12 Month Sleep Regression - Causes, Signs And How To Deal With It

12 Month Sleep Regression – Causes, Signs And How To Deal With It

Parenthood is an enchanting journey filled with many milestones and challenges. As your baby grows, new learning experiences will come into play, including those associated with sleep patterns. One phenomenon that often puzzles parents is the 12-month sleep regression. Understanding what it entails, why it occurs, and how to manage it effectively can help ease your stress and ensure your little one gets the required rest. In this comprehensive guide, we aim to unravel the mystery of the 12-month sleep regression.

What is the 12 Month Sleep Regression?

The twelve month sleep regression is a phase where a baby who was previously sleeping well suddenly starts waking up frequently at night and struggles to go back to sleep. Typically, this happens around the baby’s first birthday. The regression can be a challenging period for parents as the disrupted sleep can impact both the baby’s mood and their own. Remember, these sleep changes are temporary and are often a sign that your little one is going through significant developmental growth.

What Are the Causes Of 12 Month Sleep Regression?

The 12-month sleep regression can be a challenging phase for both babies and parents alike. During this period, babies who previously had consistent sleep patterns may suddenly experience disruptions in their sleep, leaving parents puzzled and exhausted. Understanding the potential causes behind this regression can provide valuable insights and help parents navigate through this temporary phase with patience and care.

1. Increasing Mobility

By the age of 12 months, most babies are on the move. They might be crawling, walking, or even starting to climb. This new mobility is exciting for babies and they might wake up in the night to practice these skills, leading to sleep disruption.

2. Separation Anxiety

Around the 12-month mark, babies start understanding the concept of object permanence – that is, they realize that things continue to exist even when they can’t see them. Consequently, they might experience 12 month sleep regression separation anxiety, becoming upset when separated from their parents, especially at bedtime.

3. Teething

The teething process can also disturb a baby’s sleep. Many babies get their first molars around their first birthday, which can be quite painful and lead to night awakenings.

4. Transition to One Nap

Around their first birthday, many babies transition from two daily naps to just one. This significant change in their sleep pattern can temporarily disrupt nighttime sleep.

5. Developmental Milestones

Around 12 months of age, babies are reaching significant cognitive and physical milestones. These developments can affect their sleep as their brains are busy processing new information.

6. Changes in Routine

Any changes in the baby’s daily routine, such as starting daycare or traveling, can disrupt their sleep patterns and potentially lead to a 12 month sleep regression.

7. Illness

If a baby isn’t feeling well due to a cold or an ear infection, they may have trouble sleeping. Always check for signs of illness if your baby’s sleep suddenly changes.

Signs of 12 Month Sleep Regression

Identifying the 12 month sleep regression signs can help you tackle the issue more effectively. Here are five common signs:

  • Increased nighttime awakenings
  • Difficulty falling asleep at bedtime
  • Shorter naps or skipping naps
  • Increased fussiness or clinginess during the day
  • Changes in appetite or eating habits

How Long Does 12 Month Sleep Regression Last?

Typically, a 12-month sleep regression can last between two to six weeks. However, the duration can vary for each child. It’s important to note that during this period, your patience and consistent response can significantly influence the duration of the sleep disruption.

How Can You Manage 12 Month Sleep Regression In Your Baby?

How Can You Manage 12 Month Sleep Regression

The 12-month sleep regression can be a trying time for parents as their once peaceful sleeper suddenly starts experiencing disruptions in their sleep patterns. However, with patience and a few practical strategies, it is possible to manage and ease your baby through this phase while promoting healthy sleep habits.

1. Maintain a Consistent Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine provides a signal to your baby that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. This routine might include a bath, a bedtime story, and a lullaby.

2. Support Your Baby’s Development

During the day, give your baby plenty of opportunities to practice new skills. This can help ensure that they’re less likely to wake up at night to practice.

3. Address Separation Anxiety

For a baby experiencing 12 month sleep regression separation anxiety, reassuring bedtime routines can help. Consider playing peek-a-boo games during the day to help your baby understand that you always return after you leave.

4. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment

Ensure your baby’s room is conducive to sleep. This could include using blackout curtains, a white noise machine, and making sure the room temperature is comfortable.

5. Provide Comfort for Teething

If teething is causing sleep disruption, try providing a teething toy or a cold washcloth for your baby to chew on before bedtime.

6. Follow a Consistent Nap Schedule

Maintaining a regular nap schedule can help counteract the effects of the 12 month old sleep regression. Adequate daytime rest can aid in less disrupted nighttime sleep.

7. Be Patient and Reassuring

During this time, your baby may need extra comfort and reassurance from you. While it may be tough, remember that this phase is temporary.

8. Consider Gentle Sleep Training Methods

If your baby’s sleep doesn’t improve after a few weeks, you might consider gentle sleep training methods. While the “cry it out” method might not be suitable for everyone, less intense methods like the “fading method” or “chair method” can be helpful.

When to Call A Doctor?

While the 12 month regression is a normal part of development, it’s essential to contact a healthcare provider if your baby’s sleep disruption lasts for more than a few weeks or if they exhibit signs of illness, like fever, loss of appetite, or unusual irritability.


1. Do All Babies Have 12 Month Sleep Regression?

No, not all babies experience the 12-month sleep regression. It depends on various factors such as the baby’s development, changes in routine, or teething. Each baby is unique, and while some may show signs of sleep regression, others might not.

2. Can You Sleep Train Your Baby During 12 Month Regression?

Yes, sleep training can be done during the 12-month regression. However, it’s important to ensure the method is gentle and suits your baby’s needs. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a sleep consultant to discuss suitable strategies for your baby.

In conclusion, the 12-month sleep regression is a normal, albeit challenging part of a baby’s development. With patience, understanding, and the right strategies, this phase can be managed effectively, ensuring that both you and your baby get a good night’s sleep.

Also Read: How to Deal With Sleep Regression in Babies

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