10- to 12-Month Sleep Regression In Babies: Info For Sleepy Parents

10- To 12-Month Sleep Regression In Babies: Everything Worn Out Parents Need To Know

November 23, 2020 Updated June 16, 2021

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Gianni Orefice/Pexels

Towards the end of their first year on the planet, your baby usually starts looking more and more like a tiny human adult, and less like an infant. While it may be a little sad to see this happen, you may also be excited about what else this means — like walking, talking, and improved sleep quality (for everyone). But even after your baby reaches 10 or 11-months, or even one year, it doesn’t mean that their sleep regressions are a thing of the past. At this stage, you’ve probably been through a few of these already, so you know the drill, and that they don’t last forever. Still, you may have questions about what’s going on this time around. Here’s what to know about a 10-month, 11-month, or one-year sleep regression, and how to handle it.

Baby going through sleep troubles? Check out our entire sleep regression package for baby’s first year starting with the three-month regression, four-month regression, six-month regression, seven-month regression, eight-month regression, and nine-month regression

What is sleep regression?

Generally speaking, sleep regression involves periods of time (usually between two and six weeks), when a baby or toddler who had previously been sleeping on a (semi) regular schedule goes rogue. This could involve waking up frequently during the night (and having difficulty getting them back to sleep), as well as taking much shorter naps than usual, or flat-out refusing to nap. In other words, it’s extremely frustrating for exhausted parents who thought that they’d finally get back on some type of normal sleep schedule themselves.

Starting in the 1940s, the idea of babies experiencing sleep regression has been studied by those working in developmental psychology. But after 70+ years, although scientists know that sleep regression does happen, they still don’t know why or precisely when it happens, the New York Times reports. And despite the lack of hard data pointing to a precise sleep regression timeline, there is no shortage of books and websites that present specific “stages” of sleep regression as established milestones experienced by most (if not all) infants.

On the one hand, this can be really helpful for parents who are experiencing these stages with their own child — reassuring them that their child’s sleep regression is not unusual. But on the other hand, it can also give parents something else to worry about, in terms of whether their child is developing “normally” or not. Ultimately, parents should understand that sleep regression and development looks different in every baby, so if yours isn’t following the timeline precisely (or at all), it’s usually not cause for concern. And as always, ask your pediatrician if you have any questions about this.

What happens during a baby’s 10 to 12-month sleep regression?

Every baby is on their own development schedule, so they may experience a 10-month sleep regression, while their peers may encounter an 11-month sleep regression or a 12-month sleep regression. There is no definitive baby sleep regression timeline, so if your child’s doesn’t exactly match up to the ones in parenting books, it’s not something to worry about. We also don’t know exactly what causes these periods of sleep regression, but one theory is that they coincide with a baby’s cognitive and physical developments. The 10 to 12-month sleep regression could also occur because, by this point, a baby has become more aware of their surroundings, and doesn’t want to miss out on anything. When they’re not sleeping, that means they’re probably eating, playing, or being held — which, to a baby, probably seems exponentially more fun.

The signs of a 10 to 12-month sleep regression are similar to the ones your baby experienced during their previous regression period and may include:

  • Waking up more frequently at night and taking longer to get back to sleep.
  • Extreme fussiness and/or crankiness.
  • Taking shorter naps, or resisting them completely.
  • Fighting sleep.

What to do during a baby’s 10 to 12-month sleep regression

First, do a quick temperature check to make sure your baby doesn’t have a fever — something that can also impact their sleep schedule. If it’s higher than normal, contact your pediatrician. If that’s not the case, they’re not teething, and your baby isn’t sticking to their usual sleeping schedule, they might be going through 12-month sleep regression.

Here are some ways to manage your baby’s 10 to 12-month sleep regression:

  • Stick to a bedtime routine and sleep schedule, including for naps. It may be tempting to keep them awake all day in the hopes that they’ll sleep through the night, but that’s not always the case.
  • Try the Ferber — aka “cry it out” — method to encourage self-soothing. If this is not the right sleep training method for you, your baby, or family, there are many others to choose from.
  • Remove any gadgets, devices, or toys from their crib that can distract them and/or keep them awake.
  • Make sure they move around enough during the day to tire them out at night.
  • Check for teething pain and treat accordingly. Growing molars is no joke!
  • Stay calm and try to be flexible.

Will this be your baby’s last sleep regression? Who knows. But by now, you’ve probably dealt with them before, so it’s not all a complete (frustrating) surprise. And just as a reminder: this phase is only temporary and doesn’t mean all the work you’ve put into sleep training your baby has been put to waste. They’ll get back on track eventually — meaning you will, too.

How do I sleep train my 10-month old?

Usually, babies are sleep trained between four to six months, but it is possible to start later. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to get your baby to stick to a sleep schedule. But hard doesn’t mean impossible. (You can do it, Mama!) So, if your little one is still keeping you up at all hours of the night, we have a few tips to help get them on the track of tiredness. 

It’s easier for a baby to fall asleep when their separation anxiety is relieved. Now is the time to give your kiddo the blanket or stuffed animal they’ll carry around for the rest of their childhood, which is also known as a lovey. When your little one is fighting sleep, having something soft to cuddle will help them drift off to dreamland. 

Incorporate a morning nap into their schedule. It may seem like they just woke up, but your baby needs about two good naps a day. When they don’t get the rest they need during the daytime, it can make them harder to put down.

What is a 10-month-old baby sleep schedule?

Your baby might be bigger, but they’re never too big for a nap. It’s important to keep them on a schedule that includes naps. So, if you’re looking to add more structure to your baby’s day, check out our sample schedule below.

8:00 a.m. — Wake up
10 a.m. — Breakfast
11 a.m. — Nap
12 a.m. — Snack
1:00 p.m. — Lunch
2:00 p.m. — Nap
3:00 p.m. — Snack
5:00 p.m. — Dinner
6:15 p.m. — Begin bedtime routine
7:00 p.m. — Bedtime