HELP! WHY IS MY ONE YEAR OLD BABY NIGHT WAKING AGAIN?
9-12 MONTH OLD SLEEP STRATEGIES
Your baby’s first birthday is just around the corner and you’ll be wondering just where did the time go? The fraught exhaustion and nagging panic of the first six weeks should have subsided into a contented feeling that you’re ok at this parenting lark.
Little bub should be progressing nicely and will probably be having two nice regular sleeps during the day, totaling somewhere between 2 to 3 hours and will likely be sleeping 11 to 12 hours overnight. If so, congratulations. You’ve got this…
However, If your baby hasn’t settled into a sleep pattern, and is still waking frequently overnight for feeding or comforting, this might be a good time to look into some sleep training strategies. Despite what you may have heard, there is actually a wide range of different sleep training methods and they can help your baby go to sleep more easily and sleep for longer periods at night.
SUDDENLY NIGHT WAKING AGAIN!
It can be a real drag but don’t be surprised if your previously good sleeper suddenly starts waking up more often overnight or struggles falling asleep. Sleep disturbances are really common in this age group and they are related to reaching major milestones in cognitive and motor development.
Between 9 to 12 months, babies are making great strides physically – learning to crawl, to pull up, to walk, to communicate, etc. There is also a lot of brain development happening at this stage. Sleep disruptions can be due to your baby being too busy practicing and refining these new skills or being just too wired to fall asleep. If your little one hasn’t yet developed the skills to soothe herself back to sleep, then she’ll end up crying out for you to help her go back to sleep.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY SLEEP
Develop a consistent bedtime routine
If you haven’t already, work to create a soothing bedtime routine for your baby. This will help both relax before bed and provide predictability to cue that sleep is coming.
Work on removing unwanted sleep associations
If your baby is still requiring something that you do (such as feeding, rocking, driving, etc) to go to sleep, this is the time to transition them to a baby-led sleep association.
Make sure your baby has a regular schedule
Babies thrive when they know what is coming next. Having a regular daytime schedule that includes sleep and feeding will help bedtime run more smoothly. Trust us on this one.
Practicing the skill of falling asleep independently
Sleeping independently is a learnt skill and one that needs to be practiced! Work on putting your baby to bed when they are awake but drowsy and allow them the opportunity to try and settle themselves to sleep.
Many thanks to Dr. Kate Johnson for this advice. Kate has worked in the field of Sleep Medicine for over 15 years. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne and has since worked extensively both here in Australia as well as most recently in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is passionate about working with families to help children sleep better and is the founder of Babysomnia. She currently lives in Melbourne with her husband and four young children. For more information check out her website at www.babysomnia.com