Updated: Mar 23
You did it! You made it through the first year of parenting – it is no easy gig! You may have a previously great sleeper and then suddenly find yourselves amidst the 12 month sleep regression. This is a huge milestone age, many babies are beginning to take their first steps, speak a few words and are able to follow simple commands. They are also mastering FOMO – the fear of missing out becomes obvious! They do not want to miss out on fun and often fight falling asleep as they would much rather be playing. There is so much going on in their busy brain and body. You know I’m not a fan of the term ‘regression’ as often these sleep bumps in the road are developmental and again this ‘progression typically occurs due to movement – walking.
What are the signs of the 12 months sleep regression?
Your little one may begin to fight naps
Your little one may start having a shorter lunchtime nap
They may begin to resist bedtime
They may wake more overnight
They may seem more fussy and clingy
How can we help your little one through this?
Understand a nap regression is normal – many babies begin to fight their morning nap and this leads us to believe it’s time to drop the morning nap and transition to 1 nap a day. However, this often leads to more overtiredness and sleep becomes worse as they are not quite ready for this change!
Know their sleep needs. They still need 11-12 hours overnight and about 2.5 hours of daytime sleep. They can sleep through the night with no feed! We want them on 2 naps a day, a short morning nap and a longer lunchtime nap. They need a good 4 hours of awake time from when their lunch nap ends until bedtime
Keep them active during the day. We need to make sure your toddler now has ample time through the day to move around and burn off all their physical energy! Keep them busy! They need outdoor roaming time so they can take in all the new stimulation. If you can keep them really active during the day it will help prevent them from being wakeful through the night wanting to practice their new skills.
Give them lots of time and focus during the day – they need this comfort during this time, they need periods of undivided attention, extra cuddles, and reassurance. Especially if they seem extra cranky and overtired
Try to keep consistent, if your little one is not used to being brought into your bed, then now is not the time to start! If they aren’t used to rocks and being cuddled off to sleep, don’t resort to this! We want to keep them in their cot and not create some new habits. If you feel like you need to spend a few nights camped out in their room on the floor next to the cot, do that! We can gradually move you out of the room and this is a far easier thing to tackle than new habits that will reinforce night wakeups.
Keep offering them their morning nap – know that it’s a temporary regression
This phase can feel hard, we want to celebrate them turning one! Know that it’s a temporary phase of clinginess and disturbed sleep. Following the above tips will help ensure your little one slides through this regression as quickly and smoothly as possible. You got this!