We tell you all you need to know about baby sleep from six to 12 months, a time when your little one goes through many changes.
With our sleep expert Jo Tantum
Now your baby is getting a little older, they will be becoming more mobile, so you will need eyes in the back of your head to keep up with them! Fortunately, they have now moved through the separation anxiety stage, which makes life a little easier and which is less guilt- inducing when you go out!
Physically, they will be able to sit up and are starting to crawl. They might be pulling themselves up and ‘cruising’ around the furniture. This can lead to unsettled nights, as they start turning around in their cots and trying to stand up.
Lower the mattress base if you haven’t already.
For safety at this stage, make sure you put them in a sleeping bag for nights and naps rather than a blanket that can twisted around them.
You may also find they start messing about in the cot when being put down for a nap. Watch for tiredness signals so you can settle them more easily. Babies have a 15-minute window of opportunity from “I’m tired” to “I’m over-tired.” After this, they will struggle to fall asleep and need a sleep prop like rocking or feeding to help them drop off. Having a dark room, wave sounds and a comforter can help them understand it’s nap time. Reading a story with a calm, quiet voice will also help them start to feel sleepy; then say goodnight to the book’s characters. Babies love anything repetitive, so you will be reading the same story over and over again!
Between nine to 12 months, babies will still have two naps a day; this will continue until they reach 15-17 months old.
At nine months, babies need a nap of three hours for every two and a half hours of wake time and as they move towards one year old it will increase to every three hours.
Always try to have one nap a day in the cot, so that they sleep better at night. If they are always napping on the move, it can affect their nights. I know this can be tricky if they are going to activities or are at Nursery, so try and work around this as much as possible.
If your little one is at Nursery, speak to their key worker about naps. You can usually take in a sleeping bag and often a sleep aid like Ewan the Dream Sheep or My Hummy to help them drown out the sound of the other children.
At around one year, your baby will have a small developmental leap caused by being more physically mobile. They will be trying out their new-found skills of pulling themselves up and standing! You may find at this stage that they struggle to settle down to sleep and are moving all around the cot. As long as your baby isn’t crying or upset, then leave them to try to get comfortable by themselves.
If they are standing, let them work out how to lay down again – otherwise you may find that you have taught them that you will come in and help them and they will turn this into a game!
Remember though that this is a short phase and it will pass quickly – that is, if you don’t start instilling a new habit of helping them to lay down again!