Sleep from 10 to 12 months

Baby is getting so big these days! And his growth could have almost as much of an effect on his bedroom as it does on his wardrobe. Baby is bigger and stronger and faster than before, and the babyproofing of his sleeping area may need to evolve with it. Baby isn’t the only thing growing, though – the amount of energy he has to stay awake between naps may be growing, too.

When and how will Baby sleep during this time? 

Around this time, Baby may start to need a little less sleep. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, around 12 months old, babies go from needing between 12 and 16 hours of sleep per 24 hours to only needing 11 to 14 hours. That’s just a general guideline, and as Baby’s sleep patterns shift around this age, they’ll probably follow similar pattern to the ones he has had up until this point. If Baby has always needed an amount of sleep that’s on the higher side of normal, there’s a good chance he won’t sleep that much less during this period. If, on the other hand, he has always been a reluctant napper, you may see him shed even more of that daytime sleep as soon as he can manage it.

During this time, Baby is probably still going to need about two naps per day, although some children still do best with three, and a few drop down to just one, usually in the afternoon. Even if he still needs his naps these days, though, he might start to get a bit more reluctant about napping, or about bedtime.

Sleep complications around this age 

There are a few reasons Baby might start to resist sleep around this point, or to have trouble sleeping in general. For one thing, Baby might be experiencing separation anxiety during this period, which can make bedtime seem scary, especially if he knows that bedtime means spending some time away from you or his other caregivers. Putting Baby to bed in the next room might not sound as drastic as dropping him off at daycare, but to Baby, it can feel like just as much of a separation.

Keeping the door to Baby’s bedroom open so that he can hear you as you go about the rest of your night could help to reassure him that you’re not too far away. With separation anxiety, though, many times, there isn’t a quick, easy solution. In the end, the best way to end separation anxiety around bedtime is the same way to end it at any other time – by slowly building trust that, when you go away from Baby, you always come back to him, and that even if you’re out of sight, that doesn’t mean you’re far away.

Another sleep complication around this time is Baby’s increased mobility. Once he starts pulling up, there’s a good chance he is going to want to try that new skill out using the handy rail around his crib. From there, some children try climbing out of the crib, which can be dangerous, so for safety’s sake, many parents choose to lower the crib’s mattress to the lowest setting. If Baby does manage to climb out of the crib, on the other hand, it may be time to start thinking about transitioning away from a crib, especially if he seems eager to try again.

Though most children who have night terrors don’t face them until 3 or 4 years old, night terrors can also begin around this time, which can be another obstacle to sleep during this age. If Baby does have a night terror, he will wake suddenly from a deep sleep, often screaming or crying out, but while he will wake afraid, he won’t remember what scared him, and with a little comfort from you, he should be able to fall back asleep fairly quickly.

  • Claire Lerner, Rebecca Parlakian. “Sleep Challenges: Why It Happens, What to Do.” Zero to Three. ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, February 29 2015. Web.
  • National Sleep Foundation. “National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times.” Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, February 2 2015. Web.
  • Rupal Christine Gustin. “Sleep and Your 8- to 12-Month-Old.” Kids Health. Nemours Foundation, November 2014. Web.
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