You may know everything there is to know about baby sleep, but toddlers are a whole different ballgame – or are they? In your house, at least, Baby is still the MVP, and he is going into these years of toddler sleep with the same batting average he left his first year behind with. Any player can work on his swing, though.
When and how will Baby sleep during this time?
Babies-turning-into-toddlers around this age generally need 11 to 14 hours of sleep in every 24 hours, usually in the form of two naps, although during this time, some very mature little sleepers may find they’re ready to drop down to just one nap per day. Naps during this time often last around 2 hours – toddlers who tend towards shorter naps may make up the time by napping more often, or by sleeping longer at night.
Naps are still an important part of a toddler’s sleep-ecosystem during this time, and just like during the first year, longer, more satisfying naps generally lead to healthier, more satisfying nighttime sleep. However, if you start to feel like long naps might be getting in the way of nighttime sleep, it might be a sign that it’s time to drop a nap, and move the nap or naps that remain closer to the middle of the day.
During this time, it’s common for tots to have at least one growth spurt, which can either lead to a few days of extra sleep, or a few days of more restless sleep. Either way, the effect growth spurts can have on sleep pass fairly quickly.
Sleep complications around this age
No matter how much he is (or isn’t) sleeping or napping during this age, Baby is getting closer to the point where using a pacifier to soothe themselves to sleep isn’t recommended, and taking a bottle to bed, even a bottle of water, is already not recommended. Toddlers who still suck on pacifiers to fall asleep by age 2 may be at a higher risk for effects to the shape of his mouth or his teeth. Luckily, he is also at the right age to start to attach to other comfort objects that could help soothe him, like blankets or soft toys, and safety guidelines say that toddlers older than 12 months old can safely fall asleep in beds with blankets or soft toys in them.
If your toddler is very attached to a pacifier or bottle to fall asleep with at night, it can be helpful to try to introduce another comfort object to him first, and wait until he is fully attached to the new object before starting to think about phasing out his old stand-by. However, it never hurts to speak with Baby‘s doctor or other healthcare provider about the use of comfort objects and pacifiers, as they might have a different set of recommendations.
- National Sleep Foundation. “National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times.” Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation, February 2 2015. Web.
- Robert Sears. “How Much Sleep Should My 13-Month-Old Get?” Ask Dr. Sears. AskDrSears, 2016. Web.
- M. Weissbluth. “Naps in children: 6 months-7 years.” Sleep. 18(2): 82-7. Web. February 1995.
- “Infant Sleep.” Stanford Children’s. Stanford Children’s Health, 2016. Web.