The 12 Month Sleep Regression
Did you know that sleep regressions are generally from a result of learning progression? below we will provide you with the tips and advice to assist in dealing with this 12-month sleep regression!
The 12-month sleep regression has a great deal to do with your child’s new skills along with becoming more mobile, more aware of the world around them and generally ready for more stimulate play. They are getting close to transitioning from two naps down to one.
By this age they can follow simple commands and will be practicing saying a few words at this stage. Separation anxiety can also come into play here as your child may genuinely be distressed when you walk out at nap time, or when you leave the room come bedtime.
Teething is still a factor at 12 months of age as well as your child is now thinking "hey I don't want to go to bed & miss out, I want to play”.
What you may experience
- Your child fights sleep and has started waking frequently throughout the night.
- Your child may show signs of separation anxiety.
- Your child has increased crying, irritability & gets cranky during the day.
- Your child may suddenly have a meltdown once you put them into their cot at bedtime.
How long will it last?
The 12-month sleep regression generally last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and not all babies will struggle in these times, but typically your child’s sleep will be affected in some way, shape or form by these regressions. It’s all about how things are managed along the way. It’s important to try and maintain your regular routine and avoid any unwanted sleep habits from creeping in during this time. As once the regression is over, you can immediately reestablish regular sleep routines, & within a couple of nights, your little sleeper will be back!!
Will this regression prevent me from sleep training or will it undo all the hard work I have already done?
Babies are constantly going through stages of leaps, sleep regressions and teething. By implementing healthy sleep habits and following the Baby Sleep Magic App recommendations and advice will help you navigate through these challenging times. Many of the families who have implemented Baby Sleep Magic’s philosophy, report that their child sleeps ALL night 10-12 HOURS!!!! Even while experiencing teething or a sleep regression!!!
Now I am not saying in times like this your little ones sleep will be perfect, in actual fact it is bound to take a hit and it's totally OK to offer extra comfort & meet their needs in these times (actually anyone who has worked with me knows, that's what I advocate). But I’m here to tell you that it is never too late, and it is possible to have a good sleeper during times of regressions!!
Tips for dealing with this milestone.
- Stick to an age-appropriate routine as children thrive on routine and consistency; it will help your baby adjust to big changes like regressions and nap transitions along with make them feel secure knowing what comes next.
- To assist with the 12-month sleep regression increase stimulation and encourage lots of active playtime. Stimulating your child's brain during playtime and providing situations where they can explore helps them to learn and grow through new experiences. It will also help with sleeping! To achieve good naps your child needs to have plenty of stimulating activity time during their wake window, as this allows them to "fill up their tank, full of knowledge" and in return, your child will spend time asleep processing it. If "the tank" does not get full enough, the chances are your child will not sleep very long and this can promote catnapping
- If you suspect your child is going through some anxiety as they have started resisting their nap because they do not want to be away from you
- They may have started waking throughout the night and become upset that you are not in the room with them, then my advice is to be flexible and patient. During this time, you may have to stand in the room, shushing them or even at times pat the mattress until they are calm and possibly asleep. Be mindful that you do not to get into any bad habits.
- Optimise the sleeping environment by ensuring that the room is dark, and you have white noise on, it is ideal to keep the white noise on for the whole duration of the nap and throughout the night. Note that an ideal room temperature is between 19-22 degrees.
- Ensure your 12-month baby is full before naps and maintain adequate feeds during the day to avoid sleep regressions. Do not be afraid to offer more feeds more often. This regression often coincides with a growth spurt that will make your child hungry.
- If your toddler has suddenly started waking throughout the night, keep it boring, do not make much eye contact, keep your voice monotone while you tend to the situation. Be firm and stay consistent. Do not get angry, just neutral and dull as the chances are, they are looking for a reaction either good or bad and when they do not get it, the novelty soon wears off.
- Prioritise naps, most babies are not quite ready to drop down to one nap, but they may give you signs that will make you think maybe they're ready?" NO, they are not! This generally happens between fifteen to eighteen months of age. If you try to drop a nap too early, it can backfire and will lead to an overtired toddler and possibly frequent night waking’s as a result. Try to maintain the two naps and aim for the first nap to be about 3 hours after wake-up.
- Lastly, remain calm & patient to your baby's needs as children feed off our energy. Keep in mind 12-month sleep regressions is a natural developmental stage your baby is going through and will soon pass. As challenging as this time may be remember everything is fixable!