How To Survive Your Baby’s 12-Month Sleep Regression

Updated Oct 18th 2022 | timer 6  min read

12 Month Sleep Regression
Elissa Gross

Medically Reviewed By medical-check-mark Elissa Gross Board Certified Pediatrician & Lactation Consultant

Mandy Treeby

Written By Mandy Treeby Chief Baby Sleep Consultant

Parents of 12-month-olds have already overcome some of the greatest hurdles in sleep training: those sleepless nights of having a newborn, achieving that first “big night sleep,” and transitioning a few of their naps. With all that accomplished, you may think it’s smooth sailing from here – and it is, mostly, except for a few slight hiccups, including sleep regressions.

If you’re wondering “Is there a 12-month sleep regression?” The answer is, yes, there is often a 12-month sleep regression. Luckily, the 12-month sleep regression can be easily dealt with it you know the signs of a 12-month sleep regression and how to handle a 12-month sleep regression – and this article shows you how.


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If you’re struggling with the 12-month sleep regression, or maybe you feel like sleep’s been off track for months, check out the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™. This revolutionary app provides a personalized sleep plan uniquely tailored to your baby’s sleep challenges.

What is a Sleep Regression?

Sleep regressions are brief, temporary disruptions in your baby’s sleep. They’re sleeping for longer, more consistent periods and then, suddenly, they wake up randomly. And then they wake again the next, and the next… That is a sleep regression.

What is the 12-Month Sleep Regression?

The 12-month sleep regression is the term of a sleep regression that appears near your baby’s first birthday. It’s one in a series of regressions that accompany a baby’s natural sleep evolution.

How Long Does the 12-Month Sleep Regression Last?

The good news about the 12-month sleep regression is that it’s brief: some are as short as 2 weeks, others a bit longer: 6 weeks. Luckily, there are ways to shorten the 12-month sleep regression as well as others.

Why is There a 12-Month Sleep Regression?

Sleep regressions coincide with your baby’s developmental milestones. Your baby is growing so fast and learning so much that sometimes these milestones can distract from their sleeping.

What are 12-Month Developmental Milestones?

You’ll find the 12-month developmental milestones by category below:

A 12-Month-Old’s Social Milestones:

  • Picks out or points to familiar objects
  • Extends hands or feet to help you dress them
  • Flips through a book during reading time

A 12-Month-Old’s Communication Milestones:

  • Saying 2-3 familiar words
  • Can follow easy directions, such as "Give me the toy."

A 12-Month-Old’s Learning Milestones:

  • Copies what you do, such as chores
  • Now understands how simple toys work, like a car

A 12-Month-Old’s Physical Milestones:

  • Walking without support
  • Holding and using a crayon or market
  • Drinking from a cup.
  • Feeding themselves with their hands

All of these changes are exciting for your baby (and you) but can contribute to the 12-month sleep regression.

Do 12-Month-Old’s Have Separation Anxiety?

Many 12-month-olds do experience separation anxiety, which can begin in babies as young as 6-momths, and which can cause sleep regressions.

The idea of a baby with anxiety can be unnerving to some, but rest assured that separation anxiety in your 12-month old is a positive sign. It shows they're developing well and learning object permanence: that things exist even when they can’t see them. This means your baby understands that you are somewhere else, doing something else when they can’t see you. In turn, if they wake at night and can’t see you, they can become a bit worried. It’s totally alright, though – again, this is normal, and your baby will self-soothe themselves to sleep.

Why the 12-Month Sleep Regression is a Good Thing:

Since “regressions” coincide with developmental milestones, we like to think of them as “Sleep progressions” - they’re positive signs that your baby is mentally and physically progressing - and that’s something to celebrate!

Signs of a 12-Month Sleep Regression:

The signs of a 12-month sleep regression often mirror the signs of any other sleep regression

But then there’s another element that makes the 12-month sleep regression unique:

Vocal Protests:

Now that they’re about 1-year-old, your baby has learned some words, including “No.” This development and their emerging sense of independence can lead to some vocal protests during sleep regressions.

This is hard – a baby yelling “no” at bedtime is frustrating – but keep in mind this is a brief moment that will pass. And it’s a natural, healthy part of your baby’s development.

A Guide to a 12-Month-Old’s Sleep:

The numbers here are averages – your baby is unique and has their own sleep pattern, so be sure to watch their wake windows and sleepy cues more than the actual clock. If you are looking for help with frequent night wakings, early wake ups or just getting your baby’s schedule on track, download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers™ app to help you solve your baby’s sleep challenges.

Can a 12-month-old baby sleep through the night?

Yes – by 12-months babies can sleep through the night. In fact, with the all-clear from their pediatrician, most babies can night wean by 9-months. If they have appropriate weight gain, since they should by now be getting all the calories they need during the day.

How Many Hours Should a 12-Month-Old Sleep?

Somewhere between 13 and 14 hours of sleep a day is a good goal for 12-month-olds. This is split between about 11-12 hours at night and 2 daily naps lasting about 60-90 mins.

What is a 12-Month-Old’s Wake Window?

Many 12-month-olds have a wake window between 3-4 hours.

How much nighttime sleep for a 12-month-old?

Typically, 12-month-olds sleep 11-12 hours at night.

How much daytime sleep for a 12-month-old?

2-3 hours a day divided over 2 naps is a good goal for 12-month-olds. Tip: It’s a common mistake to transition 12-month olds to 1 nap too early, in fact it is more developmentally appropriate to keep them on two naps until at least 14 or 15 months of age.

Is It Too Late to Sleep Train?

It’s never too late to sleep train– while 4 months is the ideal time to start sleep training your baby, you can sleep coach your baby at any age. Simply download the Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers ™ to get started: it will walk you through setting up a bedtime routine and tracking your baby’s sleep to lay the foundation for a successful sleep coaching journey.

How to Manage the 12-Month Sleep Regression:

Here are some ways to manage a sleep regression at 12-months:

  • Stick To Your Routine: A solid bedtime routine is the cornerstone of healthy sleep habits, the consistency and repetition calms and cues your baby it’s time to sleep. They recognize the pattern and follow it. That said, maintaining this routine is important even after you’ve done your initial sleep coaching and can work wonders to correct a 12-month sleep regression.
  • Wait It Out: Try waiting a moment if your baby cries at night to see if they can put themselves back to sleep. Self-soothing is a natural ability all babies have, and which sleep coaching strengthens. If you give them a moment, your baby may self-soothe themselves back to sleep.
  • Low Lights and Voice: If you do need to go in to comfort your baby, remember to speak softly and keep the lights low. Too much noise, light, or stimulation could wake them fully.
  • Reassure From Afar: Even if you go in, try to avoid picking up your baby as this will wake them more. Instead offer your brief reassurances from the doorway or while gently patting their back.
  • Restrict Screen Time: Smartphone, TV, or computer screens aren't recommended by the AAP until your baby is at least 2-years old. But if you are using them, to help your baby rest well, limit screen time at least 30-60 minutes before you begin your bedtime routine – (this can be a good idea for you, too).
  • Lovies: After months of restricted sleep accessories, 12-month-olds as long as developmentally appropriate can now sleep with a beloved blanket or stuffed animal, which may help in times of anxiety or other sleep regression incidents.
  • Sleep Coach Again: Revisiting your sleep coaching method can help “reset” your 12-month-old's sleep, particularly when in a regression. Simply restart using the method you are most comfortable with. You’ll be surprised how quickly revisiting your sleep coaching method will get your baby’s sleep back on track.

  • Take Me Time: We understand sleep regressions can be frustrating, so know that it’s 100% alright to step away in these or other challenging times. Simply make sure your baby is in a safe space, step into another room, and take some deep breaths to recenter yourself.
  • Remember: “This Too Shall Pass:” Remember, your baby’s 12-month regression will be brief – and also remind yourself of much you’ve grown already as a parent and see this as another opportunity to continue growing.

FAQs:

How long does the 12-month sleep regression last?

A 12-month sleep regression can be as short as 2 weeks or as long as 6 weeks.

How do I stop the 12-month sleep regression?

Routines, reassurance, and patience are key when coping with a sleep regression. So, too, is sleep coaching, which can work wonders to keep your baby’s sleep patterns on track.

Is there sleep regression at 12 months?

Yes, some babies do experience sleep regression symptoms at 12 months.

Why is my 1-year-old not sleeping all of the sudden?

This is likely a sleep regression – a totally normal part of your baby’s sleep coaching journey.  

[DISCLAIMER]

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

Sources:

“Important Milestones: Your Child By One Year,” The CDC.
“Nighttime sleep-wake patterns and self-soothing from birth to one year of age: a longitudinal intervention study,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
“Infant sleep problems and interventions: A review,” Infant Behavior and Development.

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