woohoo … right?! Toddlerhood is a whole new phase of development, they are slowly learning how to verbalize and communicate. They are also observing your actions, feelings and emotions. You may start to see your child imitate you or try to repeat your phrases (be careful if you have a potty mouth like me!). They can also pick up on your reactions, if they have a tantrum because they couldn’t put a toy together and you rush over to fix it, you best believe they will have a tantrum the next time they can’t put the toy together.
Try to let your child learn new things, including frustrations, these are all valid feelings and emotions that they have to learn. While it can be hard to watch, I promise they will learn to work through them! As your child grows and works through these developments, it can play an impact on their sleeping habits. Don’t worry – these aren’t long term sleep problems!
Is There A 12 Month Sleep Regression
Sleep regressions won’t impact every child, especially if you have done some type of sleep training, typically those children don’t have as many disruptions to their sleep routines. The reason for the 12 month sleep regression are the physical, verbal and cognitive developments that your child is experiencing.
A few of the causes of the 12 month sleep regression are:
- Trying to walk
- Pulling to stand
When your baby starts show signs of these new skills, they may start to take a bit longer time to fall asleep. They may also have difficult staying asleep for either nap or overnight sleep. Your child may have gone from napping during the day and then suddenly they are fighting naps. Sometimes parents tend to want to transition to 1 nap at this age but I wouldn’t do that quite yet, I typically recommend waiting to transition to 1 nap until closer to 15 months.
12 Month Sleep Regression Signs
Some of the common signs of the 12 month sleep regression are:
- Trouble falling asleep or settling down at bedtime and nap time⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- More frequent nighttime wake-ups⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Skipping a nap⠀
How Long Does 12 Month Sleep Regression Last
The 12 month sleep regression typically lasts 2-4 weeks. There are different factors that can impact how long the regression lasts for your child. This is based on how quickly they learn some of their new physical and verbal skills. My best time to deal with the 12 month sleep regression is to focus on your baby’s sleep. If they are skipping naps or taking a long time to fall asleep at bedtime, make sure you move bedtime and naps earlier so that they aren’t getting overtired!
How To Deal With 12 Month Sleep Regression
- Practice new skills while awake
- Keep your toddler active and stimulated during the day
- Maintain consistency with sleep routine and sleep schedule
- Ensure sleep environment is calm and setup for solid sleep!
- Continue to offer 2 naps!
- Use early bedtime if naps were off
I know how hard it can feel to go through a sleep regression, especially when sleep may have been going well for a while! Try to remember that your baby is learning new skills that are exciting but they are new to them! Just like with any transition, it will take your baby time to get comfortable with these new skills. If it starts to impact their sleep, stay consistent with your routine and offer an early bedtime if naps were short. I’m here to help if you get stuck in a bad sleep schedule or pattern!