When your one-year-old’s sleep suddenly falls apart, it’s hard not to panic. Are they sick? Are they teething? Did I somehow mess up their schedule? Are they getting too much daytime sleep? Is it just the 12 month sleep regression? And if so, how long is this nightmare going to last?!
It’s easy to catastrophize things. Believe me, I’ve been there. But it’s best to take a step back and remember that all sleep regressions, including the 12 month sleep regression, are a common and normal part of your baby’s sleep journey.
When you are armed with the knowledge of what to expect from the 12 month sleep regression, why it happens, how long it lasts, and how to cope, it makes it SO much easier to emotionally handled the derailed sleep train.
In the post, I’m going to talk about:
My goal is always to empower you with knowledge and confidence to optimize your baby’s sleep and handle all the sleep bumps in the road that are thrown your way.
What is the 12 month sleep regression and why does it happen
The 12 month sleep regression is when, around 12 months, your baby’s suddenly starts having a difficult time with sleeping. Now, it’s important to remember that not all babies will experience the 12 month sleep regression, nor will it necessarily happen right on your baby’s first birthday, however it is a common occurrence for most babies.
Why does it happen? Around 12 months your baby is learning and developing SO much. There is so much going on in their little brains. There is so much new information to process and they are developing new skills. They are likely starting to walk as well as starting to develop their language skills. These big milestones take a ton of effort and attention from your little one. And it can affect babies in different ways.
The big take away, is to try and see this as a positive stage in your little one’s development and to remain grounded in the fact that it is just a stage. If you have already taught your baby independent sleep skills, then their sleep WILL bounce back.
Signs you are entering the 12 month sleep regression
You’ll know you are entering the 12 month sleep regression if:
- Your little one is around 12 months old
- Sleep is falling apart. This can look like:
- Fighting bedtime
- Sudden night wakings
- Early morning wakings
- Short naps or refusing naps
- They are not teething or sick
It’s totally normal to start to panic when sleep falls apart. I get it. After all, it likely means YOU are getting less sleep. Try your best to stay calm and objectively evaluate the situation to know if it likely is just the 12 month sleep regression, or if something else is going on.
How long does the 12 month sleep regression last and how to cope
Most sleep regressions, including the 12 month sleep regression last about 2 weeks before things bounce back. And as long as your baby is on a good sleep schedule that works for them and they can initiate sleep on their own, it will bounce back.
The key to surviving the 12 month sleep regression is to stay consistent and try not to get overwhelmed. Keep the sleep schedule that was working for your baby, and try not to make too many tweaks during the regression. During a sleep regression it is very easy for babies to become overtired, which will make matters worse. It’s important to keep offering the time and space for sleep, even if they are fighting it.
Now, most babies drop to one nap around 14 months, however a small number drop to one nap earlier. My best advice, without an individualized consultation, is to assume that your baby is with the majority and still needs that second nap until closer to 14 months. If your baby bounces back from their sleep regression after a week or two, then you know you did the right thing by keeping both naps. If several weeks go by and your baby is consistently fighting one of their naps, has middle of the night wakeful periods, early morning wakings, or takes a long time to fall asleep at night, then it may actually be time to drop to one nap. This process can be tricky and take about a month to iron out, so again, tune into your baby and first be sure that they are not just going through a sleep regression that they are going to bounce back from in a few weeks.
Does the 12 month sleep regression happen to every baby?
Sleep isn’t always going to be perfect; all babies go through ups and downs. That being said, there are a million different reasons why sleep is disrupted from time to time, and these reasons are different for all babies. The 12 month sleep regression is a common time for babies sleep to hit a speed bump, however it’s not when ALL babies will have a sleep regression.
When to call your pediatrician
My best piece of advice is to trust your mom gut. Empower yourself with knowledge on why your little one may suddenly be having a hard time sleeping, and rule out all the “normal” things like teething, minor cold/sickness, and sleep regression. If you think some else is going on, then definitely don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.
Recap on the 12 month sleep regression
Sleep regressions are tough! Especially because it feels like every time you turn around, your little one is going through a sleep regression or their current sleep schedule no longer works as it’s time to drop a nap. Throw in the revolving door of teething, a few illnesses, and it can be downright exhausting. I totally get it, as I have been there. I truly want to help you and your family, as I’ve learned that sleep is the key to enjoying motherhood!
On that note, have you signed up for our FREE email series yet? It’s pure gold. You just put in your baby’s birthdate and you get perfectly timed sleep tips based on their age!
And the fastest and most efficient way to get help is to schedule an individual consultation. One of our sleep consultants would love to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to get your baby sleeping better!