Babies from 9-12 months of age require 11 hours of nighttime sleep and about 3 hours of daytime sleep. At 9 months, most babies have given up their third late-afternoon nap, so napping is usually divided into a 1.5-hour nap in the morning and another 1.5-hour nap in the late afternoon. By 12 months, napping has been reduced to one hour in the morning and about 1.5 hours in the afternoon.
Developmental Changes. With increasing mobility, most babies can pull themselves up and stand in a crib, creating some new twists at bedtime. Babies tend to learn how to get up before they can get back down, so practice during the day can help them learn to sit themselves back down. Increased activity can quickly tire out babies in this age range, so be sure to pay close attention to their sleep cues, or signs that they are sleepy. Missing these sleep cues can cause an overtired baby making bedtime more difficult.
Self-Soothing Skills. One of the main goals for babies at this age is to begin to build self-soothing skills so they can gently learn to fall asleep on their own without using sleep crutches such as rocking or nursing to sleep. In this age range, many babies are night weaning, which can also alter their bedtime routines. Many babies have associated food time with sleep time, and separating the two will help create a sleep-friendly plan. By feeding at recognizable mealtimes and allowing time between feedings and going into the crib, you can begin to transition from feeding all day (and all night) to a healthy sleep-friendly schedule.
Sample Schedule. The biggest differences between schedules with older and younger babies centers on their eating differences. Typically, healthy children from 9 to 12 months can go 11 to 12 hours at night without a feeding, but of course check first with your pediatrician. This sample schedule is meant to serve as a guideline to help create your sleep-friendly schedule.
7-7:30 a.m. Wake up. Nurse/bottle/cup and breakfast.
9-9:30 a.m. Start the morning nap. If your child is sleeping 11-12 hours uninterrupted at night, he or shee might be able to stay awake until 10 a.m., or three hours after waking up. Some children need a small morning snack after the nap.
Noon-12:30 p.m. Lunch with nurse/bottle/cup.
1-2 p.m. Start the afternoon nap. Snack upon awakening.
5-6 p.m. Dinner with nurse/bottle/cup.
7-7:30 p.m. Nurse/bottle and bedtime.
This schedule applies to generally healthy children with no growth or developmental concerns. Sleep schedules are based on recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Remember, you should always consult with your child’s pediatrician.
- Kim West, LCSW-C. The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight.
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