The 12 month sleep regression (your baby is developing in leaps and bounds!)

Next up in the sleep regression series - 12 months! Like with all the regressions, this period of change for your baby’s sleep is related to some really exciting developmental changes for your baby.

Why does it happen?

Around 12 months of age your child will be exploding with new skills in many different areas of development including language, gross and fine motor and social. They’re often starting to utter a word or two, are understanding social cues like waving hello and goodbye, may get frustrated if they can’t convey what they want to caregivers and are starting to move more (walking, pulling to stand etc). This is ALOT for one little human to take in all at once.

All of this development can cause some disruption to sleep for a few reasons. They may struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep as they’re busy thinking, chatting or practicing their new skills. They might find it more challenging to wind down after having a super active day.

Babies at this age are more aware of what they’re missing out on when they’re meant to be sleeping! This can lead to nap refusal or bed time refusal simply because they want to stay up and keep exploring, having fun and interacting with you.

Teeth are commonly coming through around this age as well which can possibly cause some short periods of discomfort and unsettledness for your baby.

Possible developmental changes:

  • Language development (saying 1-3 words)

  • Social development (waving hello and goodbye, smiling at new faces, responding to their name etc)

  • Cruising along holding onto furniture

  • Walking

  • Nightmares

How do I know the 12 month sleep regression has started?

  • Refusing naps

  • Refusing to go to sleep at night

  • Waking up early from naps

  • More frequent nights wake ups

  • Early waking

  • Baby may be pulling to stand in the cot, calling out for you, chatting (basically practicing any new skills they’ve recently learnt)

Tips for the 12 month sleep regression:

  • Encourage baby to practice their new skills in the day particularly if pulling to stand and walking are interrupting their sleep!

  • Keep to your baby’s usual day and bed time routine. They’re already experiencing some big changes - mixing up their usual routines can further disrupt their sleep. Sticking to your baby’s usual routine will actually help them move through this regression faster.

  • You may need to provide some additional comfort during this time. If you don’t want to feed or rock baby to sleep in the long term - try and avoid using these strategies to get them to go to sleep for more than a day or two. You could try an in the cot settling method to calm and settle baby for sleep if they need additional comfort.

  • Avoid starting a new routine and avoid commencing ‘sleep training’ during this time.

  • Provide lots of opportunity for active play in the day time.

  • If you feel your child may be teething - provide additional comfort, cold teething discs and other measures if required.

If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to discuss what is happening for your baby and family.

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