- What is the 12-Month Sleep Regressions
- What are the signs you are in the 12 month sleep regression
- Why does the 12-month sleep regression happen
- How to fix bad sleep in the 12-month sleep regression
- How long can the 12-month sleep regression last?
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Episode 110- 12 Month Sleep Regression
Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together. Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode. My name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transitions. And I’m excited to chat with you this week all about the 12 month sleep regression.
So 12 months is a real pivotal time for infants because there’s a lot of things that happen that can lead to sleep regression. Now I know that term can be often also very overused the four monthly sleep regression, the five monthly sleep regression, the six monthly sleep regression, you could Google any month and put the word sleep sleep regression after it and probably find some articles about it. Well, that’s because babies are constantly changing. The good news is that right now, at 12 months, you will be in a steady state for the next few months, which is awesome. Except if you’re experiencing a sleep regression right now, we’re going to help you fix that today. So first things first, when we talk about why sleep regressions happen, there are a variety of different reasons that I want to start with. So we can uncover and identify why your baby might be struggling to settle independently for naps to sleep through the night or you find that they’re waking excessively early in the morning. So first things first, around 12 months your sleep needs are going to change. So the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that children from the age of one through the age of two only need 11 to 14 hours in total sleep which means that you know your naps are going to be somewhere around about two and a half hours on average if you want your child to sleep roughly a 12 hour night so something around like a seven to seven or an eight to eight type of schedule. So if your child isn’t within the total sleep needs recommendations, you may have a child who’s overtired. Now, overtired really is a problem. A lot of people think well let them sleep less at this particular time, so they sleep more or better at this particular time. Well, the problem with that philosophy is that sleep is often based on hormones and the cycles in which your child is cycling through. And if your child is cycling through at the wrong time, you can have an imbalance in the hormones or the sleep pressure so that can cause trouble settling at bedtime, multiple wakings really short naps, right? The hormones are adenosine, which is sleep pressure melatonin, which is that hormone that helps prepare the body to sleep, and then adrenaline and cortisol. And your child’s body clock is really cycling through these hormones at proper times throughout the day. Their cortisol levels are highest early in the morning, because it’s preparing the body for the day. melatonin levels are highest around bedtime, because it’s preparing your body to sleep throughout that as the baby is awake. They also have growing levels of adenosine, which is a sleep pressure hormone. And if they get too much sleep pressure, their brain thinks well, they’re not trying to go to bed, let me help them to help them stay awake. And so it triggers flooded stimulant hormones of adrenaline and cortisol, which can mess up nap. So you really have a finite balance of a child’s sleep needs and making sure that timing is accurate. And whether or not it’s time for a nap transition. So that’s the second point I want to cover today. Which is if things are a little bit of a hot mess right now with regards to total sleep needs. And when your baby’s napping, or if they’re constantly fighting that second nap. So then they’re going a really long time. From the first nap of the day into bedtime. They are 100% overtired, which is doing exactly what I just explained. So typically, around 12 months of age, you can transition your child to one nap a day that one nap a day will balance the right amount of sleep pressure in the morning, and the right amount of sleep pressure in the evening. So making sure that you have the right timing and that you’re dropping is appropriate is going to make sense. I have children anywhere between 12 and 15 months dropping to one nap a day. It is very rare. I can name two cases and eight years of being a sleep consultant where I’ve actually moved a child before the age of one to one nap a day. But it’s a very rare thing that we see happen. Okay, so typically, the sign to make that nap transition is that they’re either taking chronically short, both naps, or that they’re totally fighting that second nap of the day, which means they’re ready to drop to one nap. Making that nap transition should take place over a period of a few different days. So your child if they’re going to be ready to drop to one nap a day should be taking that nap between about 1245 and three o’clock, assuming that you have them on a seven to seven schedule that will balance the morning and it will balance the evening to make sure that they’re rested and set up for going to bed without being over tired as the day wears on. They’re busy. They’re very active and they Sometimes can tolerate a little bit less as it relates to that awake window. So waking up by three and going to bed at seven for a 12 month old is completely age appropriate, because we don’t want them to get overtired. Okay, so you might want to look that if your child is struggling, and sometimes parents will come to me and say, Courtney, my one year old cannot make all the way to 1245. But then they’re not taking the second nap. Well, my kind of point to you is, you either have a really, really really overtired kid at bedtime. Or you have a really really overtired kid just making that adjustment for a few short days to one nap a day. And I will 100% of the time, take the second option, which is forcing your child to get to one nap a day and doing things like stimulation through the water. So having them take a bath stimulation through the sun, the natural vitamin D will help them or stimulation through eating having them practice eating things like puffs, or yogurt bites that work on sensory but also their fine motor skills and keep them busy, right, they’re stimulated. So that’s where making that jump to the right nap and making sure you’re not in the middle of a transition that you’re sort of stuck in. If your kid is getting past out tired at 11am. But then refusing the second nap you have to go to one because you’re just hurting yourself, because they’re not taking the second nap. And they’re going down for too late for the first nap. If you’re still trying to get a second nap, there’s not enough time to balance a two nap a day schedule typically looks like 10am. And then somewhere between two and three o’clock if you’re going to maintain that type of a schedule. Again, I have clients up through about 15 months that stay on a two nap a day schedule. But almost every client at 15 months and on should be on one nap a day. It is almost rare, if not totally rare that I’ve ever had a client stay longer than that on
two naps a day because somewhere in their day or in their overnight, their sleep is messed up. If they are over 15 months and still on two naps a day I can almost guarantee it. Okay, the next thing you look at within 12 months, the sleep regression is developmental what’s going on? Right? There’s a lot going on, they’re probably walking, they’re starting to talk, they’re moving off just milk and eating more regular meals, right? So there’s a lot of things developmentally that can cause a little bit of a setback, right? As it relates to sleep, sometimes we have to let them work through it right? If they’re developmentally excited, yay, I stood up and I started walking. And now they’re walking around the crib, and you’re going in 55 times a night to lay them back down, guess what they’re starting to expect? Habit, you’re gonna lay him back down. So they know if they stand up, you’re gonna lay him down, and they stand up, you’re gonna lay him back down. Well, that creates habits and behaviors that lead to sleep regressions, right? So I want you to take a pause and think about developmentally, while something might be a leap or a shift or an adjustment eating, talking teething, right? Have you somehow inserted yourself back into that equation, and now become a habit, right, which is the fourth thing we’re going to talk about, because developmentally, they’re going to experience leaps, and it’s best to help them figure those things out. Like if they start to stand or walk, making sure they know how to get back down, right, but not becoming the thing that does it for them. So a little bit of extra practice in the day, obviously, trying to manage illness and teething right. The baby’s teething rocking them to sleep doesn’t fix the pain, right? That becomes a habit. If a child is teething talk to your doctor about should they be you know, taking something to alleviate a pain associated with that tooth. And teething should only lasts typically around three days, when the tooth is pushing up through the gums when it breaks the gum, and then when it’s healing around the gum. So definitely make sure that you’re not muddying up the water between developmental and then what becomes habit or behavior, which again, is that fourth topic we’re going to talk about today, habits and behaviors very quickly and easily can fall right back in, I just had a past client the other day, come back to me and say, Oh, my gosh, this little guy was doing awesome, since we work together at birth, and all of a sudden, now he’s doing this, he’s doing that he’s doing this, and I hopped on the phone with them for about 30 minutes and was like, here’s what you have to do. Here’s how you have to manage it based on what’s going on. These are the steps you need to take. And they just texted me yesterday, actually and said, he’s now still sleeping till 7am, which is amazing, because I’m pregnant, and I feel great. And it totally fixed everything. You’re a miracle worker, right? So sometimes you have to listen to the experts because we know what we’re doing. And you have to follow these steps to make sure some parents fight me on things like oh, they’re not ready for one nap a day. Well, you know what, then everything else is still gonna suck. Okay? So sometimes it comes down to you have to listen to what the body says from a developmental standpoint, not necessarily like what we’re seeing as parents because sometimes they show signs of being tired because they’re bored, right? So again, there are always going to be variables, habits and behaviors can quickly come into play, right? You got used to laying them back down, you got used to holding them and rocking them to sleep or holding their chest or holding their hand or coming to play with them or falling asleep at them in their bed or climbing into the crib, which I have so many clients that do which I can’t believe all of these things create behaviors, right? If your child prefers that and you’re willing to do it, why would they stop? up, right? So now all of a sudden, you’ve turned into what was this innocent little developmental leap into a habit or behavior that you’re now doing as a almost reward for them? Because they’re asking for well, how do they ask for it, they cry, and you do the thing. You hand them their cup, you give them a tissue, you lay in bed with them, you lay in their crib, you rock them to sleep, and then try to transfer it well, when they fall asleep in your arms. They expect to wake up there. So absolutely, they’re going to be pissed when all of a sudden you think you can ninja transfer them to the crib, then you got to pick them up and do it over again, right? You have to create the expectations around independent sleep. At 12 months of age, your child should no longer be eating. They should be in that kind of watching of that transition, right? Again, it’s not for everybody at exactly 12 months, but you’re going to nap transition shortly, right? They should be settling independently for bedtime, somewhere between seven and eight o’clock is age appropriate for a one year old. Okay? I don’t care where you are, the body clock runs off the sun and that sun basically sets it So somewhere between seven and eight o’clock, okay.
And then your behaviors, your child should be settling themselves to sleep at 12 months of age and sleeping for 11 to 12 hours overnight. Okay? If they have early morning wakings it’s often a habit or overtired. Okay, so if they wake up at five, and you go in and get them, they’re gonna be up at five because they think it’s time to get up, they finish that cycle. And they go now’s the time I wake up right, you’re almost falsely adjusting their body clock. And I’ve plenty of podcasts and videos on early morning wakings that you can refer to where I talk about how to manage those, because that’s a whole separate ballgame of behavior in many cases, but sometimes just a habit as well if you’re used to rocking them back to sleep, right. So in summary, for the 12 months, the sleep regression first isolate total sleep needs and where your child is sleeping throughout the day. If they’re on two naps, you want to make sure it’s balanced around two and a half to three hours, no more than that, okay? And you want to make sure it’s somewhere around 10. And then somewhere between two and four. Okay, if your child is on one nap a day, we want to make sure that’s happening between 1245 and one o’clock. If they are developmentally going through some things, you know, you give them a little bit of grace, I always say be accessible. As a parent, we should always be accessible but not excessive, okay, and then make sure that there are no underlying habits or behaviors that are happening. Kids like consistency, they want to know exactly what to expect at exactly a certain amount of time to make sure that they’re set up for sleep success. So with that, I hope you have found today’s episode on the 12 monthly sleep regression helpful. There’s so much great information and knowledge, we are always more than happy to share. And be sure to join me out in my sleep community, called slumber made simple if you need additional coaching or support. And remember, we offer free preliminary sleep evaluations, which you can always schedule with myself or a member of the team over at Tiny transitions.com a lot of different ways to work with families. We do private coaching, we do mini sessions, which are just a 30 or 45 plus 15 minute phone call. If you just need a little bit of guidance, but not the whole kit and caboodle so much great stuff. We’re so happy to help you and there’s a reason so many families trust tiny transitions for all of their sleep coaching needs. So thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you have a beautiful rest of the day. Until next time, bye for now. Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleep or not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber made simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community. That’s tiny transition stuff comm forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search summer Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.