12 Month Sleep Regression and Why Not All 12 Month Olds Transition to One Nap

12 month sleep regression

This post will help you learn more about the 12 month sleep regression and the transition to one nap.

As your baby approaches their first birthday, most parents are beginning to wonder when it’s time to transition to one nap.

Why is my 12-month-old skipping naps?

How will you know when it’s time to transition to one nap?

Don’t all 12-month-olds take just one nap?

Actually, they don’t.

It surprised me when I was a new mom, too, but the average age for a toddler to transition to one nap is actually between 15 and 18 months old. They take just one nap until between 3 and 4 years old, on average, before toddlers stop nappingaltogether. This article will review the reason not all 12-month-olds transition to one nap.

12 Month Old Sleep Needs

Once a baby goes through her 8, 9, or 10 month old sleep regression, typically most babies will get into a pretty good groove. A 12 month old’s schedule typically involves wake windows of 3 to 4 hours between sleep periods. 10 to 12-month-olds get 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 2-3 hours total in naps, for an average total sleep of about 13 1/2 hours per day, on average. Naturally, some babies will get more and some less, of course.

12 Month Olds Skipping a Nap or Taking Short Naps

Based on both my personal experience with my two sons and in my consultations with countless parents, I know that some 11 month olds and 12 month olds seem to go through a sleep regression that largely affects naps.

It starts to appear that your 11-12-month-old is trying to transition to one nap. How? They either start skipping one nap entirely (usually the afternoon nap) or they start taking two 45-minute naps. And, these things might make you think it’s time to transition to one nap.

Many parents will transition their baby and many babies will do just fine. Similarly, babies in daycare typically are required to transition to one nap around 12 months old, ready or not. Again, most do just fine.

However, I typically tell parents, who have a choice, not to rush this transition.

12 Month Sleep Regression: Causes

When Do Toddlers Start to Walk?

A client once told me her baby started walking at 8 months old! I was shocked as this is the youngest I’ve heard of a baby WALKING! My boys didn’t even CRAWL until 10 months! 😀 Although my eldest was a late crawler, he started walking just three weeks later around 11 months. He always wanted to be on his feet, since he was just a few weeks old, actually. He’s the son of a track star, what can I say? This kid very rarely sits still.

While there are babies who walk very early, the average age is between 10 and 14 months to take their first steps. Keep in mind that those first few steps pale in comparison to how active they will become and this is why not all 12 month olds actually finish the transition to one nap. Once they start really walking, they get extremely tired, again.

What Does Walking Have to Do With Sleep?

Think of what you might feel like after you’ve done cardio or run on the treadmill for an hour.

Now do it three times a day. You would be pooped!

Lately, I’ve been exercising a lot more and I have been EXTRA tired almost every night, too. Well, your baby cruising, walking, running, and climbing is expending a LOT of energy. I find some babies even start getting hungry at night, again, due to all the calories burned. Please Note: That does not necessarily mean feed them, but do increase daytime intake.

I find that although an 11-12 month old may begin to transition to one nap, they seem to go backward and get tired sooner, again, a few weeks later. This could be due to physical energy they’re using or mental. So, you may want to hold on to those two naps for a bit longer before you push your baby too soon.

I didn’t know better my first time around and had a mess a month after transitioning my 11 1/2-month-old to one nap. My toddler was extremely overtired and CRANKY and I just couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong! The second time around, I hung on to two naps for about three weeks and my toddler happily kept napping twice a day until he was around 14 to 15 months old. Now, I help clients in similar situations every day as they transition to one nap.

12 Month Sleep Regression: How Long Does It Last?

In my experience of 15+ years as a sleep consultant, the 12-month sleep regression lasts approximately 3 weeks. It’s shorter than many of the other sleep regressions. Be sure to watch for the 5 signs to switch to one nap.

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57 thoughts on “12 Month Sleep Regression and Why Not All 12 Month Olds Transition to One Nap”

  1. Hi There! Use this website all the time and love the services you’ve provided! Thank you for such an awesome resource! We are in the trenches right now with my 13.5 month old and I just don’t know what to do. At about 12.5 months, he start fighting his first nap hard and all out refusing his second nap as well as waking up 5:45-6:30am and not going back to sleep when he normally sleeps until 7-7:30am. I was nervous because I knew this was on the young end for a nap transition so I wanted to wait and make sure what was really going on especially since he started walking around the same time. He did fine for about a week on one nap – we didn’t have much choice because that’s all he’d do – but then he started wanting that morning nap again but earlier. So we started napping him around 9:15-9:30 (instead of his usual 10am) and then he’d go down a bit easier for his second nap around 2 (used to be 3-3:30). That lasted about a week, and the early wakings we’re still happening. Then he started fighting/refusing both naps again and/or taking two really short naps and that lasted about 5 days so now I’m trying to keep him up until 11 each day and start a transition to 1 nap. He’s really tired during that long morning stretch but goes down instantly, however his nap is short, only 1-1.5 hours so by bedtime he’s pretty tired (moved bedtime to 6:30 instead of 7:30). He also started waking a bit more a night since we started trying the one nap again a few days ago (wakes 1-2 times anyway but now more) and still the early waking. He’s also teething molars and canines so I know that’s part of it! All this to ask: am I trying the transition too early or is this just all part of it and I just need to stick with it and it will get better? Seems like he was showing so many signs but I just keep second guessing because this is rough waters and there are always so many factors! Thank you in advance!

    • Hi @Rachel Waddell, thanks for writing. I am so sorry to hear you are struggling! Nap transitions can be so tricky. My son transitioned over early as well, but I found for several months there would be some days he took 2 and other days he just took 1. I just kept offering because I wasn’t sure what was going on! The early waking is definitely a sign that there’s a schedule issue, so be sure to check out our sample schedule for toddlers – there is one for one nap and one for two, so you’ll need to play around to figure out what’s going on: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/toddler-schedule/
      If you find you need more help troubleshooting this issue, please let us know. Our team of sleep consultants can look at the full history of what is going on and can help create a schedule that will work for him. Here is a link to read more if you are interested: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/
      Hang in there! I am happy to hear the Baby Sleep Site has been such a helpful resource for you!

  2. My 12 month old has been refusing the second nap every other day if not everyday. She doesnt even look tired. She wakes up at 6:30, nap 1 between 8:30-9 but off late shes been pushing that to 9:30/10 and then sleeping or 1.25 hours. Then she used to nap again in exactly three hours but shes just not sleeping. She will lay in the crib talking to her toys but just not sleep or look tired.

    what should i do?

    • Hi @Preksha, thanks for writing to us. I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with your 12 month old’s nap. I can relate to this and promise you this is a common hiccup families experience and hopefully it will smooth over quickly. Some babies just go through a little sleep regression at this point and it levels out in a few weeks. Here is a link to download a free guide with nap tips so you can see if there are any additional tweaks to what you are already doing may be needed: https://www.babysleepsite.com/free-baby-nap-guide/
      If you need more help, let us know! We have a ton of other resources we can send your way, just feel free to reach out to us directly to [email protected]
      Hang in there!

  3. My 8 month old has been taking only 1 nap at daycare for about a month now. She has always struggled with getting a nap schedule while sleeping great at night. She is up at 6am and then goes down for a nap between 9:30-10 and sleeps usually until 1. However, I am struggling to get her to take another nap. She is tired when we get home at 4, I can tell but just fights napping. She then goes to bed around 7pm. Is this ok for her or is there something I need to do to make sure she is getting 2 naps at this age?

    • Hi @Kristen Lutz, thanks for visiting the Baby Sleep Site. I am sorry to hear your daughter has been struggling with her naps. My youngest son did that too – he would take what I called “super naps” and basically use up all of his sleeping time for the day in one massive nap! He didn’t do this daily, so I just had to be flexible with him and tried to offer 2 naps whenever I could (he is my second though so I did welcome it most days since his “super nap” often lined up with his big brother’s nap). The main thing I’d suggest you look at is if she is getting enough sleep in a 24 hour period. You can view a sample schedule for her here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/8-month-old-baby-schedule/
      This article will tell you everything she needs. It does sound like she needs more than the one nap, perhaps it is just a timing thing and she’s getting overtired?
      If you want help troubleshooting this, we would love to help you! You can work one-on-one with one of our amazing sleep consultants and they can create a schedule for you, and we often work with children who are in daycare and on their more fixed schedules as well. Here is a link for more information on that: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/
      I hope this helps! Let me know if you need anything else.

  4. First off, I love this site, it has been a Godsend for both of my sons, who have TOTALLY different sleep personalities. My youngest son is just over 11 months, we have struggled with his night time sleep since birth. Things finally seemed to be moving in the right direction consistently around 9 months. He would go to sleep easily after nursing at 7-7:30pm, then I would top him off before I went to bed at 10pm and he would sleep until between 5-6am, then usually go back to sleep after a quick nurse until we had to get ready to leave at 7:15am. He’d wake occasionally in the night, but would often get himself back to sleep with or without a pacifier after a minute or two without us having to do anything. It was glorious. His naps have been consistent since about 6-7 months where he will nap for 60-75 minutes at 10am and again at 2pm. This he’s been consistent in even with the sleep issues we currently have.
    A few weeks ago I tried dropping the top-off feed and he started waking up between 12-1am, again at 4-5am and then be up for the day between 6-6:30am. If I did anything other than nurse him he would scream bloody murder. He shares a bedroom with his older brother (4yo) and we live in a condo so prolonged crying at night is not an option. I tried reinstating the top off feed and that didn’t make a difference at all so I’ve taken it out again.
    My husband is helping with some of the night waking because if I try to soothe him, we end up nursing because no matter what I do he will scream and refuses a pacifier or anything else.
    I can think of a million contributing factors to this, namely his age, we’ve been travelling a lot recently, he recently started pulling to stand in his crib (so now if he wakes up even a little he stands up and is then instantly wide awake) and is becoming more mobile in general.
    We moved him back into our bedroom just so that our 4 year old could sleep because he was starting to have daytime behavior issues and fatigue from it all.
    Because of the space issues (only 2 bedrooms so he’s with us or his brother, no other closed rooms like a dining room to put him in…) and us living in a condo, we really can’t try any methods that involve more than a few minutes of crying.

    Any suggestions are welcome, we are willing to put in the work because let’s face it, we aren’t sleeping anyway. To make things more interesting, we went to visit my parents at the beach last week and the two days we went to the beach he slept all night from 7:30pm to 6am without waking at all and no top off feed. So I know it’s possible!

    • Hi @Sarah – Thank you for writing to us, and I am so happy to hear that our information and articles have been so helpful! Sorry to hear that yo are struggling with your 11 month old right now! We know how that feels, and as you mention, lots of contributing factors can make it a tough time!!
      Because you have done quite a bit of reading, if things do not smooth out, I would recommend a consultation package, where you can work with one of our expert sleep consultants, and she can help support you through this, and help create a Plan just for your family – one that will be made just for you! Sometimes, just having that outside perspective, and the support to see things through can really help!!
      You can read about all of our sleep consultation packages and purchase directly online here:
      Please let us know if you have any questions, and good luck Sarah!!

  5. My 13 month old has slept through since 9months. He has been for the past month waking up once or twice at night. atone stage he would want to be awake for 2hours at a time. he now wakes up once and only wants a cuddle and is then back to sleep in about 15 minutes.
    He goes to bed generally between 6:30pm / 7pm and wakes up 6:30am/7am.
    He fought his 2 naps in the day and transitioned himself to 1 nap a day. it was at first at 10am but not long after he would fight and would only allow a nap time at around 12pm or after lunch. He is now waking up after 30 minutes of napping only once and I am worried that he is not sleeping enough in the day. I put him back to sleep in the day when he wakes up which is normally a huge fight. but after a huge struggle he goes back to sleep and then sleeps a total day time nap of 1.5hours.

    how do I stop his night time wakings and get him to sleep longer than 30mins during the day?

    • Hi @Lana, thanks for writing to us. I am sorry you’ve recently been struggling with your son’s sleep. It can be extra frustrating when they were doing so well and seemed to take some steps backwards. 🙁
      There could be several things going on and since I am a representative of our Client Relations Team (not a sleep consultant) I do not know for sure what is going on. You may find our free guide with tips to help your baby sleep through the night provides some insight to what could be causing it (overtired babies mean less sleep in a 24 hour period in general – so it’s a pretty easy cycle for them to get themselves into): https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/
      If you need help breaking the cycle of over tiredness and can’t seem to get out of it on your own, we are here to help. Our consultants would look at your son’s full sleep history and would help create a plan to get things back on track for you and help with whatever other hurdles you are experiencing. If you are interested you can view and purchase any of our sleep plans online here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/
      Hang in there! I hope things take a turn for the better very soon!

  6. Hi, my little one is 11.5 months and is usually down by about 7pm. She’s always been an early riser but I could usually settle her back to sleep for an extra hour or so. Recently, she’s started waking around 5am and not going back to sleep. She also used to have two good naps of between 1 and 1.5 hours each but has started napping for less than an hour at a time. Naps are at 9.30am and 2pm She’s putting up a fight when put down for sleep weather it’s naps or bedtime and is taking at least 20 mins to settle. Is this a sleep regression and is there anything I can do to help her? Thanks!

    • Hi Kayleigh,
      Thank you for visiting The Baby Sleep Site! I’m sorry to hear about this development in your daughter’s sleep, but based on her age and your description, this sounds like a classic 12 month sleep regression. Not all babies go through this, but the nap-fighting and early waking are symptoms. Luckily, this is usually a relatively short regression, 1-2 weeks. We have an article to help here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-naps-2/12-month-olds-one-nap-transition/
      I hope that helps, and hang in, but please let us know if you have any questions!

      • Hi Danielle, thanks for your response a couple of months ago. Things seems to be getting worse rather than better and I wondered if you might have any other suggestions at all? My daughter is now 13 months. Napping seems to be getting better, she’s not fighting as much and usually has a good morning nap of 1-1.5 hours. Her afternoon nap tends to be about 30- 45mins. Bedtime and night time seems to be becoming a problem, she cries when going to bed most nights (usually the moment when we leave the room) she settles herself after about 20mins once we’ve been back in with some reassurance. She’s also back to waking twice in the night – usually around 11am and 3am and I don’t know why. We night weaned at about 8 months, she has an excellent appetite in the day so I know she’s not hungry. She’ll usually settle with some patting/shhhing within about 10mins each time and is then still up at 5ish. Please help. Thank you!

      • Hi @Kayleigh –
        Thank you for writing again! We are so sorry to hear that you are still struggling with your daughter’s sleep! We completely understand how tough this can be!! Since things are not getting better, you may want to consider getting a little help – If you are interested in a DIY approach, I would like to recommend out 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep Ebook. It is written specifically to help parents of toddlers with sleep issues. The book includes a number of detailed sample schedules, covers all of the most troublesome toddler sleep troubles and what to do about them, as well as an explanation of the various sleep coaching methods you can implement. It also contains several sleep planning worksheets and sleep logs.

        You can find out more about this Ebook here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/5-step-system-toddler

        When you visit that page, you will see that there are two options. One option is our The “Silver Package” which includes the instant 5 Step System to Better Toddler Sleep Ebook download, an in depth case study, and two informative audio tele-seminars. Our other option is a “Gold Package” which includes everything in the “Silver Package”plus two additional audio tele-seminars, and an Express Sleep Plan, which is an instant and customized plan specific to your family’s history, your family’s philosophies, and your specific goals.

        We hope that this is helpful for you! Hang in there Kayleigh!

  7. So my 11.5 month old is on the precipice of walking. We’re having a struggle with naps for the past several days, he’ll stand in his crib for an hour if I put him down at his regular time. So I’ve been putting him down about an hour later for both naps, which was working ok. We would have to wake him from his naps to get him down at a semireasonable hour. Last night, though, he woke up at 4:30ish and wouldn’t go back down for another 2 hours. Tips?

    I LOVE the blog by the way. We’ve been using it since the 4 month sleep regression. You’re information is priceless.

    • Hi @Holly – Thank you for writing, and we are so happy to hear that The Baby Sleep Site has been such a valuable resource for you! : )
      Sorry to hear that you are struggling with sleep! Those 4am wake ups can be really tough! Since your son was sleeping well previously, and is just about to walk, it may indeed be the developmental changes disrupting his sleep! Developmental milestones such as walking, which are so prevalent in the first years, do have a tendency to temporarily disrupt even the best sleepers, and nap and sleep issues are very common right around the 1st birthday. Typically this is just a phase, and here’s hoping that he will return to better sleep very very soon!
      if you find that things do not smooth out, please feel free to contact us! Good luck and hang in there!

  8. My baby is 13 months and moved up to the 1 year old daycare class where they only have 1 nap. She’s there part time (3 days a week) the other two days she’s at home with my husband and on the weekends with us of course. Should I stick with the daycare’s schedule and just do 1 nap at home or should I try and give her 2 naps still while she’s at home? Sometimes she fights the afternoon nap, but she gets so tired by 5pm (too late for nap…too early for bedtime). I should mention at daycare she doesn’t take that 1 nap until about 11 or 11:30 and at home she’s tired before that so usually her first nap at home is around 9:30/10.

    • @Kara, thank you for writing to us! That is a tricky situation with the naps. My son is the same age as your daughter and he can do fine on 1, as I’m sure your daughter does fine on the days in daycare, but some days he is super cranky and needs the second nap so I really have been playing it by ear since I know the average age is a bit older. So even though my son is not in daycare, I understand your struggle! Some babies are more flexible and can tolerate schedule changes from day to day. If this is the case with your daughter, I’d offer her the second nap on the days you’re able to (and that would mean putting her down for the first nap earlier). If you find she continually fights you on the second nap, she may just need the same schedule across the board and it would make the most sense to stick with the daycare schedule. A bit of trial and error to determine what’s best, but I hope it resolves for you quickly! Thanks for using the Baby Sleep Site as a resource for help.

      • Thanks! That’s basically what we’ve been doing. If she’s active and happy and goes down for a nap later than usual on her days home we just do 1. If she goes down for a first nap a little earlier on her days at home we’ve been doing a 2nd nap (that she usually goes down for with no fussing). Thankfully she’s an adaptable baby! I feel that in probably a month or so she’ll be on a 1 nap schedule but until she’s ready we’ll just play it by ear. Love this site – it has helped me with sleep questions since she was born!!

  9. Hi Danielle, thanks for this I really appreciate it! We stuck with the naps and they are easier again, and she has never outright refused one, at worst just taking longer to go to sleep and having a shorter nap.
    However…..the last few days she has started waking earlier and taking longer to go to sleep. She used to be asleep by 7.15 and generally I’d have to wake her up the following morning between 7-7.15am. Bliss! She naps 10.15-10.45 &3.30-4.40 (I wake her from both naps) now she is taking much longer to go to sleep and waking about 6ish. She is content in her cot and some mornings will nod back off again about 7ish….but of course then it’s time for her to get up….help?!!!
    Is this connected to the regression or is the worse night sleep a sign we should try and drop a nap? She is teething and still not mastered waking independently so I’m really not sure what’s what or how to try and fix it. I’m getting very stressed and anxious and don’t know what to do next. I’m terrified of her hard earned night sleep going to pot and being exhausted all the time again, and likewise I can see my daughter is losing out on her precious night sleep which is bad for her

    • @Rachel – Thank you for stopping by your sleepy little village! We’re so glad to hear the naps got a bit better for you. That’s wonderful! At this point, you may want to consider the timing of her naps – in particular the 2nd nap may be ending a bit too late/starting a little late. Please don’t feel stressed or anxious – timing naps can definitely be more of a art than a science as your baby gets a bit older. At this point, I wouldn’t suggest phasing out her nap completely, but instead tweaking her schedule every few days or so to see if you can find one that works better for what you’re seeking in her night sleep and wake times in the mornings. We definitely don’t want her (or your!) sleep to suffer either.

      If you find that you are still having trouble getting her schedule just right after making a few tweaks over the next couple of weeks, you may want to consider our Express Sleep Plan, which is an instantly available fully customized sleep plan or if you’d prefer to work one-on-one with one of our consultants, our Basic Email Consultation Package, which comes with both a Personalized Sleep Plan and follow up consultation. You can read more about each of those here: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-toddler-sleep-consulting-services/?utm_source=menu&utm_medium=oneonone&utm_campaign=oneonone Our Express Plan was developed by our team of expert consultants and all of our consultation packages are serviced by our consultants as well – these ladies are the true experts who can help you through this much better.

      Hang in there, Rachel!

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