Baby is getting so big these days! And their growth could have almost as much of an effect on their bedroom as it does on their wardrobe. Baby is bigger and stronger and faster than before, and the babyproofing of their sleeping area may need to evolve with it. Baby isn’t the only thing growing, though – the amount of energy they have 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 they have 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 they won't sleep that much less during this period. If, on the other hand, they have always been a reluctant napper, you may see them shed even more of that daytime sleep as soon as they 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 they still need their naps these days, though, they 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 they know that bedtime means spending some time away from you or their other caregivers. Putting Baby to bed in the next room might not sound as drastic as dropping them 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 they can hear you as you go about the rest of your night could help to reassure them 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 them, 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 they start pulling up, there’s a good chance they are going to want to try that new skill out using the handy rail around their 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 they seem 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, they will wake suddenly from a deep sleep, often screaming or crying out, but while they will wake afraid, they won't remember what scared them, and with a little comfort from you, they 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.