toddler girl sleep regression couch sitting

Most commonly the 12-month sleep regression is the result of new skills that your little one is working on during the day.  There are exciting new discoveries at this age, both physically and verbally, and it can end up causing a regression as their mind and body are working overtime to master these new skills! There is a new level of emerging independence at this age as well which can sometimes mean tantrums and that can carry over to sleep! Let’s go over the basics real quick! 

What is it? 

A sleep regression is a period of  time when a baby or toddler who had previously been sleeping well begins to have difficulties with their sleep such as frequent night wakings, short or skipped naps and early wake ups.

How long does it last?  

 Sleep regressions typically last 2-6 weeks.   If it lasts longer than that then it is time to evaluate if your little one has developed some new sleep crutches during this time.    

When does it occur? 

The 12 month sleep regression can start as early as 11 months or as late as 13 months. 

When does it end? 

The sleep disruptions should end within 2-6 weeks.  If it goes past that you may need to consider what new habits have developed as a result of the regression.

Does every baby go through the 12 month sleep regression?

 While it is very common and most babies do, some will sail right past it and it won't seem to affect them.    

How much sleep should my 12 month old be getting?  

You will want to aim for approximately 11-15 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period.  

How can I tell if my 12 month old is experiencing this regression?
  • More frequent night wakings - even if your little one was previously a really good sleeper! 

  • Trouble falling asleep and/or settling down at bedtime and nap time.  

  • Longer or shorter naps.  Some 12 month olds will resist their naps as part of this regression while others may take longer naps in an attempt to make up for lost night time sleep.

  • Fussiness.  If your baby is not getting adequate sleep in a 24 hour period, you may see an increase in fussiness and tantrums. 

How can I help my baby through this regression?
  1. If you have previously sleep trained your baby, this is the time to stick to your consistent routines and schedules in an attempt to get things back on track.  You can also implement your chosen sleep training method at this point. if needed.

  2. If you have not previously sleep trained your baby, you may want to consider the possibility.  You can always wait until the regression is over although by then, some babies do develop new sleep crutches as their parents attempt to get them to sleep.  This is really common and can be easily corrected with your chosen sleep training method.

  3. Keep your baby really active during the day.  This gives them an opportunity to work on their gross motor skills.

  4. Give your baby exposure to lots of outdoor time!  Daily exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, can help your baby's natural biological clock.

  5. Spend a lot of time talking to and reading to your little one.  This allows them to continue working on their expanding vocabulary.

  6. Offer your baby simple choices throughout the day such as the option between two different books or a red cup or blue cup.  This makes them feel empowered to make decisions which can lead to less tantrums! 

  7. Make sure the room environment is optimal: white noise, pitch black and 68-72 degrees. 

  8. Use a pre-nap routine and a bedtime routine.  This allows your child ample time to wind down before it's time for them to sleep and gives their bodies plenty of opportunity to prepare for sleep as well. 

  9. Give your little one extra cuddles.  They may be feeling tired and cranky and extra bonding will go a long way to helping them feel safe and secure. 

  10. Patience and grace.  This regression can be trying and frustrating for the parents however I promise it doesn't last forever! Please don't hesitate to reach out to me for professional sleep help if you need it.

Is your little one currently going through the 12 month sleep regression?  Weigh in below with any questions or concerns! 


AUTHOR BIO: Rachel Christopher is a certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of The Slumber Studio and mom of three. She is passionate about helping families get the rest they need. 

Leave a comment