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 napping altogether. 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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Hope this helps your toddler!

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