Just when you think that your baby has this sleep situation down pat, here comes another sleep regression to turn your nights (and maybe even your days) upside-down. But just because your little one has gotten older, doesn't mean that you're out of the woods, either. Unfortunately, babies who have been solid sleepers for several weeks are notorious for regressing. There are some things to know about sleep regression in 1-year-olds that can help you understand why it is happening, and how to get your cranky baby back to sleep.
Even though it can be a nightmare to deal with a baby who is waking in the night, the good news is that sleep regressions are totally normal, and usually short-lived. Sleep regressions can happen often in the first two years of a baby's life. Precious Little Sleep noted that according to Danish researchers Vanderijt and Plooij sleep regression often coincides with the growth spurts that happen at weeks five, eight, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, and 55.
If you are in the middle of a sleep regression, or if your baby is approaching their first birthday, here is some helpful information you will want to know about sleep regressions in 1-year-olds.
1. 1-Year-Olds Need More Than One Nap
Although it can seem as though a 1-year-old can get by with only one nap per day, according to The Baby Sleep Site, the average age for a child to transition to one nap is actually between 15 and 18 months. Motherhood Support warned that a 1-year-old who only takes one nap will become severely overtired which will lead to an entirely new set of sleep issues.
2. Allow For Longer Wake Times Between Naps
If your 1-year-old is refusing a second nap, you should try to extend the wake time between naps by 15 to 30 minutes according to Motherhood Support. Even if your child doesn't fall asleep, but is playing around in the crib, this is still considered rest.
3. You Should Offer An Earlier Bedtime
Especially if your baby doesn't fall asleep for a second nap, The Baby Sleep Site recommends offering an earlier bedtime. This can help keep your baby from becoming overtired and lose even more sleep.
4. You Should Avoid Major Changes
What To Expect warned that a 1-year-old is usually going through major developmental milestones such as walking and talking. Major changes during this period such as weaning from the bottle or pacifier can exacerbate your toddler's sleep regression.
5. Encourage Activity Between Sleep
Sleep Tight Consultants recommended letting babies practice their new skills often throughout the day so that they are more tuckered out, and feel less of a need to practice these skills once in bed.
6. Be Consistent With Your Bedtime Routine
According to Sleep Tight Consultants, aging, "often brings the obsessive need for predictability to help your child have some semblance of control of their environment." If you are consistent in your bedtime routine and in response to night wakings, this regression should be short-lived.
7. Sleep Regressions Can Last Up To 6 Weeks
Most babies will average about 4 weeks of sleep challenges according to Kim West, LCSW-C. You will know if you're at the tail end of a sleep regression if your baby is suddenly more receptive to naps, nighttime sleep comes easier, or your baby’s appetite has normalized.
8. Use This As An Opportunity To Sleep Train
According to Mother, a sleep regression marks the beginning of an opportunity to sleep train for parents who are interested in trying it out. Sleep training is a way for babies and toddlers to fall asleep, or fall back to sleep, without their parents' help.
9. There May Be More Regressions To Come
Because sleep regressions usually coincide with growth spurts and developmental milestones they probably won't end once your baby turns one. Regressions at 18 months and 24 months are not uncommon.