So, I strongly believe the tips in this post really helped my 12 month old to sleep through the night. And with some of these methods the results came SUPER QUICKLY. Before we get into the 6 tips that I have for you, let’s look at the statistics…
The Baby Sleep Info Source is a project run by Durham University in the UK. It drew together data from several studies which show that 27% of babies had not regularly slept throughout the night by the age of 12 months old.
My daughter had rarely slept throughout the night until I implemented these changes to her sleep methods when she was around the age of 12 months old.
Don’t get me wrong, these methods are not guaranteed to work for any 12 month old. It’s also unrealistic to think that these methods will work every single night.
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Yes, there is such a thing as sleep regression!
Babies and toddlers may also wake when they are teething, feeling unwell or their nappy (aka diaper) is leaking. Babies from the age of around 9 months also have increased separation anxiety so bare this in mind as sometimes they may just want to be close to you – these tips will not help with this I’m sorry to say!
From implementing these strategies, I would say that my daughter went from waking most nights to then waking once a fortnight (as a rough estimate).
Here is the backstory
So, my 12 month maternity leave was drawing to an end soon and my daughter was still waking up most nights. I knew something had to change. The last thing I wanted was to be feeling dog tired at work as a result of continuously being disturbed night after night.
And so I rang my daughter’s health visitor and asked for her advice. The number 1 tip she gave me was to remove the sleep crutches. Below are a list of things that I believe helped my daughter to sleep better – number 1 and 2 made a huge difference very quickly.
1. Get your 1 year old sleeping in their own room (if you haven’t already)
If you haven’t already then allow your 12 month old to sleep in their own room without any disturbance.
Following official guidelines, the Baby Sleep Info Source recommend that babies should be at least 6 months old before they are put in their own room; it should therefore not be a problem for most 12 month olds to be in their own room. You can always check this out with your babies healthcare provider to make sure that they agree it’s safe.
I must say from my experience it was a game changer when I finally put my daughter into her own bedroom as we were not then disturbing each other. I made this change when my daughter was around the age of 11 months old.
Since then I have kept a monitor charged by my bedside each night so I can still hear and see her. If you have problems getting your 12 month old to sleep by themselves in their own room then maybe try adding some soothing background music or white noise in their room.
My daughter absolutely loved the Chicco Next2Sars Baby Night Light and it really helped to relax her before sleep.
2. Stop the night-time milk feeds
Babies at 12 months old do not usually need to be given milk during the night…
In fact, the well known and trusted parenting advice website What To Expect explain that babies at 6 months of age can usually go 6-8 hours without the need for any feed. That means that by he age of 12 months old babies don’t usually need to be fed milk during the night.
When I started giving my daughter water instead of milk at night I noticed very quickly that she started waking up less and less at night.
Up until my daughter’s health visitor suggested this I somehow convinced myself that milk will help her to sleep better than water. This was not true and it only encouraged my daughter to keep waking up for milk night after night.
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3. Try not to let your 12 month old nap late in the day
Ok, so I had a routine for my daughter. But once I had started back at work I lost control of keeping this routine and so my daughter was sometimes sleeping very late in the day. This resulted in my daughter then going to bed late at night and sometimes waking during the night…
Of course, I didn’t allow this to continue as it was not benefiting any of us.
My point for you is to have a cut off point in the day when your 12 month old sleeps. At this age babies usually still nap during the day and that’s healthy (and expected).
What you should do is try to stick to your routine and don’t let them sleep any later than a certain time – give them a few hours to be awake before bedtime.
4. Reduce the chances of your 12 month old waking for their dummy/pacifier
If your 12 month old uses a dummy (aka soother or pacifier) to sleep, the chances are that they will drop it on the floor during the night. You can consider having several dummy’s in their bed, that way they can find at least 1 if they are rooting for them.
5. Reduce the chances of your 1 year old having acid reflux
I noticed that from around the age of 11 months old my daughter was going through a phase of vomiting frequently. This was happening both in the day and at night. It was pretty much happening at random times and there was no identifiable pattern. Needless to say, this is something else that was disturbing her sleep (and ours) at night.
I wasn’t sure what was causing the problem. With trial and error I found that by keeping my daughter sat in her high chair for about 30 minutes after every meal, the vomiting stopped. As a result, she slept better at night.
Try this technique of just letting your 12 month old sit in their high chair for a while before getting them out. Even if they are not vomiting, they could be suffering from reflux which can affect their sleep.
6. The right temperature can help your 12 month old to sleep through the night
Make sure babies are not too hot or too cold during their sleep. My daughter never liked baby sleeping bags and so we used a blanket to cover her at night…
But, soon after she had turned 12 months I got her a duvet and pillow suitable for a 1 year old and I think this made her more comfortable at night. The NHS recommend that babies under the age of 1 do not have duvets and pillows due to risk of suffocation so don’t use these for younger babies.
Remember, it’s not too late for your 12 month old to sleep through the night
Don’t get discouraged if the methods are not working at first. It might take some time to make these changes and your toddler may just naturally get better at sleeping at night in time. And remember that each child is different so what works for one won’t work for all.
Other considerations for helping a 12 month old to sleep through the night
There could be many other factors that affect your one year olds sleep at night. These can include hunger from not eating enough during the day or overtiredness (as they tend not to sleep as well if they are overtired).
Whilst I can’t be 100% sure that these 6 things are what definitely helped my daughter to sleep better I have a strong hunch that they did (and as parents we know our children the best).
If you have any tips that can help other parents then please feel free to share this by leaving a comment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope these tips are useful to you and your little one.